FLASH VISIT TO VEGGIEWORLD BRUSSELS

Veggieworld is an organisation that sets up conventions in multiple European cities, in order to introduce people to a complete vegan lifestyle. So not just food, but also shoes, clothes, cosmetics, animal rights, … the lot.

IMG_2488

This weekend (Oct. 21 &22) Tour & Taxis was home to the very first Veggieworld in the city of Brussels. We went early and on a empty stomach. So clearly today we were particularly interested in food

IMG_2481

Every food stand at the convention, had multiple samples available, and we didn’t skip any of them. We also tasted the eggsalad from V-box. It is amazing, and we had to take some home for lunch tomorrow. They also had a selection of topped donuts available, of which we tried the charcoal chocolate donut. Kristof could not resist..

IMG_2479

After listening to guestspeakers, a quick chat with Hsuan, who makes some real funky shirts and sweaters (check out: https://www.bazaardeluxe.be) and sampling some more we were hungry again! We queued at the “Waffles Veg” stand. Kristof chose a Kentucky Waffle Sandwich with seitan, grilled onions, vegan cheese and a tarragon sauce. I’m a sweet tooth, so I went with a warm Liege Waffle.

To walk off some of these calories, we went on exploring some more booths.
We met Joeke Vandermeer (www.instagram.com/joekevandermeer) , who makes beautiful tableware and prints. Her webshop is gonna be online soon, so hello christmas presents!

IMG_0273

Eva vzw is the Belgian partner for Veggieworld. They had a big booth with a lot of info about going vegan. They gave us a map of Brussels with vegan hotspots on, so expect a Brussels blogpost soon.

After all that food there is only one thing we can do… go home and watch a movie.
On the sofa.. It’s sunday after all.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

Stefanie.

If you want to share something about Veggieworld, in Brussels or anywhere else.. or want to reply to this article, click here

A THREE DAY BATTERY CHARGE IN BARCELONA!

Ahhh Barcelona…
For us it’s one of those cities with an undeniable, infectious buzz.
No matter how many times you visit, there’s always something new. There are so many options when eating vegan in Barcelona, but we could only visit, and list a few this time around. I guess we’ll have to return to report about those other hidden gems.

Monday, September 25th. We departed from Brussels Airport early in the morning, and found ourselves on Spanish (Or Catalan?) soil around 11am. It was still a couple of days before the turbulent referendum, so we’ll call it Spanish, for now.

We exited the airport and decided to use public transport to get around the city, like we do most of the time. We both got our Hola 3-day (72hrs) card from the vending machine and jumped onto the metro, and headed straight for the hotel (Ibis Plaza Glories 22) to drop off our luggage.

After quickly checking the Happy Cow app ,we walked to Aquari Bay. It was relatively close to the hotel, and in the general direction of the beach, which we were headed for anyway.

It’s a nice little restaurant with a cool atmosphere. You can choose a spot inside, or outside. We ended up inside.

We ordered the sharing platter with tofu tzatziki, catalan hummus , roasted aubergines, cassava chips and corn tortillas and the meditarrean azuki kofta croquettes with macerated zuccini in mint and fresh chillies with greek yoghurt. (Ask for the vegan version so they’ll swap the yoghurt!). The menu is stacked with interesting dishes, and everything we saw in the hands of passing staff looked absolutely delicious. If you find yourself a mile or two north of the city center, we can highly recommend this place.

IMG_2207

With our stomachs filled we took on the beachside walk towards the city center, passing the marina, and taking a little break for a cocktail not really worth mentioning. We noticed that a lot of squares and open spaces were filled with stages and such. The city was readying itself for the last day of La Mercé Festival, a multi-day street festival in Barcelona. We didn’t know about it beforehand, and decided not to head for Plaça D’Espanya to watch the fireworks and music spectacle.
Instead we met up with Charlotte (Kristof’s “sister”), who had been working in Barcelona for a few months. First we went for cocktails at the local Hard Rock Café, while discussing where we would eat later on.
Charlotte is not vegan nor vegetarian, but she did recommend Teresa Carles Cocina Vegetariana, which is a vegetarian restaurant with different vegan options.
We decided on the Seitan Hamburger with french fries, the Lasanyuki (a delicious lasagna) and the Rosseat De Fideus (toasted noodles with seaweed and mushrooms).
Apologies are in order, since we totally dove into our heavenly meals, and forgot to document the perfection photographically. Sorry, not sorry. (We promise to go back!)
Charlotte had a bottle of H2O, for Stefanie, a “Virus Killer” (pear, purified water, ginger, lemon, raw honey, echinacea, thyme, maria luisa, rock tea (jasonia glutinosa), and for Kristof a “My Sweet Horny Juice” (pineapple, melon, coconut water, aloe, maca).

