Monday, 31 July 2017

Vegan Road Trip - Brisbane to Cairns Part I

If you've followed my blog for a while you'll know that I love a road trip, from spending a week driving from NYC to Chicago, to taking an epic journey around Europe for a whole summer, any time spent on the road is good with me. When I was researching how to travel around Australia, the answer to how to get around was obvious: ROAD TRIIIIP! Australia is freaking massive and wildly expensive so we haven't been able to road trip the whole country but Nick and I were able to take a road trip from Brisbane to Cairns in a rented camper van. We covered 2600 km's so I'm going to split this epic journey into two parts.

We chose Hippie Camper as our rental place as they had small vans, great rates, and their location made picking up the van in Brisbane pretty easy. 

Our van's name was Lily which cutely was also the name of one of the sheep we were caring for at Farm Animal Rescue! Rather than heading north towards Cairns straight away we decided to head south for two reasons, firstly I'm a ridiculous person and hadn't stopped thinking about the dim sum at Easy House since I visited for my birthday, and secondly we both thought that never seeing Byron Bay seemed a little silly as it's a popular destination and we didn't know when we'd be back in this corner of the globe.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Vegan Eats Brisbane

Brisbane has been on my radar for a while thanks to fellow MoFo participant and general all round wonderful human Susan and her blog Kittens Gone Lentil. I was lucky enough to get to spend a few days there before heading to Dayboro to volunteer at Farm Animal Rescue and then a few more nights there afterwards.

Brisbane doesn't have the same completely ridiculous vegan food scene as Melbourne but there are a lot of decent options and overall I really enjoyed the vibe of Brisbane. The area just south of the river has a super cool man made beach as well as a swimming pool that's free to use. They even have free wifi! The area around it is often used for markets, pop ups, and celebrations and on our first evening in the city they were holding a Buddah's Birthday festival which was 100% vegetarian and awash with vegan eats.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Vegan Travels in Guangxi, China

I found myself repeatedly putting off writing this post, the final post about my travels around China, and it's taken me a while to work out why. Despite it being one of the more challenging countries I've travelled in (Why are your national parks full of concrete?! Why is Mandarin so hard to learn?!) I did enjoy it, especially this part of the trip. The time I spent travelling around Guangxi province was probably the highlight of my time in China but I'm not sure if I'll ever end up back there again which makes writing about it a little more bittersweet. Guangxi is so different to the China I think most people imagine when they think of the bustling built up country with a population of over 1.37 billion, maybe this post will open your eyes to a different side of China or even inspire you to add another stop or two on to the classic trip to Beijing and Shanghai.

To get to Guilin, the first town on our mini tour of Guangxi, Nick and I took a sleeper train from Zhangjiajie to Liujiang arriving at 5am, we shared a compartment with a Canadian couple and the next morning we all took a walk to a bus stop and caught a local bus across town to a different train station, Liuzhou, to catch our trains to Guilin. The last train only took an hour which was nice after such long travels. We could have made our lives easier and grabbed a taxi from one station to the other but this worked out cheaper and it was more fun, I love watching cities wake up. It would have gone without a hitch if the roads around Liuzhou station weren't totally closed to traffic because of roadworks meaning that our bus took an unexpected detour. Apple Maps had a hard time finding us a route around them but thanks to some friendly locals we all made it there with over an hour to spare. Upon arrival in Guilin we hot footed it across town to Tian Fu Lou, a buffet style veg place that we spotted on Happy Cow, before my hanger kicked in.

This place is a bit of a wander from the centre of town but it's well worth it. After spending two days somewhere that we didn't love eating just steamed rice, fried greens, and Pringles for every meal we were beyond excited at the sight of the buffet and ecstatic when we were told that everything was vegan. We went around a few times trying new things as we went, I was most excited for the noodle soup bar and made myself something delicious after watching how it was done.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Vegan Fave's in Melbourne

This is the fourth and final part of my Vegan in Melbourne series. Check out parts one, two, and three by clicking the links and for more more tips on travelling, volunteering, and road tripping in Australia visit my dedicated Australia page here.

I followed the lead up to Red Sparrow Pizza's opening on Instagram and I was delighted to get to visit twice whilst I was in Melbourne. It's no secret that I'm a huge pizza fan (the fact that I don't have a pizza tattoo yet is ridiculous. Get it together Jojo!) and this place looked more than a little promising. Proper Italian style bases and multiple vegan cheese options along with a killer specials menu, what more could you want right? Well this place exceeded my expectations, the pizzas were seriously the best I've ever eaten - they had that combo of the perfect thin crust with plentiful tomato sauce and super fun toppings. We ordered from the specials board and I chose a pear and walnut pizza with aubergines and a balsamic glaze while Nick went for the Halal Snack Pack pizza.

For those of you who aren't Australian you may have never heard of a Halal Snack Pack (or HSP), I certainly hadn't. It's basically kebab style meat on chips with barbecue, chilli, and garlic sauces to top it all off. I'd have had to mess with it too much to make it a-ok for my allergies so I didn't try it but Nick gave it two thumbs up. I mean it's a pizza topped with chips, thinly sliced seitan, and a whole bunch of delicious sauces so of course he did!