Kiev’s Vegan Scene

Kyiv or Kiev is the stunning capital city of Ukraine. If you’re wondering if Kyiv is worth visiting, I say definitely yes!! There are many reasons to visit this city and one of them is the vegan food scene.

Over the last few years, Kyiv has seen a mini-boom of vegan restaurants and the eco-friendly community keeps growing rapidly.

During my time in Kyiv, I did encounter lots of great vegan food. For what I understand its’s partially due to religious reasons. I was told that in Orthodox Christianity there are several fasting periods, during which specific animal products are not consumed.

They abstain for 40 days leading up to Easter, for a period in May/June,  for the first 14 days of August, and from 15 November to 24 December, and all year round on Wednesdays and Fridays.

For that reason, most restaurants have a ‘fasting menu‘ (‘Lenten menus’ – постное меню in Russian) that is mostly composed of plant-based dishes.

Communism also ‘helped’. There are great vegan products (not labelled as such), originated during the Communist era. In order to reduce costs and shortages, they used plant-based ingredients, instead of expensive animal products.

Apart from religion and communism veganism is on the rise in general, and Kyiv is not an exception. There are many great vegan places to eat around the city.

When you eat at a non-vegan place notice that they eat quite a lot of сало (lard), сметана (sour cream) and sometimes there are small amounts of meat ‘hiding’ in some dishes.

Vegan Restaurants, Cafés and Bakeries:

B12 candy bar is a vegan bakery, with a small shop attached located in the historic part of the city. Also offers salads and sandwiches. A great place for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Soupculture is famed for the various soups served in edible bread bowls.

Nikogoneem located in a plaza-style area with multiple vegan restaurants. They serve amazing tofu and seitan burger.

KOLO, is a lovely restaurant in Podil with a cosy interior, that serves homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and desserts.

Sereda, sells delicious cakes, fresh juices and smoothies. The place is also bike-friendly.

Orang+utan offers a rich selection of vegan sandwiches, salads and smoothies.

Cafe Imbir near the Olimpiska metro station has a cosy atmosphere and great vegan and vegetarian food. You can even find a few raw vegan options.

Bessarabsky Market,  it’s an indoor market full of stalls, farmers stands, and restaurants. There are several vegan options in this marketGreen 13, sells wraps, sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups and desserts. Ra.Man. has a wide selection of vegan ramen, six types of bowls, pitas and desserts.

To find other vegan places in Kiev happycow is your best friend!

Where to Find Vegan Food in Kiev

I’ve found that there are great 100% vegan restaurants but also interesting local restaurants with at least one meatless option everywhere. So I would say that is quite easy to travel in Kyiv as a vegan.

The trendy district called Podil is probably one of the best neighbourhoods for vegan food in Kyiv.

There are also some excellent local events such as the monthly flea market Kurazh Bazar (with delicious street food) and the annual Kyiv Vegan Boom festival, with a food court and market set up on the bank of the Dnieper river.

So I assure you, you will not go hungry in Kyiv. I think the scene there is going to get better and better and it’s definitely a city to keep your eye on.

Travel Vegan in Morocco

Vegan Morocco Travel

To start with is better to keep in mind that not everybody understands what vegan means so make sure they get it. I did struggle a bit when I was there in the beginning, mostly because my French is very poor and let’s not talk about my Arabic that is non-existent 🙂 

Keep in mind that sometimes for some strange reason hummus can have milk, they sometimes add chicken stock to veggie tagine, and beef broth will be used to flavour the couscous. Well, it can be hard and unfortunately, sometimes we can’t really be sure if what you are eating is 100% vegan.

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When ordering you need to be clear that it is a vegetarian dish you are ordering, because from my experience no one was really familiarized with the word vegan.

I had some screenshots from google translate in Arabic and French of what I wanted to say and ask. I also used my vegan passport.

Vegan Moroccan Food – Some options for vegan meals
How to eat Vegan in Morocco

The vegetarian tagine is probably the easiest and safest choice while in Marroco.

Tagine is a traditional Moroccan meal cooked inside a clay pot, with potatoes, carrots, turnips and zucchini topped tomato, preserved lemon and olives.