Afterwards we dropped Charlotte off at her appartment, found a nearby metro station, and went on back to the hotel, for a hot shower and a good night sleep.

For our second day we planned a trip to Park Guell. If anyone is responsible for shaping the aesthetic of Barcelona, it must be Antoni Gaudi. Every Gaudi piece looks like it was made for a fairytale. Make sure you take time to explore all the must-see Gaudi buildings during your visit! The man is an architectural genius! We skipped a few of them this time, because we had visited them before.
At the moment Park Guell is under construction, and a for a few areas you’ll have to pay admission. If you have your heart set on sitting on the famous mozaïc benches, book your ticket online to skip the cue.

IMG_2226

While walking to the park, we found Zuum.
They have a variation of salads, wraps and smoothies. We went for a smoothie and a smoked hummus, paprika and mushroom wrap to go.

We had a picknick looking out on Park Guell, perfect views!

IMG_2176

The park itself was pretty crowded that day. And a little overwhelmed by street vendors, selling junk basically. One sells scarfs, the next sells coloured lizards, the next one selfie – sticks, the next one scarfs again, and repeat. There must have been 100 of them,
We also heard the words ‘water, one euro’ about a million times.

IMG_2165

We walked through the city, looking forward to having dinner at Cat Bar, but found it closed that day. So much for winging it! Don’t make our mistake. If there are musts on the list, make sure to check the opening hours!
Instead we went to a beachbar for some mocktails and tapas (patatas bravas, olives. ..
After that.. time for bed.

Last day of our short citybreak…

For our mid morning snack we went to La Boqueria.
La Boqueria is Barcelona’s most famous food market where you can find just about everything under the sun. (a lof of meat and fish too, though)
Upon entering, you’ll find a rainbow array of smoothies and fresh fruit.

22768087_10212241928177811_1595865676_o

We stumbled upon “Organic Barcelona” with some amazing looking burritos. We went for the 10 euro mix plate. Vegetable paella, hummus, lettuce, salad and a burrito of your choice. We went for the spicy one.
Not everything is vegan, so ask for it!

IMG_2234

Since no visit to Barcelona is complete without checking La Sagrada Familia, we decided that our noon was best spent at the beautiful cathedral.

The cathedral that has been under construction since 1833. We hope we can see it completed in our lifetime! We didn’t do the inside tour, since waiting times were very long, and we had a plane to catch… but we can assure you it is beautiful!

IMG_2238

If you wanna visit the inside, we would recommend booking your tickets in advance so you don’t have to cue for hours or miss out altogether!

IMG_2249

If there ever was an ideal place to get lost, the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona would be it. So that’s what we did in the afternoon. Throw aside all plans and spend a few hours simply meandering through the endless maze of intriguing alleyways, quaint shopfronts, hip bars and Gothic architecture. We spent hours wandering through these streets.
We found some lovely vintage shops, an lp store and some really cozy cafe’s.
Sit down on a terrace , enjoy the sun, drink some mocktails and enjoy the tapas!

Barcelona, we’ll be back soon!

 

How to get around:

Getting around in Barcelona is pretty easy. In our opinion, walking is always the best way to get from place to place as it allows you to get a feel for the city and see all the beautiful buildings. We walked around 20 km every day.

Barcelona has a great public transport network of metros and buses. We used the hola 72 hours pass to get around by metro if we didn’t felt like walking. If you are going to use public transport during your visit, your best option is to pre-purchase a transport pass for the duration of your time in the city.

The city is also very bike-friendly with their bikelanes and lots of rental possibilities.
So biking our way through the city is on our list for the next visit.

Where to stay:
This time we stayed in Ibis hotel. However there are loads of fun hostels, air b&b’s and hotels in Barcelona..

Have you been to Barcelona? Got something fun to add to our food hotspots? Or want to reply to this article, click here.

A SHORT ADVENTURE ON TWO WHEELS: ZEALAND, NETHERLANDS.

A couple of weeks before the summer, I bought a new motorcycle. (A Yamaha XV950R, for the enthusiasts.) Since my band had a gig scheduled in the city of Goes on the 28th of July, I immediately started mapping a route, and browsing the net for places to stay, and places to eat.
The route would take us through woods, over quieter roads and along the banks of the river Scheldt almost completely to our destination.
The gig eventually was cancelled, but we decided to proceed as planned, to make it an unforgettable weekend.
Unfortunally the weather did not always agree with us.. Summers in Zealand can be quite tricky. Wind is pretty much a constant, and it can go from clear to grey and back again rather quickly. We experienced some showers during the whole weekend, but nothing to render our trip unpleasant. It was cloudy but dry most of the time.

