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Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

The Broadway and Columbia Road Markets, London

Our flat is located right between two well known East End markets; the Sunday Colombia Rd Flower Market in Bethnal Green and the Saturday Broadway Market,  which is right next to the Regents Canal in Hackney. Both are a short walk for us and are popular with Londoners. If you are looking to  get out of the center of town to see a very London scene they are fun destinations full of life people and great products, but  you'll have to walk a little way from the Tube or take the busThey are further out than the popular Borough, Spitalfields or Brick Lane markets, but both market draw a number of hip/fashionable/affluent/young Londoners, indeed it could be said that these markets are the native habitat of the London hipster who can be seen  on a Saturday sipping  organic coffee while browsing obscure LPs! Here you can really see that Hackney and Bethnal Green are just a short jump from the scene in Shoreditch. 

The Broadway Market  is a smaller version of the Borough Market without the throngs of tourists, though there were quite a number of stylish young Japanese visitors when we went last Saturday. The whole place is a bit of a scene, young families, trendy buskers, hipsters and lots of high end prepared foods. Vegan burgers, bagels and smoked salmon, Indian food, gourmet pies, small producer cheeses, Gauyanese food, French crepes, Persian food, gourmet Scotch eggs, homemade granola, juices of ever color and description and lots and lots of cakes. There are secondhand clothes and the requisite vinyl stall too. It’s a very happening scene and clearly a lot of people do their weekly shopping here. 
While the market is only open on Saturdays, the street (also known as Broadway Market) is home to many fine food purveyors and others  who are open all week including; fancy coffee places, gastro pubs, restaurants, cafes, an upmarket  butcher, fishmonger, bakers and several bookstores. I loved lunch at the gorgeously minimalist and stylish Tiosk  which has fabulous teas and wonderful vegan fare that makes you feel healthier just looking at it! D. likes the coffee shop Climpson and Sons which rather painfully states on its website that they were, "one of the pioneering venues in London's now-famousi coffee revolution". Despite the Bolshevik history of the area,  coffee seems to be the only revolution happening around here these days!
Broadway Market area had been recommended to us several times but I must admit it was far more upscale than I had imagined. It's filled with characterful local shops. However, things may be changing quickly as this week I noticed the first upscale chain had opened on the street, an outlet of Aesops the Australian skincare peoplewhich says everything about the changing economic and demographic profile of the area. Fitting in with my feeling that all these trendy places are beginning to look alike, there was an Aesops in the Marais a few blocks from our flat!
Who could resist all those cakes or the chocolate below? Not me, I can't even resit including the photographs!
There was great live music outside one the the bookstores. Here a chap spontaneously joined the hipster busker to add some beats, it was really fun.
As I've mentioned Broadway Market isn't exclusively food, on Saturday there are a variety of stalls including some selling vintage items, baskets and for some reason one with camping equipment!

Just down the road the Columbia Flower Market is a great place for plants of all kinds of plants and cut flowers. It is incredibly popular and runs till about 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. We strolled down here after lunch and passes innumerable people holding armfuls of flowers of all kinds. Clearly no one can resist a Cockney barrow boy selling cut rate flowers on Easter Sunday. It was so packed it was almost impassable but somehow I still ended up with two large orchids and a large bunch of narcissus for six pounds! There was certainly bags of local color and I enjoyed the experience. However, it was so crowded down there it was very difficult to take any decent picture - so here's a photo of the flowers in the flat which suddenly looking more like home. 
There are also a number of design-y shops on Columbia Road selling an eclectic range of vintage furniture and antiques along with a lovely selection of shops selling stationery and handbags and household items, though you'd be best to go on a weekend  if you're hoping to find them open. All in all we were happy to have had a quick "look/see" and look forward to exploring more. Living close by I know we will be going to both markets regularly. 

Tip: Combine a trip to the Broadway Market with a walk along the Regents Canal which provides a wonderful insight into London's industrial past.

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