Author: vegannomadchick

Hiking, a festival, even vegan popsicles!

We just finished up our second week here in Spain. Life is good! Time is passing quickly and we feel like we’ve been in Torremolinos for longer than a few weeks already. Perhaps it’s because we keep a full schedule of work and play, or because we like it here and feel right at home. 🙂

Pinar de los Manantiales hike

We went on our first hike in Torremolinos this past week. Kuba really likes hiking and trekking up mountains. I don’t feel like I’m in the best shape for a rigorous hike just yet, so we started out with an easy hike named Pinar de los Manantiales just outside the city centre.

Kuba found this hike through the WikiLoc app, an offline hiking app full of maps and routes of hikes around the world. This app is useful because you can use it offline, meaning you don’t need cell reception to find your way. It beeps at you if you stray too far off course, and it remembers your route if you decide to venture off the trail. That way, you’ll always be able to find your way back to where you started.

The hike had a slight incline and wasn’t too strenuous. We went further than the map recommended and climbed a bit higher, which was worth it! It took us around two hours including time to stop and film along the way. It was a nice way to break in my new Merrell shoes.

Check out Kuba’s vlog of our hike if you want to see our view of Torremolinos down below. 🙂

Playa de la Carihuela

We like to walk along the beach front promenade in the evening. Sometimes Kuba will go for a quick dip in the sea, and then we’ll toss the frisbee around until he dries off. Usually, we stick to the Playamar beach area just past Playa del Bajondillo because there’s plenty of free space for frisbee and palm trees for shade, but last week we decided to walk the other way on the promenade, South of Torremolinos toward Benalmádena and Fuengirola.

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Playa de la Carihuela didn’t seem as busy as the Bajondillo area, but it was still lined with plenty of cafés and shops. Unlike the promenade that goes along Playa del Bajondillo and Playamar, the promenade here was strictly for pedestrians only, as bikes were directed down another path. We’ll need to investigate this alternative path further as we hope to rent bikes one of these days.

We definitely prefer strolling along the beach during the week as it’s less busy. Even though we don’t visit the beach every day, I’m glad we have the opportunity to do so because the beaches here remind me of those in California. The palm trees remind me of the beaches in Santa Barbara; the wide sandy beaches remind me of Venice Beach. I feel right at “home” here. 😉

el Festival de las Culturas

This past weekend the 2nd annual Festival de las Culturas took place in Torremolinos in the Plaza de la Nogalera from Thursday to Sunday. We found out about this festival thanks to Facebook, as we regularly browse through local events just in case we find something interesting.

Various countries were represented in this festival (I think I counted 16) including Mexico, the US, Thailand, and India, among others. Typically they were represented with a food stall or artisan crafts but also with music and dance performances. We didn’t spend much time here since most of the food was meat-heavy (and the smell of grilled meat put us off) but we couldn’t resist these colourful umbrellas.

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Visiting local events like this is fun because it makes us feel less like tourists. I’m sure plenty of tourists enjoyed this event as well, but listening to music and unwinding in the plaza, which happens to be a few minutes walk from our flat, is a nice feeling. We’re never in a rush here since we have three months to soak it all in. 🙂

vegan popsicles in Fuengirola

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Fuengirola is a quick train ride down the coast so we figured why not explore the city for the first time.

Based on what I found as I browsed HappyCow, Fuengirola is full of vegan-friendly shops and cafés. A vegan-friendly popsicle shop, named Stickhouse, piqued my interest. Kuba and I both tried the chocolate popsicle, and we opted to have it freshly dipped in chocolate and rolled in almonds. Yum!

Not all of Stickhouse’s popsicles are vegan, however, but several of the fruit and chocolate ones were. The man working there was very friendly and knowledgeable about the vegan options. I haven’t had a dipped chocolate popsicle like that in years, so I was happy to indulge. 🙂

In the end, we didn’t find much else to do in Fuengirola besides walking along the beach. We just prefer the quieter beaches of Torremolinos, I guess!

That being said, I wouldn’t mind returning to Fuengirola at some point to tour the Castillo de Sohail since entry is free. (It’s open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 – 14:00.)

the week ahead

This week we plan to visit Nerja (another resort town east of Málaga on the coast) for a hike up the Rio Chillar. We don’t have anything else set in stone besides a day trip to Madrid on the 27th. This will be my third time in the city. We are meeting up with another nomadic vegan couple, as well as revisiting some of my favourite sites. Madrid will always be special to me because it was my first trip to Madrid that inspired me to quit my job in the States and start downsizing my life. 🙂

We are considering visiting Granada or Seville as well. Do you have any recommendations for these cities or any other cities in Spain?

