Not Quite the Mushroom

Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Again, I traveled to the western area of London for a touch of class, luxury, and style in Kensington and Chelsea. This time my destination was specifically Notting Hill, of Notting Hill (the film) fame.  Being in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, you can expect great things: large mansions, expensive retail, and a bit of an artsy fashion scene.

Notting Hill is famous for a few notable attractions, namely, the Portobello Road Market.   Portobello Road is surprisingly not named after the mushroom, but an Anglicization of Puerto Bello (which is now known as Portobelo in modern day Panama).  The market contains the usual "market" flavors except that on Saturdays the market's main feature is antiques.  During the week though, there are notable antique stores open specializing in different time periods or items such as tea kettles or maps.  Also, much of the Notting Hill film took place on this particular street.

Today, the area is completely filled with large Victorian mansions that are painted in a wide array of vibrant colors.  Having been farmland as early as the 1800s, Notting Hill has come a long way in development.  First developed as a wealthy suburb of London, the area fell into decline as the English middle class began to change in the 1900s.  Many of the large mansions were divided up into multiple residences; furthermore, the Blitz caused significant damage to the homes.  Before falling into disrepair, Notting Hill saw a rebirth in affluence and influential members that helped to restore the neighborhood back to its former glory.  Of course, with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant fumbling down its streets, how could it not rise to prominence?
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