Monthly Archives

July 2016

Tunisia Vegan

Vegan Tunisian Food

July 28, 2016

What does a Vegan traveller in Tunisia eat?

You’ll find a good enough selection of vegan food in Tunisia. And they eat everything with bread so you’ll get full.

(if you like white bread… I don’t so much)

Tunisian Mechouia

Brik (modified)

Brik or Brick is a Tunisian dish consisting of thin pastry around a filling, commonly deep fried. The best-known version is the egg brik, a whole egg in a triangular pastry pocket with chopped onion, tuna, harissa and parsley.
As they make it on the spot, you can ask for one without egg and with potatoe instead

 

Tunisian Salad

Vegetarian / Vegan Cous Cous

 

Tunisian Carrot Salad

 

Tunisian Chapatti Bread

Egypt

Cairo Airport VIP Treatment Scam

July 28, 2016

Tourists beware at Cairo airport

I arrived to Cairo from Tunis in the afternoon. Sticking out like an obvious, strange foreigner airport officials rushed over to me and started to assist me.

Things happened in the following order:

  1. They escorted me out of border control line to the front of the airport without checking my passport, visa or anything
  2. I was told to take money from the atm to pay for my visa ($25) as I didn’t have local coin
  3. They took me back to the border control area where I bought a visa with my credit card (they didn’t want the Egyptian Pounds I just withdrawn)
  4. I was escorted straight to the front of the line and my passport was stamped, visa included
  5. Surrounded by 5 guys I was told to pay 20 Egyptian Pounds for VIP treatment. I protested and made a fuss. They noticed their boss in the distance and told me to GO GO GO AWAY in a rush.I didn’t pay but it left me shocked and confused. Was this what was to come of Cairo? Yes.

How could I have avoided the airport scam

Carry $25 dollar with you. They offer it on the plane (I didn’t realise what it was for).

When you exit Cairo airport head straight to the kiosk which also serves as a currency exchange and get your visa. Then line up for border control.

Don’t talk to anybody or firmly say no to everything.. just leave and take the bus or a taxi into the city.

Blog Tunisia

My Disappointing Trip To Tunis

July 28, 2016

Tunis, 23-26 July 2016

Chaos is the best way to describe my entry into Tunis is chaotic, frustration and fatigue.

The 10 boat journey from Palermo to Tunis was pleasant enough. I arrived with mixed emotions of being tired, hungry and excited to be in a new place. Oh but wait! They weren’t going to let me out so soon, of course.. my passport was held for 40minutes for no reason at the port. NO REASON. It just sat there until the bitch (excuse my French) at the port decided to stamp it. Aparently she was new.

Welcome to Tunisia.. 😐

TERRIBLE TUNISIAN COUSCOUS

TRICKING VEGANS: TERRIBLE TUNISIAN COUSCOUS

It gets to me when the first thing I do when I sit down at a restaurant is clean the cutlery with table tissue. It leaves no hope for the meal to come. I experienced this on the beach strip by the port, La Goulette. I hadn’t eaten for 10 hours and considering that I love Lebanese, Moroccan and Egyptian food my expectations were high. After I cleaned my knife, fork and glass I ordered a vegetable couscous. It arrived swiftly in abundance and looked dull but I was hungry so I took one big spoonful then immediately spat it straight back out and beckoned the waiter to come. Prawns and other things were hiding in my vegan couscous. He objected that it wasn’t true, so I simply showed him the previous contents of my mouth. Now on heat, he confessed that it was originally a fish couscous but they removed all the fish for me. Or so they thought. That night I went hungry.

By 2am the streets were still packed full of life. The strip by the port is beautiful. It reminded me instantly of Miami beach. The cafes, bars and beach were packed full of young and old people together, enjoying themselves. This explains why it took me 40minutes to get a taxi to my hotel. Groups of 2-3 were hanging out in the road chasing after taxis.

My Luck: A stranger next to me in the taxi offered to pay for my journey to Hotel Cartlon. Thanks.

