a look back at europe

san sebastian - corina's favourite beach so far but we still haven't been to thailand so...

we left europe today for a few hours. we crossed the sea of marmara from the european side of istanbul to the asian side. it was a small reminder that soon we will not be in europe again for a very long time. even when we want to travel again, after we get home, it probably won't be to europe and it definitely won't be to this extent. so we decided to write a post about our impressions of europe.

food - one of the first things you see a difference wherever you travel. we have struggled with striking a balance between trying new things, sticking to a vegetarian/vegan diet and keeping in our budget. we've gleaned a few tips from our couchsurfing hosts and other travellers. here are our notes:

uk: fish & chips must be consumed in a proper fish & chip shop NOT in a pub...mushy peas are an individual's perogative. indian cuisine is abundant & tasty as are many other ethnic foods. the food choices in general are similar to what we have available in canada. packaged and restaurant food was all clearly labelled when it was vegetarian.

netherlands: i tried a form of food called hagel slag and even though i'm a sucker for nutella i didn't quite get hagel slag. first you butter your bread and then you pour chocolate, vanilla or strawberry sprinkles onto it. our favourites were the cheese and a mustard from the region of zandaam where we stayed with duckje and her family.

france: pain au chocolate...no need to say more...delish! of course we also had to try wine and cheese while we were in bordeaux with berenise & ben. jay ate the rockforte, which if you ask me looked and smelled disgusting. i mean seriously...moldy cheese? fyi - cheese is an appropriate and common dessert in france. we proudly carried baguettes home from the bakery almost every night. you could hardly tell we were tourists!

spain: ham is everywhere! for instance, you walk into any bar...there are legs of ham with hooves intact just hanging there from the ceiling...you walk into any grocery store, more legs...we are not just talking about one or two either. a common thing among many countries is to have only one or two flavours of potato chips available not like north america where name the flavour and you can get it. guess which flavour spain has...yup...ham. tapas is everywhere but we didn't experience much of it. vegetarian tapas is harder to come by...vegan tapas is impossible.

italy: pasta and pizza reign supreme here. the best pizza was not in naples as everyone will tell you. we had our best slice in rome from a tiny hole in the wall far from the tourist traps that plague that city. it was easier to eat vegetarian here but next to impossible once again for vegan. cheese tops all food. this is the country where my resolve to eat vegan began to crumble quickly. must have been the gelato.

croatia: meat, meat and more meat. jason cooked alot while we were here. when we ate out it was at a vegan restaurant in dubrovnik and a mexican dive in split.

greece: most of our meals included at least one of these items: feta, tomato, cucumbers, potato, tzatziki and bread. a local favourite breakfast seemed to be natural yogurt and honey. jay liked it but i found the yogurt much too creamy. we didn't have any baklava but we really like the galactoboureco which had the pastry and honey of baklava AND a fluffy white filling. so tasty!

some favourites from home that we've had a hard time finding are: peanut butter, tofu, beans, hummus, and almond milk. hopefully that just means that we will find them all the more yummy when we get home!

other differences we've observed

how people greet: UK same as Canada (ıe. no kissing just handshakes unless you really love each other), Dutch and Swiss kiss cheeks three times, French, Spanish, Italians & Croatians kiss cheeks twice and it hasn't been obvious in Greece if there is any kissing at all.

it is not common to find clothes dryers in homes. everyone hangs out their laundry for the world to see. or if its raining in their living room or on the terrace.

most buildings have their lights on timers so you have light as you walk through the hall but it shuts off automatically once you've reached your flat.

it's hard to find a toilet with a seat on it when you are in france, spain or greece. this didn't seem to concern jay at all while i on the otherhand had to become an expert at 'hovering'.

we've had a few questions from home and from people we've met on the road about what our favourites have been. here's our list to date:

favourite street food jason: veggie gyros with haloumi cheese, corina: pain au chocolate

favourite drink jason: beer in turkey, corina: hot chocolate in budapest

favourite place to sleep jason: pascal's place in split (wonder if that had to do with the twin beds?), corina: flo & rhea's place in berlin

favourite beach jason: sitges, spain, corina: san sebastian, spain

favourite UNESCO site giant's causeway

favourite ancient ruin pompeii

favourite place overall jason: paris, corina: amsterdam

jason wearing an eiffel tower hat

good-bye, tchau, doeıl, salut, adios, ciao, au revoir, szia, ya sas, güle güle,
corına & jason


gayle said...

Great blog. Such a nice summary. Sorry I missed your Skype call. Lucky Jack.

Karla said...

All this food talk is making me hungry!!