You can find the map for today’s 4.65 mile walk here. 45 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.
Another gorgeous day out!
I am starting to have faith that sunny days are more likely than not these days. Finally!
For most of the spring, I got antsy every time I wasn’t able to go out walking when the sun was out. I never knew when the clear skies would end, and when they did I didn’t trust that they would ever be back. But after a week of solid blue and temps in the 20s, it feels like a safe bet that beautiful days are more likely than miserable ones.
Sitting in my garden with a book in hand and a cup of tea at the ready while I soak up the sun is so much better than running out the door trying to chase the warmth down the streets of London.
God bless summer!
Today I finished off the last little remaining section of Marylebone – the chunk bordered by Edgeware Road and Marble Arch.
This part of town is mainly residential. It’s got more schools, churches and DIY shops than restaurants (unless you count all the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern spots on Edgeware Road itself) and it’s really quiet even at peak times, which is a little crazy when you consider it is about two streets away from Oxford Street, Marble Arch and Hyde Park.
Plus it has a lot of private gardens that you would surely have access to if you lived nearby. I really do get jealous of these private squares. I need to get access to one some day so I can see, once and for all, that they are just the same as any other square: big, green and grassy. But for now, I will pine after a key.
So all in all, this part of town is not a bad place to live, really – quiet streets but a five-minute walk to some of the liveliest places in London. Plus, every once in a while you come across adorable streets like Gloucester Place Mews.
I really enjoyed walking down this street because every house has a cute little garden out front. I got the feeling though that they either compete with their neighbours for the best greenery or are required by bylaws to maintain a certain level of Englishness out front.
Some, like the one above, clearly love flowers (my kind of people) and have squeezed in more than seems possible into their little allotments. Some were obviously more lazy and went the fake flower route. Most of them also had adorable al fresco dining arrangements out front.
In theory it is a nice place to live, but I imagine every time they are dining outside they are taking note of where they excel and where they need to improve compared to the other neighbours’ gardens. Not so relaxing.
Just down the road from here is another street that stands out from the surrounding area. It was the only place I found with any commercial activity going on. Stumbling upon it was a weird experience actually. Here I had been seeing houses, houses, houses, squares, churches, houses, schools, houses, houses…then I turned the corner and was suddenly back in London: pubs, restaurants, galleries, florists, tailors, spas, you name it.
Google tells me that this road (New Quebec Street) and the one two blocks west of here (Seymour Place) combine to form Portman Village, a shopping, eating, strolling around section in southwest Marylebone. I’d definitely recommend checking out this part of town if you’re about. There’s surely something there to spark your interest.
I really like those moments when I am out walking where I find myself pulled out of my thoughts and into the atmosphere of where I’m walking; when something is so different from the surrounding area that I can’t help but notice it. That moment is usually where I get really curious and excited about what I may find. It’s a flash of pure possibility. I think it might be a feeling I am slightly addicted to actually. It’s great!
I had that feeling on New Quebec Street and again when I walked past Green Valley market just off Edgeware Road. Something about the window displays (probably the stacks of Turkish delight) pulled me into this place and I am really glad I found it.
I went to Turkey on holiday a few weeks ago and have been going through fresh fruit juice withdrawals since. This place hit the spot and more.
The guy helping me was hilarious too. He advised me on the best fruit mix based on my preferences, gave me samples of the raspberries for my approval before he used them, and let me add a splash of mango juice even though that is not technically normal operating procedure. We also had a long discussion (as much as I can with my limited knowledge) about the World Cup and potential winners.
As a side note: while I know less than nothing about football, I love the atmosphere that comes with major international sports events. It makes me smile when everyone is talking about the same things, watching the same things and connecting with total strangers in a pub because they are cheering for the same team. I really love it. I’m enjoying the World Cup buzz!
Anyway, back to Green Valley. This shop is stellar. If you have any cravings for Middle Eastern foods, this is where it’s at. They’ve got sections for nuts, baklava, fruit juice, mezze dishes, pizza and, of course, pomegranates. I live near Kilburn which is full of shops that want to be this but they just don’t make the cut when this place is a contender. I’m really glad I found it!
That’s about it for this walk. I still have about five streets left in Marylebone (I just couldn’t take any more steps today) but the next walk will be all about Mayfair. I am looking forward to it!
See you next time!
45 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.
Quick update from the future: now that this project is finished, I’m off on another adventure! Keep in touch on my new blog at Three Miles an Hour. See you there!