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June 27, 2012 / Stephanie Vermillion

My first of many visits to London’s Portobello Market

With yesterday’s Bath trip sparking Roman summer memories, and today’s visit to Portobello Market taking me back to Morocco, I’m convinced it’s national (or international) “walk down memory lane” week.

Since we had the afternoon off today, Amy led me through my first Portobello Market experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect, with my past “market” experiences ranging from Ohio farmers’ markets with rows upon rows of delicious local produce to African marketplaces with banana-on-head-carrying women, and enough fruit to satisfy me for life. But when I heard the word “market,” it never dawned on me I would be walking back in time to a (very mini) Moroccan medina.

Moroccan souk, Rabat medina, Morocco

Spice souk in Rabat, Morocco medina, 2010

While Portobello Market has a wide variety of venues ranging from food to clothing, and jewelry to home decor, I couldn’t help being most drawn to the tagine, pouf and silver bangle stands that were the closest I’ve come to Moroccan souks since my 2010 summer in Rabat. Seeing as I was just browsing Etsy for Moroccan decorations for my Cincinnati apartment this morning, my access to Moroccan-style goods could not have come at a more perfect time.

But, unfortunately just because I lived in Morocco for a month doesn’t mean I’m a skilled bargainer (just ask my mom about my non-bargained Moroccan carpet purchase during a Fes trip, and the tear-filled phone call home that followed it).  I’m still awful at talking down prices. I hate it, and I find myself searching for any products with set price tags to avoid it.

So, sadly  I left the market with nothing (maybe not a bad thing with London’s slightly expensive living costs). On the bright side, Amy’s a pretty savvy bargainer and is more than willing to retry Portobello with me before our London summer ends.

Therefore, Mom: Be prepared for some Moroccan-themed apartment shopping in August … because with Amy as my Portobello partner in crime, I’m sure my suitcase coming home will resemble a miniature souk.

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