London 2016: Day 8

Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road Market

The final day in London.  On the agenda for today were the Portobello Road Market and the Feast of St. George.  I had my last hotel breakfast (I’m not a fan of British style scrambled eggs – too mushy for me) and checked out around 10AM.  Repacking my suitcase took less time than I was expecting.  And I managed to find the piece of fudge I bought in Cambridge!  I left my luggage at the hotel and set out for Notting Hill to explore the market.  I had plenty of company as I crept my way up Portobello Road.  The market is roughly divided into sections covering antiques, new goods, food, etc.  Plus, there are shops lining both sides of the road to stop into.  My only purchase was a custard-filled donut from the same woman I bought one from last time I was there.  One thing I will say about British sweets: none of them are overly sweet.  The donut was good, but left me wishing I had stopped for a scone instead.  Once I got to the end of the market, I wove my way back down Kensington Park Road to the tube.  Along the way, I peeked into several of the neighborhood gardens, almost all of which require a resident key to enter.  They were every bit as beautiful as the one Hugh Grant and Julia Robert’s climbed into in “Notting Hill”.

Next it was off to Trafalgar Square for the Feast of St. George.  It was basically a mob scene of food vendors, wandering performers, carnival, and performance stages.  Crazy!  I managed to find another fudge booth (Laura’s Fudge) and how could I resist?  Homemade clotted cream, dairy cream, and toffee fudge managed to find their way into my suitcase.  And an English Toffee and Butterscotch ice cream cone managed to find its way into my stomach.

Mind the Gap!
Mind the Gap!

From Trafalgar Square I decided to walk back to the hotel to pick up my luggage before heading off to Heathrow.  I arrived to find that the original aircraft had been swapped out for a smaller one and I was one of the unlucky ones (one of 40) who got bumped.  I tried unsuccessfully the find out what the criteria was for bumping since I had checked in exactly 24 hours in advance, but nobody seemed to either know or want to share the rationale.  Anyway, it took about a half hour to sort everything out before I was on my way with a seat for the next flight (about 90 minutes later) and a prepaid debit card for £237 for the inconvenience.  Not too bad!  Since I’ll be traveling to Scotland at the end of June I didn’t bother withdrawing the cash and converting it to US dollars; I’ll just use it then.  Of course, the later flight left me with some time to grab one last cider (Magner’s; not my first choice since I can get that at home, but I managed to drink it).  Then it was time to head home.  I wasn’t ready to go home in a homesick kind of way, but more in the “ready to be done with the city” kind of way.  And although I slept well in the hotel bed, it’s always nice to sleep in my own bed!  It will be a temporary goodbye to the UK this time as I’ll be back through Heathrow in less than 10 weeks for the next adventure…

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