My mum came for a visit for ten days in May-June. We met at the airport arrival gates and clung to each other in greeting. That night we stayed in the heart of London at the Grange Langham Court Hotel. We had coffee and salad at Kaffeine and shared a pot of tea in the London Spring downpour. Then dined on soup and limonata for dinner, talking between mouthfuls.
(A french toast brunch at Milkbar)
We ate and shopped and walked and took pictures and avoided the rain in and around London. We went to places that I’ve fallen in love with; Borough market, Hillsong, Soho, hyde park, the Orangery (or any place that serves scones and a good coffee). And places that I’d yet seen; the War Cabinets and Churchill museum, the Chelsea flower show and the inside of a chauffeur driven car on the way to Gatwick.
(Chelsea Flower Show)
We flew to Marseille, France for a spot of sun-spotting on the French riviera for four nights. Marseille’s a dirty city that is always buzzing. It boasts it is one of the oldest European cities and I believe it. Driving through to get to our hotel, there were thin streets with rotting buildings, and limestone mountains carved away at to let roads pass through them. There are forts that are built from sandstone and look like they are from the Roman times and islands just off the coast that have stone fortresses covering them. Our hotel was tucked away, a green patch in a sea of concrete. We stayed two nights and then journeyed to Cassis, a half hour bus ride along the coast of the Calanques.
Cassis was everything you want a french sea village to be. It was peaceful and quaint with restaurants surrounding the port and little wooden fishing boats painted every bright colour lined up in the water. The french like to people-watch, with their cafe chairs all facing the streets and not one another…and so this is what we did when drinking our coffees. We caught a boat ride to see the Calanques, and they towered above us. It was the contrast of white limestone cliffs up high and aqua waters down low. We ate the best aubergine pizza that came served on a wooden platter in a small restaurant. We swam in the Mediterranean sea as a storm brewed ahead and it was not quite as warm as I’d pictured it to be. It was so cold I couldn’t breathe for a few seconds and afterward my skin tingled ice.
Flying back to the UK, we spent two nights in Brighton. A town still high on its nightlife (catering especially for COUNTLESS hen’s parties), it’s more like a carnival than a beach town. We stayed at One Broad Street, a beautiful B&B that is personalised down to choosing exactly what you want for breakfast; written on a sheet put under your door each night. It was right near Brighton Pier, which is quite the sight when you’re used to Australian beaches. Recommended by the locals we had dinner at ‘terre a terre’, the most amazing vegetarian restaurant that creates art work in the form of food. Then a day on the beach, trying to get comfortable on pebbles.
And ten days went like that. But having my mum here was the greatest.