Vegan Travel: Sightseeing and Vegan Dining in Barcelona, Spain

Once a year, I embark on a weekend mini-holiday to a different European country. My country of choice this year was Spain. Thus last Friday, I set forth on my flight to Barcelona!

Fortunately for us vegans, Aer Lingus airlines offers some tasty VGML vegan meals! My dinner included a main entree of baked tofu, rice, and mixed veggies(diced zucchini, tomatoes, onions) in a flavorful tomato sauce. A side salad with bread accompanied the meal. Dessert was a bowl of melon slices. The meal was filling and really good. Even the buttery spread was labelled as “vegan”. Aer Lingus knows how to “do vegan right”!

Airlines typically don’t provide a vegan breakfast option, so I brought my own packaged oatmeal(apple flax) from home. It was Dr. McDougall’s vegan brand oatmeal cup.

Many of the hotels in Barcelona are inexpensive. I chose to stay at a small hotel near the university. It is quieter than the “old town” where many travelers stay, yet close enough to walk to La Ramblas pedestrian mall and the old gothic quarter within a few minutes. It did indeed provide a good night’s sleep! Upon arrival in Barcelona center, I was awestruck by the beautiful old church nearby my hotel.

After checking into my hotel, I thought I would check out the all vegan market. The walk down La Ramblas tree-lined street brought me to the location of the shop. It happened to be closed at that hour, but I made to sure to take a photo of its colorful exterior. The vegan shop “Veganoteca”(Veganoteca Shop) carries vegan food, vegan ‘meats’ and vegan ‘dairy’, as well as chocolate spreads, soy chorizo, vegan vitamins, and ecoogical products.

A vegan shoe store also resides in Barcelona, but alas a visit there did not fit into my time schedule. Amapola (Amapola Vegan Shoe Store) sells vegan shoes, handbags, and accessories.

Another place whose hours did not fit into my schedule was Gelaaati Di Marco (Gelaaati Di Marco). The ice cream shop is known to offer several flavors of vegan gelato ice cream made with rice milk.

I strolled along the lengthy La Ramblas pedestrian mall street. Restaurants and gift shops line both sides of the road. Kiosks in the center offer tourists everything from local snacks to traditional Barcelona gifts!

Pasteleria La Estrella Cake Bakery (Carrer Mallorca nº 330, tel. 0034-93-207-57-85) is located just off of La Ramblas. This bakery has a refrigerator case full of vegan sweets made by Lugeria Vegana bakers. The building sign says “Pujol”, not Pasteleria La Estrella. This is where I ate my morning meal.

My breakfast was the pistachio and strawberry cake slice. It was wonderfully sweet and melt-in-your-mouth delectable!

Walking down La Ramblas again, gave me time to purchase a few local souvenirs.

After some shopping, lunch time had arrived. Gopal (Gopal Vegan Restaurant) is an all-vegan restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sweet treats.

For lunch, I selected the popular Spanish zucchini tortilla topped with vegan mayo and a side salad. My meal was delicious!

For dessert, I opted for a mini-doughnut filled with chocolate and topped with lavender frosting. This was a yummy snack!

It was time for some sightseeing! The top attraction in Barcelona and in all of Spain, is La Sagrada Familia. The large Catholic church was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Construction began in the year 1882 and is still ongoing. Its style is Spanish late Gothic and Catalan Modernism. It will possess eighteen spires (representing the apostles, Mary, Jesus, and The Four Evangelists), three grand facades (representing The Nativity, The Passion, and The Glory), and a Latin cross-like interior layout.


The stain glass windows are absolutely gorgeous, encompassing an amazing palette of colors!

One can’t help but to ponder over the intricate details of the exterior’s facades.

Palm trees sway on the corner across the street, reminding tourists of the pleasant Mediterranean climate here year-round.

Another popular attraction in Barcelona is Casa Batllo. This Modernist masterpiece designed by Gaudi, was built in 1877. Josep Batllo purchased the residence in the year 1900, due to its central location. The textile magnet wanted a unique home, like no other. It is known locally as “the house of bones”, due to the skeletal look of the exterior. The facade is decorated with colorful ceramic tile.

