One of the many places that visitors to my home in Surrey wanted to visit when I was living here was Camden Town. I had heard of Camden Town and the Camden Town Locks, I had even visited them back in 2004 during my first visit here as a part of the tour of places that I took based on Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently novels. But the markets never impressed me.
I had mentioned this in passing to a friend and was informed that I had simply gone to the wrong market. There are LOTS of markets in Camden Town – I should try it again was the suggestion. Well, it seems obvious to me now – while the one that we had gone to had a number of good things to look at and a few quite nice bargains, it was certainly nothing to write home about.
Now, those of you who know me (or have come to know me by reading my blog) may be thinking to yourself that you cannot believe that I, Don Bergquist, who hates to shop, would go looking for the opportunity. Well, that's jut it – it is not that I hate to shop; it is that I hate shopping malls. I hate the crowds – mostly in packs of marauding teens who slouch about as if they owned the place but were not happy to do so. I hate the faux festivity that they try and exude no matter how lame the manufactured holiday theme might be (It's national bunion week! 50% off all corrective sandals!)
I hate the ubiquity of the chain store each identical in layout, offering and staffing. You know the places I am talking about; those places where disinterested salespeople sell uninteresting wares by pushing some pap that some corporate copywriter has given them to read. I sometimes wonder if these places get their staff from the same place McDonald's gets its burgers. They are as uniform, unpalatable, and in the end, no better for you! But I digress…
While I hate being assaulted by the perfumed, pompadoured, plasticine, pitchmen pushing their product; perpetually pleading my patronage. I like poking through stalls at market places. For, although the people here can be less primped, they are closer to the product. These places are just as crowded, but far more enjoyable.
So, I boarded the #31 bus from Kilburn and went out to Camden Town to see what there was to be seen. THIS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
Previously, when I had gone into Camden Town, I was on the Tube. The market I found was the one that was near the tube. There was also a smaller one on the canal itself, but had we walked on, another couple tenths of a mile, we would have found all kinds of stalls to poke around in. There, tucked into the railway arches are dozens of stalls, artisans, ad food venders. (Darn me for having a big breakfast! The Tandoori guy's stall was giving off the BEST aromas! – I am sitting here in my hotel room hours later and still drooling thinking about it!)
The quirky nature of the venue itself was cool too! From the cast iron caryatid columns (I wonder if they are Victorian, as they appear to be) to the more modern deco sculptured bench outside a glass place, it was too cool! It was a good day for exploring too – Not as nice as yesterday morning, and we still got a few drops of rain this afternoon, but it was still nice!
Wherever you are today, I hope that your weekend has concluded nicely!