A-Z activities

A-Z countries

What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Monday, 1 February 2016

How Green Lanes offers a convincing taste of Turkey

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. We do this in a bid to be less polluting and tackle climate change while at the same time keeping a global outlook. This post sees me exploring just 10 minutes from my home. Nice to discover I really don't have far to go further than Green Lanes to find Turkey & if that isn't enough then it's off to Somerset House for the free exhibition of Nobel-prize winning Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence which offers a taste of his novel and 1970s Istanbul.

Turkish convenience stores - and this is a bit of a star - often offer lots of
good quality raw ingredients. Brilliant place to get spices too.
“Where do you like best on Green Lanes?”

I’ve been asked this before, often actually, once someone knows that I live quite close to this amazing street. Problem is, I never go there. I live about 10 minutes cycle ride away so there’s no excuse and after 11 years living nearby I really must do go and explore.

Green Lanes is not handsome. It's car choked and feels polluted,
but it has some excellent Turkish cafes, shops and restaurants.
So at the weekend I take the dog for a walk in a different direction. Arsenal are playing so the traffic is thick and clogged. Harringay apparently has no separate cycle lanes and you'd think it was where the car is king, but around Green Lanes there are also a lot of pedestrians trying to fit on to the pavements. Near the Harringay overground there’s a shopping centre which most people must walk to and from – judging by the branded bags being carried away from Argos, Homebase, Sainsbury’s and Poundland. But the shopping centre is probably Green Lanes’ lowpoint.

Close to the Harringay overground is the first of two Kofali Hot Nuts shops. Here you can buy a sack of walnuts or sunflower seeds. Or for £1.70 buy a more diminutive-sized mix that’s poured into a paper bag. It’s hard to resist the honey roasted combinations or to avoid picking at them as you walk down the road enjoying the window displays in the many independent shops. You can find shimmering long dresses, over the top jewellery, wonderful displays of vegetables and fruit, amazing bakeries displaying huge celebration cakes and countless cafes where lamb is spinning, dishes of peppers, tomato and onions are ever warm and flat bread wraps – filled with cheese, spinach, tomato, onion combinations – are rolled out and baked in front of your eyes. I bought the best wrap I’ve ever eaten for just £2.50.

Turkish delights
Try the renowned Gokyuzu for fresh salads, flat bread, pide (like pizza), kebabs, rice and many other tasty Turkish choices. Or limit what you can have by a tiny amount and opt for halal and soft drinks at the popular Diyarbakir. Eat up and keep ordering: this is Green Lanes, it’s not going to be pricey. 

You should hear many people speaking Turkish.

Recently a friend compared the range of skirt lengths – long niquab; modest but with a hijab/scarf or crazily short – around Holloway Road’s Nags Head as being very similar to the streets of Istanbul. If that’s right then a walk along Seven Sisters Road then left down to Green Lanes could give you a very convincing taste for Turkish travel.

Two spots along this short section of Green Lanes aren’t well known, but are also worth seeking out. Firstly there’s a gorgeous pocketpark parallel to the railway line. It’s often shut, so check the opening times (open mon-friday and the last saturday of the month). It’s a magical place for spring flowers, so promise yourself a little wander there in March or April. 

Inside the Salisbury on Green Lanes.
A 5-min stroll from Railway Fields' green space you can find the Grade II listed Salisbury pub (opened in 1899). This is a magnificent space around an old oak bar. The ceilings are high, there are snugs and several roaring fires – it’s so big you feel like you have the place to yourself. My husband particularly liked the large choice of real ale (he picked Two o’clock ordinary). For any beer lover this is a real treat. You can pick up a £2.50 filled flat bread before you hit the beers, or enjoy the pub’s popular Sunday-lunch menu (check any details on tel: 020 8800 9617).

Turkey may not be in the EU, but if you can get to London's Green Lanes you can enjoy experiencing something of what it would be like teleported to that mesmerising country. As I mentioned at the start - and if that's not enough then go on to Somerset House for author Orhan Pamuk's 13 vitrines representing the characters in the Museum of Innocence (until 3 April), press release here.

No comments: