Sunday, 25 August 2013

Portobello Market, Notting Hill & St. James Park

I apologize. It has taken me absolutely forever to edit and decide on which photos to use for this post, there were simply way too many!

Portobello Market. Notting Hill. St. James Park. Big names and spectacular places. Last Thursday I was lucky enough to have visited all of them with Andrew's aunt and cousin. We had the greatest time.

Portobello Market is actually in Notting Hill, an area of London well known for it mix of culture and quaint antique market atmosphere. It's an extremely posh place to live and has been the home of many famous people, fiction and reality both. The blue door (shown below) was used in Notting Hill, a film starring Julie Roberts and Hugh Grant. We didn't come to see the door, but it turned out to be a very exciting part of our wonderful outing. We started our day on a train journey from Eltham Station and arrived at Notting Hill Gate pretty quickly. Immediately I felt the speciality of the place. A sort of "nook" of London, the place immediately struck me as a cultural hub filled with history. One of the most well known features of the area are its pastel colored homes and street doors. Even though it was raining off and on I couldn't miss the photo opportunities all around. As we neared the market we stopped off at a sign shop (first photo) and had a laugh at some of the old signs. We noted many of the old brand signs such as Oxo and Fairy Liquid and were reminded of our plans to visit a small brand museum later on in the day. We stepped inside a few antique shops and I was able to find some special antique military related items for my family (CHECK!).

We visted out booth after booth of antique jewelry, an assortment of souvenir stalls, vintage clothing stores and even a shop that sold Bansky prints. I've developed an interest in all kinds of street art in the last couple of years and was tempted to buy a print until I saw the prices of them. It was just an hour or so later that we stumbled upon some original "icon" work down the road (shown below). It was so strange to see the famous robot charging station in person after seeing it in my modern art textbooks back home. We continued our day at The Museum of Brands Packaging and Advertising. The dark tunnels of nostalgic packaging and branded material (and real antique chocolate bars) was so interesting. On of my favorite things we saw here was the victorian "tunnel books", a very intricately done pop-up book tunnel style. I'm having trouble finding anything on them and have been researching for a few days off and on. They're curiosities, I want one. In fact, I want all that is old and all that is curious, which makes Portobello Market quite dangerous. Fortunately I was able to control myself.

Before heading home we made our way to a cool little pub near St. James Park called the Old Star. Each of us ordered a drink and a meal. I chose the scampi and chips and had Kopparberg cider, one of my new favorite drinks. While we ate we chatted about what we'd seen throughout the day, we laughed about things and enjoyed each other's company. After filling our selves up with delicious batter encrusted seafood we headed off in the direction of Buckingham Palace. We stopped and said hello to the squirrels (complete with small and friendly warm hands), dodged the pigeons, photographed the queen's beautiful and exotic collection of birds and stood in awe of the views which incorporated both the city and the beautiful old growth trees of the park. As we headed for the station and throughout our journey home we made a recount of the things we'd achieved and places we'd been. 
It was a lovely English day. 

A big thanks to Doreen and Lucy! <3

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