Edinburgh

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. 🙂

A wee trip to London

Hey! Today I’m finally in London after a long overnight train ride from Edinburgh. I’m visiting London this week with my friend Ivy. We’ll be here until Thursday afternoon. I’m filming every day here, so check my YouTube channel for daily London travel vlogs. 🙂

Yesterday, I arrived in Edinburgh in the early afternoon and met up with my friends Vanesa and Jen. Since my train to London wasn’t until 23:30ish, I had plenty of time to catch up with friends one last time.

Brew Lab is typically my cafe of choice when I’m visiting Edinburgh but for some reason, I wanted to try something different. Instead, Vanesa and I headed to Filament for the very first time. We tried their oat milk lattes and were pleasantly surprised to find other vegan treats, smoothies, and juices in the cafe. I’d like to say I’ll be back but I doubt that will happen since I’m moving to Spain so soon!

I’m only in Edinburgh once more, the day Ivy and I return to Scotland after our London trip. I already have plans to meet up with two more friends and I doubt coffee will be on our agenda since we arrive in Edinburgh late in the afternoon. Still, I’m glad I got to try a new cafe with Vanesa. We even had a wee picnic in Princes Street Gardens following the cafe since it was so bright and sunny.

Later I met up with my friend Jen for dinner (which ended up being more coffee) in Forest Cafe. Forest Cafe is a volunteer-run vegetarian cafe and art space. It’s a new favourite of mine since it’s volunteer-based, mostly vegan (apart from optional cheese on a few dishes), and they minimise food waste. At any time, you can take a loaf of bread or two from their “free bread” bins, no questions asked. 🙂

The problem with moving around frequently is that you inevitably have to leave your friends behind. (Unless we all move around together, but that’s never possible.) This isn’t enough for me to stop travelling. Instead, I focus on making lasting friendships while I can, taking care to keep in touch even when I’m out of the country. I’m grateful to have friends who take the time to meet up with me. We’ll just need to meet up again (abroad, or once I’m back in Scotland) in the near future! 🙂

At the end of the night, I met up with Ivy at Waverley as our train to London was set to depart around 2321. Her husband Leo was there to send us off since he wouldn’t be joining us on this London adventure. We boarded the train no problem, but it was delayed by about an hour. The seats were comfortable and much more spacious than airplane seating. Even so, I only managed to sleep 1-2 hours.

We arrived in London around seven hours later. Our first destination was Kin Cafe. After a sleep-deprived night on a train, we were ready for real food! Kin Cafe is special to me because this was the first cafe I visited when I moved to the UK in Dec. 2015. I spent my very first morning in London in this cafe, sipping on a coffee, brunching on avocado toast, soaking it all in. I was finally in the UK after completely downsizing my life to fit into one bag and planning this move for over a year. I couldn’t believe that I was actually in London, enjoying this cafe like a local.

The following day, I caught a train to Glasgow because my plan was to live in Scotland for a few months. I decided to live in Glasgow for four months before moving to Dundee (because I met Kuba!). I’m so glad I ended up in Scotland! 🙂

This morning I had the same avocado toast for breakfast, except I didn’t remember it being such a large portion. I swear, it was twice the size! Not that I’m complaining… 😉

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We spent the rest of the day wandering around Soho, popping into a few shops and cafes just to scope them out for later. It’s so nice being in London with Ivy since she’s quite familiar with the vegan foodie scene here. She also knows her way around the city.

Now we are back in our hotel room after a late lunch at Persepolis vegetarian restaurant, which happens to be right down the street from our hotel. Lucky us! We plan to visit Persepolis at least one more time before we return to Scotland, so I’ll need to fill you in another day. 😉

Yesterday and today were very busy for me but fun at the same time. It really seems like one long day; a day filled with coffee, chats, sunshine, and friends! I am looking forward to a full night’s sleep tonight. I need to be well-rested for more foodie adventures tomorrow! 🙂

Check out my day in Edinburgh and our first full day in London here:

 

Willkommen in Deutschland.

A few train rides and a short 2-hour flight later, I’m finally settled in Berlin!

The biggest lesson I learned today is to ensure I pack enough food for my journey. I typically overlook food if I’m on the move all day because I don’t have time to think about it.

The flight from Edinburgh to Berlin was quick but I spent a good portion of my day in transit. My day started at 5 a.m., and since then I’ve managed to eat a smoothie, a pack of grapes, a smoothie bowl from Juice Warrior in Edinburgh, and then hours later some fresh-squeezed orange juice and strawberries at the airport in Berlin. While I did have to pay an arm and a leg for the juice and berries, I was famished and needed some fruit quickly!

Most airports do sell some sort of fruit and juice but the price is always unreasonably high. Other vegan snack options are too high in fat and salt: peanuts or trail mixes, chips, and the ever abundant crisps. Occasionally you’ll find vegan options at restaurants if you’re lucky (like stir-fries at Asian-themed places, salads, or veggie sandwiches), but even these dishes are drowned in oil or dripping with fatty sauces.

Moral of the story: be prepared and bring your own fruit. Grapes would have been a good choice for the flight, or perhaps a few bananas. My next travel day will be a train ride to Poland. You better believe my bag will be packed full of fruit!

I was still very hungry following my over-priced airport snack, so as soon as I dumped my stuff at the new flat and became acquainted with my new flatmates (lovely people and the cutest wee cats and dog–photos forthcoming!), I ventured down the street to Aldi. As I browsed the aisles in search of the produce section, I realised it’s impossible for me to sort out which products are vegan. I can’t read the packaging or any of the ingredients because everything is labeled in German! (Surprising, I know!)

That isn’t a problem at all, though, since fruits and veggies are always my top choices for an easy vegan meal. Produce is always vegan–no labels necessary! Fruits and veggies are cheaper than processed foods, healthier, and save me time because they don’t require cooking.

Fruit really is the perfect fast food! I just downed several packs of saturn peaches from Spain and grapes from Chile for my dinner thanks to Aldi. Both were absolutely incredible! Seriously, nothing tastes as good as fruit, and nothing can compare to the way fruit makes me feel!

On that note, I’m going to eat more grapes and hit the hay early. Tomorrow I aim to explore Berlin with my camera in hand. I’m happy to finally start this 6-month trip and can’t wait to see what Berlin has to offer!