At least my hotel was nice!

my single room

my single room

Hotel Cartlon was exactly perfect. Clean, stylish with art decor and centrally located. 46 per night it was a great deal if you ask me. Plus breakfast (basic) was included.

After a good sleep I was hoping that the day would go well.. not to be followed or alarmed by police.

Fed, clean and excited about being somewhere new I stepped out the hotel and starting walking with no destination in mind. I wanted to discover things.

I took a risky stroll to the Medina…

A short while after I began walking the hairs on my neck suddenly started to pickle. I had the strong sensation that I was being followed. I touristically glanced back and saw my guy. He was a tall 40 something Tunisian with balding hair. To be sure I was being followed I abruptly changed direction a few times and without hesitation, he followed me every move. Finally I ended the chased and engaged in pointless conversation with a group of armed police. He disappeared. I will never know what he wanted but I have some ideas…

 Tunis Medina

I found myself wondering into the medina. I love medinas and I love the merchants. I love the things they sell both random and rare, commercial and fake. Arab medinas feel like you’ve stepped back in time to days of trade. It is a wonderful place to be.
I discovered the Dar Lasram Museum at the end of a passage in the medina (didn’t go to museum) and decided to turn into a small dark section of the medina. A few random turns later and I was officially lost. There is no strategy to finding yourself out of a medina. It is a mixture of luck and patience. And its fun, magical and mystical.

Fun until you step out of the medina and get slapped back to reality.

tunis medina 2

Police… everywhere

Once outside the medina I strolled back along on Avenue Habib Bourguiba and became aware of just how many police were in the street. The police almost numbered the people 1:5 at least. I noticed a huge military tank next to a police van with a guy inside looking like he was ready to fire. The tank was barricaded by a low fence which had a NO PHOTOS sign. I later found out that it was the French embassy.

I don’t follow politics. I don’t follow news. The locals I met explained to me that the police appear scary in public to instil fear to the people. Reminding people who’s in charge, revolution or not.

Vegan Food In Tunisia

By now my stomach started to rumble. I decided on a restaurant called Le Grand Café Du Theatre on Avenue Habib Bourguiba and had my first wonderful meal in Tunisia. I ordered a warm aubergine, onion, tomatoes, pepper, capers + guests salad. It was nicely spiced and priced perfectly at 7TND. Check My Top Vegan Tunisian Foods List

Food Tip:
Beware of them simply removing cheese, meats or fish from the meal to make it vegan. It happened to me twice

Hanging With The Locals

I met Hamid at The Tunis Grand Hotel. We spent the day in the centre and visited an underground spot in the centre for a coffee. Outside was covered in graffiti and young kids were hanging outside, some with afros, dreadlocks, long hair, blue hair… very alternative.

underground tunis cafe entrance

underground tunis cafe entrance

We also went for a drink in the centre which was nice. It shocked me that Tunisian wine was so tasty. I recommend you try their red selections

Top 3 Things To See In Tunis

 

Sidi Bou Said

Admission: Free
Transport: Get there by train, it’s about 8 stops and takes 30min

Cartage

Transport: Take train (about 20minutes or 10minutes from Sidi Bou Said) 1TND

There isn’t much to see at Carthage and there is not much historical content. I was so disappointed looking at ruins.

Bardo Museum

Admission: 11TND

Transport: Take taxi, its cheap

Transport in Tunis

Taxi: Taxis run on meter. Make sure that the taxi driver turns on the meter. It starts from 0.450TND which is £0.15p or $0.20. Very cheap, you can take taxi everywhere.

Trains/Trams: This cost only 1TND and is fast. Beware that the doors may be open while you are in transit as they might be broken, or it is too hot. It does get a little busy but not too bad. Don’t accidently fall out.

Bus: The bus never came. I waited for 30minutes and decided to take a taxi

People in Tunis

People are fine. They are helpful, friendly and nice. Though they don’t share the lively Arab sense of humour which the Egyptians have. They still talk loud though.

You’ll have no problems with the locals

Why I didn’t love Tunis

I didn’t learn anything new, I wasn’t inspired and it felt like a half way city. In my case half way between Palermo and Cairo.

