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November 26, 2021 / Jim Fenton

Sussex Day 2: Guy Fawkes Day

Friday, November 5, 2021

These days, “day 2” after arriving in the UK has a special implication: it is on this day that you must take and report the results of a COVID-19 test. As required, we ordered the tests and had them delivered to our hotel. After breakfast (in our room/apartment, with groceries we picked up previously), we very methodically followed the instructions and 15 minutes later happily had negative test results. You send an image of the test stick next to the information page from your passport and a little while later they send a certificate of your test results. Presumably the results were sent to the authorities as well so they don’t come looking for us.

Celeste had classes at various times (including an 8:30 pm meeting with the Theater Department in Colorado) so Kenna and I were on our own today. We set out to explore Brighton, a city that bears resemblance to both Santa Cruz and Berkeley, California. We took a rather long walk, beginning with the shore area. We walked out to the end of Brighton Palace Pier, which includes a sizable game arcade and a small amusement park with rides at the end.

We decided to continue eastward along the shore and walked a long path toward Brighton Marina. Along the way were a variety of activities, including miniature golf, a sauna, an outdoor studio including a yoga class in session, and an electric railway. There was also quite a bit of construction, which makes sense since it’s off-season.

We arrived at the marina not entirely clear on how to approach it by foot: the major building we saw was a large parking garage. So we continued along the Undercliff Trail, the cliffs being primarily chalk. This is how we picture the White Cliffs of Dover must be (although Dover probably has higher cliffs). At the far end of the marina we found a pedestrian entrance, and walked back through the marina to find some lunch. We ate outdoors at Taste Sussex, which was quite good, although our seating area got a little chilly once the sun fell behind a nearby building.

Our return took us through the areas of the marina that didn’t look very pedestrian-friendly, but were actually OK. We took a different route back to the hotel through the Kemptown District. We’re not sure we found the main part of Kemptown but we did walk past the Royal Sussex Hospital.

We had heard about the Brighton Toy and Model Museum, and had a little time so we went looking for it. The maps indicated that it is located adjacent to the train station, so we went to the train station and wandered around for quite a while before discovering that it’s sort of under the station, accessed through a door on the side of an underpass. The museum is physically small, but they have a very extensive collection of classic toys and model trains, primarily from the early 20th century. The staff was helpful and friendly, even offering suggestions for what else to see while in the area.

We had a late lunch, so instead of going out for dinner we opted for wine/beer and a charcuterie plate from the small bar in the hotel. It included a couple of unusual cheeses (a black-colored cheddar, for example) and met our needs well.

Guy Fawkes Day is traditionally celebrated in the UK with bonfires and fireworks displays to commemorate his 1605 attempt to blow up Parliament. Although our room faces the Channel, we heard but had limited visibility to various fireworks being set off on the shore. So we again set out on foot and saw a few, but since the fireworks are unofficial (set off by random people on the beach), they were widely dispersed and unorganized.

It has been a good day for walking, with over 10 miles traveled.

This article is part of a series about our recent travels to southern England. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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