July 24, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 23-28

Ah, Blackpool, England. If you haven't read my full, official description of Blackpool, please go here. If you don't want to go here, then let's just say that Blackpool = Jersey Shore + bad British teeth + slutty Halloween costumes + polluted sea coast. But really, to get the full effect, you must go here.

Andrew and I had the privilege of staying at a "quaint" B&B instead of a hip hostel this week. By "quaint," please refer to the above description of the town. It smelled a bit like urine and was one of those places where I'm not even sure if the girl that took our money when we checked in was someone that actually worked there or was just a permanent resident. Both Andrew and I happened to be pretty sick this week, too, so that has tainted our experience.

A few good things about our time at Gramsford Lodge: private room and toilet, 10-inch TV with cable that helped me get through the sick days in bed, ocean-front view, and locks on the doors (no matter how wiggly they seemed to be).

When we planned this trip to the northwest coast of England, we really tried to stay in a nicer town a wee bit north of here. However, we were late in reserving rooms... It seems that The British Open is an excuse to hoard and reserve hotel rooms a few years in advance. So, we were forced to settle our little selves in Blackpool.

Since Andrew is really an old man lives and breathes golf, he was fortunate enough to get a week-long pass to The British Open. So, he would spend about ten hours each day watching the pros wack their balls, while I was forced delighted to entertain myself. Every day was the same for me... sleep in, wander the ocean-side promenade to watch the tide come in, claim a seat in Starbucks for as long as I could, meander the promenade on my way back to the lodge, and watch Diners, Drive-ins & Dives or reruns of CSI until Andrew returned. Then we would walk-as-fast-as-we-could to a restaurant for dinner, eat quickly, and walk-as-fast-as-we-could back before the drunk hoodlums arrived with the darkness.

These hoodlums that I speak of were not ALL bad, mostly just very unaware of how loud and animated they became the more they drank. Apparently Blackpool is known for its crazy "stag" and "hen" parties (bachelor and bachelorette, respectively). A typical stag or hen party meant you must have a costume theme, you must get blitzed/pissed/insert-every-other-word-for-drunk-you-can-think-of-here, you must cruise the streets shouting nonsense, and you must start fistfights with other costumed, drunk groups. So, for instance, we had the privilege, nay, the honor, of dinner-and-a-show one night: front row seats to a brawl between characters from The Jersey Shore and Where's Waldo?. This was egged on by some girls in stilettos who were wearing more black lace than actual clothing.

There wasn't much fresh food available in town, either. I'm not sure eating salads from fast food restaurants counts as fresh OR food. Thanks to Trip Advisor, however, we discovered a "fine dining" Italian restaurant that specialized in making dishes vertical as well as yummy. We were lucky to get reservations and eat there a second time. (Unfortunately we also forgot the camera each time, so you will have to use your imagination to figure out how they were able to stand asparagus at a 45 degree angle from the plate...).

Starbucks was a haven for me during this weekboth for safety reasons and for my daily caffeine consumption. I can easily say that without it I couldn't have made it through each day, alone. I would probably be insane right now.

I didn't take many pictures here, mostly because my memories would be enough!

So that was our experience with Blackpool.

Until today.

Until today, on our way to the train that took us OUT of town.

It was upon walking the three blocks to the train station, three blocks AWAY from Starbucks, three blocks in the opposite direction from whence I meandered each day, that we realized the Blackpool of which WE had seen was, in fact, not the WHOLE of Blackpool. During those three blocks the streets widened, cleaned themselves up, looked-- how do I say? Inviting? Normal? Pretty? Safe?

No trashy strip clubs. No scary, drunk Waldos. No run down B&Bs. No greasy fast food restaurants.


This was the other side of the coin. It was as if what we had experienced was darkness, and now we see the light. It was the yin to the yang. The Cinderella to the ugly Step Sister. The white to the black.


....Guess we shot ourselves in the foot with that one.

Maybe we will have to come back to the real Blackpool some day.


PS- Andrew will be posting a guest blog about his experience at The British Open... So I've included only a few photos from then.

>Food 1
>Location 0
>Activities .5
>Comfort 0
>Hotel 0

The FLACH? 1.5 Where's Waldos stars.

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