Tag Archives: London

Camden Market

20110702-060103.jpgI’d heard of Camden Market, but never come before. When I was here as a student, we had zone 1 tube passes, and the market is in zone 2. Also, I didn’t really have much money or free time to spend, and I tended toward spending time in the theaters when I was free. (I saw at least 35 shows during my three month stint, all at a reasonable student price.)

We got into London from our driving trip around 2:00, checked into our hotel and dropped off the car about twenty feet from a tube station. We headed straight for the market with legendary food stalls and vendors of all kinds. For my Seattle friends, you can take Folk Life and Pike Place Market mix them up triple them in size, add in some goth influence, cut back on the live entertainment and make it more international and British at the same time to get a good picture. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words…so here are a few thousand words in graphics.

Reda, the Lebanese falafel god makes the tastiest falafel wrap ever. I had to chat him up big time to reveal his secret spice blend. I’m going to have to mess with it a bit because he didn’t give me any ratios.

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The stores along the street have phenomenal decorations.

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Tons of food choices….and interesting seats

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Pedicure, anyone? The fish nibble at your skin to remove dead skin. (and no, we didn’t do this.)

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This guy cut the fresh coconut open for us and splashed his face in the process. He launched into a little spiel about the benefits of coconut water on your skin.

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My 8 year old decided chicken kebab looked good for dinner.

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The down-side to returning as the market closes–sardine time. (Tip: waiting through another train or two during a backup clears up most jams.)

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And my 16 YO is looking a bit annoyed that I’m taking yet another picture in public.

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London Renewal

I knew that London would have changed a lot since I lived here in 1987. Change is nothing new to a city like this, and yet I can’t help but marvel a little bit when told that a place like Westminster Cathedral underwent rennovations in the 13th century. I don’t think I’m the only American who tends to think something over 100 years old seems ancient.

When I was here as a college Junior with the AIFS program, I lived in one of their student flats in Kensington on Queensgate. As I looked for hotels to stay at for our vacation, I tried to book a room at the hotel I walked by on a daily basis. The doorman who stood out front grew to know me on my regular passings to the South Ken tube stop. At the time I lived here,I never ventured inside but told myself that I would ahould I have the money to visit again someday.

It turns out the Grovesner was unavailable not because it was fully booked but because it is closed for rennovation.

Sometime in the last twenty-plus years, the swanky looking place had fallen to the state where it required being closed and completely remodeled. Pressing my nose to the glass reveals freshly painted interior walls and a mess of a floor. Buildings up and down Queensgate are in various states of scaffolding.

As we took a tour of the city in one of those double decker open decked buses today, it was more than apparent that all of London is undergoing some major infrastructure and cosmetic upgrades. While some amount of upkeep and clean up is always necessary, this has more to do with the 2012 Olympics. Londoners are excited by the notion of hosting the games next summer, and it is as if the whole city is primping for a massively important first date.

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