6. Diary Entry: Battle of Hastings,Eastbourne

9:30 am. It’s a wonderful, sunny day. Everybody meets at the bus in front of our accommodation. Today the bus is going to Hastings, where the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066. Nowadays, a worth seeing Abbey ruin reminds of that important Battle.
The bus stops on a lovely square in front of the Abbey. After leaving the bus and buying tickets for visiting the area of the ruin, we head to a little building on the right. It’s the Visitor Centre with a café, toilets (very important to know) and the “1066: Battle for England exhibition”.

While the others would like to see the ruins already, Joline and I stay to read all the interesting charts about English history and to watch a movie about the Battle of Hastings. The movie is obviously made for tourists, because the speaker speaks very slowly and understandably. Fifteen minutes later the movie is over and we leave the Visitor Centre to see the place, where King Harold fell and William the Conqueror won the exhausting battle. We just walk to the ruin and do not really realize, that we are just walking on perfectly neat grass. The guide from Canterbury comes into our mind, who told us, that visitors walking on the grass at Kings School, an independent boarding school at Canterbury, are sternly punished. Therefore we hurry from the grass and suddenly see the huge ruin. It is a building made of stone with nice pointed arches. A chart tells us, that nuns lived in that building.
Unfortunately, the time to meet at the bus again comes soon. Shortly, we cast a glance at the memorial stone, which signifies the exact point of King Harold’s death and the former place of the memorial altar. Starting to leave the site, we take the wrong exit: it is a private way with a lot of little wooden cabins and the apparently the exit only for disabled people. A staff member (or somebody who looks like one) sends us back, so we take the way we came from (over the grass again).

Since we still have some time, we discover the shop of the abbey which is exactly the same shop with the same products we already visited at Dover Castle – a shop of the English Heritage. It is not very interesting, so we visit a little museum on the next floor of the gatehouse. Now it is really time to go. I quickly buy a postcard and hurry to the bus, which brings our group to Eastbourne.
The ride takes us about an hour and I have a lot of time to write the postcard to my family. Arriving at the seaside community, we have to pass a mall to get to the town centre. We stop at a Sainsbury’s to buy some water and at a multimedia shop where Vanessa buys a DVD and a CD of her favourite music band “McFly”. In front of the mall, there should be a street market, but we only see some market stalls offering Deutsche Bratwurst, cheese and sunglasses. Most of the stalls are already removed.
Not far away we see the sea. Some of us would like to take some photos, so we walk there and sit down onto the shingle at the beach. Joline, Linda and Franzi run towards the water with their cameras, but Vanessa, Paulina and me are too lazy and take some photos posing on wooden stakes at the beach.

At the coast of Eastbourne is a lovely pier with white houses and a blue handrail. Four of us walk there and take photos of the sea, the lion sculptures on the handrail and a huge lollipop at a candy shop which looks like a coloured dildo. Back at the place where the others wait for us, we see the other excursion participants sitting in a row and eating Fish and Chips. Suddenly, we realize that we are very hungry. Again we head to the pier to a small Fish and Chips takeaway. However, this takeaway does not seem clean and delicious. Additionally, it is almost sold out and does not offer anything vegetarian. Searching for a better place for our meal, we return to the town centre and find an expensive but nice looking Fish and Chips restaurant called “Harry Ramsden’s”. Its American 50s design and the jazz music in the background make us feel quite comfortable. Even the bathrooms are well designed: the walls are decorated with a newspaper like looking wallpaper. I take an iceberg wedge with bacon, tomato and blue cheese. The others eat Fish and Chips, pie and mushy peas. Everything tastes very well. After the meal, most of us would like to buy some essentials. Paying the food, we ask where the next supermarket is and start our way to a Tesco Express.

Heading back to the beach, we meet some other excursionists who have just taken off to have a drink in a pub. Our group of fifteen people finds a small bar decorated all over with comic and movie characters. On a screen in the corner of the bar guests can watch “Finding Nemo”. Unfortunately, the barkeeper does not want to give us alcoholic beverages if we do not order something to eat. Because nobody wants to eat anything but everybody wants to drink a beer, we all leave the pub and search for another one. At least we find the Town House, where we get our beer and take part in a pubquiz. Obviously, the quiz is made for elder Britains. We – young Germans – are not able to answer most of the questions, but it is fun anyway. In the end, there is a game of chance. Vanessa is chosen to open a drawer. If there is money in the drawer, she can keep it. If not, she is allowed to open another one and gets half of the money in the drawer. It is the first time Vanessa wins in a game of chance, what makes her very happy.
Our trip to Eastbourne ends with a firework at the beach. It is quite nice but even though unspectacular. I really enjoyed the day.