Home of the blue door, Portobello market, and Kensington Gardens, Notting Hill has been our very first taste of British life. The rows of elegant ivory terraced homes with their black wrought iron railings, coffee shops and patisseries, the cyclists and pedestrians with their myriad of accents and languages is so unique and fresh and yet somehow so very British. To this Canadian, at least.
We kick started our journey by getting lost. Because of course we did. It’s not really our fault though, we had been awake and travelling for 24 hours at that point! Fortunately, no less than three people took pity on us, I imagine the giant over packed backpacks we were wearily lugging up and down the hills were some kind of calling card to the empathetic that day. To one lady I am particularly grateful; she let us cut through her garden rather than direct us to go down the hill we had just achingly climbed only to walk back up the next one to our difficult to find hostel. Thank you British lady, thank you.
We lucked out our first week in London. The weather was warm and sunny bordering on hot. Even though there are advertisements joking you’ll never see a Brit with a tan, the sun was so hot on my face that I made a mad dive for my sunscreen as soon as we checked in. We really didn’t know what to expect from Notting Hill, we hadn’t done any research and none of our circle had ever been, but when we got there the locals and other hostel goers had many recommendations of things to check out that we were more likely to want for time than things to do. Top of the list was Portobello Market. People couldn’t stop raving about it and finding it was easy just follow the throngs of people and you’ll get there. All of Notting Hill seemed to converge in the kiosk lined streets to look at the treasures on sale there. Antiques and artisan crafts intermingled with the scent of roasting street meats, fresh produce stalls and refreshing beverages served in whole pineapples. The music playing from the various stalls, the buskers with their guitars, the whole market was alive and snaked along in this way almost endlessly.
I love pineapple. It’s delicious, tangy, sweet, exotic. It’s a key ingredient in Piña Coladas… Did I mention I love pineapple? These were super refreshing and the perfect treat to walk along the market with.
The creativity and ingenuity found at the market was inspiring. Everyone so dedicated to making the most visually appealing display to entice the crowds and peddle their wares. It was pure sensory pleasure but a little exhausting. We had to refresh ourselves in the most British way possible, a pint at a cozy pub, and a hot chicken pot pie. I think when I am finally ready to look for a new home, after this homeless and unemployed thing I’m doing is done, Notting Hill is a top contender for a new home!