Friday, January 31, 2014

London Markets

London is very well know for it's multitude of markets that are open year round. Everything from art to flowers to organic foods, there is a market for each one. As expats and newcomers to London, our weekends often include visiting a new market.

For this post, I have detailed the different markets around the city that we have visited. I am hoping to do one on the various museums as well.


Noting Hill : This is by far the most popular tourist market in the city. Most well known for the movie that was named after it with Hugh Grant, it is a very large market with various shops, tons of street food and often times live music and street performers. It's everything you could want out of a market. Definitely a must see, be aware of serious crowds.

Borough Market : This is a fancy and very touristy market with artisanal cheeses, high quality cured meats such as iberico pate negra and fresh pastries.  Located off the London Bridge stop, this market is a perfect way to start a day of touring the city, just be sure to bring your umbrella as it will most likely rain at some point during the day. Borough Market is close to the Tower and London Bridges, St. Paul's Cathedral and many museums. Start your day off here and make your way through town.

Camden Stables Market : This market is in the birthplace of rock and roll and by the looks of it probably the hipster movement as well. Bands such as Pink Floyd and Jimmy hendrix have played in this area of London, the center of London's music scene. The market was old horse stables that were converted into various shops. You can buy anything from a high quality English wool blanket or a new S&M toy, and on your way back to the tube you would have a selection of 100 tattoo parlors to choose from to commemorate your time in London.

Columbia Road Flower Market:  This is a really fun market for a casual weekend in London. It is off the Shoreditch stop on the tube, which is a short trip outside the city center. The market is pretty self explanatory, it is a flower market with around 50 vendors selling all kind of flowers, from tropical to tulips to house plants. We went home with three small blue/green succulents and a flowering cactus to decorate our flat. A lot of tourist books suggests this market to visit, but I wouldn't recommend this market unless you have ample amount of time in London, as it is not very big and there isn't a lot of other things around.

Brixton Market : This is the posh market in Brixton, where you can shop for unique items and grab a proper breakfast or an afternoon drink with friends. This cute market is about a 30 minute tube ride from the city center but is definitely a locals area as the market is tucked away off the beaten path. This is definitely one of my favorite markets, but that might be swayed by the lack of crowds.

Electric Avenue : So this is the gritty area in Brixton, only one block separated by the market I discussed above. This is where many locals go to purchase fresh produce and meats. It is mainly Asian and African cuisine butcher and produce shops. Brett and I frequent this market for the cheap produce, chicken and fresh fish. However, you have to know what you are in the market for as not all the items are of the highest quality, and this market is not for the faint of heart as there are a lot of things we wouldn't see in our everyday grocery stores- whole eel...

If you are looking to visit any of these markets, please let me know if you have any questions! I'd be happy to help you plan your visit in London.

Or if you have any other recommendations on markets in London, I would love to hear them.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Catching up and Happy New Year!

Wow, so much has happened since the last time I posted. I wanted to catch everyone up with what we have been up to these last few months.

We visited Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, in early December. A town that at it's center is a medieval castle built atop a huge hill formed by volcanic activity. The views from the castle allowed a 360 degree view of the surrounding lands and the Southern shore of the Firth or Fourth. Aside from touring the city, we spent a lot of our time in the pubs, drinking the local cask ales and whiskys, listening to folk music accompanied by none other than bagpipes. 

The following weekend, we rented a car with our American friends and took a day trip to tour the English countryside. This included Salisbury, Stonehenge and the city of Bath, named after the Roman bath houses that are still functioning today. We also caught a glimpse of one of the original copies of the Magna Carta.

We were lucky enough to be able to fly back home to Cincinnati for Christmas and New Year, but not lucky enough for our travel plans to go perfect. Our commute to Cincinnati from London took over 24 hours. And for our return flight, due to the polar vortex and the immense amount of snow hitting the States, we encountered three cancelled flights and arrived in London three days after we intended. But it was worth it to be able to see our family and friends during the Christmas season.

So with the new year upon us, I can't wait for all our adventures to start! Here is just some of the traveling we have booked for the year! Cheers to 2014, can it really get any better?!

February: Skiing in the French Alps, Meribel, France
April: Celebrating Easter week in Seville and Malaga, Spain
Late May: A week long trip with Brett's parents traveling to Paris and the French Riviera
June: Weekend in Amsterdam with our friends from Cincinnati
August: Ireland/ Scotland
September: Octoberfest, Munich
November: "ORLANDDOOOO, my favorite place... Sea World and Disney and Putt Put Golfing!". Our best friends are getting marrieddd!!

But with all this travel booked, it has lead to my New Year's resolutions:
1. Find a job to help pay for all this travel
2. Post more frequently on my blog
3. Go to church more often (this is a reoccurring resolution)

If you want to check out all the pictures I have taken so far, click on the slideshow on the on the side of my blog for a link to my public Picasa web albums.