Couscous with veggies is also quite common and easy to find. If you want a break from couscous you can ask for vegetables and rice, that is literally the same dish but with rice instead of couscous.

For breakfast is common to have bread with jam or “msemmen” that is a thin, fried bread. These crepes ingredients are all vegan (sugar, salt, yeast oil, flour), but occasionally is cooked with butter. So just check how they are cooked.

The bread is known as “khobz” is served at every meal, and is absolutely divine with olive oil and olives.

It’s easy to find “Zalook” a dish made of roasted mashed eggplant with spices, or even dishes made of lentils (3eids) and beans (loubia)

Dishes with lentils and beans are easy to find in the majority of Moroccan restaurants all over the country.

You can also ask restaurants to grill some vegetables for you and have it with rice or potatoes.

The harira soup is also delicious, but some people add meat or cook harira in the broth. You should ask prior to ordering how it was prepared.

Salads are delicious in Morocco, they have a great variety of them. They make the salads mostly with zucchini, eggplant, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers and beans.

Are you a fruit lover?

Morocco’s fruit markets are unbeatable for both price and quality. You have a massive range of fresh fruit to chose from but also wonderful dried fruit options, from dates to figs, and apricots.

Olives are another highlight of travelling to Morocco. I LOVE olives so I couldn’t be in a better place. They have a great variety of olives with different seasoning, they are just delicious and high quality. Just be careful they are addictive 🙂

If you want something on the go

It’s easy to find small stalls selling food on the street, and many of the food that is served is vegan.

You can buy things like corn, roasted chickpeas, bread with chickpeas, fried potato cakes on bread and also dried and fresh fruit and nuts.

Vegan Desserts

If you are on a diet just stay home, because you will love all the cookies they have.

Mostly made from nuts, seeds and of course sugar… they are really tasty and also quite beautifully designed. (just double check if they have used honey if you don’t eat it).

Other kinds of desserts are unfortunately not vegan (they add butter and dairy). But you always have fresh fruit as a safe dessert option.

Moroccan doughnuts are called Sfenjs and are basically fried dough rolled in sugar.

Drinks: mint tea, fresh squeezed juices and coffee

I highly recommend trying the Moroccan mint tea or like the locals like to call it “Moroccan whisky”. However, sometimes it will be extremely sweet. Order it sugar-free to be safe and add your own sugar if you want it!

If tea is not your thing the coffee is also delicious.

You can also get freshly squeezed juices – I would recommend taking your own cup to avoid disposable plastic. Freshly squeezed fruit juices are common and are not to be missed. The orange juice and pomegranate are my favourites.

You can’t miss

You can’t miss wandering around the markets where they sell fresh produce and spices.

I recommend using the app HappyCow and make some research about vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurants that are on the rise now in Morocco.

As you can see there are options and they are easy to find, but if you are spending a long time travelling through the country it can get repetitive.

Animal welfare

So foodwise you will be fine but get ready to have your heart broken because there is a lot of animal exploitation, and can get quite hard to see some things.

Moroccans treat animals differently for western standards. Snake charmers and monkeys on leads are common in touristic areas.

While there isn’t a large variety of local Moroccan foods that are vegan, it is definitely possible to travel in Morocco as a vegan. You might find it more difficult in rural areas compared to the larger Moroccan cities.

I hope this is helpful if you’re planning to travel to Morocco💚

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

The best Vegan boots for intrepid travellers (USA)

Veganism is more than a diet, is a lifestyle, where we try to avoid all forms of animal exploitation, including contributing to the destruction of ecosystems.
So covers all the choices we make daily, in order to contribute for a greener planet and a more compassionate world.
Shoes are one of those items that are sometimes difficult to find.
You want your shoes to be good for your feet and back, comfortable, good quality and durable, adding to that they should also be stylish, breathable, vegan and the price should be fair.
Vegan shoes

Because I’ve received so many messages about what kind of boots I use and which ones I recommend that are both vegan and suitable for travel, I will leave here my honest opinion, so you don’t need to go through the experience of trial and error.

When travelling you need reliable travel shoes to get you through the day without any pain or blisters.

Vegan travelling boots

Lems Shoes sell my favourite boots to travel, although not all range is vegan they have options.

