One of my favorite places in London so far is Camden Market, which is basically a gigantic sprawling street market with the added bonus of being multiple stories in height. My visit there was incredible. Once off the main road the streets are maze-like, filled with rows of stalls and selling everything from tourist trinkets to art to used books and lots and lots of glorious food. Maybe it was because I was hungry, but street food never looked so good in my life. There was a mini China-town street in one part of the market, but mostly it was world street food thrown together, a Mediterranean place across from a Peruvian stall next to some Mexican food, and especially exciting for me, a vegan bakery hiding in a corner.
Even if I was penniless, I think I would have enjoyed being in the market. The decorative architecture runs to the wild side, with some of tattoo shops featuring huge 3D dragons or other interesting things above their signs, and this gigantic statue on the side of a building for reasons unknown to me. Plus, benches being too mainstream, I got to eat my lunch while sitting on a retired motorcycle.
There was just an attitude of fun in the area. The guy who sold me my falafel swore it was the best one in existence (he might have been right), and the bustle of the people and slap-dash style construction of a street market gives it an energy, in my mind, that stores are quick to kill. I noticed even in Camden the minute I stepped into something with a roof overhead, the market vibe became muted, and I was in a hurry to once more be in the open air with the pigeons and the giant inexplicable statue. Although in their defense, the upper stories of the market have their own undeniable beauty.
I often felt like a geeky tourist while snapping pictures of everything, but this place (like many others) was just too cool to resist. Even as I was rushing to the Tube to make it back to class on time, I felt I owed it to myself to snap a picture of two amazing people dressed as the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter. Thanks, you two, for being awesome.