Thank you for reading! ❤

Our first week on Costa del Sol

We’ve been in Torremolinos just over a week now and I really like it! I feel like Kuba and I are on holiday because our work schedule is casual, we’re eating as much fresh, ripe fruit as we care for, and we walk along the beach almost every evening. 🙂

We’ll be based in Torremolinos for three months. Last summer, I hopped around Europe every couple of weeks or so. I much prefer this slower pace since we have time to relax and we’re not pressured into seeing all the sites in one go. We can take it easy and enjoy life just like the locals.

The beaches here are clean and surprisingly, they’re never too busy during the week. Calle Peligro, a winding path lined with shops and cafes, leads us to the beach from the city centre. (It’s a dangerous street, indeed, with all the stairs!) From there, we stroll along the beachfront promenade until we reach our preferred section of the beach, a bit further away from the end of Calle Peligro, since it’s always empty and perfect for frisbee. 😉

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We lucked out with the location of our flat because it’s conveniently located. We’re staying in a studio flat in a residential area next to the city centre. Walking to the beach takes us only 15-20 minutes. This flat is spacious and well-lit with a balcony. The sun shines through the window in the early morning but the flat stays nice and cool during the rest of the day.

I give you a little tour of our flat in my first Torremolinos vlog. 🙂

fruterías are life

The best part about living in our flat is that we have a little fruit shop down the street. We’ve been purchasing all of our produce from this shop because it’s much cheaper than produce at big-box stores like Mercadona. It’s also better quality and delicious. Lucky us!

Even though we’ve been eating as much fresh produce and whole foods as we like, we still have only managed to spend around €106 on food in our first week. This has to be one of the best perks of living in Spain. Keep in mind we only ate out once that week with two scoops of vegan ice cream on our way to the beach. (Couldn’t resist.) Focusing on whole plant-based foods and cooking at home means our food costs are half of what they were in the UK.

In my latest video, I explain our food expenses and what we’ve been eating during our first week in Spain. I also offer some money-saving tips to help you keep your food budget low while travelling.

Jardin Botanico Molino de Inca

We visited the botanical gardens here since they are listed as one of the “must see” attractions in Torremolinos. It only cost €1 to enter and is located a short walk from our flat. The gardens were nice, full of palm trees, and even include a small Japanese garden. Sadly, they also have wild birds in cages on display in one area of the gardens. We weren’t aware of this prior to entering, otherwise, we’d have skipped it. Just beware of that if you’re considering visiting it.

Check out Kuba’s vlog for a sneak peek of the gardens.

Parque de la Batería

We also scoped out Parque de la Batería the other day since it’s close to Carrefour, a massive supermarket full of international foods. I shopped at Carrefour when I stayed in Barcelona last summer, so I hoped we could explore the Mexican and Asian food options there. We found cheaper tortillas for our burrito bowl lunches and delicious vegan dark chocolate in their organic section. Score!

Anyways, back to the park. 😛 Parque de la Batería is the largest green space in Torremolinos so we had to visit it. We found plenty of shady park benches, water fountains, and even some California palm trees! We visited the park in the early afternoon and it was practically empty. Good for us, bad for our photos since we like to photograph people. At any rate, it was a beautiful sunny day for a walk in the park.

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We climbed the tower (which also comes equipped with a lift) for a nice view of the beach and city down below.

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a quick trip to Málaga

Málaga is a short train ride away so we ventured there this past Friday. I needed to buy some new hiking shoes (my other barefoot shoes were defective!) so we figured why not explore a new city. Our flight from London put us in Málaga but since we arrived late in the evening, we didn’t have time to walk around before heading into Torremolinos.

Málaga is a port city similar to Torremolinos with its sandy beaches and resorts. However, with a population of roughly 569,000, it’s much larger than Torremolinos by 500k.

After securing new Merrell hiking shoes at Corte Ingles, we wandered through Málaga’s Old Town and strolled through Paseo España, a shady palm-lined garden along the water. We continued on the Promenade of Pablo Ruiz Picasso and ate cherries at La Playa de Malagueta.

We also noticed several pieces by French artist Invader. The first time I saw one of his pieces in person was when I visited Ljubljana last summer. Now I keep an eye out for them. 😉

I think I prefer the smaller city vibes of Torremolinos since the beaches here are never that busy. Still, we’ll need to revisit Málaga again before we leave this part of Spain. Fortunately, we have until the end of August.

Spain was one of my favourite destinations last summer and it still is. I could definitely see us settling down in Spain someday! Not anytime soon though, we have van plans starting next year. 😉

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Have you visited Spain’s Costa del Sol before?

What sites do you recommend?

My last week in Dundee

The last few weeks in Dundee flew by! I feel like I’ve been socialising non-stop for the past two weeks, no complaints but I’m not used to my schedule being so packed.

Nearly three weeks ago, I travelled to London with my friend Ivy of Year of Vegan Eats. We departed from Edinburgh and returned there after our foodie holiday in London. This granted me the opportunity for quick catch-ups with several friends in Edinburgh since that was the last time I’d be there for at least two years. I also had the chance to spend one more day in Glasgow and I couldn’t pass it up for the same reason. Kuba and I aren’t planning on returning to Scotland for quite some time as we have a full year of travelling through Europe ahead of us, and following that we plan to acquire and convert a van into a suitable living space for the next stage of our never-ending honeymoon. 😉

Kuba’s last day at work was last Friday. He’s finally free to start another career after working as a motorcycle mechanic for 10 years. He’s looking forward to focusing exclusively on his photography and videography now that he won’t be working a 9-5 job. This was a long time coming, as he knew years ago he’d ultimately quit this career for a new direction, taking a risk and opting for a more challenging path instead of a secure and comfortable one.

new tattoos!

With ample free time to socialise and clear out our flat, we also decided to get tattooed in Dundee before we start travelling through Europe. We’ve talked about getting tattoos to mark the start of this journey previously, so we figured why not get them done just before we move.

We were tattooed by Jay at Sanctuary Tattoo in Dundee thanks to a recommendation by our friend Rebecca. Rebecca has a beautifully coloured forearm piece (inspired by her own drawings) completed by Jay. Both Kuba and I were impressed by the vibrancy and clarity of Rebecca’s forearm, so we booked an appointment with Jay a few days in advance. We haven’t been tattooed in years so we both were eager to add a new piece to our collection.

My tattoo, designed by Rebecca, commemorates my time spent in Scotland. Kuba’s signifies the start of this new and exciting stage in his life. Thanks to Rebecca for helping us sort it!

one last day out with Ivy & Leo

The next day, our friends Ivy and Leo came through from Edinburgh to spend the day with us. This would be the last time we’d see them until September, as they’ve already booked flights to come visit us in Zagreb, Croatia! Naturally, we grabbed lunch at The Flame Tree Cafe.

Since this would be my last time eating there, I ordered my favourite sandwich, the vegan haggis toastie with sweet onion chutney and melty vegan cheese, with a side of pea and mint soup. The pea and mint soup is one of my favourite soups thanks to them. I decided to be extra fancy that day and order my toastie on a rainbow bagel. It was the right choice! A toasted bagel sando dunked into pea and mint soup is my idea of heaven. 🙂

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We actually had the vegan haggis three different ways: Kuba opted for it in a wrap, Leo ordered the toastie as it comes, and I savoured every single bite of my rainbow bagel toastie. Ivy noshed on a falafel sandwich instead. The falafel at The Flame Tree Cafe also happens to be one of my favourites. Maybe I just like everything there… 😉

After lunch, we relaxed in the City Square, soaked up all the sunshine, sampled some lattes at The Tartan Coffee House, and ended the night with dinner at Rama Thai.

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I’ve walked past Rama Thai before but never considered eating there as I wasn’t certain of their vegan options. We decided to try it thanks to several of our friends and their recommendations. I’m glad we did because the food was delicious!

I ordered their Som Tum salad as green papaya salad is one of my favourites from our trip to Thailand. On their menu, Som Tum wasn’t described as papaya salad because their version lacked the unripe green papaya. This is no surprise to me as green papaya is difficult to come by in Dundee. Instead, they replaced the papaya with shredded turnip. I tried it for dinner with a side of sticky rice as that was my go-to meal while Kuba and I visited Chiang Mai. My salad was absolutely delicious and very spicy. Yum!