The main floor, known as the “Noble Floor” has curving vaulted walls and doorways. The stained glass windows display blue circular patterns.

The tiled walls appear to turn a darker shade of blue as one climbs up each flight of stairs to an upper level.

The roof is designed to resemble a dragon’s back spine, with four chimney stacks to prevent backdraft.

Onto La Pedrera next! Another of Gaudi’s creations, this colossal apartment residence was the last civic work designed by the architect between the years 1906 and 1910. The stone facade possesses twisted wrought-iron balconies and windows. It was built for the wealthy businessman Pere Mila and his family.

Two courtyards provide light to the nine level apartment building, of which the first floor was the Mila’s residence.

This home contains period Catalan Modernism furniture. Servants’ quarters, laundry room, dining room, living room, and bedrooms can be viewed here with Gaudi period furniture.


La Pedrera’s roof is a visitor’s delight! Twenty eight chimneys rise up in a twisted form so that smoke is released better. The stepped roof has six staircases and skylights decorated with some Valencia broken tiles.



After my visit, I scurried outside to catch the evening bus to Parc Guell. Yet another Gaudi creation, this outdoor attraction is a creative masterpiece of gardens and architecture in a huge public park system.

Gaudi’s multicolored mosaic salamander greets the visitor at the entrance on the Roman steps.

The long bench designed with a mosaic pattern, in the form of a sea serpent adorns the main terrace. The curvature of its shape forms enclaves that allow for more social interactions.

Gaudi’s furnished house “La Torra Rosa” is a museum on the property and is available for tours during the day.

Night had befallen us, so I hopped on the bus and quickly headed to the old Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.
An old Roman Wall stood behind protective iron gates.

Many of the building dates back to the Medieval period. Carrer del Bisbe was the main road of the Roman era. This charming throughway is accessed by a door in the Roman Wall with a circular tower on each side.

Performers were singing opera music outside of a medieval period church.

Roman ruins and narrow streets of the old Jewish neighborhood bring visitors back in time.


The Barcelona Cathedral of Saint Eulalia started construction in the 13th century. This gothic cathedral has gargoyle figures on its rooftop and a cloister that contains the “Well of Geese”. The cathedral is dedicated to the patron saint of Barcelona.

Medieval plazas can be found outside of the narrow thoroughfares and alleys.

After my enjoyable evening walk through the historic old gothic quarter, I was really hungry! Juicy Jones is an all vegan restaurant that is located off of La Ramblas street.

For my side dish, I selected the salad with wheat tartar, mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, and crudite.

A fresh white grape juice accompanied my meal.

My main entree was the eggplant stuffed with tofu, polenta, and leeks. It was really delicious!

I decided upon the apple crumble for dessert. This was a delectable treat! I really enjoyed this wonderful vegan meal experience.

After a full day of visiting Barcelona’s top attractions, it was time to call it a night. The touristic sights and vegan dining in this city were absolutely wonderful! I went back to my hotel to get some sleep. I would get up bright and early the next day to catch the AVE fast train to Madrid!

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Vegan Travel – Vegano Italiano Festival in Italy – July 2015

During the month of July this year, the “Vegano Italiano Festival” will take place in Italy! Tierno Tours and Green Earth Travel are offering four, one week vegan travel tours of the Amalfi region. Renowned vegan speakers will be featured during each of these weeklong tours. The tour groups will be taken to visit Cilento, Vetri Sul Mare, Felitto, the Monastery of Padula, Villa Cosilinum, Palinuro, the Castle of Roccadaspide, the Amalfi Coast, the port of Salerno, Pompeii and Peastum.

villa gin1


Guests will stay at one of six bed & breakfast accommodations in the National Park of Cilento.
It is Italy’s second largest national park. Cilento is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in the area. The Cilentana diet has always been very plant-based and organic as well. This region is extremely vegan-friendly.