It’s rare that I go to a place and don’t fall in love with some aspect of the culture. But Tunis was just OK; it wasn’t anything special. It was literally just a pit stop before heading to Egypt. There are much more beautiful and better places in Tunisia and I hope to visit them because Tunis really didn’t stimulate me. Compared to my wonderful time in Sicily (Palermo, Catania and Agrigento) it was lame.

Links:

Top Vegan Tunisian Food

My Trip To Palermo

My Trip To Catania

My Trip To Agrigento

Blog Europe Italy

My Trip To Palermo

July 26, 2016

Palermo | 21st -23rd July 2016

Over the centuries, countless people have fought, lived and loved in Sicily. I lived and loved.

The bus from Agrigento to Palermo was smooth and lovely. A one way ticket cost 9. The bus left on time and arrived exactly on time.

When I arrived I asked the taxi driver to take me to my Airbnb. It instantly rattled me that the taxi drivers all started to talk amongst themselves in Italian, smirking and nodding. He quoted me 30 for a 7 minute drive.  As I started to walk away one taxi driver quoted me 20 and I shook my head and kept walking. Another taxi driver then ran up to me and quoted me 12! No thanks homies. With my huge backpack on, (I couldn’t be bothered to haggle) I waddled over to a coffee shop bought a bus ticket for 1.40 (which apparently I shouldn’t have even bought as everyone was strolling on the bus without tickets(free ride)) and got there in 15minutes. I’ll remember that for next time 😉

My Airbnb apartment couldn’t have been in a better place. It was by Theatre Massimo and my room offered a fantastic rooftop view of churches, houses and Theatre Massimo. It was perfect. Cool – apartment sorted, onto understanding the city and meeting locals

Palermo City By Day

Palermo is the perfect city for walking and definitely a city for finding. I walked and really enjoyed the street markets where you can find fabrics, socks, pots, tops of the pots, bikes, eggs and cannoli. Every turn I made I would discover a new square/piazza.

I enjoyed the botanical garden, Piazza Marina, Piazza Bellini and simply taking time to watch the locals interact.

In comparison with Catania and Agrigento, Palermo is a vibrant multi-cultural city full of Italians, Tunisians, Indians, Pakistanis, West Africans… It has a great colourful feeling. People seem get along and co-exist in harmony. The people are outspoken, hospitable and have a great sense of humour. During my trip to Catania I was told that Palermo was smelly, dirty and the people weren’t nice. In fact, I enjoyed Palermo more than Catania.

I enjoyed Palermo so much that I put together My Top 8 Things To Do In Palermo

Palermo Street Markets

What. For almost 800 years – and more or less in the same way – merchants and shopkeepers start to populate the market around 5am, peddling all sorts of goods: from lemons to posters, socks to pots.

How. Sellers to not just offer you their goods.. they literally sing it! “Abbanniari” is an art: a deafening chant in strict Palermitan dialect, with a time-space displacing effect

Riffa Time. If you just stand in a central place of a market and observe for a while what is happening around, you’ll notice little pieces of paper passing from hand to hand. It’s the inner market lottery, with a jackpot that is usually a box of fish, meat and vegetables of the day.

When. The best time to go is before 10a although that could not be easy after a Palermitan night but you’ll find fresher vegetables and fish earlier in the day.

Rules. Haggling is usually inappropriate (except taxis…), mostly if you know how a market works pay cash, better with the exact change ask for the right quantity and check that the seller is not cheating you while filling your bag or “cappo” (typical paper cone)

A farm indoors? It is not uncommon to stroll about the markets and hear horse neigh or see a chicken running away from its roost. Many people hold their own in-town-farm, or breed horses for nightly clandestine races.

Vegan Food and drink in Palermo

The price of coffee in Palermo is only about 0.70 cents and it good Italian brew. Food in Palermo is pretty much the same as Catanian food (sorry to offend). The signature dishes are the usual (fish, pasta, pizza). I spent only around 10 during my entire stay on food and I ate well and enough. You will not spend much money in Palermo, or in Sicily in general unless you want to.

Vegan Restaurants and Cafes in Palermo

  • Gelateria Oreleans
    It’s a very small place and everybody eats outside. The ice-cream / granite / sorbet is homemade, genuine and tastes like the old days.
  • Al Vicolo
    Al Vicolo means in the alley a family run restaurant in a peaceful corner of Palermo. When weather is good, you can step out onto the terrace to enjoy a beautiful view of Piazza San Saverio, under one of the baroque domes of Palermo. It is cheap and you will find quality and respect for tradition.
  • PaLab
    Pa Lab is a multipurpose space: It hosts concerts, expos, events and has a restaurant with a wide selection of vegan friendly dishes.
  • Khalesa
    Khalesa is a café in the ancient city wall with a library, restaurant and a garden on the top of the fortress. Not cheap, but very charming.

Vegan Italian Snack

Italian Romance in Palermo

The typical Italian is courteous, proud, undisciplined, tardy, temperamental, divas, passionate and charming. Just my type.

She was waiting for me in a a white car. Wow, this girl had sass. I fell for her accent immediately. On first sight of her I got butterflies, her body, her face was beautiful. Just my type. The car smelled strongly of weed which pleased me more. By now you know that I love all of the above and can’t stand basic bitches.

We drove to Mondello beach, a beach not too far from Palmermo city centre. The Friday Feeling was definitely in the air, people all around were laughing, singing and enjoying themselves. We spent our time getting to know each other over a bottle of white wine. Explaining the tragic highlights of why we were both single, a bit about our past and our vague plans for the future. It was a lovely. That night I also tried Panelle & Crocche which is another Vegan Italian food.

The way we kissed was unlike any other kiss I’d had recently, first on the pier at the beach, with the sound of chatter around us and the smell of sea. Then back to her house.. I got high off her vibe, I didn’t know how to behave.

Intense, intertwined bodies hot like fire
The only thing that matters is desire

How To Hook Up With An Italian

I find that Italians similar to Spanish, Africans and Latinos. They have extreme, attitude, and volume and are blunt. Shyness will not get you anywhere. If you want to hook up with an Italian you must hold good witty conversation and it must be full of laughter. Don’t be silly, a looser or boring.

Leaving Palermo and going to Tunis by boat

It is 2016 and I am still always the only foreigner I see taking boats accross countries. It’s always me and the locals! Same ting happened with the boat ride from Spain to Morocco and Turkey to Lebanon. Yeah, its boring and seats get taken quick so you might have to camp on the hallway floor but it’s an ok ride and a cheap option – you get to chat to random people who make the time pass. I even smoked a J and drank whiskey. Just don’t tell!

The journey on sea from Palermo to Tunis is 10 hours. By ferry it will cost you 35 for a deck seat and 54 for a cabin.

On arrival the border control agent confiscated all the European passports (three of us) and told us to wait. We waited for 40minutes to only be told that the boss couldn’t be found so we were let go. A huge waste of time.

Anyway.. welcome to Tunisia.

 

Links:
My Trip To Agrigento

My Trip To Catania

Top Vegan Italian Foods

Top 8 Things To Do In Palermo

My Trip To Tunis

 

Europe Italy

Top 8 Things To Do In Palermo

July 26, 2016
  1. Arancina Under The Trees

    The neoclassical buildings set the entrance to the Botanical Garden, home to over 12000 species of plants, natives or tropical.

    Palermo Botanical Gardens (Orto Botanico), a Moreton Bay Fig Tree (Banyan Tree, Ficus macrophylla), Sicily, Italy, Europe. This is a photo of Palermo Botanical Gardens (Orto Botanico) showing a Moreton Bay Fig Tree (Banyan Tree, Ficus macrophylla), Sicily, Italy, Europe.

    Palermo Botanical Gardens (Orto Botanico), a Moreton Bay Fig Tree (Banyan Tree, Ficus macrophylla), Sicily, Italy, Europe. This is a photo of Palermo Botanical Gardens (Orto Botanico) showing a Moreton Bay Fig Tree (Banyan Tree, Ficus macrophylla), Sicily, Italy, Europe.

  2. Palermo Cathederal

    Just as the Sicilian people is the result of such complex layering of dominations, so it Palermo Catheral is a fascinating mix of architectural styles.
    palermo_cathedral

  3. Eat at Caffe del Kassaro.

    From the outside Caffe del Kassaro looks like a bar, as it name suggests, but walk past the first room and you will find a typical Sicilian restaurant, with many locals having their lunch break. Waiters are nice and polite and meals start from 6euros (Mon-Sat 7a-3p)

  4. Over The Hidden River

    If you like live music (especially manouche) Borderline is the place for you. The space is narrow (it a tunnel between via Materassai and Piazza Fonderia) and when theres a lot of pople it is not easy to stand and enjoy the music, but the atmosphere and the underground river that flows under your feet will convince you to grin and bear. They often do vegan dinner too. And try their artisanal beer!

  5. A Concentrate of History

    The area between Piazza Bellini, Piazza Pretoria and Quattri Canti is the core of the historic centrel within the range of 200 meters you can walk through a cross section of total history.

     

  6. Great Place of Knowledge

    The Archivio Storico Comunale in a little side street at via Maqueda 157, is a wonderful and mostly unknown place, even to Palermiatans. The institute keeps seven centuries of city documents, and the architecture of the magnificent Great Hall designed by Guiseppe Damiani Almeyda stands out. The spiral staircase leads to the highest galleries and four large wooden winches are proudly displayed.

  7. KM 0 Food in ancient Stables

    Km 0 food grows in local farms and is consumed locally, skipping chains of transport. Housed in the fascinating stables of Palazzo Cattolica. Meals from 10euros.
    osteria-ballaro

  8. Palermitan Graffiti

    The Steri, now a University, was the seat of the Inquisition in 1600. In the underground prisons, graffiti was brought to light, describing the prisoners dark days. Where the executions were held, in Piazza Marina an enormous Ficus tree grew that’s the oldest and largest of Italy. On Sunday mornings the piazza is used for a flea market (amoung the many kitch items you might find a few precious rarities), while at night it acts as a social hub.

Blog Europe

My trip to Montenegro

July 22, 2016

Travel through Montenegro

I absolutely love this country. It was the most peaceful country I went to during my road trip through Eastern Europe. The breathtaking beauty will captivate you.

If you love landscape, these are some photos of Montenegro which will convince you to go.

Asia China

Beijing Teahouse Scam

July 22, 2016

It took me 4 years for me to mentally process that I was a victim this scam

Beijing tea house scam

How the Beijing Tea House/Shop Scam Works

Step 1

Pick an obvious tourist from the crowd. Preferably one who is young, alone and fascinated with their surroundings. In this case me. 

Step 2 

Find an innocent looking friend and approach your target with a smile full of Hellos. 

Step 3 

Engage your target in conversation. Pretend to be fascinated by their adventure and repeatedly compliment them on their bravery. Go as far as calling them the most amazing person you’ve ever met. 

Step 4 

Ask them if they want to experience a traditional Chinese tea house

Step 5 

Once inside the tea house order the most expensive teas for 3 people. While doing so engage your victim in conversation to distract them from the bizarre the situation

Step 6 

Order the bill and get up to go, leaving your victim with ¥600 (£60) to generously pay for tea

Step 7 

Share the profits between the owner of the tea house and your acquaintance. ¥200(£20) each may not seem like a lot but the cost of living back then was low. It was a decent hustle. 

Why I didn’t pay a penny for the Beijing Tea House Scam

Those crooks didn’t get a penny out of me. I slightly realised something what’s going on once I was in the tea house but back then I was too shy to leave. The tea house was on a backstreet in the centre of Beijing. It was tiny, compact and smelled like wet dog. The girls did well to revert my attention back to our conversation which was oh so funny. Half way through us sipping tea I had been texting with the Chinese businessman I met on the overnight train from Mongolia. He wanted to meet for dinner with his family so I vaguely told him where I was. I didn’t know the name of the tea house or even location. I have no idea how he find me and so quick. All of a sudden he burst in and gave one disgusted look at my company, exchanged furious words with the owner and we left in his car for dinner. He later warned me to be very very careful and not to trust anyone. It took me years to process what happened, it was all so strange and rapid I didn’t get my head around it. One minute I was in Beijing square looking around with my mouth hanging open in awe and the next I was in a back alley Chinese tea house only to be rescued by Chinese superman.  

There are many tourist scams in many countries and some which you may not realise is a scam. Unless you make friends with locals nobody will save you!

 

Beware of the Beijing Tea House scam!

 

Europe Italy Vegan

My Top 10 Vegan Italian Food

July 22, 2016

Good tasty Italian Vegan Food..

Eating is something very important in Italy. If Italians are not actually eating, they are thinking about what to cook (and to eat) very soon and the main topic during meals is often “what we are before and what we will eat after”. Even if meals-time is usually quite late (9-10pm for dinner) it is always almost time to start cooking.

It is not all about pizza and pasta you know! They have wonderful salads and veg/legume dishes. At restaurants you can tailor your menu so that it works for you. The Italians chefs are generous and willing to accommodate your requests. While in Italy I gained 2kg! Eli cooked for me in Catania and my gosh… it was amazing.

Below is the vegan food I ate during my stay in Sicily, Southern Italy and Italian vegan food I want to eat by onegreenplanet

Granita
granita_siciliana-600x390-600x390

Vegan Mushroom Risotto

vegan mushroom risotto

Sundried Tomatoes

Olives

Homemade Limonchello

Spicy Eggplant Caponata

Gnocci alla Genovese

Focaccia With Roma Tomatoes and Onion

Minestrone Soup

minestrone-top

Meanwhile.. On my Vegan Food Wishlist

Panna Cotta Cream

( recipe and pic by onegreenplanet)

Blog Europe Italy

My Trip To Agrigento

July 20, 2016

I’d spent 2 hours in the car from Catania to Agrigento. The road up was smooth a for a moment I caught my beach in astonishment as I was convinced I was in Greece. Valle dei Templi stands at the entrance to Agrigento so before driving up into the city you can stop off there and admire the temple of Valle dei Templi, one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture.


A few miles past Valle dei Templi we climbed higher up the hill and into the city of Agrigento. The air was cool and the town was stunningly pretty with long views down to the blue sea. A compact town tumbling down to the blue sea. I fell in love with Agrigento in an instant. Perhaps it was the time of day, passing the Valle dei Templi on arrival or the weather. It was perfect. At its heart was a small busy street called Via Atenea with a reasonable amount of people eating, laughing and strolling along their way. Leading off the street were stairs and alleyways going either up or down depending on which way you turned to face. These side street were full of neighbours gossiping and children playing. For the rest the town appeared to exists of a bundle of wandering streets and alley ways with winding stairs climbing up and down the city. It was lovely.

I booked a studio apartment in a guesthouse called Il Sole E La Luna. The room was perfect with a balcony where I watch the passers-by radiating contempment. The town was not full, it had a low hum of chatter which would be broken with the locals gossip and laughter.

Marco, the owner of the Il Sole E La Luna had agreed to meet me 3 hours later and show me Scala dei Turchi.
I’d never seen something quite like it. Scala dei Turchi is a rocky cliff on the coast of Realmonte, near Porto Empedocle. I’d seen rocky cliffs in England but nothing like this. The sea was almost crystal clear, the sand on the beach was unusal and the cliffs were inviting, not frightening.

As requested Marco gave me a lift on his motorbike the next day to Scala dei Turchi. The journey down by motorbike was breathtaking as if I hadn’t seen it the day before. I stayed hours under the sun reading and listening to deep house music.

Later that night I ventured out to walk around Agrigento. The city is gorgeous, a tiny little place with narrow houses and long views accross the city to the blue ocean. It reminded me very much of Porto or Lisbon. It was common to see churches at the corner of the street standing magnificent and dignified amoung the shops and bnb’s. I can’t recall a more attractive place for walking. The town consisted of almost entirely of a complex network of stone-walled lanes and passages with stairs and all of which interconnection beautifully so you would find yourself back in the same place you departed from 15minutes after walking. Every few strides you would find an arched alleyway. Every few strides a cross passageway would plunge off down the hillside or a set of steps would climb up to the sky with a set of restaurants and bnb’s leading above.

As a tourist I was sold by the charm of the city. But looking a little closer I noted that many shops were closed down and there were quite a few abandoned, derelict buildings. To me this also added to the charm but Marco’s father explained that they are going through a crisis, it is difficult for the locals in Agrigento and the political system doesn’t function well, a pity because it is by far my favourite town in Italy, I want to move here.

Blog Europe Italy

My Trip To Catania

July 19, 2016

I still remember the first sight. The plane swerved over the sea through the sky and there below me was the sudden magical tableau of life in Catania. It looked big, and mostly busy. It was orange and yellow, so compact, so exciting and so Sicilian. I was smitten.

Eli, my host was very friendly and spoke good English and made sure everything was pleasant. She explained to me that she worked as a food scientist and has a passion for fitboxing. Her family lived just around the corner from her in Catania. She drove us home safely as Sicilians drive as though they are in an arcade game. It is not unusual to see unexpected cars zipping in front of you to from either direction to overtake. I was genuinely astonished.

Day 1 and 2 were spent with Eli and Franchessco.
We spent our days at the beach in Giardini Naxos, at Franchesco’s mothers traditional Sicilian home in the beautiful town of Nicolosi eating ice cream and granitas.

granita

Catania in a day

Eli dropped me off at Via Etena and pointed for me to walk one way. Down, down, down. My favourite direction to walk. I was excited.

In a not very long time I arrived at Piazza del Duomo di Catania around 9:30a and it was getting busy with tourists and locals. I left my map of the city indoors so from herein my journey has all been a big improvisation.

Piazza del Duomo di Catania was nice, big however nothing special. I’ve seen hundreds of different plazas/squares/piazzas in my life so unfortunately I’m all Piazza’s up. I saw a group of Chinese tourists walking towards a passageway and I followed.
Welcome to the fish market.

Eli had told me about this place, she said it’s a must see.

10a
Catania Fish Market
What’s a vegan doing in a fish market?
At first I was walking around, looking at all the fish for sale. Many of which I’d never seen before. Some long some short, some fat some thin. Some with 8 legs. It’s a marvellous atmosphere. But watch your step, you could easily slip.

Finally I found a place to buy my second breakfast.

What’s a vegan eating at a fish market?
catania fish market

There is a park outside the fish market where I sat on a bench and ate my food. It was so delicious! Though I took it easy on the olives because salt isn’t my thing.


Midday onwards
Look at this place I found while walking, lost in private thought along Viale Africa towards Piazza Europa

I made my way down by jumping the fence and climbing down the stones. What a find! I ended up staying here for 4hours, jumping in the water and swimming than chilling. It was just me, an old Italian man and a German painter.
The way back to Eli’s house was complex. My phone battery died so I had no way to ask her for directions. I’d finally had enough of aimlessly walking around sub-urban Catania so I walked into a shop and asked the shopkeeper to call a taxi for me. Despite the language barrier it was done, and I was back at Eli’s house in no time.

Our last meal was great, I cooked my usual; chick peas and veg stir fry and we sat talking until both of us were tired and I had to leave early for my next destination in Sicily: Agrigento.

It’s quite rare that I meet somebody that inspires me (see previous post).
I fell for Eli as soon as we met because her energy is beautiful. Eli lives in fearlessness which is hard to obtain, she lives for the now and celebrates each day with an upbeat attitude.
A big bonus is that she is an excellent chef. Suffering from being a vegan in Italy it was beginning to concern me. I couldn’t taste their favourite meals and flavours because they all contain some form of animal. But Eli found a way for me to enjoy risotto, pasta and cakes. And it was delicious. On the first day she made a tasty pasta with a spinach savoury cake and on the second day she made mushroom risotto and a mushroom savoury cake. All vegan.

 

Links:

Agrigento
Top Vegan Food in Italy