I have a special relationship with Camden. As a teenager, it was one of the first central locations that I learnt to travel to alone on the Tube and most weekends I'd make the pilgrimage to Punkyfish and Cyberdog in my baggy jeans. It just seemed so much more exciting in contrast to suburbia, with markets containing stuff I actually wanted to buy and every kind of food imaginable at Mc Donalds prices. When my style changed and the hoodies were chucked away, for some reason I avoided coming back to this vibrant part of the capital, I guess due to its association with my 15-year-old self. Now that a few more familiar shops have moved in and I'm way over the legal drinking age, this area is starting to seem a lot more appealing. It's grown up a little but still retains some of the rebellious edge (note the Amy Winehouse graffiti tribute below) and still contains independent shops you won't find anywhere else. A few days after stepping back onto British soil, I was invited to experience an evening at the Summer Night Markets held at Camden Lock on a Thursday, perfect for helping with the jetlag and getting me re-acquainted with all things London again.
One of the main reasons the market excited me, was all of the street food. I am pretty much obsessed with food not cooked by myself, every day when I was travelling I looked forward to every meal (I have a whopper post of 'things-I-ate' in the works) and tried to find the best grub possible. In London I'm willing to wait, queue and sit in the worst seats so that I can try out all of the new eateries that are around. Although the market is comfortably busy, you'll be pleased to know that you never have to wait long for a plate of food. As per usual I was overwhelmed by the amount of choice and after going around in indecisive circles a few times (and tasting a few cheeky samples), I eventually decided on a good old steak sarnie. I'm pleased that some of the stalls are available all week as the falafel and fried chicken which came in second and third place respectively, need to be consumed in the near future.
It's been a long time since I browsed the shops here and although much of my evening was spent choosing food and catching up with Carrie and Lucy, we did manage to pop into a few places. The dreamiest would have to be retro lingerie boutique 'What Every Girl Wants' inspired by a book of a similar name. Being a birthday girl this month, I think that these would be a nice treat for myself and put any Primark undies to shame. If you're all shopped out, then there are boat rides, live music, ping pong tournaments and even a Sailor Jerry Cocktail Trail available for maximum amusement.
Have you been to Camden recently? I'm just glad that I didn't have to miss out on yet another thing happening in the U.K (Wimbledon and the heatwave spring to mind) due to being a backpacker. The markets are running for the next two Thursday evenings and are the perfect way to make the most of the end of Summer (booo)!