Part of me is sad that I didn’t try Rama Thai sooner, but it’s probably for the best considering the prices were significantly higher than the prices we paid in Thailand. At any rate, I’m happy that I had a taste of authentic Thai food before we head off to Spain, and that I got to share the experience with Ivy and Leo. If you have a craving for Thai food, don’t hesitate to try Rama Thai. 🙂

decluttering, donations, & packing

Thursday was our last day in our flat so we were busy packing, organising our belongings, and completing any last minute errands. We’re only taking three bags full of our belongings and a guitar with us to Spain, so we donated a few bags of kitchen supplies to a charity shop and donated extra clothing, bedding, and towels thanks to Recycle Scotland’s website.

We didn’t have much furniture to begin with but still ended up donating our washing machine, desk, chair, hi-fi table, steamer, and vacuum to the British Heart Foundation. The BHF offers free pick-up of donations. You simply need to arrange a pick-up time online or over the phone. We initially tried to donate these items to the Tayside Reuse Centre as they also offer free pick-up, but we didn’t give them enough notice. Make sure you let these charities know a few weeks in advance if you have furniture you’d like to donate.

I’m glad that we managed to re-home most of the stuff we didn’t need. Thanks to our friends for taking little things off our hands! I hope you find your new stuff useful and that it serves you well. 🙂

And if you’re curious about what we packed for our move to Spain, check out our packing videos. This is everything we own and everything we’ll take with us for the next year.  Thanks for watching!

a homemade dinner thanks to Rebecca

For our last night in Dundee, our friend Rebecca graciously offered to cook us dinner. I think it’s safe to say she’s the best cook I know. 😉 She made us oil-free falafels served with a fresh salad, smoky sun-dried tomato cashew sauce, and seedy tortillas. For dessert, she whipped up some mango coconut yoghurt nice cream topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries. Dinner was excellent, as I knew it would be! We appreciated it so much because she took the time to make us a dinner that was oil-free and not too fatty. She catered to our eating habits, and that means a lot to us!

I was sad to end that night in Dundee because I’ve considered Scotland my home since I first moved to Glasgow a year and a half ago. I’ve made so many genuine friends there, met my now-husband, and started a new life. I don’t know what the next year will bring but I know it will be awesome! Let’s do this! ❤

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I wrote this post while we were on the plane from London to Málaga. We’re now in our flat in Torremolinos after walking along the beach. 🙂

One last trip to Glasgow

I travelled to Glasgow last week so I could catch up with a few friends. I can’t believe I only have a few days left here in Scotland! Kuba and I will be on our way to Torremolinos, Spain this Friday afternoon. 🙂

Glasgow was my first home after leaving the States in December 2015. I moved to Glasgow without ever visiting the city before, only because my now-friend Katie graciously let me rent out a room in her flat. Katie and I only had correspondence online, but everything worked out better than I could have predicted. I feel like I lucked out with my living situation because I feel like we had perfect flatmate chemistry if that makes sense!

I planned to meet up with Katie for lunch since I’d only be in Glasgow this one last time. I’m so lucky that I had the chance to connect with her. I doubt I would have had such a good time in Glasgow if my living situation were different. She has the sweetest, most well-behaved dog named Smash (the one that I recently dog-sat here in Dundee) and I enjoyed every second of my time at her flat in the West End. I lived with her and a second flatmate, Cat, for four months before I moved to Dundee. I was sad to move away from Glasgow but I had met Kuba a few weeks before. I just had to move in with him ASAP. 😉

I felt right at home in Glasgow and made friends easily. The vegan community in Glasgow and Edinburgh is vast, so finding vegans to hang out with wasn’t difficult for me. Also, connecting with Scottish vegans on Instagram before I moved across the pond made my transition to living in Scotland easy.

Besides lunch plans with Katie, I also hoped to catch up with my friends Debs and Sandra. 🙂

Debs is a fellow vegan entrepreneur of Wee Peeps whom I followed on Instagram before I arrived in Glasgow. We’ve met up a few times and I always have a good time with her. She’s creative, always positive about the future, and loves to travel. I had to meet up with her one last time before I leave Scotland!

She met me at the train station that morning, and our first stop was Picnic for a mocha and cappuccino. Picnic is an all-vegan cafe and my favourite cafe in Glasgow. Their croissants are to die for and their coffee drinks are perfect! They have several non-dairy milks to choose from. I chose a coconut milk mocha and skipped my usual croissant as Debs and I had a picnic in the park planned for later.

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It was unusually sunny in Glasgow that day. We took advantage of it by walking along the river, eventually finding our way to Glasgow’s West End.

