At this point, it’s pretty obvious that I won’t be caught up in my blog posts before I get back. As it stands, I’m currently sitting at Heathrow airport, waiting for my gate to appear from the screen. By the It seems I definitely did not need 2 hours to get through security. By the time I post this though, I’ll probably be sitting in my house in Canada, in a (hopefully) air conditioned room with all my UK stuff lying around my room; I’d also be getting ready for work the next day.
Last night, I stayed in London for the last time in a “posh” hostel. I say that not to mean that it’s a five star hotel, but because it’s a refurbished, old, victorian house. I’d debated previously on two hostels, but ended up picking this one due to its extremely high reviews and… well… it’s extremely pretty.
One room in Gryffindor Tower please!
Although this hostel no longer provides breakfast for free, it still gives you free internet during your stay, as well as free left luggage after check-out. It also has many ornate chandeliers and bathrooms that are shockingly clean (and new, considering the old victorian house). They also kept all the older, large doors, and everything is keycard access, so I didn’t have to carry around any extra keys.
Yeah, so it turns out their left luggage is locked with a keycard… wrapped in an extremely cute stuffed animal. I think it was a donkey. Or a horse. Or… okay I have no clue. It was stuffed and cute. That’s all that matters.
The hostel is sort of close to Camden Town & Primrose Hill, both of which I wished to visit before leaving here. Camden Town is home to many markets, including the Camden Lock Market and the Horse Stable Markets, which are interconnected. It seems that here is where you can find cheaper London souvenirs. Of course, you should not think that any of these products were made in London, but perhaps China, or maybe India; apparently, there is a really high Indian population, especially in these areas.
Extremely early Tuesday morning at the Horse Stable Market
These benches and tables are so ornate!
At the market, you’ll definitely see your “typical” souvenirs by the dozen, red telephone booths, british tea, little plates or cups printed with “LONDON” and various iconic monuments. Keychains and post cards are part of most every store. What’s different I guess is their take on some of the drugs under the new Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. I guess they’re just okay with it, because it’s literally in every shop, sold along with pipes and some other things that I’m not sure about, side by side with their “beats” headphones, “apple” earphones, and their “bose” speakers. I’m 100% sure none of these electronics are real, so it’s probably not best to buy from there is you want good (or well, better, anyway) quality sound. If you’re totally just in for the brand name and think that it looks cool though, then by all means, go ahead.
Anyway, I mostly bought little trinkets from Camden market; I didn’t really buy any keychains though, because I’ve basically got 20-30 of them just sitting in a shoebox back home. Probably best not to add to that collection. I also already have London keychains, so I don’t really need more. Maybe if they’re from a different country, though.
There’s also the ‘typical’ market stuff: jewellery, tanks, t-shirts, jeans, toys, games, “handmade” trinkets, scarves, and bags of assorted shapes, colours, and designs. They also had many international food stalls and bars though.
On my first visit about 2 weeks ago, I kept hearing a lady from one of the Thai food markets shouting “free sample, free sample!” As I approached, I heard a bunch of people asking to try this “free sample”. The lady’s response was always the same:
Lady: Are you hungry?
Customer: I guess. Maybe a little.
Lady: WELL THEN BUY SOMETHING!
Let’s just say that I didn’t see anyone who got that “free sample” on her fork. It must have been sitting there all day. I really wanted to know what happened if someone said no, since everyone else said “yes”. So of course, I went up, and she said:
Lady: FREE SAMPLE! Hey you! Free sample!
Me: Okay I’ll have a free sample.
Lady: Are you hungry?
*lady walks away, asking the next person whether they wanted a ‘free sample’.
I thought it was extremely amusing that she used “free sample” as a way to ask people to come buy stuff from her store, especially as they couldn’t actually get any free sample. What I thought was the most surprising was that IT ACTUALLY WORKED on someone. I actually saw a guy proceed to buy food after she asked them to.
You definitely need to bargain at this market, although I’l admit that it’s extremely odd to bargain in English. Perhaps its the whole idea that I grew up only bargaining in Asian countries. Either way, it was still an amusing concept to grasp.
I guess markets have always been an enjoyment of mine. You get to see a lot of different small shops, just to see how far down it can go, in terms of price. It’s actually quite varied.
For example, I bought a picture frame. I thought it looked pretty. It was 1 pound. However, going to other shops, that exact same picture frame was easily priced at 5-6 pounds. I even saw one shop trying to sell that frame for 10 pounds. So I guess, shop around if you come here.
It’s so colourful!
Incidentally, this is also the shop I bought my picture frame from.
Anyway, the market is located near the lock, which I’ve seen both at night, and during the day. I personally think it’s prettier at night, although the amount of drunk people around the lock make it less desirable.
Camden Lock during the day
Camden at night! Okay, so perhaps I like the night view a lot from this angle too…
I also visited Primrose Hill at night to see the London skyline. One of my friends commented that it looked a little like the Toronto skyline, which I’d have to agree with; all you can see on my camera is a tall tower like structure and a ferris wheel, which is also what you of Toronto at night.
This is the view of London from Primrose Hill after sunset. A ‘plaque’ on the floor reads: I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill. — William Blake (1757 – 1827).
The view of London from Primrose Hill was spectacular! I guess I really like how the skyline lights up at night. It’s also extremely peaceful up there, and a really easy walk up the hill, taking no more than 5 minutes. I think I must of just stared at that view for a good half an hour before descending the hill. Since it was nightfall, I quickly walked my way back to the hostel. I’ve actually been up here once before, during sunset. Let’s just say it would’ve been easier to take a photo then, as my DSC has an extremely small lens that doesn’t let in light very nicely. Of course, my phone isn’t that much better. It also didn’t help that my phone decided to run out of battery when I got up the hill the first time.
Note: It turns out that it’s actually been 3-4 days since I left London. I’ve had this typed up a while, but haven’t actually had the chance to post it until now.