The speakers during the tour will include the following:
Week One:Saturday July 4–Saturday July 11 – Jason Wyrick from “vegan tacos” and Jasmine Singer and Mariann Sullivan from “Our Hen House”
Week Two:Saturday July 11–Saturday July 18 – Dr. Ruby Lathon from “Veggie Chest” and Carolyn Scott-Hamilton from “Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen”
Week Three:Saturday July 18–Saturday July 25 – Miyoko Schinner from “Artisan Vegan Cheese” and Matt Frazier from “No Meat Athlete”
Week Four:Saturday July 25–Saturday August 1 – Fran Costigan from “Vegan Chocolate”



Itinerary for 8 Days & 7 Nights

Day 1 – Saturday

Arrive in Naples (NAP), drive to Cilento, stopping in Vetri Sul Mare, a small town where we will see ceramics-making demos in almost every shop along Main Street. Then we will continue south to check into our villa and meet for our Welcome dinner. (D)

Day 2 – Sunday

Felitto – Harvest nature walk, where we will learn about all the wild greens, vegetables and herbs that have been used for centuries in the local dishes of Cilento. After our harvest walk, we will have lunch in a local farm house. After lunch we can choose to take a ride down the river on a paddle boat* or a nature walk throughout the mountains of Felitto. (B, L, D)

Day 3 – Monday

Our first stop is the Monastery of Padula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest antiquity of southern Italy. We will have lunch in Villa Cosilinum, a beautifully restored Villa at the top of this village. After lunch, we will have a tour of Joe Petrosino’s home before heading back to the villa for dinner and a cooking lesson from our host. (B, L, D)

Day 4 – Tuesday

Drive down the Coast of Cilento to the village of Palinuro, where we will get our boat ride to the five Grottos (caves) of the cape. We will have lunch overlooking the water and then free time on the beach. Dinner includes a cooking lesson from host. (B, L, D)

Day 5 – Wednesday

Tour of the Castle of Roccadaspide, built in 1242 by Fredrick II, passed down to the Duke Ettore Giuliani, who will give us the tour himself. After lunch at a local trattoria we will take a ride to the city of Agropoli where we will have free time to explore the city. Next we will drive back to the villa for Pizza Night, where we will make our own brick oven pizza. (B, L, D)

Day 6 – Thursday

We are heading to the Amalfi Coast. Leaving from the port of Salerno you can choose to spend the morning in Positano or the Island of Capri. Dinner back at the villa. (B, D)

Day 7 – Friday

We are spending our last day in Pompeii. We will have a 2-hour guided tour of the ancient city then drive back to the villa, stopping at Paestum, where you can see three of the best preserved collections of Greek temples outside of Greece. (B, D)
We will provide a list of things to do and vegan-friendly places to eat and offer the option to come with us to see your favorite spots on free days.

Day 8 – Saturday

Transfer to airport Naples – NAP.

* Boat rides are subject to weather and seasons


Single supplement is $385.00. Single rooms are very limited.

This Fully escorted Tour Includes:

7-Breakfasts continental
4- Lunches, including wine
7-Dinners, including wine
7-Nights in four-star Villa/B&B,
Transfers to and from airport – Naples
All admission to sites
English speaking guide throughout your stay
1st class motor coach
Tips for baggage handling, taxes and hotel gratuity, except Tour Director.
*Please note the airport transfers are included only if you are arriving and departing on the dates selected. If you arrive a day early or are staying later then the transfer is not included in the package

Please contact Donna Zeigfinger for bookings, questions, etc. at (301) 229-5666 or


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Vegan Travel – My Weekend at The Catskill Animal Sanctuary and the Vegan “Homestead Guesthouse”

I was recently invited to attend a tour of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary(Catskill Animal Sanctuary), including a stay at their vegan “Homestead Guesthouse”(Homestead Guesthouse). After accepting their gracious offer, I packed my bags and set out on a scenic drive from my home state of Massachusetts to the Catskills region of upstate New York. The region is known for its hiking trails, skiing, mountains, and rolling hills.

My three and a half hour journey brought me to my destination of Saugerties, New York during the mid-morning hours. When I arrived at the Homestead Guesthouse, it met and even surpassed my expectations! It is quite a pleasant and tranquil setting. The pre-Civil War home was renovated using eco-friendly materials. Guests can choose among several rooms ranging from a suite with living room and kitchen to a smaller room with a queen size bed or double bed. The room given to me was the largest room: The Rambo Room with a king size bed and three large sunny windows. This spacious room had exposed brick walls, wide wooden floors, and beautiful quilts and furnishings. Each room is named after a animal resident from the Sanctuary.


Downstairs in the guesthouse, guests can sit and read in their spacious living room or watch tv.

The large kitchen consists of a cooking area where the chef prepares meals, a lengthy table where guests can eat breakfast, and counter space where one can grab a tea or juice.

After settling in and unpacking my bags, I headed over to the neighboring town of Woodstock, New York. A popular restaurant downtown offers vegan-friendly meal options for breakfast. My breakfast meal at Oriole9(Oriole9 Restaurant) was the Curried Coconut Tofu that included tofu, tomato, oyster mushrooms, spinach, and potato with a side of greens and toast. My beverage was a green tea latte with soymilk. It was a hearty and very tasty meal!

The remainder of my morning was spent strolling around the center of town visiting shops and galleries. Timbuktu(Timbuktu Shop) is an eclectic gift shop that sells some vegan items such as wallets and handbags by Shag, Lavishy, and Queen Bee.


Also in the center of town, visitors can view some gushing waterfalls at the Woodstock Waterfall Park.

I paid a short visit to a pottery shop that showcases several local craftsmen. Vases, dishes, bows, and mugs, as well as carved artistic pieces are found here.

Much to my delight I stumbled upon a cupcake shop and by sheer luck it turns out that they happen to carry a couple of vegan flavors! Peace, Love, & Cupcakes (Peace Love & Cupcakes) was offering a banana cupcake with extra fudgy buttercream frosting that day. I purchased one of the delectable treats. It was absolutely yummy!

Several art galleries are located downtown. I visited a gallery that displayed some unique contemporary art “mini-paintings”.

Interesting signs can be found proudly displayed all over town. Whether its a historic landmark or figure or an event, it will most definitely be recognized by a sign somewhere around town.

A morning of sightseeing gave way to lunch time. I decided to eat my mid-day meal at Garden Cafe(Garden Cafe) in downtown Woodstock. This all-vegan restaurant offers some fabulous menu selections! Their walls are covered with decorative and unique art.

For a mid-day beverage, I selected the Vivacious Violet Smoothie containing vanilla soymilk, chocolate soy ice cream, blueberries, and bananas. They offer a pumpkin coffeecake, as well as a few other vegan desserts.

My entree was the Garden Bowl consisting of cashew vegetable korma, coconut rice, and sauteed greens. I really enjoyed my meal!

After the late afternoon lunch, I went back to the Homestead Guesthouse and took a short walk around the main barn area to check out some of the animals prior to their getting settled in for the night. Since I adore pigs, I stood outside the barn and called out “Here..piggy piggy! Here piggy piggy!”. Much to my joy, four pigs ran out from the barn and came over to greet me! That made my day! I adore pigs!

When I arrived back in the guesthouse, I snacked on a piece of the wonderful chocolate chip coffeecake that the chef had made.

After a short nap, dinner time had arrived. I drove to a vegan-friendly resturant in Saugerties called New World Home Cooking(New World Cooking Restaurant). For dinner, I chose the blue corn crusted seitan cutlets in tomato sauce, black beans, brown rice, yams, and greens. This filling, gourmet meal was delicious. If you seek a night out on the town with music and eclectic gourmet cuisine, then this is your place.

For dessert, I opted for the vegan pear crisp. It was warm and moist and fruity with just the right amount of sweetness.

I went back to my accommodations for the evening and slept really well in my comfortable room.

Erica, one of the managers at the Homestead, prepared delicious “Perfect Pancakes” for my breakfast. Drizzled with maple syrup and soy butter, they were accompanied by coconut banana strawberry vegan yogurt, fresh orange juice, and hot green tea. It was a lovely and absolutely scrumptious meal!

After breakfast, I was given a tour of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary by Kathy, the Founder and Director. She is the author of two books on farm animal issues. The Center raises public awareness of animal suffering and is one of The USA’s top refuges for rescued farm animals. For an individual $40 membership, members may tour the animal sanctuary and includes eligibility to reserve a room at the Homestead guesthouse at the particular room’s advertised rate. The CAS staff is kind and helpful and can answer your questions about an individual animal resident.

We met up at the solar-panel heated main barn by the sanctuary entrance. It is common for the sheep, goats, chickens, and even pigs to walk right on over to you in the parking lot or along the fields. Many of the animals including several pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens stay in the heated barn overnight.

As Kathy and I started to chat about the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, a herd of sheep came frolicking by! They were playing and chasing each other, just as children do! Kathy knew them all by name. She then proceeded to tell me how farm animals that are rescued from slaughterhouse trucks or taken from hoarders end up here. It is very obvious from her words and emotions that she cares deeply about each and every sentient being that lives at the Sanctuary! Kathy has written a couple of books about animals that have lived at the sanctuary. CAS also offers events to educate people about the cruelty and suffering that farm animals have endured prior to being rescued.

She then told me that I could hold one of the roosters! Emmett is a gorgeous colorful rooster that made me feel at ease when I held him.

We walked down to a spot where several pigs were enjoying their morning play time. The pigs have plenty of space to wander around the grounds. Kathy sat down in the grassy field and called out to a couple of the pigs. They came rushing over to her and she cuddled and stroked them.


My heart was filled with emotion, as Kathy told me the story of the horses that we next encountered. They had been badly abused and injured. Their eyes were removed to alleviate the severe pain and suffering. The horses seem content at the animal sanctuary and can maneuver around the field easily enough it appeared. It was heart-warming to see how gentle they were as I stroked their manes. The loving environment at CAS (Catskill Animal Sanctuary) provides a haven for these horses to feel safe and loved.

Next on our agenda was a tour inside of the main barn. It was there that I met a group of goats enjoying their morning breakfast of hay, straight from a wheelbarrow. Again, these sentient beings were gentle and allowed me to pat them on the back as well.

Within the attached barn I met a large pig named Moses. Since it was a rather cold morning, he was still resting under a pile of hay to keep warm. I was thrilled to be able to sit in the hay beside him and stroke his face! What a precious piggy!

As we headed back outside, we found Sister Mary Francis, a smaller pot bellied pig. I got the opportunity to take a photo with this adorable piggy also! She enjoyed frolicking around on the spacious grounds seeking food and fresh air. Moses and Sister Mary are so gentle and sweet. Meeting them really made my day!

Among the 300 animal residents at CAS, there are many ducks and chickens. Muscovy ducks are a unique breed with bright red beaks. They resemble turkeys.

The expansive grounds include several barns to house the animals in chilly weather, several large grassy fields for the animals to run and play, and a pond for the ducks. A forested and mountainous background provides a soothing and scenic environment for both the animals and visitors.


After my tour, I wandered about on my own for a while to spend more time with the animals. Before heading back home to Massachusetts, I went back to the neighboring town of Woodstock for my mid-day meal. Taco Juan’s offers several vegan options. Much of their Mexican menu options can be made vegan. For my lunch, I opted for the Taco Bowl containing tofu, black beans, Mexican rice, guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions. Tortilla chips encircled the entree. The meal was really flavorful! My beverage was a cinnamon hot apple cider. It was quite flavorful as well.
(Taco Juan’s)

My weekend at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary and the Homestead Guesthouse was delightful! It touched my heart when I met the good-natured and precious animals there. All of them were so sweet and adorable. I enjoyed the tour given by Kathy. Knowing that someone truly cares about the animal’s plight and is doing good work for the cause was re-assuring for me to hear! The vegan-friendly Homestead Guesthouse provided a great accommodations experience with its comfy rooms and delicious vegan breakfast! The art galleries, picturesque vistas, and vegan-friendly shops and restaurants in the Catskill Mountains region also made my stay a pleasant one. I encourage any compassionate vegan to visit the Catskill Animal Sanctuary to meet the charming animals and to enjoy an overnight stay at the spacious and comfortable Homestead Guesthouse!

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My Vegan Travel Year in Review-2014!

As this year comes to a close, I would like to recap and review my vegan travel experiences of 2014! This is a great time to reflect upon all of the magnificent culture, landscape, and food that the world has to offer.

Denmark Visit:
I started the year with a visit to the country of Denmark in northwestern Europe. The western part of Europe makes for a nice quick trip for those of us who live in the northeastern United States. My five day vacation was delightful! Copenhagen was alive with colorful architecture, Tivoli Gardens, and the exquisite palace of Christiansborg.

The Stroget pedestrian shopping mall greeted its strolling guests with shops and restaurants galore. A Lego store displayed lifesize characters for guests to enjoy. Food carts along the way offered vegan sausages with mashed potatoes, while jazz musicians performed nearby on the street. The waterfront area also provided weary tourists with many dining options and shops, as well as being home to one of Hans Christian Andersen’s residences. Veggie entrees, such as raw Thai noodles completed my day.


For my Copenhagen blogpost, see Copenhagen Denmark

Fredricksborg Castle in the town of Hillerod was next on my itinerary. The larger-than-life castle is one of the most magnificent in northern Europe. The ornately furnished palace, surrounded by an actual moat, is a must-see attraction. This is truly what one expects in a a castle! My evening meal back in Copenhagen included a trio of mini-cheesecakes!


For more on my trip to Fredricksborg Castle and meals, see Fredricksborg and Vegan Meals

When my third day in Denmark arrived, I visited the town of Odense to see the birthplace of author Hans Christian Andersen. His birthplace home, as well as his childhod years house are now museums that the public can visit. More vegan meals and snacks, as well as vegan breads in Odense made my day enjoyable!


For more, see my blogpost on Odense: Odense Denmark

My fourth day was mainly a travel day back home. However, I had time for the “best vegan breakfast in Copenhagen” prior to heading to the airport!

For more on my vegan brunch in Copenhagen, see my blogpost: Vegan Brunch Copenhagen

Vegan Travel Tips Workshop:
During the Springtime, I taught a “Vegan Travel Tips” workshop at the “Hostelling International” hostel in Boston, Massachusetts. We had a packed, full house that evening! My slideshow included tips on what to pack for snacks and vegan skincare products, what questions to ask waiters about your meals, vegan-friendly regions, and much more!

Turkey Visit:
My annual, 10 day vacation brought me to the exotic country of Turkey this past June! Palaces and bazaars in Istanbul, ancient ruins at Ephesus and Troy, Calcium thermal pools at Pamukkale, and rock formations in Cappadocia gave me a great sense of the splendor of that ancient land! The vegan dining options were spectacular also! From treats like pretzel-like simits with jam and Turkish Delight, to local olives and figs to meals including cig kofte, eggplant, zuccchini, and beans; a vegan would never be bored with the wonderful meals!




See my blogposts on Istanbul, Turkey:
Istanbul One
Istanbul Two
Istanbul Three
Istanbul Four


See my blogposts on Cappadocia:
Cappadocia One
Cappadocia Two

See my blogposts on Pamukkale:
Pamukkale and Kusadasi


See my blogpost on Ephesus: Ephesus and Kusadasi


See my blogpost on Troy: Troy

During the summer months, I ventured on day trips and weekend trips to several of the surrounding New England states in the USA. Each location proved breath-taking vistas, historic sites, and delicious vegan food!

United States Trips –
Vermont Visit:
The Green Mountains of Vermont proudly showcased its gorgeous greenery. I found some delish vegan meals in this remote part of the state! From an old time general store to the beauty of The Green Mountains backdrop, Vermont is indeed gorgeous. A vegan-friendly market deli in a small town served up a tasty bbq tempeh flatbread sandwich.



Read more on my Vermont sightseeing and vegan dining here on my blogpost: Vermont and Vegan Dining

The summer months also included day trips to parts of New Hampshire and Maine that I had never visited in the past, as well as trying the vegan dining scene in those regions.

Maine Day Trip:
As with every New England state, I had visited many times in the past. However, this time I specifically found different beaches and sights in towns I had never before stepped foot. Likewise, the vegan-friendly dining that I experienced was new to me as well. Eggless egg salad and gourmet Mexican cuisine were among my amazing food finds. Soft white sand beaches and lengthy beaches with rocky shores graced my view. The day ended with a stop to a town I knew well; Kennebunckport.



Read more about my Maine visit and vegan dining: Vegan Dining and Sightseeing in Maine

New Hampshire Day Trip:
The New Hampshire White Mountain region has been part of my life since childhood. The purpose of this visit was to encounter two attractions that I had never experienced in the region. Underground Polar Caves and Lake Sunapee were definitely worth the visit! I climbed up and down the rigorous terrain in the underground cave system of the Polar Caves. The lake visit was serene and authentic “New England”. One of the fabulous meals on a local restaurant menu was a Thai noodle stir-fry with veggies.



Read more about my New Hampshire adventures and vegan dining: Vegan Dining and Sightseeing in New Hampshire

As the Autumn season came into full swing, I decided upon a couple of Fall Foliage road trips. This is a popular activity for New Englanders!
Connecticut Trips:
The Litchfield Hills in western Connecticut-
Just as Massachusetts has its Berkshire Mountains on its western border, the state of Connecticut has its Litchfield Hills. The region is known for its rollercoaster-like winding roads, antique covered bridges, historic colonial homes, and splendid Fall foliage! I found some decent vegan dining options such as vegetable paella.



Read more about my western Connecticut adventures and vegan dining: Litchfield Hills of Connecticut

The Northeast Corridor of Connecticut -
Connecticut’s Northeast corner is known as Scenic Byway Rt169. Many a tourist and local take this popular route for leaf-peeping during the Fall season. Along the way, one encounters a typical New England landscape of rolling fields, stone walled farms and residences, historic homes, and outdoor festivals. I enjoyed a scrumptious tofu veggie scramble during my breakfast stop.


Read more about my New Hampshire adventures and vegan dining:Northeast Corner of Connecticut

I am starting off the new year by visiting the Catskill Animal Sanctuary in upstate New York. My invitation was sent by the sanctuary’s manager. My overnight stay at their vegan Bed & Breakfast will be included.
Catskill Animal Sanctuary and Homestead B & B

I am also looking forward to a long weekend vacation in Barcelona, Spain in January! Picasso, Dali, and Gaudi art exhibits will be a main theme during my stay. A visit to a medieval town is an exciting part of my itinerary. The region’s vegan dining scene appears to be wonderful!

2014 was a great year for travel! Adventure, culture, history, and delicious vegan food experiences make me truly appreciate all of my amazing journeys!

I hope that my readers have benefited from my vegan holiday tips and are planning for more in the future!

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Bring Travel Experiences to You – Enjoying European Christmas Concerts & Vegan European Christmas Desserts

Most of us are unable to constantly travel on a regular basis. Jobs,family, and other commitments have precedence. Fortunately, at these times when our lives do not permit us to hop on a plane to an exciting destination, we can bring the essence of that destination to us! Vegan ethnic cuisine may be purchased online and shipped to you wherever you are! International music can also be enjoyed wherever you live!

Since logistics do not permit me to travel abroad during this holiday season, I decided to bring “European Christmas music and European Christmas desserts” to me! This will feel as though I am traveling across the Atlantic to the European continent! I accomplished this by ordering several Christmas desserts online from various countries in Europe.

Stollen is a popular and traditional German Christmas cake. It is a sweet, fruit filled loaf. I ordered mine online from “German Deli”(German Christmas Stollen) in The United States which receives the product from Germany. The stollen is produced by Kuchennmeister(Kuchenmeister) bakers in Germany who are known for their wonderful German cake specialties. Not all of their stollen products are vegan, but this one is known to be.


Lebkuchen gingerbread cookies are another popular German Christmas treat. I ordered mine online from “Vegan Store” in the UK. They supply food products from European countries, including products from Germany(German Gingerbread Lebkuchen Cookies). These chocolate covered moist gingerbread treats are really tasty!


To get a taste of European culture, I attended several Christmas concerts representing five European countries.
At the beginning of the month, I attended a Celtic Christmas performance that included song, dance, and storytelling. Traditional Christmas carols from Ireland were performed. Instruments popular in Ireland were echoing the sounds of this Northern European island country.

