I didn't do my homework. Rather, I listened to locals who told me that the best day to do Portobello Market is on Friday very early in the morning when the tourist crowds are minimal. So, I got there at 8am thinking I was primed for the good stuff but nope, that was still too early.
Oh well, I thought, figuring that my premature arrival gave me time to eat a proper breakfast and still be one of the first shoppers to pounce. Within an hour I was surprisingly over the urge to shop and simply began to enjoy watching the vendors set up their tables and store owners open their doors. It was like witnessing a ritual that I'm usually to preoccupied to notice. Even before the first boxes of goodies were taken out of loaded vans I was able to walk the then peaceful road totally uninterrupted. Having been to Portobello on a Saturday when the crowds of people are practically overwhelming, it was a real treat to actually be able to walk freely, chat with vendors, look up, and stop and admire the many signs, typography, and colors of the street.
I always like to do markets early in the morning but at least now I know that I can sleep in for Portobello on Fridays.