Last Tuesday, I spent the day exploring London with a few of my friends. We did some tourist things: we found platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross, and we went on the London Eye. But we also did some local things. We checked out Portabello Market in Notting Hill. Anyone seen the movie Notting Hill (Hugh Grant and Julie Roberts)? Portobello Market is the market that’s filmed in the movie, however the bookstore is actually located in Surrey.
Anyway, Portabello Market is a series of streets lined with vintage and antique shops. There were lots of unique pieces. It’s a great place to buy some memorabilia that’s not as cliche as key-chains and tee-shirts.
Next we went to Westminster Abbey to attend the Evensong Service. Basically, it was a way to enter Westminster Abbey for FREE, but we were also able to enjoy a service led by the choir of Westminster. The music was beautiful. We did not have excellent seats, but I loved listening to the echo of the organ and the voices as they rose up and mixed together. The architecture inside the Abbey mirrored the voices: It was beautiful. There were vaulted and painted ceilings, flying buttresses, gold hangings, statues… Since we were only there for the service, we weren’t really able to explore the whole abbey. But I did see the grave of Charlies Darwin. I think it would be worth going back and doing some more exploration.
We also visited Carnaby Street, which is another famous shopping street located between Regent and Oxford Streets. It’s filled with little boutiques and pubs. We stopped for dinner at a place called “The Diner”: It was a British attempt at an American style eatery. There were pictures of cars from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. We sat on plastic booths at sticky tables. The menu had “French Fries” and “Cheese Burgers”. Our table was stocked with Heinz Ketchup, French’s Mustard, and Hot Sauce. It was pretty American, but the portion sizes were much smaller and the choices were healthier.
After dinner, we walked back to Oxford Street, where we walked up and down the side walks enjoying the Christmas lights. I’ll upload some pictures that will give you an idea of the decorations.
All together, it was an excellent day spent exploring my favorite city!