We popped into Tesco for some grapes and scoped out Roots and Fruits. I couldn’t resist trying their vegan sausage rolls, so I ordered one to go and Debs ordered a wee box of beet salad. They had other vegan salads and goodies on their menu, as well as a shop full of vegan snacks, fresh bread, and whole foods. (The shop itself isn’t fully vegan, but vegans still have plenty to choose from!)

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Our picnic in Kelvingrove Park was excellent! The grapes were delicious, of course, and the beet salad was fresh and a good value considering the price, which was just over the price of my sausage roll. The sausage roll was tasty but not as good as my friend Rebecca’s homemade vegan sausage rolls. Her home-cooking has ruined me, I think. 😉

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Thanks to Debs for meeting up and soaking up those rays with me! We both got a bit tan after our walk along the river. 🙂

After our picnic, I wandered back to the city centre. I’ve never seen George Square so busy! Everyone was enjoying the sunshine that day. It felt like proper summer!

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I relaxed in the grass at George Square for a bit and then headed over to Mono to meet up with Katie and her dogs Smash and Murdo. Katie just adopted Murdo the day prior, so he was full of beans!

Mono, another standout all-vegan restaurant in Glasgow, happens to be dog-friendly so we decided to grab lunch there while sitting outside. I’ve always loved the food at Mono so I’m happy I got to eat there one last time.

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I ordered the tofu bahn mi and Katie ordered the seitan burger. Delicious! I could have eaten two of them but saved myself for dessert. Katie ordered us the last strawberry danishes to go. 🙂

We took the dogs for a walk around Glasgow Green, sat in the shade and enjoyed our danishes. Unfortunately for Katie, Murdo snatched her danish away, and swallowed it whole in one bite!

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I think Smash will need to get used to Murdo’s energy. As Katie put it, she likes his joie de vivre. 😉 Thanks to Katie for meeting up and for the delicious danish! ❤

After lunch, I met up with my friend Sandra for a coffee at the second Roots and Fruits location and a walk back into the city centre. Sandra and I first met in person after I returned from Thailand. She visited me in Dundee and I was always happy to meet up with her when I travelled to Glasgow. She’s friendly, easy to talk to, and always positive. Good vibes all around! 🙂 Chatting with her is so natural, that time always flies! Luckily she happened to notice the time as we sipped our coffees and shared some halva. We were a bit distracted, I guess!

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Thanks to Sandra for my coffee and for my wedding gift: an avocado and Nakd bars! Vegans sure know how to give gifts! 😉

I wish I had more time to spend with my friends in Glasgow but I’m glad I had one last opportunity to meet up with them. Hopefully, our paths will cross again. If not in Scotland, abroad! ❤

Last day in London | Daily Goods Coffee, Tortilla, King’s Cross

I’m back in Dundee now, with all of my London vlogs complete. You can see everything I describe here in my corresponding London vlog, linked at the end of this post. 🙂

What a trip! Ivy and I were only in London for three and a half days, but it seems like much longer since we packed so much into it!

Daily Goods Coffee was our first stop that last morning in London. It’s located in Peckham, just past the Lumberjack café we visited on our second day, so we didn’t have far to walk.

In addition to coffee, Daily Goods offered toasts, sandwiches, and pastries. I scoped out their menu the previous day as I walked back to the hotel from Soho. 😉 They had several vegan-friendly items on their menu, including avocado toast. Yay! Ivy and I decided to split an order just to nibble on since we also planned to visit Persepolis one last time for a proper breakfast.

My only complaint about Daily Goods is the lighting in the rear of the café. The front half of the café was well-lit with natural light coming in from a large window, but the rear half relied on LED lights. LED lights just give off a strange vibe…the colours of our food, the walls, our skin even, looked strange. Maybe it’s just me but I feel weird sitting in LED-lit spaces. It just feels unnatural.

I popped outside to take a photo of our avocado toast because the lights were so weird. 😉

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This toast was nice as the bread was fresh and homemade. The avocado was seasoned with a few chili flakes and Maldon salt, and the toast drizzled with olive oil served with a lemon wedge on the side. I’ve never tried avocado toast with olive oil but it was delicious! The olive oil was slightly sweet and fruity, a far cry from the cheap store brand olive oil I used to use back in the day! Splitting the order was a good choice, as one slice each kept us comfortably full.

