Saturday, October 11, 2008

wales, finally!

"save the planet go vegan" carved into a gate somewhere in Pembrokeshire

I'm finally getting around to blogging about our journey to Wales! I'd never been there before, but always knew that I wanted to, in addition to the country's beauty and all the good things I've heard about it, it also happens to be the place where my parents went on their honeymoon. As you can see from the above photo, Wales is an incredibly veg-friendly country, as we found out in towns, in peoples' homes, and in restaurants and pubs. Would you expect any less from a country whose official vegetable is the leek?

Our first night, we stayed in Cardiff. The couple we were staying with took us to dinner at Pearl of the Orient, a Chinese restaurant in Cardiff Bay with plenty of veg options. Seriously- it took up over a page on their menu! I finally decided to go with spicy Szeschuan tofu- blocks of luxuriously silky marinated tofu in a spicy chili mixture of veggies. It had such a fresh and unique flavor. Daiku, who ordered a meat dish and also tried all of our companions' omni dishes, declared that my tofu was the star of the evening! We also shared an order of veggie fried rice (hold the egg) which complemented the tofu nicely. This restaurant seriously knows how to season its dishes- I'm still craving that tofu now, a week later!

The next day we traveled farther west, eventually ending up in Pembrokeshire, in the town of Newport. The family we were staying with were very vegan-friendly! The mom was vegan, and the dad cooked us a very delicious vegan version of a traditional Welsh meal. There was a hearty cawl, normally a lamb stew made with tvp chunks, and some mashed potatoes (made with soy milk instead of dairy) to go with it. After a long day of driving and exploring in cold rain, this meal was so welcome!

After dinner, it was time for pudding. We got a delicious warm fruit crumble, complete with homemade vegan custard for the topping! The fruit crumble was good, and the fruit mixture included bananas- I'd never thought to put bananas in such a dish before, but now it makes perfect sense. I'll be sure to repeat that tasty experiment in the future. 

Amid all the cold and sleet, lo and behold, more blackberries! I feel so spoiled that even now in October, the plentiful blackberry bushes all around the U.K. still have sweet fruit to pick as you're walking along!

The best thing about a cold and rainy hike? The hot cup of coffee...

...or tea (with some soy milk that I snuck into the tea house!) to warm back up.

Look what we came across in the woods- a dragon in a tree!

I have to highlight all the non-food coolness in Wales- such as these ruins of a medieval castle that we got to walk around.

This megalith (a giant stone structure like Stonehenge) served as a burial ground thousands years ago.

Here's a moody coast in the fog.

And my favorite- animals everywhere, and I mean EVERYwhere. You can't drive for more than a few minutes in the Welsh countryside without seeing some cows.

Enough that they warrant their own road signs!

And sheep! There are happily grazing sheep dotting the landscape everywhere you go.

Finally, weekend car rental, £45. Getting to say you drove on the "wrong" side of the car and the road? Priceless.

For more of our Wales photos, have a look at my set on flickr



Amey said...

honestly, bazu... how cute are you and daiku in your rainy hike weariness!? I remember a car tour of northern scotland that was equally full of animals and animal signs. it was really great. I was 14, and that was the year i became a vegetarian.

JohnP said...

Your post fills me with Wales nostalgia. I want to make leek pie right now!

VeggieGirl said...

Wales is so lovely!!

Abbie Rae Harris said...

They have an official vegetable?! Does the US have an official vegetable?

I love your animal photos.

the little one said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing!

allularpunk said...

this is wonderful! thanks for sharing your photos. i feel extra lucky, since i got to see loads of pics from when my mom went a few months ago. i want to go so bad!

Elizabeth said...

I love the pictures, and I love the thought of you toting a carton of soy milk surrepticiously around Wales. Hee.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Wow, Bazu! Those pictures are great! Hope you are having a terrific time!!!

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are so wonderful! I love the sheep, and the castle sundown pic especially. I can feel the warmth of that tea in the picture of you bundled up!

I'm going to Scotland the first week of December and your posts are making me really excited!

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

Gorgeous photos! I've been to England (three years ago) and Stonehenge was SO awe-inspiring! Is Daiku not vegan?

Urban Vegan said...

Looks like you two are making the most of your time! The UK is the only country where overcast weather is actually becoming...

Driving on the proverbial "other side." Ack! We tried it in Barbados and it scared the #$%! out of me.

Liz² said...

aw, cute pics of you guys, and the countryside too! that stew sounds amazing, and actually all the accomodations (including the welcoming vegan grafitti!). I know now to swing by wales someday! :)