By Deb Zulawski
Blogger, artist, photographer, global traveler and soon-to-be expat, currently living in the Pacific Northwest.
The few days I had spent in London were a wonderful adventure and the Queen + Adam Lambert concert I had traveled to see ended up beyond all my expectations.
In planning this trip I decided that I wanted to venture outside of London and so I planned a trip to Brighton on the English Channel the day after the concert.
A train ride through the countryside from London to Brighton was a lovely way to see small towns outside of the city, as we raced along the rails.
I had left most of my luggage at the hotel in London and just brought enough clothes for a two day side trip. The wind off the channel whipped through the streets as I walked to the hotel wishing I had brought more clothes to layer. The wind ripped right through my light clothes and chilled me to the bone.
I arrived to the hotel and, after checking in and warming up a bit, I decided I wanted to get something to eat. Not much was open. It was a Sunday and off season, so things were pretty quiet on the hotel strip along the channel. Plus, being a vegetarian made things even a bit more challenging.
Then I had a idea surge. Pizza! That would work. I jumped on the internet and found that the closest pizza that was open was on the other end of town. Determined to get something to eat, I emptied my suitcase and layered everything I had brought along.
Walking the main strip along the water, I stopped at a small stall that was selling water and various treats, candies and chips, and bought a scarf that was hanging in a back corner.
I told the vendor in the shop that I was surprised it was so cold.
'It's always cold here, and windy...always cold." I think he had heard the comment that it was cold many times before by the tone of his voice and shaking of his head. Tourist. Another uninformed tourist. I could tell what he was thinking.
I wrapped the scarf around my neck and headed out in search of the pizza place. After walking the streets of Brighton and battling the gusting winds for what seemed like forever, but was really only a ½ hour, I saw a sign jutting out from the front of a small brick building. Pizza! I was really hungry and ready to find a quiet table to relax and enjoy a bite to eat. To my surprise, and also to my great dismay, the place was the size of a postage stamp, and there was nowhere to eat inside. It was just a tiny space with room enough for a counter and an oven.
It was getting late and there were not a lot of options of places to eat, my feet hurt, I was cold and I had no desire to search for another place to eat, so I decided just to order a pizza.
I waited outside on sidewalk and huddled next to the building out of the wind, until my name was called. There was another person inside chatting with the cashier/pizza maker and picking up their order. There just wasn't enough room for all of us in there.
I heard my name and headed in to the tiny shop to collect the box of fresh out the over pizza. The warmth of the box warmed my hands. I wasn't sure if I would eat it or just hold it close to warm my body. Never has a pizza box felt so good!
Pizza box in hand, I opened the box and pulled out a slice of gooey pizza, with strings of cheese flying the wind. I thought I must look ridiculous and that this must be culturally inappropriate, but I was hungry, cold and just needed a slice. Now. With box in one hand and greasy pizza slice in the other, I happily headed a couple of blocks in the direction of the water, so that I could follow the promenade along the channel back to the hotel.
I had eaten most of the pizza when I arrived back to the Brighton pier.
It was late afternoon, moving rapidly into evening, and the day was overcast with dark clouds hanging low, ready to release heavy rains at a moments notice. The lights on the pier had just been illuminated and the pier was coming to life. People, locals and tourists alike, were wandering about. Couples holding hands stared off at the English Channel, as the white caps rolled to shore. Parents watched, as their children ran up to the carousel in hopes it would begin to turn. There was a group of high school age boys heading in my direction and I wondered if they were a sports team, as they seemed to be dressed alike.
I took one more slice of, now, slightly cold pizza out of the box and tossed the remaining pizza and box into a garbage can at the beginning of the pier. One last slice and I would be full and satisfied. It was delicious.
I raised my hand in anticipation of that last slice of pizza and in that split second I heard the sound of something go past me and felt something brush against the side of my head. SWOOSH!!! In a moment of confusion I looked at my hand and noticed there was nothing there. Nothing! POOF! Gone! What in the world?
My attention was drawn to the sound of chaos nearby. I heard the frenzied screeching of birds and looked up and around to see what was happening.
There, in the sky above me, was a large seagull in flight, carrying my slice of pizza! And every other seagull on the pier who had seen the rapid snatch out of my hand was in rapid pursuit, up and down and circling around, chaotic flight in attempt to get some of the thieves bounty.
I looked down at my hands again in disbelief at what had just happened and when I looked up I saw the group of teenage boys in a fit of laughter at my circumstance. The uproarious of laughter caught the attention of others who looked on as the boys pointed at me. I smiled at them and then burst into laughter too.
Thinking I would make the best of a clearly ridiculous moment, I decided to walk out on the pier as the lights on the rides and buildings were just being switched on, and enjoyed looking at the town and watching the very loud and very satisfied seagulls.
As I walked out on the pier to watch the sunset along the English Channel, I stood on the edge of the pier and wondered if the rain would start before I made it back to my hotel. I chucked to myself thinking of the hungry seagull and that maybe they should have named the pier 'Biten' instead of Brighton.
And that was my day in Brighton, England on the shore of the English Channel, in search of something to eat and my encounter with a very hungry seagull.
What crazy adventures have you had on your travels? Please comment below.
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