Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lewes and Brighton

After staying at Baggies Backpackers in Brighton, England, we moved on to another little hostel called The Grapevine which was 20 pounds a night for the two of us as opposed to 35.  (~$30 instead of $50). It was next to the North Lanes which was where all the cafes, secondhand bookstores, and other unique smalls businesses were located. There we met good people from Brazil, Spain, and even England. Several had just moved to Brighton and were looking for work. Others were living there long term as it was cheaper to live in the hostel than in a flat.

Flat means apartment. However, I have seen “apartment for sale,” which I think means condo, but am not sure. The hostel was a great location with wonderful people, but at the same time I hated it. There was little to no hot water and the heater didn’t work in our dorm room. Oh well . . .  it was 20 pounds a night and we accidentally stole their key.  Woops.  Sorry, Grapevine.
When Bryan and I went back to the fish and chips place in Brighton for the second time, we met this lovely British lady who has been living in Brighton for the past 30 years. She suggested we visit a little place called Lewes (pronounced Lewis). Lewes is only three stops on the train from Brighton and was the quintessential small England town. There were no other tourists except for Bryan and me, which was exactly what we were looking for.
The town was filled with old buildings, cafes, breweries, castles, and more. There were a couple steep hills to walk up with a view of green fields. We spent the whole day exploring and Bryan had his favorite English Breakfast meal at a place called “Bills.” Bills was unique because while you were eating a meal you could simultaneously order groceries simply by filling out a grocery card. They would gather all the items and have it ready for you when it was time to pay. The groceries consisted of Bill products only, but it was nothing we had ever seen before.
We don’t know if it’s true or not, but we’ve been told Lewes was the home of the infamous, Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up parliament. The “Guy Fawks mask” recently reappeared on the cultural scene in the movie “V for Vendetta” and has been worn in many real life protests.
One of Bryan’s favorite parts of Lewes was the breweries.  We were told in London that the best “Real Ales” came from the south and southeast of the country (although we suspect the Scots will disagree).   However, “Sussex Ale” is known as one of the best, and some consider Lewes the cultural home of the Sussex ales.
As an example, we found ourselves sneaking into “The Lewes Arms” for a pint later in the day.  We were trying to find the Star Brewery on the tourist map, but when we did, it was just a brewery.  There was not an attached pub or a taproom.  However, the Lewes Arms pub was right across the one-car-wide street.  From inside, we could see the brewery and the “Lewes Lamb” pub right on the other side. Bryan was happy.
We left Brighton and are currently sitting at the Victoria Coach Station in London waiting for our overnight bus to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here’s to being able to sleep tonight.
We love and miss you all. Cheers!

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