I find LEMS shoes really really comfortable is like you’re not wearing anything at all. A feeling that I can only find with this brand. The Lems boots are incredibly lightweight I would say they are light as a feather 🙂

Before I started to use these boots I honestly didn’t realize how squished my toes were in my other boots. The only problem is that they are not waterproof, but it’s easy to waterproof them before you go somewhere where is likely to be raining or snowing.

At LEMs shoes, they focus on promoting healthy foot development, better balance, increased mobility in the feet, legs, and back.

They fit the natural shape of the foot, unlike other footwear products that squeeze the toes together. They are perfect for travel, especially if you are a ‘light’ traveller like me.

When travelling, for a month or two a small bag is all I carry with me, I’m quite a minimalist. The fewer things you have to worry about, the more you can focus on the important stuff.

I travelled through many places with these boots with absolutely no problems. I do highly recommend them. They are great for winter weather, they are stylish and comfortable.

These boots make the perfect travel companion, they are lightweight, ultra-minimalist, featuring a wide toebox, compact, zero-drop design, and vegan-friendly (not all range)

What vegan eco-friendly shoes do you use when travelling? please feel free to leave a comment so we can all share our experiences 🙂 

*although I’m talking about a specific product I’m not being paid to write this article neither will get any compensation if you make a purchase*

Long-Haul Flight essentials for vegan travellers

The worst thing about travelling is spending long hours at airports and even worst are the hours sitting in a small chair inside an aeroplane. If I could just teletransport me, that would be just ideal. But while there is no such thing as teleportation (yet) we need to suck it up and use what is available, a small price to pay for what you get in return. The excitement of discovering new places.

I think no one really enjoys a long-haul flight, what’s there to like, right? but we can try to make them more bearable and comfortable.

So the big question here is what should we do and what should we take with us to survive a long haul flight and to be more environmentally friendly

Where to seat

Personally, I like to seat in the mid row in an aisle seat so I can have as many pee breaks and walks I need without disturbing other people.

Meal options
Reusable Food And Drink Utensils

I always take reusable cutlery, a cup and a water bottle (with or without a filter depending to where I’m travelling to) with me that I use in the aeroplane avoiding single-use plastic but also during my travels. I always refuse, plastic cutlery, cups and straws, and I refill my water bottle when possible instead of buying bottled water.

All of this is just fundamental for me not only for the flight but for all the time I’m travelling.

For cutlery I like the ones made of bamboo, for a bottle I use the ones you can roll up, they are light and can easily fit into the pocket on my backpack when empty. You also have great ones with a water filter on.

I also have a pocket-sized reusable cup, that is resizeable for three drinking sizes, and even better than that is eco-friendly built to last and readily recyclable.

The Pokito cup is easy to clean and is made from recyclable materials and are BPA free.

Even if they offer paper cups, keep in mind that most of them can’t be recycled, because they contain plastic, so 99% of cups go into a landfill. If that is not enough to scare you out, 7,000,000 single-use cups are thrown away in the UK alone every single day. Stacked up, they would be more than 7 x taller than Mount Everest

Pokito is a great brand for different reasons and its why I don’t mind making some free publicity. As consumers, we need to boycott brands that are environmental disasters and support the good projects out there.  The Pokito cups are environmentally sustainable after just 15 uses.

To get comfortable  

I travel very light so despite never been able to sleep in an aeroplane I never really though on buying one of those U-shaped pillows, they are really big, and I would have the space to pack them in my small bag. So they always seemed such a waste of space.

My mind changed when I came across the Trtl Travel Pillow, they really looked great but still, I wasn’t convinced that they would be a must have for my travels. So the idea stayed on the back of my mind for a while.

On my last trip to Indonesia, a faced uncountable flying hours, plus long journeys hooping between islands in a country that spreads across a chain of thousands of islands between Asia and Australia. It was so so tiring.. I was really jealous of all those people that can sleep anywhere because I’m so bad at it… when my eyes close, my mouth opens instantly and my head drops down, and I wake up. Every journey is a real struggle for me to find a comfortable position.

So when I returned I thought well maybe I should give the Trtl Pillow a go and see if works for me. So I had it ready for my next trip to Marrocos.

During my trip I felt that the pillow added virtually no weight to my luggage, it was surprisingly supportive and can be worn in different ways, even to the front leaving your head straight up.

