Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we
stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.
~ Lawrence Block
Counterculture and the Historic Camden Locks - A Winning Combination
CAMDEN TOWN, ENGLAND - Camden Town is a borough in northwest London and after a few mishaps making my way on public transportation, by way of the Underground and city bus, I finally arrived to my day’s destination. What started out as a quick day trip to the Camden Locks ultimately became a walking exploration of the city London. But that is another story.
I arrived! I finally arrived! The bus driver told me it was time to get off the bus and there I was, just where, at the beginning of several transportation mishaps, I looked down the street to see a funky street lined with shops of all kinds decorated with crazy, eccentric signage and decorations, from a giant tattoo sign in Celtic lettering to a huge writhering dragon I knew the area would not disappoint my expectations. There was everything from hemp, tattoo and piercing, and unique souvenir shops to explore.
A hemp store in Camden Town
The area was crowded with tourists and London punk. The area was alive with people exploring the shops and large Camden Market filled with temporary stalls overflowing with crafts, edgy clothing, knick knacks and food stalls. Think punk and bohemian and you are in Camden. This is a haven for counter culture with a thriving nightlife scene.
Seating along the canal for diners at the outdoor food stalls
Camden Town is a borough of London. Besides the interesting people, unique stores and outdoor market, the Camden Locks were a highlight. I crossed the bridge over the Regents’ Canal and turned right past a few open food stalls serving culturally diverse foods. The smoke and smell of food cooking make me hungry, so I got in line at the Mediterranean stand thinking falafel sounded good. There was seating next to the canal on a row of motorcycles next to a counter for enjoying the meal, but every seat was filled, so I continued on past the crowds to a grassy spot and sat on the canal wall with a view of the locks.
In 1812 a canal was authorized to run from Paddington to Limehouse. A paired lock was built in the Camden area of the canal and was built in such a way that water was transferred from one lock chamber to the other, raising and lowering the water with the goal of saving water. Across the canal from where I was sitting and adjacent to the lock was a large brick building with rows of windows on all levels. This was the interchange building where goods, historically, were transferred to canal boats.
I wandered a bit after my lunch on the canal, past a Thai Temple and through a lovely garden before venturing by foot back to my hotel. I didn’t know how long I would have to walk to get back, a couple hours I suspected, but public transportation was not on the agenda after a morning lost in the Underground!