The Portobello Road Market
Saturday morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Alex and I decided to go explore the market on Portobello Road. Made famous in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (at least in my childhood home), I have lovely memories of the market from a previous trip to London. The market snakes along Portobello Road (duh) in Notting Hill on the western side of London. The main drag has lots of pastel painted houses, and all the tourists stop to take pictures of the cotton-candy pink, yellow, and green buildings.They also all stop beneath the Portobello Road street sign to take pictures of themselves.
The market itself begins with antiques, with everything from pocket watches to telescopes to silver tea sets. There is a lot of touristy stuff, of course, but if you look closely you can see gold amidst the dross. (See? My vocabulary is getting better already!) Unfortunately most of the antique stalls won’t let you take pictures — they’d prefer you to buy the merchandise!
Once you’re through all the “old stuff” as Alex called it, you get to the fruits and vegetables and food market. This was super fun! The smells are amazing, even if we couldn’t always identify the sources. My favorite was the seafood stall, where you can get paella simmering in a giant (3 feet across, at least!) pan. The scallops looked like they were caught this morning!
I think Alex’s favorite part of the market was the bakery section! They had piles and piles of french bread, donuts, muffins, croissants, you name it! There were also crepe stalls that would make sweet or savory crepes right there in front of you. Very similar to what we saw in Paris, but even better because they spoke anglais.
After the foods section, the market kind of peters out. There is a bit with “new goods” that is very similar to the traditional NYC street fair, with sweaters and shoes and scarves and such. Beyond that you get the stuff that you’d probably find in a US flea market. Someone’s old stereo and some Michael Jackson portraits painted on velvet.
Overall we loved our morning at the market. If I ever learn to cook properly, I’m definitely going to go shopping for foodstuffs here, everything looked so fresh and tasty! And someday I intend on buying that antique silver tea set, just to say that I have one!