We checked out of the hotel and headed down the street to Persepolis. We were under the impression that they opened at 11:00 because that’s what their sign states, but unfortunately their kitchen opened up 30 minutes after that. We didn’t have time to wait since we needed to make our way to King’s Cross railway station so we decided to forgo breakfast and move on. I’ll just need to revisit Persepolis the next time I’m in London.

We took a bus to King’s Cross and figured we’d sort out lunch before boarding our train. Our train wouldn’t depart until 14:00, so we had just under two hours to wander around the station.

Ivy found a burrito place called Tortilla online, located just outside the station. I was craving burritos ever since I found out Chipotle exists in London, so I was very happy! Tortilla is a build-your-own burrito chain, just like Chipotle. I ordered a large burrito with rice, black beans, guacamole, salsa, and lettuce and it hit the spot. It wasn’t authentic Mexican food by any means (obviously) but it was tasty and filling. (I really miss the real Mexican food in California!)

Besides Tortilla, we found lots of other vegan options in and around the station. There were several food stalls outside the station with vegan wraps, fresh juices, and more. There’s also an M&S shop in the station, so you won’t have any trouble finding something tasty and vegan to nosh on.

Inside the station, we found coffee shops like Caffè Nero, Starbucks, and Pret, but all of them only offered paper disposable cups. I decided to indulge in a soya mocha at Giraffe Stop on the second level of the station because they offered real mugs as opposed to paper ones.

I also noticed a vegan hummus and veggie wrap in their grab-and-go case as I waited in line to order my mocha. Vegan options everywhere! And if I hadn’t downed that burrito, I would have picked up some vegan sushi from Wasabi Sushi also located on the second level of the station. Ivy and I tried their vegan sushi during our 2nd day in London. It was so good!

Luckily, our train was on-time. Four and a half hours later, we arrived in Edinburgh. Woo!

Thanks to Ivy for booking our trains and accommodation, and for being an excellent foodie tour guide. Although I’ve been to London previously, this trip was head and shoulders above the rest simply because she’s familiar with London and the vegan foodie scene. I’m glad I got to experience London one last time before I’m off to Spain! ❤

London day 3 | Tibits, Vegan Hippo, Govinda’s, Yorica, Maloko!

You can see everything I describe here in my corresponding London vlog, linked at the end of this post. 🙂

Since we were determined to try as many different vegan-friendly places as possible, we started our third day in London early. We headed to The Travel Café Southbank for coffee since it looked cute, with cacti and succulents decorating the facade. We passed it on the bus several times and were keen to check it out.

The café was indeed cute, spacious, and the barista very friendly. This was the only café we visited that offered vanilla syrup for my latte. As for the other coffee shops, they only offered lattes as they come without added flavours. I was excited to finally have a sweeter vanilla latte but honestly, the vanilla flavour didn’t come through. My latte was still delicious, albeit more robust than I’m used to! You’ll never find me complaining about coffee that’s too strong, though. It gave me an extra boost as we headed further into the city.

We planned to lunch at Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian Restaurant since we passed it in Soho the other day, peeked in the window and discovered it looked similar to the Govinda’s Restaurant in Dublin. (This was one of my favourite vegan spots in Dublin. Be sure to check out the one on Abbey Street, as the other location wasn’t as good.) Ivy and her hubby Leo visited me while I stayed in Dublin, and we all were lucky enough to eat at Govinda’s twice. Ivy and I hoped this restaurant in London would be similar.

Since Govinda’s didn’t open until noon, we had a few hours to kill. We didn’t have a proper breakfast back at the hotel. We had hoped The Travel Café would offer avocado toast or something vegan, but sadly they only had a few non-vegan pastries. We started to feel a bit peckish so we walked around Soho some more and popped into Tibits, an all-vegetarian and mostly vegan restaurant, to scope it out.

Tibits is set up like a buffet and the cost of your meal depends on how much it weighs. The breakfast spread was impressive but not as complete as their lunch or dinner offerings (if I had to guess). Tibits also offer coffee, juices, and pastries including a scrumptious-looking vegan almond croissant, which I regret not trying but fortunately my croissant cravings were satisfied soon after.

It started to rain and continued spitting for most of the day. We wandered around a bit more and stumbled upon Vegan Hippo, an all-vegan café. We hadn’t planned on trying Vegan Hippo but figured why not. It was raining and we noticed vegan croissants on the counter.

