Saturday, September 09, 2006
A few hundred yards from my hotel, the world comes to shop.
Portobello Road is a mile long, winding lane that has attracted shoppers, browsers, street performers and pickpockets for nearly 300 years. Weekdays, it features a few produce stalls and one of the best selections of antique stores in the country. Each Saturday, however, it comes alive with a fantastic array of stalls.
At the Notting Hill Gate end of Portobello Road, the stalls are mainly upscale antiques and artwork. As you stroll on, it becomes decidedly downscale with stalls of souvenirs, T-shirts and rummage. That rummage, however, might sell for premium prices at Missouri antique stores. It takes a few hundred years for something to be a real antique here.
About halfway down the road, it becomes an international food mart. Sausages, fruits, great loaves of bread, exotic olives, fresh fish and a mind-boggling array of cheese tempted my palate. I resisted (OK, I had a pastry), but couldn’t help consuming all the conversation I could. There was chatter in at least a dozen languages as London’s global community joined tourists from all over looking for the right ingredients for tonight’s meal.
I am trying to resist spending too much at the market until Cecile arrives. I drooled, however, at a stall filled with 19th century tools. I love the concept of labor combined with art and the Victorians made almost every common tool into a masterpiece,
I can tell now that the Portobello Market will be a regular Saturday morning pleasure for me. If nothing else, it will give me an opportunity to exercise my photographic voyeurism. Speaking of which, you can click here to see more of my Portobello Market photos. I will add to them through my stay here.