London with a Local
Taking on the city with a 10-year resident, I met up with the brother of one of my mother’s international friends. We began with the tourist leading the Londoner to God’s Own Junkyard, a garage gallery on the outskirts of the city center home to hundreds of neon signs; if you arrive near the dumpsters of a questionable property, you’re in the right place! The establishment was small, but impressive. More than just a lot of light, many of the installments were composed works, a combination of individual, glowing pieces, to create inspiring, innovative, and eyebrow-raising art.
Though there is a café area in the gallery, my new friend and I did not stay, opting instead for a greater foodie experience closer to town.
Camden: the Cosmic Culinary Capital of London
My guide led me to the neighborhood of Camden Town, a funky, alternative area of food and flea market vendors. Our destination was, specifically, the Camden Market, an international smorgasbord bordering Regent’s Canal. Hosting stalls of every type of cuisine, we settled on splitting a Venezuelan shredded beef and corn bread sandwich and a Greek chicken wrap. The sandwich, from Arepa: Venezuelan Street Kitchen, was one of the best dishes I ate in London.
Next, we ventured into a store that I feel embodies the environment of Camden. Cyberdog‘s storefront was preceded by a line to get in the door, which was flanked by two, futuristic, human-dog hybrids. Neon lights, techno music, and cage dancers greet customers, along with the store’s least offensive merchandise. Floors below reveal risqué stock, justifying the “no photography” policy.
After visiting God’s Own Junkyard and this inexplicably bizarre but must-see store, I began to feel that the phrase “only in London” would be an appropriate label for many of my experiences on this trip.
Walking after our lunch, we took the Regent’s Canal Towpath from Camden Town to Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park. On a clear day, one finds a panoramic look of London, but as typical of viewing experiences of my journey, the city fog took over and obscured the overlook.
Lights of London
While visiting a new city, I like to explore the same place during the day and during the night for a different perspective. Each experience is beautiful in its own way. I was able to end my third day in London with a return to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye to enjoy these London landmarks illuminated along the River Thames.
- God’s Own Junkyard
- Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, Walthamstow, London E17 9HQ, UK
- Camden Town
- Camden Market
- 32 Camden Lock Pl, London NW1 8AL, UK
- Camden Market, Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8AH, UK
- Regent’s Canal Towpath (from Camden Market)
- Primrose Hill/Regent’s Park
- Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
- Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, UK
- London Eye
Lambeth, London SE1 7PB, UK
Peace, Love, London