Saturday, November 26, 2011

Canal Cruise and Camden Lock Market

The weather was nice last Sunday so we decided to take a water bus to Camden Lock Market. We live near an area in London called Little Venice, which has a canal running through it. There are house  boats along the banks, a boat that has a puppet theatre in it and you can take different boats to the zoo and up to Camden Lock Market. Since it's winter, we were limited to the Water Taxi, which runs year round. 

Brad and I were pretty tired, we'd gone out the night before to Soho for tapas and met a really nice couple from Pennsylvania while we were in line for a table. Yes, a line. Because the restaurants in Soho are so tiny (they could rename it So-Small! hardy har) all of them have lines forming outside to wait for a table. Once you are in the portion of line that's inside, you can order drinks and appetizers and the time passed pretty quickly. 

It's a quirky area of town, Soho is. I started keeping count of the drag queens, bachelorette parties and pairs of Louboutins that passed by. It's also the first area of town I haven't felt completely safe in. It's a little gritty and a girl two tables down from us had her purse stolen right off the back of her chair. We were sitting outside and were approached for change every 10 minutes or so.  I was glad I didn't bring a handbag or anything valuable. 

Anyways, we got drinks with the nice couple after dinner and stayed out way too late. Sarah shares my love of design blogs and good food and wine. So much to talk about. So the next morning required emergency take away lattes for 2 please. 

Charlie was so excited about riding a boat, but he kept talking about the boat going fast, so was probably a bit disappointed once we got going. It's a slow ride and passes a number of beautiful homes and pretty areas of town. Brad brought his fancy pants camera and took a bunch of shots along the way.

The market is huge, both indoors and out. We arrived at lunch time and were pretty hungry. There was so much to pick from, it's impossible not to have remorse over what you ordered when you pass other food stalls. Dim Sum, Indian, Moroccan, Greek, African, you name it. A giant whole pig turning on a spit - smelled heavenly. Also so many sweets and pastries and mulled wine and cider. I feel hungry just typing about it.

We had some falafal and other greek type yummies and the most incredible chicken and plantains from a Jamaican stall. I got some apple and cinnamon - basically cider without the alcohol. Just couldn't do the real stuff after our late night.

After we ate, we walked around and checked out the stalls with merchandise. Luggage, carpets, fabric, clothing, antiques, junk, collectibles - just about anything you could ask for or dream up. It was challenging to shop with Charlie, who kept getting out of his stroller and grabbing things. I love the kid, but it would be nice to go without him some time.

One of the buildings there used to be stables, so there were these large iron horse statues everywhere. We tried to get Charlie to sit on one but he screamed his head off and was too scared. Brad jumped up there instead.

Charlie has become obsessed with motorcycles and scooters (the motorized kind) since we got here. There are always a few parked outside our building. We were walking around and he suddenly yelled at me to STOP and TURN AROUND.

He jumped out of the stroller and hopped on this antique Vespa. He stayed there for 20 minutes. The stall had the strangest "art" and was kind of boring, so 20 minutes was about all we could take.

Eventually Charlie fell asleep in his stroller, but not before we bought him a very cute sweatshirt from a little business, Wee Clothing, that hand sews these cute felt designs on kids' clothes. We got Charlie a sweatshirt with a double decker bus since he is our seasoned public transportation expert.

I just noticed that we even made the fan page for Wee Clothing! The owner took our picture after we put the sweatshirt on Charlie. Check us out! We really are fans, I want to get Charlie a couple more things. The designs are so cute and the sweatshirt has held up beautifully in the wash.
Getting home was pretty much a nightmare. Instead of booking a round trip on the water bus, we decided we'd take the tube home. Mistake. There were a number of lines and stations down for track maintenance and we had to switch twice and go up and down all these stairs and I don't even want to think how much longer it took us.

We were so happy to get home! But of course, 30 minute nap in his stroller was the only napping Charlie was going to do that day. Brad and I had to switch off for a little shut eye for ourselves.

Hopefully we can make it back at some point, but there are some other area markets we want to go to as well. I hope the food is this good everywhere!

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