Wonders of Portobello

I have been to London many times and seen many different places and museums there. But somehow I have not managed to find time to go to the famous Portobello market, that surprised my London friends very much. And finally, in my last trip to London, one warm Saturday morning I found myself wandering about this market. Having heard enthusiastic reviews, I still felt fairly skeptical - a market is a market, even in Africa, after all. What I can say right away - I was captivated by this place's special atmosphere. Yes, this is a market: it's noisy and crowded here, people are selling, buying, bargaining, there are many pickpockets (about which policemen at the entrance warn the visitors, handing out leaflets with tips on how to protect yourself from them). And yet ... there is something special, joyful in this place, there is a sense of celebration in the air and you just feel that you want to come here again. Not for shopping, but just for this feeling.

Many guidebooks advise to come to Portobello early, at 6 o'clock. But my friends said that it would be quite deserted at this time and that it is better to come by at least 8. I followed their advice and made the right decision: the place was no longer lonely, deserted, but still not crowded (the crowd appeared by 11). What can you find in the Portobello market? It would be simpler to ask "what can not be found at Portobello?". Because I have the impression that there is everything, from cheap little things to the museum exhibits, things for every purse and taste: furniture, utensils (coffee and tea sets made of silver are especially popular), clothing, paintings, clocks, books, toys, vintage cameras and sewing machines. And even gas-masks.

There is a lot of jewelry - costume, silver and gold, with gems and precious stones, modern and vintage (for me, as lover, it was very difficult to refrain from buying an unnecessary, but such a beautiful little thing). There is many vintage handbags as well. I liked porcelain figurines of the late 19th - early 20th centuries. Different sizes and themes. However, I could not afford one, too expensive for me. So I just admired. Actually, I came to the market without a goal to buy something, just wanted to hang out, get acquainted with the place. But as it turned out, even if you have had no plans for purchase, there are so many interesting, diverse things around that it will be not easy to resist buying someting that you see and like and want to have.

Once there was a farm on this territory, named after the port Puerto Bella in the Caribbean, captured by the British in 1739. And now Portobello is the longest market in Europe, its length - more than 3 kilometers. Portobello is divided into several parts: antique, vegetable and fruit, flea-market, second-hand stuff. Although the shops are open all week except Sunday, the "main" day at Portobello is Saturday. According to the "Antique Road Show" program approximately 60 thousand people visit Portobello market on Saturdays.

Wandering about this big market you will sure work up an appetite. Do not worry! You will find where to satisfy your hunger: the numerous bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, street stalls offer different kinds of food and drinks. What to choose is a matter of personal liking, but street food is no worse here than the one that you will be offered in the cafe - only cheaper. Hot dogs and pancakes, pizza and falafel, paella with seafood and strawberries with cream - the choice is yours.

The market is located in Notting Hill, famous throughout the world after the release of the film with the same name. The area is very quiet, comfortable, respectable ... and expensive - an average family can not afford to live here. They say that life in Notting Hill would be terribly boring if it were not enlivened with the Portobello Market.

And finally, about how to reach this market. Go to the subway station Notting Hill Gate, and then all you need to do is just to follow the crowd (although there are signs, too.)

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