Reagan Villet 5/30/16
I love traveling with my dad; he is constantly taking me to new places, on adventures that I would not have thought to go on alone. One of these adventures was to the wonderful city of New Orleans, Louisiana; a city of culture, music, food, and good people. After my very first visit, I fell in love. Never had I before been immersed in a place full of such vibrant energy and character. However, that all changed today, when I visited the London borough of Camden (and it’s surrounding region of Primrose Hill).
Camden is a large city area, full of small shops and pop-up restaurants, markets and metros, and people everywhere. Primrose Hill is a stark, yet welcome contrast to this, and you can feel the difference as you cross the footbridge (the easiest way to access the smaller, quiet neighborhood). Primrose Hill is posh and elite; full of celebrities and upper-class modern-folk, and upscale gastropubs and eateries. Notable residents include the Beckham family, Daniel Craig, Harry Styles, and numerous others. However, the most interesting resident to me was our tour guide, Mike. We were fortunate enough to attend an “Unseen Tour“, one given to us by a formerly homeless man. He told us of numerous occasions where he could scrounge up enough money for one single pint at the local pub, and would find himself sitting next to the likes of Kate Moss and Jennifer Aniston. He also told us how Camden and Primrose Hill had changed his life after the recession, giving him a second chance off the streets.
Primrose Hill reminded me of the Garden District in New Orleans. Both areas carry feelings of class and etiquette, and the streets are lined with colorful yet sophisticated homes. When you enter these areas, you want to be there; whether you are drawn in by the celebrity atmosphere or the high-class culture, both Primrose Hill of London and the Garden District of New Orleans draw you in and leave you with a sense of sophistication. They also have one more common connection; both are surrounded by intense, vibrant cities, being Camden and New Orleans. Camden was such an amazing experience that it is hard to put into words. I was overwhelmed by my senses just looking at the market; the smell of the food being cooked in the stalls, the sight of the vendors selling homemade arts and crafts, the sound of so many people speaking different languages and dialects, the feel of the cloth and postcards on my fingertips, the taste of a sample from literally everywhere that would give me one.
Similar to New Orleans, Camden has a VERY active music culture; differing only in the genres. Camden is often called the “birthplace of punk-rock“, as many famous punk-rock bands have emerged from this very borough, including The Sex Pistols, U2, Oasis, and numerous others. Amy Winehouse lived in Camden, and she too grew to fame, from small Camden pubs to larger clubs, and eventually, full on stardom. Camden loves Amy, and chooses to focus on her music and passion rather than the rough parts of her life, which I think is a wonderful way to remember someone so talented.
I am sorry for how ramble-y this post may seem, but, as I said before, it is hard to put into words the experience I had today. As a lover of music and the culture surrounding it, I was drawn in to Camden, and I had a hard time getting back out. I will definitely venture back to this area of London during my TWO WEEKS(!!!) here, and I can’t wait to explore more of this beautiful capital city.