Friday, July 12, 2013

London trip: Day 3 (July 6), Camden Market

Day three saw quite warm weather for us as we prepared to visit one of my favorite places in London: Camden Market. How it has grown since the last time I was in town! Camden Market is located at the Camden Town Tube stop. It's a combination of stores, outdoor market, and an indoor market hall over the span of quite a few city blocks.

It was absolutely packed and quite hot in the sun. As we walked down the road from the Tube stop, we visited some stores. There are mostly knockoff clothes and shoes, though some real versions exist. C. found a really cute shirt for 10 pounds in one store. We then stopped by the open air market, which had even more knockoffs of different brands. Many of the vendors were selling the same design of shirts. Don't let that dissuade you, though!

Cross a side street but stay on the same side of the road along a canal, and there are more stalls as well as some food vendors. We stopped by an adorable little hut  that contained Mimi's Cupcakes. I loved everything about the little hut; I liked the kitschy, homemade signs (that looked like something made for a school project); the super tasty cupcakes; and even the business model: it is family run! The guy behind the counter is the son of Mimi, who bakes all the cupcakes at home. How sweet (hehe) is that? He was super friendly and happy to tell us about the cupcakes. We also had a nice chat about travel. C. and I bought some of the "fairy cakes," which I would just call mini cupcakes. I especially enjoyed the lime cupcake. Totally delish. It made me think of a bake sale at home, except with gourmet cupcakes. It's worth a stop and it's always nice to support family-run businesses :)

Opposite from the stalls along the canal and just before the traffic bridge, there is another block that contains food vendors as well as a market hall. The food vendors are superb and offer just about any type of food a person could want, from Indian food to Ethiopian food and everywhere in between. Plus, prices are rather reasonable for what basically amounts to street vendor food.

The market hall has some great vendors; most are selling hand-crafted items, such as bent wire jewelry, which was quite nice.

View of the market hall.
We had been visiting the market for hours, enjoyed some cupcakes and a spot of lunch. However, it was so hot and the crowds were getting to us so we decided to move on to the Tate Britain. Just as we were leaving, I saw a really cool store: Namaste. I've been wanting to buy some Indian textiles for my apartment since I like the designs and colors. This store had some great, inexpensive items so I bought a bed cover and some pillow covers. I was all set to buy the stuffing for the pillows since it was so reasonably priced, but then C. reined me back into reality and asked me if I'd have room in my luggage. One bag travel is great...if one doesn't buy too many things!

We finally dragged ourselves away from Camden Town and visited the Tate Britain Museum. We did a lot of sitting to enjoy the art...and to try to rest our aching legs and feet. After 3 days of non-stop walking and adventures, we were so exhausted. We decided to call it an early evening so we practically crawled back to where we were staying, had a quick dinner, and an early evening.

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