Tuesday, August 24, 2010

London Continues To Grow On Me, This City Is Amazing.

Nights out have been interesting. Most pubs shut their doors at around eleven and you are immediately reminded you’re not in OZ. Once pubs are out of the equation, you are now left with a few bar/clubs. And heading into the city in the hope of finding an uber cool bar purely by chance has proven less than successful. Without local knowledge, my friend Lauren and I ended up at some horrible night club in Soho. As with most of the bars in this area it was a sausage sizzle but for all the wrong reasons. This wasn’t a gay bar and our only other idea of why the ladies’ to gents’ ratio was so messed up was that chicks KNOW to avoid this club.

Cracking on in search of a new venue resulted in us wandering past the many quirky sights and sounds of this vibrant city. People watching her is brilliant, the most unusual of characters are sure to appear and at night they really do seem to come out of the woodwork. This unsuccessful new venue hunt led us past a fire station, the doors were open and the pole was insight, clearly an invitation to sneak in and try and slide down this thing. Getting up to slide down was a non event – not in this state anyway. Surprisingly the firemen at the station didn’t kick us out and we even got a mini tour.

Tubes stop at midnight so getting home via busses or over priced Taxis are your only options. Safety says taxi but budget said bus. Bus we did. 

Portobello Rd markets are an absolute must if you are here on a Saturday. Offering everything from antiques, collectables, clothing (modern and vintage) to food, jewel and art, these markets are almost as good a Camden and are only 5 minutes walk from Notting Hill Gate Station (or 15 min from our hotel). The crowds are pretty massive but if you take your time, meandering at a leisurely pace you won’t find it too unbearable. The markets themselves run for several blocks and really do have some nice little bargains. I do however recommend taking a break and sitting down at one of the restaurants along the way. Soph and I chose to do one side, break for lunch, then tackle the next. Also along this road is a Cupcake store called Hummingbird that had been referred two us by a number of different people saying the Red Velvet is a must. It was crazy fluffy and really quite lush.

With its own little section, the Portobello Rd Art Markets were a highlight of our sojourn. Situated amongst a street art exhibition, many of the works had been painted by the art dealers who were selling copies or t-shirts of the works that are painted the wall

. I picked myself up a neat little canvas of this piece…. 

Saturday night I opted for a road trip to Portsmouth and a house party with friends. The combination of jet lag + booze resulted in me passing out and inevitably becoming a human canvas.  Just you wait Laura Bell, Just you wait!

If you haven’t been to London, let me warn you, the tubes can get really hot and stuffy, especially when you’re layered with clothing necessary for the dreary English weather. Battling the tubes with a killer hang over just didn’t appeal to me so I stayed another night out away from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke.  

On Sunday I headed to the famous Brick Lane with Soph to check out the many curry houses people rave about. On the weekends the street is apparently alive with Indian waiters hassling you for your business and offering some pretty sweet deals if you choose their restaurant. We were enticed by free drinks and extra entrées, the sign out the front saying ‘2009/2010 Curry Chef of the year’ may have also helped.  The food was rich with amazing flavours and was quite cheap for the amount you get. It was enough to keep you stuffed to the gills until dinner.

Further up Brick Lane the curry houses become fewer and vintage fashion shops, bars and art galleries take over street sides. The vibe at this end is a lot like Sydney’s Newtown and the OP shopping here is crazy. Taking a minor detour up Cheshire St we visited Beyond Retro – a vintage clothing store for men and women that is the size of a warehouse. This place was so big and so, so wicked, I was perplexed as to where to start. I will most defiantly be revisiting here before I leave. Snapping up a few bargains and knocking off some birthday shopping (for family back home) I have damaged my wallet and will be keeping quite low key for the next few days in London before LEEDS!!!!

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