“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people and look beyond what’s right in front of you” Andrew Zimmern

I trust my instincts and my vibes and I always get it right, unless it’s about people: they’re too unpredictable and fake. But London has been a constant positive feedback to my hop off the tube randomly game where one the rules is often “I like the name of this station”.

This happened when we got off at Elephant and Castle, that my local friends considered only a purely a transport interchange or a place to pass through on the bus or a train, besides considering it a “no posh” borough. To be honest, Elephant and Castle is a vibrant neighbourhood just south of the River Thames whose area was once famed as the “Piccadilly of the South” and probably it still is if you take the chance to venture around.

The area takes its name from a pub that once was a coaching inn and that owed its name to the emblem of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers of its early owner. But knowing how much Brits love puns and playing with words, you will be told that the area takes its name to the heraldic symbol of a Spanish princess who is said to have stayed here. So “Elephant and Castle” is simply a corruption of the Spanish words “La Infanta de Castilla”.

The first thing that stroke my attention once out of the tube, was the bronze statue of the Elephant and Castle that now it’s located outside the shopping centre, but that once stood high on top of the pub.

 

We spend a few time wandering through the open air market and shopping at the mall that includes a Tesco, several East Europe shops and restaurants and a Poundland that’s one of my favourite places to shop at.

Once out, we took a glance to the Imperial war museum, but since I wasn’t interested to visit it, we didn’t go and then we had a quick stroll around the tube station. My friends told me that there was a Mercato Metropolitano in the nearby that it was worth a visit, but we had other plans, so I saved to see it when I come back.

I didn’t have meals there, but as regarding gluten free options, there’s a Nando’s (that I personally state as safe) or you can buy some fruit at the shopping centre.

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To be frank, Elephant and Castle area isn’t that attractive and appealing due to its big, characterless and dull buildings, but at the moment there’s a big plan about investing in the regeneration of this borough. This investment includes new homes, better transport, improved shopping centres and shops, leisure, new schools and community centres. The biggest project should take place around Elephant Park.

What to say more? I can’t way to go back there.

TRACK OF THE DAY: The City-Ed Sheeran

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