Camden Town, British Museum and Billy Elliot
London Travel Blog› entry 3 of 7 › view all entries
Surprise surprise! Got great sleep the previous night, I almost thought I was dreaming when the alarm went off at 7am. As ever, breakfast was an elaborate affair (cereal and toast with lovely M&S "preserve") before I headed off to an area that I've always wanted to go to... Camden Town!
CAMDEN TOWN... the two words synonymous to this place to me happen to be the name of the my favourite actress, Kate Winslet. Not since I saw the American Express ad with this lovely lady strolling the streets of London wandering into bargain stores, I was always curious to know which part of the city that was. It looked beautiful in the ad, it looked even moreso when I stepped out of the tube.
It did, in parts remind me of last year's visit to Portobello Market, but on a grander scale. I noticed lots of shoe stores, hmmm...! It seems that for every clothes store, you had 2-3 shoe stores on the street!
Anyway, I walked past the Camden Lock sign (a must must Kodak moment) onto Stables Market to the Proud Gallery for the Playboy exhibition. offtolondon had recommended this, thanks very much sir! I really enjoyed the exhibition, not just for the obvious reasons but it seemed like I was finally doing something a bit non-touristy in London and discovering the many hidden treats this city has to offer.
Looking around Stables Market was itself a treat. It's got the weirdest of stores, stores selling knick-knacks, 2nd hand clothes and geez..one store that specialises in selling sthg that smelt of weed and sex toys??! It was all too amazing, the sort of people that come here and the general artistic liberal feel which I think is a positive statement on London. Lunch was awful couscous at a Moroccan place, but was a nice experience.
From there, walked back till I reached that canal. I had lovely Belgian icecream sold on the street. Everything is out on the street here! It's nice that even winter doesn't stop the Londoners from getting some action out on the street.
Stopped by at the Leicester Square box office and bought a ticket for the evening "Billy Elliot" show, and from there on I decided to walk! Went to the lovely Soho area to see it all lit up for Chinese new Year (btw, I just loved those "Year of the Dog" ads plastered all over the tube stations as well) , and from there walked through Pic Circus till Green Park tube stop. I passed by the ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS and thought of Anemone who suggested that I go to the "Three Emperors" exhibition. But I was short on time and thought it wouldn't be money well spent if I go in for a couple of hours so decided to pass.
I took a tube to Tottenham Court road as I had a good 3 hrs at my disposal before start of the show, and went to the British Museum. My it's a long walk! Esp when it's drizzling! British Museum looks like an, well.... old building, The front facade is very impressive yet misleading. You walk into it, into the Grand Courtyard and by Goerge it's gorgeous! Just brilliant. And so crowded as well! There's so much to see here, I can now understand people saying that need a week just to visit this one place! I made my way to the oft-mentioned Egyptian exhibits and spent about an hour there.
Got back in the drizzle and caught the tube to Victoria. My purpose was to have an early dinner at the same place I'd eaten last August, "The Sekera" (Sri Lankan cuisine). But the thing wasn't open yet (it was so dark one would think it's open for dinner, turns out the time was still 5:45pm!) so I decided to have a view of Buckingham Palace by night! Wandered past the palace, it was QUIEEEEEET! No one around, except a few families. By the time I walked back, the rsnt was open and as usual, hospitable staff. I had some curry with rice, and aubergine fried sides.
Dinner was done by 6:45pm and I walked back towards Victoria's Palace to see "Billy Elliot". Made my way to the stall, I had the cornermost position and sat next to a couple visiting London from Leeds. I really liked this play, more than Phantom and the whole crowd was laughing and enjoying, overall feelgood atmo. The show got done by 10:45pm and I was really feeling sleepy now. Headed back to the hostel and called it a night by midnight.
As I slept that night, I was thinking that for a trip that had no proper planning, I'd achieved quite a bit already. Oh, and I finally saw Camden! :-)