Vegan Hippo was very comfortable and a perfect break from the rain. They offered moreish burgers and hotdogs in addition to coffee, tea, and other breakfast foods. I tried their black croissant, made with activated charcoal. I’ve never seen a black croissant before so I had to try it, especially after passing up that almond croissant at Tibits! It was tasty but more sweet than savoury. I don’t think any vegan croissant can top the ones at Picnic in Glasgow. 😉

After poring over their large collection of vegan cookbooks, it was finally time for lunch at Govinda’s. We thought we’d be the first people there since we arrived the second they opened, but were surprised to find a queue in place. That’s always a good sign in my book!

This Govinda’s, like the one in Dublin, was set up like a cafeteria. I ordered a veggie thali, which consisted of several vegan dishes served in wee bowls. It was basically a sampler platter, including curries, rice, a bread roll or papadum, and salad. I also opted for a samosa on the side. (I couldn’t resist!)

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The food was excellent but overall, I still prefer the Govinda’s in Dublin. The portions there were massive as they served everything on plates instead of wee bowls, so it’s a better value in the end. Also, the samosas at the Dublin Govinda’s were huge! Definitely the best samosas of my life right there! That being said, I’d recommend Govinda’s in London because nearly everything was vegan. Besides Indian-style food, they also offered veggie burgers, smoothies, and vegan cakes. Everything I tried was delicious and not too oily.

After lunch, we explored Covent Garden since it’s an indoor market. It was full of wee shops, restaurants, tourists eager to stay dry, and even a street performer or two. We didn’t spend much time here as we had dessert on our minds.

We returned to Soho to try Yorica, an all-vegan allergen-free ice cream shop. All the ice cream, froyo, and toppings are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free. So good, but not as good as Cream Crew, an all-vegan ice cream shop in Palma de Mallorca. I might be a bit biased, but hey! 😛 Yorica’s flavours reminded me of American ice cream, lots of chocolate and stodgy goodness, unlike the fresh fruity flavours of Cream Crew. Either way, I’m happy to enjoy vegan ice cream as a treat. Be sure to bring your own spoon as they only offer plastic ones. I didn’t think to bring my own but I’ll remember to keep a spoon in my bag from now on. 🙂

I was completely stuffed after indulging in scoops of mint chocolate chip and banoffee ice cream, so I decided to walk back to our hotel in Peckham. The walk took me close to two hours, but walking is my favourite way to explore a city. Not only is it good exercise, it allows me to experience the city on a different level. I notice everything as I walk the streets, as opposed to passing landmarks on a bus. It also put me at ease. It’s easy for me to be stressed without realising it, and bustling around London definitely wore me out.

I felt energised once back in Peckham, and relaxed in the hotel for a bit before Ivy and I set off to Maloko for dinner. Ivy scoped out the menu of this quaint café before and their vegan galettes caught her eye. I haven’t had a galette in years so I was stoked to try a vegan version.

I ordered the Vegan Route galette, which came stuffed with sweet potato, mushrooms, asparagus, peppers, coriander, and a chickpea tahini sauce. It was absolutely delicious even though it looked more like a wrap. These galettes turned out to be thin crepes stuffed full of veg, but no complaints here! Ivy ordered the jerk tofu galette and was very pleased with the spice. The galettes were so good that we wanted a second one. We’re always hungry, I guess! 😛

Instead, Ivy suggested I try a Jamaican patty from Patty Island, just a bit further down the street. Patties, similar to empanadas, are baked pastries stuffed with meat or veggies. Traditionally, patties are filled with meat but this shop also offered vegan patties! The vegan patty was filled with jerk veggies. Delicious and a little spicy!

What a fun day!

Thanks for reading and watching! I hope my posts inspire you to eat your way through London someday.

London Day 2 | Bibimbap and sushi!

What a day! Last night I passed out around 19:30 and slept straight through the night. I woke up around 07:30, still a bit groggy since we missed a night of sleep on the train. I felt immensely better after a restful sleep in a proper bed. I’m glad Ivy got a good night’s sleep too! She passed out a bit earlier. 😉

This morning after some grapes and blueberries in bed, we headed to Lumberjack for a quick coffee. This cafe was a short walk from our hotel, so we figured why not have a coffee before boarding the bus into the city.

My soya latte was tasty albeit a bit strong as they didn’t offer any flavoured syrups. It’s espresso in it’s truest form, I suppose! It reminded me of the espresso at Pacamara in Dundee. 🙂 The cafe was cute and quiet as we arrived just as they opened at 08:30.

