So I hate to admit it but London is sorta growing on me. There was one time when I only liked it because of Liz and Adrian, but then I discovered new friends at Brixton Market and I wondered if I was just hanging out in the wrong neighbourhoods in London.
I needed to settle down and do some work in London so I got an apartment with Wimdu for the week in Camden.
I heart Camden.
The first day I met up with my friend Chuck, who you may remember from my pouty Machu Picchu days. I love meeting up with old travel friends and Chuck is one of my favourite. He runs a music radio show in England and has one of my favourite Instagram profiles. He has such an eclectic sense of knowledge that he is the perfect tour guide so we wandered the streets with our phones taking photos while he explained the history of Camden and its cultural significance.
Camden has historical importance during the industrial era because of its location on the canal network and railway connecting major trade routes. Later, Camden Town became popular with the counter culture and was the place to buy alternative clothing ahead of the trends in the 70s. You can see remnants of that but the market, a series of stalls, has lost most of its edge with the influx of tourism although the area maintains a bit of credibility as it was the home to Amy Winehouse.
Camden Market is a series of open air markets that were once horse stables, tunnels and warehouses all connected by cobblestone streets. It is a bit kitschy and very touristy and while everyone raves about it I was content to wander for an afternoon, but it wouldn’t be high on my list. I know I’m becoming such a snob but it’s the 4th most popular visitor attraction in London with over 500,000 people there every weekend.
That said, if you go there knowing what to expect it can be a fun afternoon exploring the series of tunnels with the odd stalls ranging from Che t-shirts to S&M like costumes. Some stall owners are nicer than others allowing you to try things on to take photos while others have signs that no photos are allowed.
And so much tweed! I often took photos of textiles in Latin America and this reminded me that the textile of London has to be tweed!
We didn’t buy anything but it was a great introduction to my new neighbourhood. It reminded me that not all history needs to be stuffy. Just because I don’t want to go look at old pottery and body armour at the British Museum doesn’t mean I have to avoid learning anything about England. For that I’m grateful to Chuck and I’m thinking that just maybe I could learn to like London.