A Walk on the Wilder Side

Camden locks
Where in London can you eat food from all over the world, rent a kayak, get a tattoo or piercing and visit London's most popular outdoor market? It's worth walking along the Tottenham Court Road through some of London's interesting multicultural neighbourhoods browsing the windows of  Thai grocery stores, lots of Halal offerings and a Bengali worker's club to Camden High Street. For me, this is the fascinating part of London! Memorials and museums are part of any visit but it is truly the flavours and sights of each neighbourhood that enchant me.

The Camden Canal and Lock system was built in the 19th century to transport goods to the London docks.  The warehouses and factories, which quickly followed, were mostly empty by the mid-20th century when a group of young people decided that this would be a promising site on which to establish a week-end craft market. Today, 150,000 people a week visit the several markets in the area to eat, shop and be seen.

En route, there are all sorts of interesting shops and restaurants along the Camden High Street. Arriving too early at the Camden Head Pub, our lunch destination, I HAD to browse in Waterstones Bookshop (they lost their apostrophe amid great consternation a few years ago). I had sworn not to buy any books on this trip but was lured to the sales tables by the promise of "buy one, get a second for 50%." I bought W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz and Pat Barker's Toby's Room.

The pub lunch was "restaurant quality" according to my friend, Janet, who has a distinctly epicurean nature. We both had roasted hake with proscuito, parsley mash, and grilled tomatoes. I could eat only half of the portion with the requisite glass of pinot grigio.

Camden Market is a lively spot catering to the young and the venturesome. The colourful 3-dimensional storefronts were amazing to behold.
The Dark Angel (photo for my daughter).
The food stands made us wish that there were more meals in a day!
Jerk chicken
If you do eat too much, you can always walk along the Jubilee Walkway, created in the Jubilee Year and passing many of the historic landmarks of London. We, however, headed back on some streets behind Euston Station where children were returning home from school and where we passed a cross-gender shop, promising to make anyone glamourous regardless of sex or age. Too much for a couple of suburban ladies of a certain age! Travel does indeed make one more worldly.

Leftovers from Ragam topped up with onion bhajia, Bombay potatoes and spicy lamb patties from Sainsbury's (still with apostrophe) for another mouthwatering meal… I will have to return to My Fitness Pal or I will be seriously out of shape for some of my later European adventures.

The canal


  1. Sebald's Austerlitz is well worth lugging around -- it will sustain you through some of your travelling -- provides all kinds of food for thought and can be reread for hours of absorption.
    I love that Camden area and hope we'll get to walk there during the 3 June days we'll have in London. I remember eating a fabulous falafel there a few years ago . . .


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