This day started off with a three hour tour of the Vatican. Now, I will admit that I am not a religious person but I do love art & history and I know that sometimes this is how we get to see some art, most especially the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) so we started our tour bright and early.
Click the photos to get the full beauty of them!
Before I get into the tour, let me tell you that you ABSOLUTELY MUST book the tour ahead of time and I recommend that you join a skip-the-line tour or else this will end up being an all-day event.
This day was a long day but it was also one of my favorite days because we did a 3 hour (and some change) tour of the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum. It was hot and sunny and the perfect day for this kind of sightseeing.
PLUS, I don’t know if you know this but Rome is kind of the perfect blend of old school and new school because they have these water spouts all over the city where you can refill water bottles, which is environmentally friendly and on a day like this day you can also splash some cold water on your face and arms to cool down and rinse away some of the sweat. I loved this and it came in handy for two thirsty tourists wandering around this ancient city.
When the tour ended we hit up this place, Aromaticus. Great name, isn’t it? Anyway it was a fully vegan bistro with fresh food and pressed juices. After the crowds at the Colosseum I was in desperate need for an immunity boost and I got one with ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper and lemon. It was the perfect shot and a smidge spicy, gave me just the pep in my step I needed.
Hello my favorite vegan foodies! I am back–sort of–from Italy so please bear with me because this week will be filled with all the delicious vegan food we ate in Rome, Italy.
I don’t know how much traveling you’ve done but depending on where you are in the world, finding vegan food can be quite a chore. In Germany, for example, it wasn’t too difficult to find vegan food at any of the food markets but finding a vegan restaurant meant schlepping all the way to Berlin. Sure, you could go to a vegetarian restaurant and cross your fingers that they didn’t forget there was egg or milk or cream in something, but that’s taking your belly health into someone else’s hands.
In Romania, finding vegan food outside of Bucharest and a grocery store? Next to impossible. There are a few good places hereand therebut it’s not that easy.
In Rome? Easier than I anticipated.
Like any good vegan we did our homework before we arrived so we had a list of half a dozen places where we could eat each day. Today’s post is what we ate on day one.
So there’s this Romanian soup and it’s called Ciorba de Burta, and my husband used to love it. When we lived in Los Angeles there was one Romanian restaurant and they served it every single day. I used to (and still do) call it brain soup, but it’s not made of brains.
…Or so he says.
Anyway I won’t bore you with the details of Ciorba de Burta, only to say that recently we went to Bucharest and decided to enjoy a vegan lunch before we headed back home.
We’ve been to this place, Vyro, before and it is fantastic. It is a completely vegan restaurant and they also serve raw vegan food, which is pretty damn good too.
My point, and I’m getting to it right now, is that this place served a full on vegan ciorba de burta and it was fantastic.
How do I know?
I don’t, not really. There was a creamy mushroom soup on the menu and I was like, “Yum, that sounds delicious. I’ll have that.” When it arrived at the table, my Hubs recognized the scent, the look and everything else, as Ciorba de burta.
We shared it, because of course we did.
It was fantastic.
So delicious that he insisted I attempt to make it at home, which I totally did.
Last week was our 18th wedding anniversary and we decided to do something that we have been avoiding for the past few years. Driving in Bucharest. Well, that’s not entirely true as we did spend some time in 2021 there in order to get some tattoos, but in general it is a huge headache and something that was just…ick.
But there are some tourist attractions that I really wanted to see and figured I could pull the Anniversary Card to make it happen. It worked like a charm.
The plan was simple; spend the morning sightseeing and stop at some kind of cafe for a coffee or a drink and then finish off our day of sightseeing at Ceauşescu Mansion and then a nice vegan dinner. But then we both remembered that this is Romania and things rarely work out the way you planned, especially in Bucharest.
The good news? We did manage to get in some sightseeing so you’ll have some pretty and historic sights as well as some delicious vegan food!
Let’s start with this beautiful tapestry made by an unknown Romanian artist for Ceauşescu Mansion.
As you all recently know, I achieved a goal of mine by climbing to Caraiman Peak which is in the Bucegi Mountains in Romania. It was a wonderfully thrilling and terrifying experience and you can read all about it here.
But though the trip was mainly about climbing the mountain, it’s always nice to make the short drive to Sinaia and visit what has become a vegan staple in the area, Ramayana.
Ramayana isn’t a vegan restaurant, unfortunately. But it’s the only place you can get any vegan food that’s not a burger. There are quite a few places where you can eat with your non-vegan friends and family, if you never get tired of eating the same old vegan burger. Ramayana is, or was, the only place you could get more than one vegan food option and after a complicated first visit, things have only gotten better.
So guys, I did a thing. A big thing. A thing that I am so proud of myself for accomplishing that I just can’t contain myself.
I climbed a mountain….again (technically).
A few years ago me and Cos (my husband) hiked from Peștera to Babele on one of our first trips in Romania. I had never climbed anything other than a few hills during my time in Germany and this was hard. I had only been vegan for about a year and I was still close to 100kg in weight, but I did it. I made the whole hike without using a telecabina (gondola in English) or calling out for the Mountain Rescue crew.
Before going vegan and taking control of my health and my life, I was a mess. 127kg at the fattest ever and mostly sedentary, typing away on my laptop as my romance author penname, N.D. Jackson. And now, 5 years after cleansing the animals from my diet and my life, I was able to do this. THIS BIG THING!!!
And there at Babele, staring at the Sphinx I decided that I would make my way to Caraiman Peak. It was a totally arbitrary decision and location but for me it was just a test or a milestone to see if I was fit enough and brave enough to do it.
And then the pandemic happened.
And then 2022 came upon us and I just knew this was my year.
And it was.
July 2022, to be exact, was the month that I did a trip far longer than Babele and up to the actual top of a real mountain.
To do this properly you need the right equipment of course, including a solid pair of broken-in hiking boots, a windbreaker and trekking sticks. But what you also need is the right fuel, which for animal eaters can be fairly easy to find.
For vegans? Not so much. But after a few trips to different grocery and health food stores in town, I found a few options.
One of my favorite things to is travel to new places and explore new cultures, history and art. I love to see how people live all over the world and whenever I can find time I like to go pretty much anywhere that has a few items of interest.
My partner and I had been planning a trip to the Danube Delta and then COVID struck and we postponed it. Twice.
But we finally got there and we took a rather circuitous route, starting with Constanța to see the port and the Black Sea, which is a place my husband and his family often spent summers when he was a kid. The day was nice and warm and we walked around the city before taking in the Museum of History and Archeology which was incredible. There really is a lot of Roman history to be found in Romania, in addition to the Austrian and German influences found throughout their history. It was a wonderful day of sun and history and exploration.
So we started with Constanta and if you don’t know it is the birth place of tennis player Simona Halep and actor Sebastian Stan! Just a little bit of fun trivia for ya.
I missed yesterday’s post because the Hub’s and I went to Targoviste, Romania for a day trip to do some sightseeing and see what kind of vegan food we could rustle up after a day in the sun.
Targoviste was beautiful! Absolutely gorgeous. We saw the Princely Court & Princely Palace, not to mention Chindia Tower which served for hundreds of years as the home for many members of Romanian royalty, including the infamous Vlad Tepes during his second reign. It was a wonderful day of sightseeing and history and learning new things, and the day was only made better by finding a place vegan food options that went beyond French fries, eggplant and tapenade.
We first arrived at Targoviste in the midst of what can only be described as a downpour. The weather alleged that it was meant to be intermittent showers until late afternoon but it was a total downpour for more than an hour so instead of sightseeing right away, we went to Ganbare, a Japanese restaurant, and took full advantage of all the vegan food options.
I have to say that Ganbare did an excellent job with the vegan options they had available and the only downside was that they didn’t label them as vegan so new vegans or unsuspecting/unlearned vegans will probably skip this place and that would be a huge mistake.
So recently we were feeling a hint of cabin fever and decided to get out, only all the fun places in the mountains and the countryside were packed with others who had the same idea, so we ventured into the city.
Which city, you ask?
Bucharest. It’s only about 75 kilometers from Ploiesti so within an hour–give or take for traffic–we can be there with the frustration of city driving behind us. The day was nice and sunny, we got there just late enough to bypass rush hour traffic and parked quickly, so it was mostly an easy journey.
I’ll tell you later all about my new tattoo, complete with vegan, cruelty-free vegan ink. For now, let’s talk food.
Funkink Burgers, formerly known as Sarah’s Burgers, is a fully vegan establishment. The cool thing about this place besides their artisan burgers? It’s a collaborative effort with an NGO, Romanian Vegan Association, to “promote a vegan lifestyle and reduce the consumption of animal products for ethical, economic reasons, to protect health and the environment.”
Pretty cool mission statement, if I do say so myself.
After sitting on a stool for hours until my butt was numb, all I could think about was burgers. Vegan burgers and fries, and homemade vegan dipping sauces. Sign me up. Now.
The walking path to get to Funkink was a lot like wandering the side streets of Paris, basically a labyrinth of cobblestone streets that feature bars and eateries from around the world. I spotted an American style sports bar, an English pub, several German pubs because Germany is a HUGE influence in this country, and even a Scottish pub that promised “authentic Scottish fare”.
You must be logged in to post a comment.