There is a cliche that sometimes you can’t see the elephant because you are standing too close to see the bigger picture, however that sentiment could not be more accurate in describing King’s College on the Strand. It was only until I started visiting other areas and places in London that I realized how central Kings is. They are in the heart of London, with each street acting as
an artery for adventure, exploration and memories.
Walk East from King’s College campus on a sunny spring day and get lost at the Bricklayers market. It is near Shoreditch and the sunnier the day the better as every side street and open space is filled with vendors and shops. It is a snapshot into the past and you can’t help but think about Victorian times as you walk down the old brick road packed with people selling everything from vintage clothes to army surplus to curry.
There is a grand market inside, packed stall to stall with every possible food imaginable from around the world. The smells draw you in and then batter your senses as spicy Mexican food battles Ethiopian food blending with Latvian food with undertones of sweet fried Chinese food. It is exciting and there is an energy in this food market, but that is not all you will see on Bricklayer market. Walk along the main street and feel the energy of this thriving market walking past vintage store after vintage store.
Every Sunday there is a man who sets up three to four chess boards on the main street of the market and offers games for free. He is an older man who sits in a decrepit chair in a tan leather jacket smoking his pipe and to this day I have never seen him lose, often playing four games at once. Part of living and studying in London is not only experiencing the life around you, but interacting with it. Every time I visit Bricklayer market I look to see that man playing chess, to test my wits against his, not to only experience London, but to contribute to the fabric of the city.