Remember in my first post about Florence, when I said our Couch Surfing host, Helena, had a sweet tooth? Yea, well I wasn’t kidding. On our second night, she brought home a huge bag of her favourite vegan treats for us to sample. How generous! She started us off with some cacao e nocciola, chocolate and hazelnut, gelato from the Coop Bene.sì line, which, according to their website, is “a line of products with specific nutritional characteristics, capable of performing a particular function beneficial to the body.” Ice cream that’s good for your body? Sure, I’ll take it.
Italians love their food, and so do tourists visiting Italy. If Florence wasn’t totally jam packed with beautiful outdoor sculptures, buzzing piazzas (squares), river views, famous museums and churches, we would have probably eaten the city out of ice cream and pizza. Despite the welcomed distractions, we managed to make a good dent. Our Couch Surfing host was vegan, and had a real sweet tooth. As soon as we arrived in the city, she directed us to her favourite ice cream parlor, Perche No!. I’m known for choosing soy milk gelato, for the creaminess, but on this rare occasion opted for a scoop of fruity fig and peach, because you just don’t see these flavours everyday. They were fresh, light and oh so satisfying.
It wasn’t until we arrived in Bologna that we realized Italy really is closed in August. Our first hint was when a Couch Surfer wrote to us asking why we were coming in August when everyone is out of town on holidays, tourists fill the streets, and many of the shops and restaurants close their doors for the month. Well, we certainly didn’t plan for it. The reality of the situation came crashing down when we arrived at Stefino Veg, an all vegan ice cream parlor, only to find the door closed and a small sign saying the staff would be on holidays from August 6 to 18.
In my post about Venice, I mentioned that we didn’t stay in the city but took the train from Padova. The Couch Surfing hosts in Venice are pretty maxed out with requests. Some will host you but in exchange for meeting their crazy demands, like entering into a video taped wrestling match. Seriously. Given this, we were very happy to have found a friendly host in nearby Padova who was eager to show us the city, share home cooked vegan meals, and introduce us to a variety of Italian beverages.
Falafel…in Venice?!? It’s sad, I know. But what else were two budgeting vegans to do? There are no vegetarian restaurants in Venice, a city that feels more like a theme park than a place where people live. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful, if not magical, city and a great place to get lost for a day or two. There are expensive tourist restaurants where we could have found pasta with tomato sauce, pizza without cheese or a salad, but we decided against that route. Instead, we ate breakfast before commuting to Venice from Padova, and returned home for dinner.
Earlier this week I wrote about all of the vegan products we were able to find in Prague’s organic shops and health food stores. Today’s post is all about the restaurants. Well, not all of Prague’s veggie restaurants. Just a couple we managed to dine at during our three day visit. Oh, and one ice cream shop, just for good measure.
Europe is a wonderful place to visit for so many reasons but one big one is that it’s easy to hop from country to country with just a short ride on a bus or train. We wanted to take advantage of this luxury so we caught a bus from Berlin to Prague. Before starting our bus journey, we made a quick trip to the supermarket. We picked up fruit smoothies, grapes, wholegrain rolls and a jar of tomato spread made from sunflower seeds. Having forgot our cutlery, we also snagged some chopsticks for spreading. There were no plastic knives, spoons or forks in sight. Sometimes you have to get creative. After five hours on the bus, we arrived in Prague. Ready to eat, of course!
This guest post is by Heather Nauta from Healthy Vegan Recipes. Heather is a registered holistic nutritionist who teaches you how to live a healthy vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. Visit Healthy Vegan Recipes to check out her vegan travel videos.
The usual snacks for my husband, Phil, and I are fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These foods are available pretty much everywhere, and we’ve been eating lots of them on the road, including some gigantic peaches. We’ve also found a few more interesting snack ideas for vegans while traveling in Turkey that we wanted to share.