I left my hotel at 10 AM today with the intention of visiting the Camden Market and Little Venice. Given the rigid structure of my trip to date, I didn’t really plan or map out anything. Instead, I used a very simple map provided by the hotel to orient myself in the right direction, and then filed the map away.
I started by walking down Abbey Road, turnling left on St. John’s Wood and passing in front of the Lord’s Cricket Ground. I continued on up the road, went partway round a traffic circle, and then consulted my map again. I was very close to Regent’s Canal and I found a little set of stairs which gave me access to the towpath next to the canal. As I was walking down the stairs, three London police officers rushed past me and started looking for someone or something under a bridge. I left when they went right and was wondering if there was any imminent danger along the path.
Fortunately the path was alive with cyclists, joggers, families, and dog-walkers and there was nothing to be afraid of. Several riverboats made their way up and down the canal, moving just slightly faster than I was able to walk. Based on a quick glance at a damaged sign, I thought that I was heading toward Little Venice when in fact I was getting closer to Camden Market.
I took a short diversion from the path and walked past the London Zoo. I’m not a big fan of zoos due to an unfortunate event that took place when I was a child, and so I didn’t go in. I returned to the path, walked past a man playing an accordion, and before I knew it was I was in the middle of Camden Market. Curiously enough, I entered the market just feet from the spot where my son Andy and I had eaten lunch when we visited the market in July.
The market was alive with sights, sounds, and smells. People of every possible description were shopping, eating, playing, and just enjoying the wonderful Saturday afternoon sun. Camden is apparently the home of the goth and post-punk populations of London. Girls and guys with unusual hair, lots of piercings, and industrial-looking boots were a common sight.
There was so much good food on display that I couldn’t decide what to eat. I ended up eating some West African curried chicken over rice, and a little while later I had a grilled tortilla stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, and rocket (arugula if you are reading this from the US).
I bought a few things for my kids, a pair of voodoo dolls for myself (another long yet non-disclosable story there) and then took a riverboat ride to Little Venice. The ride retraced my morning walk and took about 50 minutes. We arrived in Little Venice and I didn’t see anything too interesting around there. I walked a couple of blocks to the Warwick tube station and rode the tube back to Kilburn Park and my hotel.
All in all, it was a really worthwhile day. I’d prefer to be home with my wife and children of course, but that will have to wait for another few days.
Here are some of my favorite pictures. You can also see my entire collection on FlickR.