visiting French and English seasides

For the last couple of weeks, I was away in Brittany and on the south coast of England – for a holiday with daughter, Naomi and friend,  Sarah (and her personal assistant) and back in the UK for a union conference in Eastbourne.

Bella bulldogI wrote about our break in Brittany for the Connect Culture website. It was a good time had by all. And for the first time I fell for a dog – Bella. I don’t normally like dogs, I m more of a cat person but Bella has something going for her that got to me.

Of course one of the greatest pleasures of holidaying in France is the wonderful food. In Brittany this time of the year is the wonderful spider crab – absolutely sweet and the savoury buckwheat Breton pancakes known as gallettes a(here eaten at the Creperie Chez Nico at La Roche Derrien) are absolutely yummy to be washed down with the local cider.

One of the absolute joys of being at the seaside is the seafood like oysters and mussels but in France there are also the patisseries – but I can pass over the cream cakes and tarts and just gorge on brioche and French bread. There is nothing to compare especially when spread with butter. The others went gaga over the cheeses but this time I was restrained. But how do you explain about the salt found here?

Enough about the food. I also loved the way I could get to the waters edge with my electric wheelchair and did some rough terrain (Paimpol and Ploumanac’h). Living in the West Midlands in the town centre meant that I barely venture out except to do shopping and explore the local market and the shopping malls.

I went from Brittany immeadiately to Sussex Eastbourne and stayed at The Eastbourne Centre on the seafront. I had a suite for the conference and my personal assistant stayed in the attached room. The hotel is owned by UNITE union – it had a great bathroom, for the first time I was in a bathroom with fittings for disabled person and ‘carer’.

It even has an accessible balcony (mezzanine level) that I could get out on. Appropriate definitely for an English seaside town perhaps but there were a lot of fish and chip shops (big Harry Ramsden Fish restaurants very evident at the sea front) about although we did eat out at an accessible Italian restaurant, La Locanda Del Duca on Cornfield Terrace. I had spaghetti vongole there.  There are more restaurants at Terminus Road near the pier – its a road that leads to the station as well, I stopped off for lunch once at Mr Haus Oriental Express which was accessible but it felt like a fast food joint.

It was a nice sunny Sunday and I took the coastal bus (12, pick up at the pier or at Arndale Centre ) to Brighton. There is also a hop on hop off bus if you just want to go to the Beachy Head but the paths do not seem very accessible to me.

Brighton is definitely much more cosmopolitan witha busier fairground atmosphere with the casinos, food and entertainment stalls.

It was good to have both seaside experiences but being on holiday definitely has the edge – it means that I had the time to just sit and appreciate the scenery not hurry back to listen to motions.

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