Friday, August 22, 2008

England 08: Hastings

On Day 3, we took the train to Hastings, sight of the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066 (lthough it really took place a few miles away in Battle). At this battle, William, heir to the English throne, defeated and killed Harold Godwinson, the last Saxon King of England, and destroyed his army. It was on the sight on a Saxon castle that William built his castle.

Today, part of the original castle still stands on top of the sandstone cliffs near the Channel. You can walk to the top or take the West Hill Lift. Once you get to the top, you have a beautiful view of the English Channel and Hastings below.
The town itself is very much like all of the other seaside towns, full of knick-knack shops and ice cream parlors.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

England 08: Brighton, Day 2

On the second day, we visited the Royal Pavilion. In the 1770s, the Prince Regent, known later as George IV, began visiting the town with his first wife, a twice-divorced woman that the royal family never recognized. He converted a "farmhouse" into the whimsical Royal Pavilion, full of orientale splendor. John Nash, the architect of Regent Street in London, designed the palace. (You have to see the website for photos of the inside. Photography is forbidden in most of the great houses because of damage to the fabrics.) The most impressive rooms are the Music Room and Banqueting Hall. There is a 360ยบ panorama of the Banqueting Room. And another of the Music Room. The chandeliers are the most impressive parts of the rooms.

Here is a great photo of the front side of the Royal Pavilion taken by someone else. I only saw the front by bus, so my photo is a moving shot and very bad.

After visiting the Royal Pavilion, we took the Volks Elecrtic Railway to the Brighton Marina. It is the oldest still-operating electric railway in the world. I have a little video that I will post later.

England 08: Brighton, Day 1

This year, my mom and I visited the Southeast of England. We began our journey in Brighton, a wonderful seaside town. Brighton is Britain's number one seaside town, despite the fact that the beaches are pebbly. It all began in the 1750's when a doctor told Londoners that bathing and drinking the local seawater was good for them.

The beach is made up of washed pebbles and rocks. They make a really cool noise when the waves wash over them. I collected some rocks that have been carved into interesting shapes. They look like miniature Henry Moore scultures.

The Brighton Pier, which used to be known as the Palace Pier, is one of those fun arcade places you expect in a seaside town. It's like Coney Island's boardwalk, but extended 1,760 ft out into the water. It's great to just sit out on the pier and enjoy the breeze and water view. On the first day we were there, we sat on the beach and then walked out to the end of the pier. It was a beautiful day.

There is another pier in Brighton, the West Pier. It has slowly been falling into the sea, but it makes a beautiful ruin.

Brighton is the site for The Who's movie Quadrophenia. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the movie, it is basically a retelling of the riot by the Mods and Rockers in 1964.