Saturday, July 24, 2010

London's Personality

London no longer seems like such a foreign, old, reserved city. Each place I went today showed me the character and heart of people expressing themselves. Now London seems to be a city full of creativity and life.

In the morning I walked through the bustling stalls of Camden Market. Each stall formed it's own little world as each blasted unique music and displayed drastically varying items. I arrived right at the opening time, where it wasn't quite so crowded, but by the time I departed the area was packed. No matter what your style is, there was probably a booth for you on one of the several streets or buildings taken over by the market. However, one of of the best aspects is the food. Whether you prefer Chinese, Indian, Turkish, or some other ethnic food, Camden Market sells it.

In the afternoon I was going to go to an art/music festival, however I had misread the date on the sign, so it was not actually today. So instead I took a trip to Hamleys Toy shop. While my roommate may have rolled her eyes at me when I told her where I was going, it was a fantastic decision. I still am unsure what my favorite part of the store was, but the entire atmosphere was playful and magical.From the moment I walked in there were employees blowing bubbles and a live puppet show that involved children from the audience. Each of the seven floors contained more staff workers showing off toys, shouting at the top of their lungs why the toy they were showing off was the best in the store. Before I left I had been shot at with water guns, engaged in a light saber battle, serenaded by a group of guys doing magic tricks and seen Indiana Jones and Harry Potter made out of Legos.After leaving Hamleys, I wandered down Jubilee Walkway. Once again, the city came to life as I watched an artist painting a mural on the sidewalk, and saw a man carving a horse out of the sand by the Thames.
I watched skateboarders do tricks in a skate park, then walked down along the rocks and sand next to the Thames.I concluded my walk at the Tate Modern because it is open late on Saturday evenings. (Like the National Galleries, taking pictures inside the museum is frowned upon, so I only have a picture of the outside)
There were a few neat displays within, but I found the museum quite small, and I would not rank it highly compared to some of the other museums I've seen. It is hard to make a comparison though considering how different modern art is from something like the V&A.

I chose to walk back along the Jubilee path after visiting, and this choice awarded me with the opportunity to hear several musicians from classics on guitar to smooth jazz on saxophone as individuals played along the path sharing their individuality. I also got to see a street performer jump over six people at once.

Taking this walk also conveniently placed me around Parliament near nightfall, so I was able to see some of the attractions and landmarks lit up, which was definitely a sight worth seeing:

I have seen many museums and I have seen a lot of tourist attractions, but today I saw London's personality. I saw eccentric and eclectic displays. I saw the character and life that makes a person fall in love with a city.

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