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London 2008 - The Portobello Market

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Published on Jun 12, 2008

Finally I succeeded getting to London after my one day delay in Salzburg. After arriving late on May 9, 2008, I got a good night's sleep at the Zetter Hotel, a hip boutique hotel in the Clerkenwell area. The next day, after a delicious breakfast, my travel partner Andrea and I got going early to start our discoveries. We walked past historic medieval St. John's Gate and admired the Victorian era Smithfield Market. From here I took my first ride on the Tube (London's famous subway system) to the historic St. Pancras Railway Station which is now the terminal for the Eurostar Trains, connecting London with the Continent. We then walked over to neighbourhing King's Cross Railway Station where we checked out Platform 9 3/4 of Harry Potter fame.

Our next destination was the Portobello Market, an ecclectic mix of fresh vegetables, fruit, baked goods, enticing aromas from all sorts of delicious freshly made street food, funky clothes, furs and antiques. After our interview with Michael Williams, one of the organizers of the Notting Hill Carnival (a Caribbean-style carnival and Europe's biggest street party) we walked through the serene streets of Notting Hill and Kensington before we embarked on a brief tour of Little Beirut, a heavily middle-Eastern influenced area on Edgeware Road.

A tube ride later we arrived at Hyde Park Corner where to my disappointment nobody was giving any speeches or ranting about anything. Only two older gentlemen were sitting on two soap boxes and taking a rest, maybe exhausted from an earlier discourse. After a brief stroll through Hyde Park, which was full on sun worshippers, we tubed it to London's Financial District where we checked out various classicist bank and stock exchange buildings, the stunning Victorian era Leadenhall Market, the Lloyds Building, a postmodernist masterpiece by Richard Rogers, which has all the piping on the outside, and the Gherkin, the famous cucumber shaped Swiss Re building. Our walk continued to another historic train station: the Liverpool Street Railway Station from where we took a train to Walthamstow Village to do an interview with the owner of Eat 17, a restaurant and deli that serves really cool waffles (among many other things), where I had a supremely delicious spinach risotto.

Our final stop for the day was a walk around Leiceister Square that included London's Theatre District, Chinatown and hustling and bustling Piccadilly Square. I simply couldn't believe how packed the streets of London's entertainment area were, we could hardly walk...

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