Saturday, July 23, 2011


London is an expensive city, especially for Americans traveling abroad. Even so, it's possible to find some pretty good deals. This morning I made a solo trip to Portobello Road Market. If you're asking yourself why that seems familiar, here's a hint:

When I heard my classmates talking about the Market,  I knew I had to go. When I was younger, my grandpa and I both loved Bedknobs and Broomsticks and often watched it before bed. We haven't watched in a while, but during my visit to the market today, my grandpa (and the refrain from the song) were in my thoughts the entire time.

It looks nothing like that by the way. I suppose it could have at some point, but not now. Even though it's not shown in this clip, remember the steel drum band in the movie? While walking through I saw two different guys playing this type of music. There were also other street performers and musicians. The blues guy was pretty good.

It reminded me of the flea market and street festivals all rolled into one. As I passed down the street the regular shops were open, but there were also booths lined selling just about anything you can imagine: clothes, bags, jewelry, make up, antiques, fresh produce and so much more. I refrained from buying any jewelry, which is my usual weakness (even though I don't typically wear it). Instead I ended up getting two dresses, for £10 and £5 respectively, and I picked up a watch since I forgot to bring one with me.  I also found an awesome gift for my Love, but it's too good to spoil here.

Photos from Portobello Road Market

Afterward, I headed over to Primark to see what all the fuss is about. Stepping in reminded me of Filene's in Chicago. It also reminded me of the Banana Republic Outlet in St. Augustine--decent stuff at good prices, but torture to navigate. I must have said "sorry" and "excuse me" about a 100 times apiece. I had two interesting experiences in store though. The first was acting like the locals: this means finding a free mirror in the store and trying things on over your clothes. This is a MUST because, as I overheard someone say, "the queue [for the fitting rooms] is like a day and a half long."

The second was explaining the word "plaid." As I was trying my things on, another woman was trying to decide which pajamas pants she should buy. She had a striped pair and a plaid pair and asked for my opinion. I told her that I liked the plaid better. She looked a me a little funny and asked, "What's plaid?" I explained that was the term we use to describe the pattern. "Plaid," she said again, as if she were testing it out.

Other than grocery shopping and picking up a few gifts here and there, I think I'm shopped out. I'm usually good for one day of shopping every few months, so the mood won't strike again until I'm home. Still I consider today to be incredibly successful. I navigated the tube system completely on my own and reached both of the destinations I had in mind.

This blog posting features a clip from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Copyright is held by the Walt Disney Company. This clip is available on YouTube by adambarbara64. The video is used under Fair Use Guidelines.

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