Notting Off

A beautiful morning, which was perfect as we were headed to the Notting Hill market. I was pleased that the Lancaster Gate tube station was’t as crowded as the day before, which made sense since it was Saturday. But everyone was getting out at Notting Hill Gate. Once we were out in the street we found even more crowds, and printed signs pointing the way to Portobello Road, the main street for the market.

The market was Huuuuge. Both sides of Portobello Road were covered in stalls, and it stretched as far as the eye could see. If we were big antiques collectors, it would have been incredible, at least a third of the stands were some kind of antique, lots of tourist junk stands, and as we got further in, each type seemed to be grouped loosely together. We found clothing in one section (Sasha got the jacket she was looking for), There was great farmers Market stands, artwork, and quite a few stands with homemade music mixes, mostly funk.

We stopped at a cafe in the middle of the place, and had some excellent food, all freshly made and baked. The place was crazy busy, which was our clue that it was good. After a rest we kept walking. And Walking. And Walking. It was nuts. We finally made it our to the Tube on the opposite side of Notting Hill. We had walked for around 4 hours, and the time flew past.

We caught the train back into town, and were going to check out the London Eye. It was a fairly big ride back into the center, but it was good to sit for a bit. We got out at Waterloo station, and had to dodge a few rain showers as we made our way to the Eye. Once we got there the lines were huge. I went in and figured the ticketing system, and from what I could tell it was much faster to order online and come back on a later day. Cheaper too.

I checked the guide book, and it recommended a cafe in the park, facing Buckingham Palace as a good, quiet place to rest, so we took a walk across the bridge, past Parliament (not the band), listened to Big Ben chime the 45 minute mark (would have preferred to Listen to Parliament, the band, but take what you can get…), and kept following the crowds out. We got a few photos outside Westminster Abbey, and eventually made our way to the park. It was much less busy, and had beautiful views of London in all directions.

The Cafe in the park (called In The Park – clever) was pretty reasonable, for a park cafe, and we had some food, cheese, and wine. It was a great place to watch people, ducks, and the view. This was a very diferent London from the one on our first trip. Being able to find affordable food, and some quiet laces really transforms a city. We loved it.

As it started to get late, we waked across the park, over to Trafalgar Square, and up to Picadilly Circus. We peeked int the Ripley Believe it or Not Museum and got a discount on entry by chatting up one of the workers out front. It was five floors of Ripley stuff, including a mirror maze. Not a bad show, although a bit overpriced, but we liked it.

On he way out grabbed one of the flyers for the Red tour buses, and saw that they had discounts on the eye in one of their packages. I could check that online – back at the apartment. We headed back, grabbed some takeout food from the Lebanese street behind out apartment and crashed.