IMG_1993

Our home for 3 days was Hotel Katoen in Goes.
The building, once used as the city archive, was heavily renovated prior to the hotels’ opening, but retained its historical appeal on the outside. On the inside it has a more industrial look and feel, but remains warm and cozy at the same time. Katoen (cotton) refers to the cotton industry from the old days, so the interior was decorated with subtle hints to that heritage.

IMG_1994

We had booked one of the comfort rooms, with private entrance on the roof.
The room was modern, clean, cosy and the staff was very friendly.
We chose to have our breakfasts at the hotel, and have our other meals at local trip destinations, like we had planned beforehand.

IMG_1943

The first evening, however, we decided to check the menu of Brasserie Katoen, which is attached to the hotel. We found a vegetarian fresh pasta with olives, tomato, basil and smoked paprika. It turned out to be the best pasta we ever ate, probably, maybe…
The restaurant and kitchen staff were very accommodating, and would probably pull a vegan rabbit out of the hat on request. Oh, the cocktails/mocktails were pretty awesome too.

IMG_1946

The next day we strapped ourselves to the motorcycle and headed for Zierikzee.
A relatively small quaint village north of Goes. To get there we had to cross one of the many bridges that connect the islands of Zealand to the mainland in spectacular fashion.
This particular bridge, the Zealandbridge is about 5 km long.
Arriving in Zierikzee we found old buildings, narrow cobbled streets and a very infectious atmosphere. The sun was out, spirits were high.
But we got real hungry, real quick.

IMG_1957

De Zeeuwse Hemel was truly a delight.
The perfect garden backdrop to make some holiday memories over some amazing food.
We shared an avocado filled with hummus, fresh herbs, paprika, spicy ajvar, spring onion and lime. Sooooo good! Gimme more please.
And for main we chose a sweet carrot curry with smoked tofu, almonds, chili, coriander seeds and ginger served over lentle rice, oatmeal cream and nigella seeds.

IMG_1960

Helmets fastened, gloves on, backpack secured. On to Middelburg, The capital of Zeeland. To get there, we had to cross another marvel of Dutch engineering. One of the most impressive flood barriers of the entire Delta Works Project are located in Zealand: the Oosterscheldekering (Eastern Scheldt Barrier). Some call it the Eighth Wonder of the World. The towers and gates can be closed when water levels are dangerously high. The Delta Works were built after the flood disaster of 1953.
It’s really impressive, but remember: crosswinds can make it pretty hairy on the bike!
We arrived at our next stop in the afternoon and decided to park the bike, and discover the town on foot.  Middelburg is known as a monumental town with a wealth of historical buildings. The facades reflect, some even glow, their former wealth. Today, a rich blend of events, shops, bars and restaurants make it a lively place. A nice town to wander around. Which we did. After the obligatory chillax-break, with some ginger ale, and a little nacho dish with tomato salsa, we continued and made our way through the smaller streets and marketplaces to find Stoom.

IMG_1979

Stoom is hard to describe. It’s located in the trainstation of Middelburg. A lot of people coming through, for a quick bite or a coffee to go. Most items on their menu are either vegan or vegetarian, which might seem a little strange in this setting. We couldn’t be happier about it though.
We decided on the ‘grilled seitan filet on a bed of wokked veggies with bio fries, vegan mayo and a side salad’ for her, and the ‘soy sauce marinated seitan skewers with relish, and the same bio fries, vegan mayo and side salad’ for me.
The atmosphere in the restaurant was not that cosy (It is a BIG place), but the delicious food and friendly staff more than made up for that. This place is certainly worth revisiting, since there are so many vegan options on the menu.

IMG_1981

The weather forecast and threatening clouds helped us decide to leave for the hotel, to beat the incoming rain showers, but still we caught about 10 minutes of rain. Nothing a hot shower and a change of clothes wouldn’t cure though.
Back at the hotel bar we once again indulged in cocktails, while remeniscing the eventful day.

IMG_1984

On the last day of our trip we took our time with breakfast, and packed our stuff back in the saddle bags. We left for home around noon, made a few stops on the way, spotted some kite surfers and large ships, and arrived home with the plan to start this blog.

 

Kristof.

If you want to share any suggestions for motorcycle trips in Europe, or want to reply to this article, click here.