True to be told my Trtl Pillow is my new travel essential, because is lightweight (200 grams), super comfortable, folds up tiny and allows me to take naps in transports for the first time.

This pillow looks like a scarf and because most planes are Arctic cold, it comes really handy, it is cosy, soft, and keeps you warm. Plus the hypoallergenic fleece can be washed.

Clothes

I like to pack a few extra pieces of clothing so I can be comfortable and survive to the aeroplane air-conditioning.

I always have a pair of comfy socks and a blanket if the company doesn’t provide one. Although I’ve read articles about the benefits of compression socks I’vent tried to use them.

Ear plugs, and headphones

Earplugs can really help you sleep, and headphones are a must to keep you entertained when you are awake.

Vegan snacks 

Regardless of the food on the plane, and always pack lots of snacks to keep me busy. I always do my own like a mix of different protein bars and energy bites, I also take fruit, nuts, on some occasions I also took roasted chickpeas, sliced Cucumbers and Carrots and Hummus, yummy 🙂

To keep me busy

I have a book to read, a notebook to write some thoughts, a travel guide, and my phone. I also pack some moisturising to avoid the sensation of getting to dry.

Well and if you are really serious about getting a flight somewhere, passport, plane ticket, and money are a must of course 😂

These are just some ideas but whatever you do, try to be as green as possible…

Do you travel with the same things? What do you take with you that makes your time on the aeroplane more bearable? Any other objects/tricks you could recommend? Let me know in the comments below.

*although I’m talking about a specific product I’m not being paid to write this article neither will get any compensation if you make a purchase*

The best Vegan Shoe Brand for intrepid travellers (UK)

Veganism is not only about food, is a lifestyle present in all the choices I make in my daily life. Is not only about not eating chicken and then buying clothes or shoes made of animal skin.

Leather, suede, wool, silk, mohair, cashmere, real fur and exotic skins like crocodile skin, obviously are all no-gos. However, it’s not only the leather or wool you need to look at when buying shoes, as some large retailers still use animal-derived glue in their products.

For me travel is not about the all-inclusive resort or organized tours, is about being present at the moment, taking part in the culture as much as possible and lose myself into the unknown. I travel independently, without a plan, because I like to decide at the moment and be able to catch all the small opportunities life throws at me.

I travel light, and I know that this style is surely not for everyone. It all ends in the difference between wanting things to needing things. So how many pair of shoes do you really need?

Vegan Shoes

Shoes are probably the one item I normally don’t look at the cost too much because it’s so important that you have something good for your feet, the alignment of the spine, that alleviates strain on the lower back and allow you to walk in a healthier way.
When you travel you’re on your feet from dawn to dusk so comfort, quality and durability is everything.

I’ve been asked wich vegan brands are the best for travelling and to be honest there are a number of great shoe brands that are both comfortable, stylish and vegan.

Will’s vegan Store

Wills vegan store is a UK brand but they ship worldwide.

Will’s Vegan Shoes

Will’s Vegan Store is brand dear to my heart because not also makes 100% vegan footwear but they are also ethically made and environmentally sustainable, so they really tick all the boxes.

Their shoes are all made in Portugal and Italy, so as you know I’m Portuguese and I can tell you that we are really good at making shoes, we are not just a sunny country with great beaches and good wine 🙂

When you order shoes from Will’s Vegan Store they arrive in sustainable, eco-friendly, and recyclable packaging.

In addition, they use a carbon-neutral supply chain, and their operations are carbon neutral. They also invests in renewable energy projects like wind power, hydropower, geothermal, solar power, and biomass.

Who doesn’t want to take part in such an amazing project…

What vegan eco-friendly shoes do you use when travelling? 

*although I’m talking about a specific product I’m not being paid to write this article neither will get any compensation if you make a purchase*

Travel Vegan in Indonesia

Indonesia is an incredibly vast country, with over 18,000 islands to explore. On one hand, that means that you have plenty to choose from, on the other hand, it makes it harder to make decisions 🙂

I started my trip on the island of Bali, and from there I explored other islands, I travelled through Lombok, Sumbawa and Java. It was a long trip full of adventures some good and others not so much, like experiencing uncountable earthquakes and tsunami alerts.

