Flashback to a couple of weeks ago when Fiat lent us a Fiat 500S for the weekend. We took our wheels out on a little road trip to Winchester that Saturday night. For our Sunday date, we decided to stay in the city and explore the opposite side of town. So, we hopped in the car and directed the navigation system to East London. First stop, the famed Columbia Road Flower Market.
This market is one of the places that I dreamed of going to when we found out we were leaving San Francisco for London. I had only seen curated Instagram photos that showed delicately held floral arrangements in an almost serene setting. Ha! This place is straight up chaotic. There’s one block of road where the florist stalls line up on either side and the foot traffic flows through the center. Except that this is one of the most well-known flower markets on the planet and is rarely seen without hoards of people. Essentially, you’re being shuffled to hurry through the block while the florists yell their deals at you. It’s maddening and fantastic all in one. The later the day goes, the more authentic the experience. “Here!”, as he gestures to his remaining stock. “Five pounds a bushel. These are the flowers he’s not buying you!” I live for it. The bustle, the musicians busking, the smell! It’s something special, I tell ya.
Usually a visit to the Columbia Road Flower Market means lots of photos and remarks about how we’re all the way on this side of town anyway, let’s explore!…and then what do we do with the flowers….and carrying them around and on the tube is a whole thing. Which means we usually forego actually purchasing anything amidst the madness and suggest that we just get a bouquet in our own borough. But this time! This time we had a car and the freedom to leave our rewards in the trunk while we took care of important errands, like brunch. The Fiat 500S is small, but mighty with ample trunk space. We popped our blooms in and left the car to explore the ‘hood by foot.
Brunch at Bistrotheque, which is one of those London gems that you almost don’t want to post on social media about because you know there will be identical photos of your exact shot by next week. The London Instagram scene isn’t exactly known for it’s creative boundary stretching. As we walked up to the address, we must have had a familiar confused look on our faces because a man from the kitchen staff walked out at just the right time and motioned for us to come in, “Yes. This is the place you’re looking for.” And daaaang was he right! This beautiful oasis sitting in one of the most gritty areas of the city. The minimalistic decor and the food. The food! We met up with a darling friend and the three plates got passed around the table because everything was top notch. (Real bacon, Americans! I repeat. Real bacon.)
We walked off the worthy calories around Shoreditch. The mural walls are always an impressive statement. Being Christmastime, the markets were extra festive and the Christmas pop-up shops made it feel extra special. We bid adieu and headed back West to put our feet up and hand off the keys to our Fiat 500S.
Thank you to Fiat for lending us the car and sponsoring this post!