This weekend, while all you Wildcats were (hopefully) cheering on the UNH Men’s Hockey team (so sad I missed it!), I crossed off another item on my London bucket list. Have you ever seen the movie Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts? If you’re answer is “yes,” we can be friends you are going to love this! If you’re answer is “no,” then go watch it right now! To summarize, it’s a rom-com about a movie star (Roberts) who falls in love with a travel bookshop owner (Grant) while staying in London. The movie gets its name from an actual area in London, and the movie was filmed right on location. Needless to say, it’s a personal favorite of mine.
Visiting Notting Hill was like stepping onto a movie set, except it was real! Narrow, cobblestone streets where lined with colorful apartments, boutiques, and restaurants. You keep thinking it’s going to end, but street after street is just as picturesque as the first. The real attraction in Notting Hill, though, is Portobello Market. Stretching the length of Portobello Road, this outdoor market is held throughout the week. However, the main day for antiquing is Saturday, and people travel from all around the world in search of a one-of-a-kind treasure.
In the beginning of Notting Hill (and throughout the movie), Hugh Grant can be seen strolling casually through the market. It is considerably less crowded in the movie. In reality, it’s jam-packed with tourists and locals alike. There are stands filled with fresh produce, cheese, baked breads, desserts, you name it. Of course we had to sample everything a few things. We ate crepes filled with Nutella and bananas, coconut water right out of a coconut, delicious quiche, and paella cooked in giant cast iron pans. Yum! Never one to pass up on shopping, we also checked out all the great antiques, ranging from books to teapots to fur coats. I can imagine that it is going to be a great place for Christmas shopping.
The highlight of the trip was when we went to the actual apartment where Hugh Grant lived in the movie. It’s iconic blue door makes it easy to distinguish and hard to forget. I naturally had to take a picture in front of it. The other stop was to the bookshop where Grant worked in the film. Although it is no longer just travel books, it was incredibly cool to see it in person. I was waiting for Julia Roberts to waltz in and start her famous monologue (“After all… I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”).
I will be in London one month this week, but moments like these still make the whole journey feel surreal. London is such a historic city, and every day I am discovering new places with detailed pasts. While I probably won’t be running into Julia Roberts any time soon, it was great to be in a place that I had only seen in the movies.
Read more posts from Samantha Friedman here.