What a great day! Full of walking (LOTS of walking!), parks and the colourful sights, smells and sounds of the Portobello Market in London’s vibrant Notting Hill. I passed the shop which has became an icon in it’s own right – Harrods which first opened in 1849 ( to put it in perspective for readers from my Island home this was one year before Australia’s first university was established in sydney – also consider this is just 61 years after Australia was officially colonized! )
Anyways back to my walk, i made my way to the beautiful and grand, Hyde Park
To the Serpentine lake
And the Serpentine Gallery – from the outside it looks quite meek and blends into the colonial setting but inside, thats a WHOLE other story. Filled with challenging and confronting artworks of a very high quality and currently featuring an exhibition by Richard Hamilton. In it he blended various media as he explored international politics, riots, terrorist acts and war, examining how these conflicts are represented by the media, including via television and the internet. All done in an aesthetically beautiful way
Feeling honestly a bit more enlightened i re-entered the park and everything seemed a bit prettier – THAT is the effect of good art. For instance, the ordinary pigeon below made for a great photograph – i loved the contrast of colours – and summed up the slightly windy and very fresh weather. Normally i wouldnt give a second glance to a pigeon as there are just SO MANY of them here
And to Portobello road, home to the famous Portobello markets!!!!! Filled with antiques, food and clothes it’s a vibrant and energetic place in spite of any bad weather (it was raining intermittently all day). Below is a stand featuring a diverse range of very old books and it took ALOT of self control not to purchase any as i am a self confessed book nerd
My self control soon gave way as i passed all the fresh food stalls and boutique clothes shops, buying a wheeling shopping trolley to fit all my purchases in! From crisp and rosy apples to juicy tomatoes and mouthwatering home made dips i had a great time. Strolling along with my trolley, in my typically ‘London’ navy coat and sipping a lemon ginger and honey drink that warmed me from the inside out i felt not like a tourist but a real part of the scene – a great feeling. Markets (as you would have already gathered if you’d read any of my previous posts about Barcelona’s fantastic Boqueria market) are right near the top of my list of all time favorite places to be. Your guaranteed to feel uplifted by the cheery stall holders, colorful produce and busy, energetic vibe common to all that i have visited no matter where they are in the world.
Though id snacked on some of my purchases as i walked around, my stomach was rumbling and i had a great meal at the Japanese restaurant Ukai. It was washed down with a one of those great flowerball teas that expands and unfolds as it soaks in the boiling water to fill your cup with flavor and delight your eyes with colorful blossoms
Several hours later with my trolley bag filled to the brim, arms laden with fresh flowers to brighten up my apartment and another cup of the ginger lemon and honey tea i left the market and asked some passers by to snag a quick photo of me infront of the iconic pastel houses
There were some talented African musicians outside Harrods, who provided a lively cultural contrast to the restrained ‘britishness’ of the Harrods establishment which for me sums up London – a melting pot of its colonial past and cosmopolitan and highly multicultural present. Did you know the most commonly eaten food in London is Curry?! It has a booming China town and thriving African and Arabic communities as well as many inhabitants from all over Europe. As you wander the streets you hear an endless range of different accents and languages. There are SO many and the UK accents are so thick that i sometimes feel i’m the only one speaking English! I have to get back to my Italian studies so i can truly fit in here – who would have thought!
Back home, finally (I left the house at 10:30am and didnt return until 6:30pm!) i started to fill my tiny fridge – below its pictured in it’s entirety (well there is one more shelf above which acts as a freezer). But what a good looking fridge it is! YUM
And particularly enjoyable after a big day of walking, exploring and soaking up my surrounds. All in all – with the help of google maps to calculate – i walked approximately 16km – 7 of those lugging my big shopping trolley behind me back from the market – great arm workout! Im looking forward to enjoying my fresh produce over the next few days and also seeing what else London has to offer! This weekend im meeting up with friends who i havnt seen since last november (EXCITING) and my roomate arrives sunday (EXCITING!!!) and i start my internship Monday (EXCITING!!!). SO, all this means that i wont be doing much exploring in the coming week. Stay posted though as i will be sure to fill you in on any exciting events annnnnnnnnnnd -imagine drumroll now – i am visiting another country in Europe for a few days late next week (EXCITING!!!!!!!). SO, i will be sure to take plenty of photos as i per usual (and as im sure you have come to expect if you are a regular reader!) and tell you allllll about it. Much love and please keep the comments coming, i love hearing from you, HG