03/28/2010 - 03/28/2010 6 °C
I'm not sure what else there is to say about miles and miles of shopping and entertainment in London's West End that hasn't already been said. I mean ... it's ... for only the wordliest of world-class shoppers with plenty of stamina, endurance, and insanity!
Of course, the mecca for all dedicated West End shoppers (Dal? You listening?) is Oxford Street, which is something akin to Vancouver's Robson Street (only much longer) or Chicago's Magnificent Mile (only much less eclectic).
The shopping isn't so much high-end, boutique-style brand names, but rather more street-level, mall-type stores. Annoyingly, stores appear all along Oxford in duplicate, triplicate, even quad?-plicate? (I admit it: I'm definitely NOT the most worldly of the world-class shoppers!)
The architecture, as always, is the most interesting thing to observe:
Oh, and of course, one mustn't pass by the Marks & Spencer's Food Hall! Please! PRIORITIES, people!!
You never really know what you'll find on the side/off-shoot streets that move you away from Oxford Street. It could be a pretty little respite like Soho Square:
Or Hanover Square:
Or a waffle stand:
Or a store called "Faith" right outside Adam & Eve Court (it would have to be a court, right?):
As we moved our way down the street, we came across the cutest little out-of-the-way alley called St. Christopher Place. It's nestled away from Oxford Street and Oxford Circus and is home to a series of old homes and apartments that have been converted into some very exclusive boutiques. I wonder how many people know that they used to hold public hangings here once upon a time??
As you exit out the back end, you simultaneously enter a kind of Restaurant Row, with everything from Moroccan to Italian to French to Sri Lankan to Russian:
One place I didn't get to see last summer is Selfridge's, a kind of Harrod's-like department store. It turned out to be ... ok. Although, I liked the looks of the little sporty number parked right in front:
Inside, stores range from street-level teen wear to exclusive designer labels:
Naturally, we had to check out THEIR Food Hall, which is just as good as Harrod's, albeit smaller:
Oh, and this TOTALLY GROSS DISPLAY of post-modern insanity: actual bugs being sold as some whimsical, nostalgic remembrance of days gone by:
I don't know what's worse: the bug "delicacies" or this ... £69,000 cell phone!
That was it. We'd had it! Off we went.
A quick cut across Marble Arch and through Hyde Park would bring us to Harrod's ... only slightly better on the Crass and Flashy Tourist Scale. I mean, you really can't beat a golden King Tut escalator AND a bronze Mohammed Al Fayed statue!
Oh, and at the famous (infamous?) Speaker's Corner, we ran into an over-zealous religious mob. Unfortunately, I didn't have time for a conversion, as I had knick-knacks and chocolate to buy.
So, on we went, and many a toffee, biscuit, and scone were scoffed.
It was another day that was supposed to rain cats and dogs, but alas, we made it home scot free. Or is that "Scot" free? I never did know.