Friday, August 15, 2014

7/17/14 Day 182 London, England & Brighton

We arrived to London, tired after sleeping on a 3 hour, 2:00 a.m. Ferry from Dublin followed by a very long drive from Holyhead to London. Upon arriving to the city we decided it would be a great idea to drive Julie across the city to drop her off at her hostel where she would be meeting up with her friend Marita from Germany. It took us 1.5 hours to drive the short distance to the industrial district on the east side of town. The traffic was miserable, but at least we got a thorough view of the city. Exhausted from a day of driving following a night of partying in Dublin.  Kevin Celeste and I turned the car for the southern district of London to meet up with Paolo who offered to host us for one night. We went back to his place for beers under the stars on his balcony. The next morning Paolo went out to get groceries for breakfast and returned with Yeshe, a Buddhist monk traveling from a monastery in Toulouse, France. We spent the morning talking about travel and the monastery over breakfast consisting of tiny baguette rounds cooked as french toast. Saying our goodbyes, Yeshe invited us to come and stay at the monastery when we drive through France. We appreciatively accept and promise to see him in the future as we duck out the doorway to see the spectacle that is London! We meet up with Julie and Marita for the London version of the Sandeman's Free walking tour for a quick city overview accompanied by a range of random facts. Afternoon is upon us by now and it is time to find a spot to hunker down to watch the World Cup final. We find a cocktail bar with lots of game day specials and claim the table. With the Deutschland victory the streets erupted in celebration, Marita was ecstatic for her country's win! Spirits high we headed for Fabric, a multilevel industrial warehouse themed club with loads of concrete, exposed ventilation and metal; where we chose to dance the remaining hours of the night away. The next day we got to pick Alison up from the airport for her 12 hour layover and we headed for views over the city for a relaxing couple of hours before we dropped her off at her hostel. The rest of our days in London were a total shitshow...with 5 people it is bound to be expected, but most of our time was spent sitting, waiting, and wishing for each other to be ready and cohesive. By the third day Kevin and I were pretty over it so we headed down South to Brighton to meet Lyndsay, (our host for our last few days in the United Kingdom) and had the ladies meet us there the next day. 

We had an amazing time with Lyndsay in Brighton, what a sweetheart, and so much on our level! The city is very bike forward with a huge vegan community and beautiful pebble beaches with warm waves. Luckily for Kevin and I her 4 roommates own 10 bikes in the house so we got to spend our first day there biking along the beaches in the sunshine. The pier is really nice complete with carnival rides, ice cream and children everywhere, reminds me of the pier in Santa Cruz, California in many ways. We spent three days basking in the sunshine and exploring all of the adorable shops and caf├ęs in the area until it was time for us to leave England. 

The beautiful sunrise while unloading from the ferry

Big Ben

The London Eye
Our view from Regent's Park
The beautiful beach of Brighton

Amazing concept, a bike shop, cafe combo where you can get your bike fixed, a beer and a sandwich after an organized group ride
Polly our Polo (the better looker on the left) and her twin car

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