Indonesia is a beautiful country, that is incredibly diverse and breathtaking in many ways… and a pot of many cultures, customs and religions, that is shown in their rich food scene.

Vegan Food in Indonesia

In Indonesia, a lot of common dishes are actually vegan by default. I was relieved to find that I could go pretty much anywhere and find something delicious to eat. I didn’t feel limited at all during my trip. Don’t be afraid to try everything including the street food, and going to night markets.

Bali receives more tourists than anywhere else in Indonesia and many of them are health-focused, especially in Ubud. So that means that here the vegan food scene is quite strong.

You can’t talk about vegan food in Indonesia without mention Tempeh and Tofu!!

Tempeh is made of fermented soybeans a delicious high-protein food. Like Tempeh, Tofu can be found pretty much everywhere. Both are quite versatile and tasty, so even if you eat them all the time, like I did, its unlikely that you get fed up.

Indonesian Vegan Dishes

Gado Gado: Boiled vegetables and rice with peanut sauce.

Vegetable curry: The name is quite explanatory is a dish made with veggies and curry.

Meaty gudeg: Made from unripe jackfruit and coconut milk.

Urap-Urap: Salad dish of steamed vegetables mixed with spicy grated coconut served with rice.

Capcay: A stir-fry vegetable dish.

Sayur lodeh: Is a vegetable soup/stew with coconut milk served with rice or rice cakes.

Keripik tempeh pedas: Fried thin tempeh slices.

Jogja gudeg: Made with boiled young jackfruit, and marinated with coconut milk and sugar.

Lontong Cap Gomeh: a vegetable stew cooked in coconut milk served with or over rice cakes.

Vegan Indonesian snacks and sweets

Indonesia has plenty of fresh tropical fruit like mangoes, mangosteen, dukuh, papaya, snake fruit, pineapple, sirsak, dragonfruit, between others.

They also have plenty delicious desserts like sweets, cakes and puddings that can easily be found at the local markets. They are usually made with rice flour, coconut milk, palm sugar, shredded coconut, cassava, yam and banana, they are really tasty and cheap.

Es Teler is made with young shredded coconut, avocado and jackfruit.

Klepon are sweet coconut rice balls, that can be made with rice flour or black sticky rice.

Be wary of…

*Dairy isn’t really a big thing in Southeast Asia but is always better to double check.

*Fish sauce and shrimp paste (terasi), are very common and used as a base for a lot of foods. It’s easily hidden in soups, stews, and other vegetable dishes.

*Eggs can be found in many dishes and is not always obvious, so just ask.

*Many dishes also come with a side of prawn crackers.

If you’re like me and you like to go off the beaten path, it’s sensible to learn some of the local lingo.

I’m sure you will be impressed by how easy (and tasty) it is to be vegan in Indonesia.

Animal Attractions

Sadly, like many places around the world, animals in Indonesia are exploited in the tourism industry. So make sure you do your research beforehand so you don’t end supporting terrible practices.  Do responsible tourism and keep your self away from cruel attractions such as Luwak coffee farms or shows and performances with elephants.

What else is special about Indonesia:
    • Beaches
    • Volcanoes
    • Wild animals in their natural habitat
    • Rich marine life
    • Translucent ocean
    • Majestic mountains
    • World’s largest volcanic lake
    • Valleys
    • Cliffs
    • Waterfalls
    • Rice paddies
    • Lotus ponds
    • Culture
    • Rituals
    • Temples

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Sunrise at Bromo, for Free and Without a Tour

Visiting the Mount Bromo, contemplate the sunrise or sunset, can be done easily for free and without a tour.

First, you need to reach the small town of Cemoro Lawang, find a room and overnight there. If you arrive during the day, I recommend visiting the Bromo crater that day, after the tours left.

I woke up at 3.20am and left to the hike to the top of Mount Penanjakan, by myself, and could be easier. The trek uphill is about 5km long so you need some good 2 hours.
It’s important to have a good torch, proper shoes and warm clothes, its frizzing cold during the night, remember that you are at 2,217 meters above sea level.

Hiking to the top of Mount Penanjakan during the night

First, you walk on the concrete road for half of the journey and then you go into a rocky mountain trail, The hike is not difficult but you need to have a reasonable level of fitness. Its deep dark but using the offline map app maps-me makes the tasks pretty easy, as long as you have a light source with you.