One of the multi-talented musicians also performed an Irish step dance. Between songs, the narrator told tales of Christmases long ago from the early part of the last century. It gave the audience a sense of being in an Irish farmhouse at the turn of the century during the holidays.

An Italian Christmas concert was next on my agenda. An Italian society exists near my hometown here in The United States. The Coro Dante Society performs classical Italian music. This evening’s performance showcased traditional Italian Christmas songs from the 18th and 19th centuries. Audience participation was encouraged during the singalong with the Italian words on the projector screen, while the English translation was located to the right.

The world premiere of an Italian Christmas opera also took place following the carols. Costumed snowmen and other characters graced the stage. The four main characters sung in unison.

I purchased some Italian Christmas candy online from the “Vegan Store” in the UK (Italian Christmas Candy Drops). The candy was manufactured in Italy, though I was able to purchase it through an online shop in the UK. It is reputed to have the taste of Christmas gingerbread cookies.


My next European Christmas event was a concert of 15th century Christmas music from the region of Burgundy, France. Performers from “Blue Heron” performed in an enclosed circle and sang in alto and soprano voices. Its members are based in the United States, but have performed with classical groups in French-speaking Belgium and France.They chanted their medieval songs from both the front of the stage and from the back towards the church altar. Songs of Advent, Christmas, and New Year’s Day expressed the joy of the season!



A soloist sang while several musicians performed pieces on French period instruments.

I further immersed myself in French culture by purchasing some French macarons online (French Macarons). These colorful cookie-like treats are filled with fruity almond cream such as raspberry. Some vendors bake macarons with Christmas colors and patterns.


A Swedish Yuletide Christmas Festival takes place in my local vicinity every December. Upon entering the exhibition center, I was greeted by some folks selling the traditional Swedish beverage called glogg. The warm drink contains apple cider, raisins, almonds, and spices. Perfect for a winter day!


A procession takes place in which a girl representing Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia) leads the march. She is dressed in a white dress, wearing a wreath of candles on her head. The song “Santa Lucia” is sung by each of the boys and girls in the procession. Santa Lucia’s Feast Day during Advent, coincides with winter solstice and is thus known as the “Festival of light”. The choir sand a beautiful arrangement of Christmas carols from Sweden;the words being reminiscent of various holiday activities.

A second Santa Lucia procession took place during the afternoon.

Several more groups performed Swedish Christmas Carols for the crowd.


The performers donned traditional Nordic and Swedish attire.

Swedish holiday crafts could be found at the vendor table displays. Wooden carved Santas and other holiday figures could be found.

The center display area showcased Swedish breads, baked goods, sweets, and candy. I purchased some vegan gingerbread cookies that were manufactured in Sweden.


I also purchased some Swedish flatbread. The cracker-like texture will nicely accompany any vegan cheeses I purchase this month.


One of the beverage vendors offered a flavorful lingonberry juice from Sweden.

Back at the craft tables, I found that the Tomte gnomes were a popular item. I purchased a couple of small figures.

When I arrived home one evening, the mailman had made a delivery from Europe. The mince pies I ordered from the UK had arrived! Several baking companies in the United Kingdom offer vegan versions of their traditional mince pies. I purchased the Sainsbury brand ( Sainsbury Vegan Mince Pies) from The Brit Store. The package is marked non-dairy.

Four individual serving pies are included in the package. The flavorful mince pies made me feel as though I were spending my Christmas holiday in Europe! These mini-sweets are popular in England.

My British mince pie import left me yearning for more European-style holiday celebrations. As it turns out, the ever so popular “Christmas Revels” were performing in the Boston area this week. This year’s performance would focus on Victorian England Christmas music and revelry!

The performance included Christmas carols from Victorian England, audience singalongs, theatrical scenes, and local dance.

Although I had not traveled to Europe this past month, my imported European Christmas desserts and the European Christmas concerts I attended, made me feel as though I had! If you want to bring travel experiences to you during those times when you can not travel abroad, a quick google search for vegan European Christmas desserts and European Christmas concerts will make you feel as though you’ve traveled to the European continent!

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