When I arrived in London, more than two years ago, I had to deal with a new language, new food, new lifestyle. The penetrating smell of fish and chips was as much surprising as the fact that I was not going to spot londoners or famous actors in zone 1. Coming across the Regent’s Canal was a surprise I still remember.
Little Venice looked to me like a pleasant interruption to the dark urban landscape, able to shake the monotonous scenery made of brownish bricks. The canal opens the view to a natural setting even the largest park of the city cannot offer, crossing the city from Maida Vale to Mile end. Along it you walk a different London, quiet and timeless.
During a Sunday stroll to the market, I walk the towpath that goes from King’s Cross to the Camden Lock. I see ducks in the river, a dark green water flowing slowly, a soon to-be-married lady partying in a “love boat”. Also many houseboats, in motionless floating on the same perimeter of water, all different in length and color.
The residential area of boats ends where the Camden area starts, where many sit on the edge of the towpath, dangling their legs over the water and drinking beer. There is a network of 2.000 miles of canals and rivers flowing through cities and countryside in England and Wales. Impressive.
I reach the Camden Lock, a very popular market I never get tired of, despite the overwhelming crowd. Established in 1970 the market is now considered the fourth most popular tourist attraction in London, offering colors and smells from all the world. It takes time to explore it all.
A Chinese guy who sells big burgers is a delightful picture of our times. Crepes with whipped cream and strawberry next to fried noodles, brazilian churros, thai, spanish, ethiopian, japanese food… I am in a maze of stalls and I am invited to: have take away food, wear cyberg/dark/punky/funky fashion, indian perfumes, buy antiques of all kinds, vinyl records, vintage clothes, big black studded boots, gothic corsets, wedge shoes and handmade jewelery.
I hardly buy anything. The offer is way too broad and does not fit any of my identities. Or my identities are just confused by the presence of so much stuff. In any case colors, flavors and people of the market are a lovely chaotic spectacle I enjoy every time.