It’s amazing to stop occasionally to look at the starts here, the visibility is just superb.

On the day I did my hike, I only pass through a couple of small moving light points from other travellers. This is not the same route taken by the jeeps (tours) and there are not many people climbing up this way.

After a while, I reached a viewing point that I liked (you will find many) and waited there for the sunrise. Slowly started to get brighter and brighter… It was magical, such a stunning and magnificent view over the caldera with Semeru volcano in the background.

I contemplated the sunrise wrapped in a blanket and stayed a bit longer having breakfast (that I carried in my backpack) looking at the views.

The weather was getting warmer and I went down to town, sat for a coffee, rest and finish an amazing morning.

The journey was tiring but completely worth it.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Batik in Yogyakarta, what to do and where to go on a budget

One of the best things about travelling is learning new things, and it would be impossible to visit or live in Indonesia and not to notice one of the country’s most highly developed art forms, the batik.

The Indonesian Batik is part of the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Batik is a method originally used in Java of producing coloured designs on textiles by applying wax and them dyeing them.

 

Felling the Batik smell, admire its patterns and learn about its processes needs to be part of any visit to Yogyakarta because is such an important part of the Indonesian culture and heritage.

Where to learn about the  batik process

If you want to see and learn about the batik process the Batik Winotosatro in Yogyakarta, shows it for free.

The manual process uses fabric, hot wax, tjanting and colours. Tjanting is a bell metal tool used in outlining the design of the batik art.

 

The Batik can also be made by stamp.

 

Where to try the batik process

Mirota Batik is a fixed-priced store, located in the Malioboro, that sell batik fabric and clothing, but also has a small space where you can try this technique (Rp.30,000~$2)

 

Batik scams

Batik is very popular in Yogyakarta among tourists, making it a great opportunity for scammers.

Everywhere you go,  someone will be trying to sell you batik, or they have a friend that does it, or they know the most authentic place to buy it, or they are a teacher in the University of Batik… well… the stories are many and I assure you; you will hear them all. The important thing is to decline all offers politely and choose wisely where you want to go.

If you want to buy some batik my advice is for you to go to a shop with fixed prices.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

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Yogyakarta a special place

The special region of Yogyakarta often known as Yogya, Yoja or even Jogja, is located in the island of Java, Indonesia. Unlike Bali, Jogya is more traditionally Muslimwith a minority identifying as Christian and Hindu. 

Yogyakarta is a busy sprawling city with lots of narrow picturesque side streets in a maze-like formation, that makes navigation confusing at times but also exciting.

Many people will say that Yogya is not a city to fall in love with, but I did… I truly fell in love with this city to the point I have returned again. If you have been reading my posts about Indonesia I was quite disappointed with most of the places.

For the first time on my adventure around Indonesia, I didn’t feel like everyone had an agenda, I liked the vibe of the city, its people, and authenticity.

Location

Yogyakarta also has an excellent location whatever direction you go. The Merapi mount at the North, isolated beaches at the South, The Heritage site of Prambanan at the East and the ancient Buddhist temple – Borobudur at the west to where you can go using public buses.

The Arts

Jogya is the centre of many art forms including traditional dances, batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry, puppet shows, and cuisine.

Yogyakarta is the beating heart of the Javanese culture. The city pulsates with creative energy, where artists from all over Indonesia come to join the community, making this city a feast for the eyes.

Street Art

Street art is just another way of expression, and finding the best street art is just one of the things you can do in Yogyakarta.  Jogya is a colourful, creative city full of surprises. There always seems to be something going on.

Local Markets

There are few better places to visit than the local markets in order to gain a sense of a country, its customs and culture than amongst the stalls and the people.

Most markets you will encounter are packed with people, are hot and sticky, have colourful foods and gods on offer, some are located in narrow alleyways full of the sounds and smells of a country waiting to be explored.

Whichever you choose, make sure you’re there early as most stalls close after 11 am.

Food

There are food stalls in every corner, and vegan and vegetarian food is abundant in Yogyakarta. Tofu and tempeh are super common and dairy, on the other hand, is rarely used in cooking.

