From Big Freeze to Big Tease

It’s supposed to be spring now, right? It’s hard to tell based on the fact that we’re still having sub-freezing nights in London. The bright sunny skies outside today just add insult to injury.

My friends on the East Coast of the USA have had it worse though, and even this morning exasperated posts about yet more snowfall filled my Facebook feed.  And Boston, oh Boston… I love that town, but holy hell have they had a rough time this year.

It’s been an especially brutal winter, so it’s no wonder I’ve received messages from friends around the world asking about recommendations for destinations like Spain and Italy to thaw their frozen spirits.

So here I’ll offer a preview of sorts: Destinations that seem high on my friends’ and readers’ wish lists for summer getaways.

Namely:

  • Barcelona and Madrid
  • Cinque Terre
  • Amalfi Coast (shocker, I know) 😉

I’ll also give an update on my off-season travels to Paris and Malta.

Let’s plot our escapes together, shall we?

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Blue skies and sunshine, but don’t let it fool you, London is one chilly tease at the moment.

© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2015.

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Close to Home: Brighton

At the time I wrote my last post, we were in the throes of what could only be considered a heat wave by British standards.  So, I decided to take a very slow Friday afternoon off from work and head to Brighton to cool off.

A quick 40 minute train ride from Clapham Junction, and I arrived at the beach town haven that is Brighton.  A couple of people warned me before leaving that it is known for the rocky beach and outward dodginess in the center of town, but I didn’t find that to deter from Brighton’s charm.  I strolled to the beach through The Alleys, cute little side streets crammed with colourful and eclectic shops, cafes and bars.  While slightly distracted by a rail outside a clothing shop selling dungarees (American friends, read: overalls) for £2.50, I didn’t dawdle at the shops but high tailed it to the main event: Brighton pier and beach.

The pier is charming and paints a pretty picture protruding out to sea.  I walked the length and then back to the beach to find myself a spot to soak up the sun.  The area of the beach frontage is also crowded with fish stalls, galleries and bars.  I’m convinced you could never get bored on a week’s holiday in Brighton.

After a couple of hours in the sun and after dipping my toes in the frigid sea, I went back up to town for a bit of a nibble.  My first course was house made ice cream at Scoop & Crumb.  I chose banoffee pie flavour (my favourite dessert out of the UK).  The texture was more like ice milk, surprisingly light.

Next up I went for a main course of local, sustainable mussels marinere at Fishy Fishy.  Paired with a crisp glass of wine, it was the perfect late lunch.

For dessert, I couldn’t help but patronize Gelato Gusto as a quick stop on my walk back up to the train station. I selected the Salted Caramel, which was a complete departure from my earlier ice cream.  Rich, thick and creamy, it was delicious but I’m glad I only had a small scoop!

What struck me most about my whirlwind day trip to Brighton was how European it felt. It’s a real oasis away from the bustle of London and I can’t wait to go back!

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© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2013.

Close to Home: Great British Summer

The British are funny.  They complain about the weather incessantly – it’s too cold or too rainy and now, just when it gets warm, it’s too HOT.  Now to be fair, I’ve acclimated to the weather in the UK after being here for two years, so this 90 degree heat in London does feel oppressive at times.  (And yes, I do realize that sounds ridiculous coming from someone who spent the whole of her 20s in Boston and New York).  Somehow though, the heat doesn’t seem to bother as much when I’m outside, cooling from the inside with some Pimm’s or cider.

So far the Great British Summer is treating me well.   Pride and Prejudice at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Wimbledon, Henley Royal Regatta and the Duke of Essex Polo Grand Prix have been the highlights.  And all of those were brand new experiences for me! It feels good to take advantage of London in the summer and get outside into the country as well.  I’m hoping to make it to Brighton for some proper English beach time as well, so stay tuned for that.

And in the midst of all that British-ness, so as not to lose my American edge, I had to visit NYC institution Shake Shack at it’s London opening in Covent Garden.  Top notch, I have to say. 🙂

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© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2013.