Proper travellers roam the great cities of the world and always seem to pitch up at just the right time to take part in the local festival. I'm no good at this - the posters are either telling me something great is about to happen, or their remains tell me it was a week ago.
London is full of markets. Many of you reading this will be familiar with them and probably regularly drop into Portobello to pick up some ancient nik-naks or similar. When I go to Portebello all I see is empty stalls and litter - smoked salmon and pommes frites wrappers, that sort of thing.
Anyway, for a change I bumped into Borough Market when it was open. And it is amazing. At first I thought this was a quaint local thing under the railway near the Thames. A few minutes later I realised my mistake - it's bloody enormous. Still takes place under the railway though...
London is a global city and this is it's global fruit and veg market. If you can eat it, then it's probably here. Many of the traders have travelled serious distances to sell organic mushrooms and weird cheese. I suppose the locals are workers in the centre of London and are either minted, or are looking at foods from home. Whatever, they aren't likely to look at the products and ask for directions to the nearest branch of Farm Foods.
Actually, the mix of stalls is odd. Most are selling delli items but a few do the proper piles of veg. Now I can see the point of picking up a few soupcons of cheese or mushroom, maybe a French style bread or Portuguese poncycake but 5 pounds of King Edwards ? There aren't that many people for whom this is the local market are there ?
My money stayed firmly in my pocket as the moment I started spending I knew a backpack full of posh cakes would be the result. Then I'd walk around transferring the weight from my back to my middle. What I did do was try every free sample offered to me, which staved off the hunger pangs for a while. I was a good boy and didn't go round for a second go at the chocolate brownies even though it was tempting.
Borough Market Website.