The busiest area is on the north end of JI Malioboro where you will find dozens of street food vendors during the evening.

Look for nasi goreng (fried rice), gado gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce), lotek (similar to gado gado), gudgeon (jackfruit curry), nasi Langgi (coconut rice with temple),  tahu and tempe sate (tofu and tempeh on skewers) and pecel (mixed veg salad with bean sprouts and peanut sauce).

Becaks

Becaks (cycle rickshaws) are used for public transportation in Yogyakarta. Around the Palace Quarter after the sun has set the streets are filled with a selection of illuminated vehicles decorated with everything from Hello Kitty to Pokemons.

Batik

Batik is an ancient waxing and dying process, very popular in Indonesia. In fact, it is here, on the island of Java that the finest batik in the world is produced.

Jogja being the Javanese cultural hub, is a great place to witness the process of batik first-hand.

Some batik workshops give free tours of the batik process. But please do some research and be aware of all the scams directed at tourists.

I’ve visited Yogyakarta twice and spent some considerable time there, and I can’t recommend it enough, I really loved it..

Have you been to Java or Yogyakarta? Let me know your thoughts..

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Vegan in Namibia

Namibia is a stunning country in Southern Africa. Well known for the Namib Desert, the Atlantic Ocean coast and the diverse wildlife.

To travel around Namibia you can take an organized tour or rent a jeep and drive on your own. Public transports are nearly non-existent and are not a solution for travellers.

Namibia’s food scene

It’s not easy to travel as a vegan in Namibia. For most Namibians, the idea of vegetarianism or veganism is slightly bizarre, to say the least. So expect the following at restaurants, “Do you have any vegetarian/vegan options?” or “are there any dishes without meat?” Staff: “We have Chicken and the fish is good” and when you say you don’t eat either, there will be a shocked look followed by a hummmm.. 🙂

Namibia is a ‘meat-eating-country’ with lots of restaurants selling game like oryx and kudu. Some places even offer you to hunt your own meat, there’s also a big market for fur and leather products.
Meals in Namibia tend to be heavy on meat with no avoidance of animal products.

How to Eat vegan in Namibia

If you chose a tour, you need to make sure they will cater adequately to your needs, and you will not need to worry about it for the rest of your trip.

On the other hand, if you travel independently, you need to have a few things in consideration.

Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, is a cosmopolitan place where it’s wise to stop at the supermarket to stock up on supplies.

Windhoek also has a couple of Vegan & Vegetarian-friendly Restaurants, but definitely nothing like a big vegan scene with loads of alternative restaurants.

Larger towns will have at least some restaurants that will be able to adapt something to suit your needs, but not always with the same understanding as you about butter, milk, honey etc. Namibians are kind and generous and will work to accommodate you as possible.

In Windhoek and other larger towns, you can find most things you have at home like cereals, soy milk, fruit, peanut butter, jams, baked beans, fresh vegetables, pasta, rice, chickpeas, dried fruit and nuts, olives, bread, granola, chips, rice cakes, etc..

If you can cook your own meals from larger town supermarkets then the choice is pretty decent. So cooking your own meals is probably the best option you have.

I would go even far and say if you want to eat well…and keep costs low, your best option is to head to the grocery store and cook your own meal.

On the street and open markets you can sometimes find people selling tomatoes, carrots, oranges, fat cakes (fried dough, usually vegan), ice pops, and Oshikundu.

Oshikundu or Ontaku is a local drink made from fermented millet. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties exist.

Vegan awareness Namibia

Travelling vegan in Namibia is far from ideal, but the country is starting to open to the concept of a vegan lifestyle. VAN’s (vegan awareness Namibia) is a non-profit organisation creating awareness about cruelty-free living in Namibia.

Responsible tourism in Namibia

Although the food may not be the highlight of your trip, remember that you will be surrounded by animals and nature on its best.

Namibia has vast areas of wilderness and an extraordinary variety of unique landscapes and ecosystems. As a traveller you should support conservation projects and the communities.
Refusing to take part in any activity that goes against the protection and wellbeing of the animals and ecosystems.

Namibia has dug deep to protect its outstanding natural heritage, making it easy for travellers to choose sustainable ways to travel around the country.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha