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Published: September 2nd 2012
The trams go between Croydon and Wimbledon - be careful when you are walking around Croydon as they don't make much noise!
Hello blog world!
Who would have thought that my first ever blog would be from somewhere so exotic as Croydon. Even though I've set this up as a South America blog, I've been having a little South East UK adventure for the past year - Epsom, Epsom, Hackney, Croydon (back to Epsom for a week) Croydon. I didn't plan this, but opportunities for cheap/free lodgings came along and I am happy to report that all pets, plants and workmen remained in good health under my supervision and my travel fund is more healthy as a result. So thanks homeowners - Matt, Catt, Amy, Al, Jim, Ang, David, Marney and Simon 😊
I'm flying out of Gatwick on the 14th September and plan to travel for a year. On my country hot list is Peru, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador. I am more interested in the wild areas but I am not averse to some city life too. I'm starting out in Peru for at least a month, travelling by coach from Lima, via the Nazca Lines
, Colca Canyon
and Lake Titicaca
(in The Andes - a heady 3,500 metres up). Here I'm doing a TEFL course
and then hopefully off
Try the shops in West Croydon for weird and wonderful fruit, veg and assorted other delights
on the well-trodden Inca Trail
. After that I don't really know, I am open to opportunities...
So what will make a good blog?
1) make friends and family jealous obviously
2) reassure friends and family that I am alive (and haven't been ingested by an anaconda, mum)
3) quality reporting that may get me head hunted by Lonely Planet? - a bit ambitious maybe, I'll settle for taking friends and family along with me to enjoy the sights and give some tips in case you, or anyone else who happens upon them, comes out this way
NB. You can leave comments on my posts and let me know what you're up to too 😊
I've chosen this blog site because you're part of a travel community and can get tips from the thousands of others who use it - e.g. there are already over 5,000 posts on Cusco! But thanks to everyone who has given me tips too - Ronan, Isabel, Anthony, Julian, Philippa etc.
Okay for a bit of travel blog practise I'll start with some insights from er... Croydon
The London Borough of Croydon is big, with 800,000 residents if it were a city
Croydon loves shopping
It's a Sunday and the precinct is packed
in its own right it would be the eighth largest in the UK. It's famous for bringing up Kate Moss, has its own hairstyle - the Croydon facelift - an extremely tight pony tail, it used to have its own airport, Charles Dickens was born here and the marvellous Peep Show was filmed here.
To look at... sorry Croydon but you're not going to win any beauty prizes. Concrete and shops rule in the centre. There's a small old town area with some olde worlde buildings and an attractive looking minster (big church), though I've never been inside. There is a lot of green space here - 120 parks and nature reserves!
, but if you just visit the centre you will find that hard to believe.
It's popular for a night out as there are lots of pubs and clubs, I haven't been to many places personally but Ang and Dave recommend the Green Dragon (live music) and the Bricklayers Arms and I like the Spread Eagle for a decent pint, for the livelier scene this site's
got some interesting insights for you! For the galloping gourmets Croydon should not dissapoint; the centre has a restaurant quarter
, a lively food market in Surrey Street
Kebab shop recommendation
Hello Peeps! This kebabbery by West Croydon Station does proper kebabs, families come in to get kebabs to take home for an evening meal innit.
(dating back to 1276 no less) and possibly the only Bulgarian food shop in the UK. It's no suprise that Croydon has varied eating offers as it's residents come from all over the world - 40%!o(MISSING)f the population belongs to Black and Minority Ethnic Groups.
Croydon became infamous last year for its riots, I was in Croydon at the time and saw the looters and chaos. It was scarey. Croydon already had a rep for being rough, but looking at the crime stats
suprisingly it's crime rate is significantly below the London average - so why the bad name before the riots? Maybe it's because the centre is pretty 'colourful' and that's the part that people see most often. I was in the centre shopping yesterday and the characters were out in force - rasta dancing man, monk with bells on, ranting lady and men casually joking in the street about stabbing someone... yes this is why Croydon has a rep!
Well asides from 'character' watching what else can you do here? There's a big cinema, Fairfield Hall
where you can see concerts, plays and musicals, and I have just discovered that you can go zorbing
here! I had a go at zorbing in New Zealand, it's brilliant!!! And there's the Kids Space Indoor Adventure Park
which boldly claims to be a new breed of centre that will change how parents and kids are entertained indoors. For those that like a bit of history, you can take guided tours
(which include going to the top of a car park to take in the views!) - being a geek I'm quite keen to go on one!
To wrap this up... Croydon is a liveley, diverse place with no frills or pretences. With all the shops in the centre and the Purley Way out of town shopping area Croydon is great for shopping. While you're making your purchases you will need to eat and there's plenty of options. You could stay into the evening and sample some of the entertainment on offer. And it's very easy to travel to - there are two train stations and a tram service. But cyclists be warned about the tram lines, like me you can easliy get your tyres stuck in them!
Now I expect you can't wait for my next installment... what next the history of Gatwick Airport?! 😉 No I promise more exciting tales, so I hope that you will check into my blog from time to time. And please do leave comments about what you're up to too, I don't want to miss out on the goss 😉
Hasta luego chicos Jennie xxx
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