Yet another conference, this time hosted by the University of Sussex, meant my first ever visit to the UK. Having lived in Sweden for 3 months now (wow! I can’t believe how time has flown), I was surprised by the feeling of comfort and familiarity I experienced upon arriving in a country where everyone speaks my home language. Add to this immediate charm, the quaint villages and delightful countryside we passed through on the journey down to Brighton, and you have a winning combo!

I was lucky enough to arrive a day early and even luckier to be staying at the Old Ship Hotel, ideally located right on Kings Road. This allowed ample time for a leisurely stroll along the seafront, taking in the view of the beach huts and various curiosities, culminating in some top notch (albeit overpriced) fish and chips on the famous Pier (being vigilant to the advances of thieving seagulls). Even had time for a little wander around the North Laines (Bond Street, Gardner Street, Kensigton Garden). I can see why Brighton has the reputation for being the mini London, by the seaside, with a bit less smog….

The next two days were jam-packed full of conferencing with not a minute to spare for extra-curricular activities. And while I was sad to say goodbye to Brighton, my late flight out of Gatwick provided the perfect excuse to meet up with two of my best South African friends, both of whom now reside close to London (London, baby!). While my time was limited, and travel fatigue was quickly setting in, we managed a decent amount of tourist-ing, mostly in an around the Westminster area. Notable sightings included Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey (hands down, best Abbey I’ve ever seen) and the London Eye. We even squeezed in a Sunday roast at a charming (have I said charming too many times?) pub called the Horse and Saddle, close to Waterloo station.

If I’ve learnt anything from this trip, it’s that a single afternoon in London is nowhere near enough time to take in all that this magical city has to offer. So I am determined to return! Apropos of which, today I got the good news that I’ll be presenting at a conference at Royal Holloway next March, so London, I’ll be seeing you in the Spring!

Old faces, new places