One of the most precious gifts in an expat’s life is when friends and family visit. My sister-in-law Sandra is both. She is married to my husband’s brother but she was my friend long before she became family. Sandra arrived in London on Saturday and I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with her before she left this morning to meet up with her parents, aunt, uncle and cousins.
On Sunday morning, we headed off to Portobello Road, the street that was immortalised in the movie Notting Hill. Of course, Portobello Road and Notting Hill were trendy long before the film but I had never been here before. It was so much fun to do something completely different.
Something about the short hour it took to get from Dartford to Notting Hill Gate reignited in me the desire to explore London. I seemed to have grown complacent over the summer (the very antithesis of this blog!) but I have realised, once again, how many treasures are just a train ride away!
We entered Portobello Road from the south-eastern corner and I quite enjoyed looking at the houses and apartments. It must be lovely to live on such a pretty, lively and fashionable street. I imagine it might get tiring too though and that sometimes residents wish for a little peace and quiet.
Once we entered into the main retail section of Portobello Road, there was a carnival of colours, textures, tastes, sounds and smells. I really enjoyed playing around with my camera and tried to capture the spirit of this gorgeous street.
I’ve heard that Portobello Road can get incredibly busy at times but I have to say, it was quite pleasant on this mild and sunny day.
I’m gaining an ever-increasing appreciation of ghost signs and this one is especially notable as it has been moulded into the concrete as opposed to simply being painted on. I wonder what measures they are taking to preserve it?
Click on the photo above to see the extra cute message on the tin and to appreciate the grand collection of antique sewing machines. I learned to sew on a hand crank Singer sewing machine and would give my eye teeth to own one, yet this shopping chain seems to have thousands of them in their displays across the country.
Always look up. You might even notice a strangely Mediterranean-looking scene in Portobello Road in the middle of autumn.
We loved poking around all the antique stores with their interesting and beautiful wares.
Sandra even bought a Turkish amber and silver ring that looked ever so nice on her.
I was really interested in the map shop as they claimed that all of their maps were authentic and not replicas. I might go back there and get some maps for my study walls. They would be a welcome replacement for the dodgy and inaccurate world map that is currently hanging on my wall (I bought it from a vendor at the side of the road in Johannesburg). Although, i have learned quite a lot about world geography by discovering the inaccuracies on the map.
Being a lifelong fan of matchbox cars, I have to say I was really impressed by these gorgeous models.
We walked almost to the end of Portobello Road before heading back up the street to buy some waffles and crepes for lunch and matching scarves to remember our adventure by. Portobello Road is an absolute gem and I have no doubt that I will take visitors there in the future.