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They had avocado toast and a salad for vegan options as well as several vegetarian options. They had a tasty-looking vegetarian sausage roll filled with chickpeas, and I hoped it was vegan because it reminded me of Folk Cafe’s vegan sausage rolls (super yum!), but we had to pass since the friendly barista wasn’t sure if it was 100% vegan. At any rate, the latte was a perfect start to my day!

Ivy also noticed that the toilet there is actually “twinned” with a “sister” toilet in Afghanistan! If you check out Lumberjack, pop into their toilet and check it out. 😉

Fully caffeinated, we took the bus into the city and walked over Westminster bridge, past Big Ben, and wandered around the city. Our first stop was an all-vegetarian Pret A Manger. This Veggie Pret was originally supposed to be a temporary pop-up. Last year, Pret converted one of its cafes into an all-vegetarian one, serving only vegetarian and vegan food and coffee drinks. It was supposed to stay all-veggie for a trial period of time, but it was so popular that it stayed open a bit longer. And since it was such a hit with the veg-community here in London, Pret decided to keep it open permanently!

Pret even opened a second Veggie Pret because the first one was wildly successful. More and more people are adopting a cruelty-free diet and lifestyle and demanding fresh, healthy options from their favourite cafes. How cool! I hope Pret opens up more Veggie Prets in the future.

Ivy and I just wanted a snack at Veggie Pret since we had more food plans for a proper lunch, so we split their grilled artichoke, olives, and tapenade baguette. Ivy tried this baguette before and loved it, so I had to try it myself! It was delicious and half of it made a perfect snack. It included grilled artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, roasted red pepper tapenade, and whole leaf basil. Truth be told, I could have eaten two baguettes but I wanted to save my hunger for lunch. I’ll definitely recreate this baguette at home, though!

We had a few options for lunch but we decided to try Bibimbap. Bibimbap is a Korean restaurant (no surprise there) serving all different kinds of bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish. Bibimbap is basically rice and veggies served sizzling in a hot stone bowl. Traditionally, it is served with bulgogi (beef tenderloin strips) and a fried egg, but fortunately for us, they offered several vegetarian bibimbap which could easily be veganised by omitting the fried egg.

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We both chose the kimchi bibimbap because we love kimchi aka spicy pickled napa cabbage. The kimchi at Bibimbap was truly delicious! I like to think I’m a kimchi snob since I grew up with authentic Korean kimchi (thanks to my mom). 😛 It really reminded me of my mother’s kimchi, it was that good! I can’t remember the last time I had real Korean food. Thanks to Ivy for recommending Bibimbap and reminding me I need to seek out Korean food more often!

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For dessert, we popped into Chinatown for some sesame seed balls. These are mochi balls filled with sweet bean paste, rolled in sesame seeds and fried. Mochi is difficult to describe without having it in front of you, but it’s a sweet, chewy, rice cake. You can find them filled with sweet bean paste or plain, but I prefer them filled. These are a favourite treat of mine from my childhood (thanks to my mom again). I didn’t realise these sesame seeds balls were fried until I bit into it, so I’m glad I only ate one because it was quite rich!

Then we hopped on the tube and found ourselves in Camden to tour Camden Market. I’m glad we did so with full stomachs because the market was packed full of food stalls! We only walked around for a little while but I lost count of all the vegan options available. It would take me a month or so to work my way through all the vegan delicacies available, including vegan crepes, Korean burritos, Thai, Peruvian, and Malaysian food to name a few!

We walked from Camden market back into Soho since the weather was nice and sunny. We scoped out a few vegan-friendly shops and cafes including Planet Organic and Rawligion, but ultimately decided to score some vegan sushi at Wasabi for dinner. I loathe paying for sushi since I can easily make it myself, but since I’m on holiday away from Dundee and away from my kitchen, I couldn’t pass up Wasabi’s veggie sushi selection.

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This was only £5.75 which seems like a good value, considering it’s a fresh and healthy vegan meal option. The problem now is that the sushi was so good, I could have easily devoured two boxes full!

And as I expected, today turned out to be an epic food day in London! I can’t express how lucky I am to have a friend like Ivy. She’s an adventurous foodie with a discerning palate and a penchant for Asian cuisine. The perfect partner for a foodie holiday!

Don’t forget to check my YouTube channel for daily London travel vlogs. You can see everything I’ve described in this blog post (and more) in the following video. Thanks for watching and thanks for reading this post!