I slept off Barcelona and swapped gracias for cheers within a few days of returning to the United Kingdom. The weather has been unreal so I’ve been spending more time at parks and sitting in grass than I have in class. Luckily, I can sketch in any place under most conditions so I’m still being productive. Friday was 3.14 (though technically it was 14.3 in the UK) aka Pie Day, so Kelle and I went for a walk and celebrated with Bramley Apple pie for dessert, yum.
Earlier in the week, Kelle and I decided to make a day trip to the coast, so we departed early on Saturday via the Southern train to Eastbourne. From London, the ride was shy of two hours and straight south. We arrived before 10am and by lunch, we had ascended far too many meters and sweated through our base layers. I rounded a corner and I had to turn back to tell Kelle that what I just witnessed was utterly unreal and I shrieked and I squealed and my words were lost. The white chalk cliffs gave way to Beachy Head Lighthouse and I just lost it. Beachy Head is 2.5 miles from Eastbourne and sits around a hundred meters high. The winds at the top made me throw on my winter jacket and they say in a storm, Beachy Head is a miserable place to find yourself. The cliffs are made of chalk, the result of many millions of years of skeletal remains building up on the ocean floor and thus, making the cliffs completely susceptible to erosion. The cliffs recede an amazing meter a year, on average. Beachy Head is unique in that the edge is almost completely raw and open to the public to peer over if so desired (I did so desire). Though because the landscape has been left seemingly untouched by human hands, this location has earned the second place spot for the most suicides each year. Crosses dot the landscape and a crisis team is constantly on site to prevent these incidences. This is where Kelle and I strangely sat to have our packed lunch of peanut butter jelly and a snickers bar—with the lighthouse and cliffs in view. We continued on through the rolling cliffs and turned around at Birling Gap where the Belle Tout Lighthouse stands. This isn’t much of the landmark we were hoping for, but the Seven Sisters cliffs could be seen in the distant haze. I think I loved how untouched and natural this hike was. It’s so often that there are barricades and trash bins in places where humans just shouldn’t be imposing. The return hike was along the same route, but we split off for an open field to indulge in a celebratory beverage and rest our legs under the sun. We touched the waters of the English Channel at the beach in Eastbourne that evening, wandered the pier and ate well in a pub while watching Ireland beat France in the Six Nations rugby match. I’m more confused by rugby after watching a match, but I’m not sure anyone there fully understood the rules of the game. The camaraderie was nice though. We made it back to London only to fall right into bed.
The St. Patrick’s Day festivities have begun in London! I sat in Trafalgar Square amongst a hundred thousand others listening to traditional Irish music and watching some river dancers. Oh, the sweet sunshine and the smell of Guinness before breakfast.