Tonia and I were up and out early on Sunday morning. We were off to visit some of her favorite neighborhoods and markets in London. Back on the orange line to London Bridge station and then we walked north into the Financial District – the “City of London” and the site of last weeks G20 protests. After 10 minutes walking on the main streets that were deserted because no markets were open, we turned off into the Bangladesh area of town. The cement towers of finance gave way to row houses lined next to each other. Tonia informed me that this area was where Jack the Ripper hunted his victims. I could see how dark these streets would get at night and how old(e) England would be creepy on these small streets.
The Spitalfield market was housed in two open air buildings and vendors were stocked with gorgeous, artistic jewelry, clothes, handbags, shoes – handmade or vintage. It was arty and funky and very cool shopping. The clothes lead into food and we had lunch from a global smorgasboard. I chose a Turkish salad and Nepalese dumplings called momos. The best part of the trip was seeing Tonia’s favorite markets and just being with Tonia. It felt like we both lived there and were out for our typical Sunday jaunt.
The artsy markets became street markets as we walked more and more in the Bangladeshi district and the goods less desirable. We were on Brick street and the street signs were in English and Bangladesh. I was in a part of the city that I never would have been in had it not been for Tonia and her insider/former resident’s knowledge of London. We also stopped at the coolest vintage store that had obviously clothed most of the funky residents in the area.
Walking Along the South Bank
I did the same walk along the South Bank and took pictures of the weekend vibrancy. I heard at least 10 different languages spoken along the popular tourist path. I walked past the sights from yesterday and saw the Tate Modern, the Globe theater, and the International Film Institute. In between these landmarks were street performers, skate boarders, and book fairs. I walked further up to Westminster Bridge and the London Eye, the huge Ferris wheel covered in pods carrying tourists up for the view. Very creative street performers were every few feet making the walkway like a many-ring circus and festival.
I crossed the bridge with the House of Parliament in view, walked past Parliament Square, which was currently covered in protesters against the Sri Lankan genocide. They were shouting at the cars and waving the protest signs in the air. Banners speaking for Tamil rights and against chemical weapons covered the fence that surrounded their protest area. I sent the Sri Lankans some love and light and continued to walk to Westminster Abbey. The church was closed this late in the afternoon, but the outside facade lovely to look at.