Note to self — no matter which of us says to the other one, “Oooo! They have a really big market over at (insert location of choice). Want to go?” — the default answer in a humongous city the size of London should always be no-no-no-no-no. This also falls under the category of ‘How to spoil a perfectly lovely day on the weekend.’
Jammed up in the crowds at Camden Market
But wait — it gets better. Not once (are we slow learners on occasion?) but twice on the same weekend we sampled a market. At least on the second try I took zero pictures
and we walked briskly through the crowds and out the other side in less than five minutes with me saying “This is not the way I remember things being.”
Am I getting old and crabby? (don’t answer that!) Or has my tolerance for being crushed by crowds, smelling too many overlapping food aromas, hearing music playing loudly that I outgrew decades ago, seeing people draped on every available surface, and looking at items that I could find on Ebay simply erased my joy in the whole ‘market scene’ rather a lot?
I choose to regard this minor case of a shock-horror moment — complete with remarks from my husband to the effect of “If you could see your face, Deborah!” — as another time capsule moment when things were viewed from a different perspective 17 years ago. Otherwise, the population boom in London really has resulted in a population boom at the large markets and they are no longer a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Crowds on every waterside walkway at Camden Market
It isn’t strictly a ‘young scene’ although the preponderance of people sitting, standing, or elbowing their way through the throngs on the waterside walkways did appear to primarily be in the under-30 category.
Elsewhere there were people in attendance of all shapes, sizes, and ages — gamely picking through the goods on offer, slurping down a latte or a chai tea, or simply people watching.
I continue to read that this market is a recommended place to go when you visit London. But unless you have lived a deprived or rural or shopping-zone-free life, I cannot for the life of me understand why a guidebook writer would find this place thrilling.
Crowded shopping in the Camden Market halls
So, if a crush of crowds with pointy elbows and massive feet, a plethora of ‘cuisine’ smells, dated music sounds, and so-so merchandise makes you as crabby as it made me, this might just be a place to avoid!
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