Tuesday, September 9, 2008

London and "London by the Sea"

St. Paul's Cathedral
Sussex in September took us on two awesome tours over the last couple of days. Sunday, we went into London and did a walking tour for about 5 hours. In that five hours we covered well over six miles and only saw some of the classic buildings in London. It's hard to imagine how massive London is until you get there. The buildings aren't very tall compared to the skyscrappers of NYC but they cover a lot of ground space. Standing next to St. Paul's Cathedral and the House of Parliament were especially awe inspiring. We had lunch at a pub called "The Coal Hole." I had a Sunday Chicken Roast. Our guide said they were amazing, but I wasn't impressed with mine. I thought the chicken was really dry and bland, and didn't know what to make of the yorkshire pudding. I'm definitely going to have to get used to the lack of spices used in dishes. The dipping sauces are a different story. There are a bunch of different sauces over here though. So far I've tried: tomato relish, horseradish mayo, and HP sauce or brown sauce. I definitely liked the HP sauce the best of the three. It was like BBQ sauce only different. Not a very good description but it definitely helped my chicken. After the walking tour, we took an open-top boat tour down the River Thames. Unfortunately my camera died right at the beginning of the tour so I didn't get any pictures from that. It was very disappointing.

Sunset in the Lanes
Yesterday, we went into Brighton, or as it is affectionately known, "London by the Sea." It's famous for its clubs, music scene, pubs, and The Pier, which is a Coney Island-esque amusement park. It's just under an hour train ride from London and attracts a lot of Londonites for its entertainment qualities. It's much smaller than London, obviously, but is full of shops, restaurants, and boutiques. The majority of the smaller shops close at 5:00 or 5:30. We started the tour at 6:30 so there were very few shops that we could check out. There were scores of places to eat though. Every restaurant sounded and smelled better than the last one. Most of us had waited to eat dinner and are still trying to adjust to the exchange rate, so we were starving, surrounded by good food, and didn't want to pay for it. I ended up going to the Brighton Helm with a bunch of people. From the outside it looked really expensive but was actually reasonably priced. I got a sandwich with a side salad and chips (french fries) for a little over £4 or roughly $8. It was probably the first meal I've had where most major food groups were represented in a reasonably healthy way.

My class started on Monday. I'm taking English Folklore which is definitely going to be different than any class I've taken before. Tomorrow we are actually going on a field trip! It's been a long time since I've been on a legitimate field trip. We're going to check out some of the local sites associated with lore such as Devil's Dyke, Hangman's Stone, and the Rottingdean Imp. My professor is a chemist turn folklorist and slightly eccentric. He hasn't really said why he changed his career path but I'm not ruling out the possibility that he just woke up one day and decided to pick up folklore. Nevertheless, the class seems pretty cool and it's definitely a nice break from chemistry.

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