A Vegetarians Guide to Portugal

Hello everyone! So as you know I’m back form Portugal and it was amaazzzing! I figured instead of mushing all of my favourite things into one post I would split them into sections so you can get the full experience.

So of course the first post is going to be about food, I love food… this should be no surprise.

Quick recap; I am 90% vegan (so we will stick with the term vegetarian for right now), but I knew going into this trip that to make family travel easier I would just eat vegetarian (see my Travelling with Family Post for Tips!), and this turned out to be one of the best choices.

One of the national dishes of Portugal is a dish focusing on salted cod, so that should set the scene. I always had something to eat; but there weren’t always vegetarian dishes on the menu. For the most part we ate breakfast at our accommodations (we rented houses so we had a full kitchen that was stocked), so breakfasts were the easiest meal to account for.

Lunches were normally eaten out during our day, and most places had at least one omelet on the menu that I could customize to be veggie (which often included French fry cut potatoes – 10/10 would recommend trying this). During one lunch spot I ordered the veg soup that seemed to be a staple on most menus; however, any vegetarians out there will know the feeling of taking a bite of something and knowing that it contained meat, for sure this soup contained chicken broth.

Dinners were the most interesting. Sometimes we ate at our accommodations; which meant eating copious amounts of bread, cheese, and olives, and other times we went to restaurants. Some restaurants didn’t have anything vegetarian on the menu. You would open the menu and it would be split into two sections; meat and fish. The servers were all so nice and did the best to accommodate me, but I frequently at a dinner filled with vegetable sides (i.e potatoes and steamed broccoli).

If you read my post on travelling with family I mentioned that being flexible for dinners could help things go super smoothly, and I have to say that this trip reiterated this point to me. My parents were so lovely and I could tell they felt bad that I didn’t have many menu options, but they greatly appreciated my flexibility and on the last night they made reservations at a vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon for me!

Oh and if your wondering if I ate those two vegan power bars, I did, one on each long haul plane ride because as I predicted they had no veggie meal for me (also the meal on the plane was salted cod… odd choice as it was rather stinky)

That’s all for now!

Kathleen

I’m Back!

I’m Bacccckkkkkk!

Hello everyone I’m back from Portugal and SUPER excited to start blogging again! I plan on doing a complete debrief of my trip later in the week, but for this post I thought I would just catch you all up on what has been happening (and why I’ve been away for so long!).

Firstly I would like to describe my journey home; our flight was suppose to go from Lisbon to Toronto (with a stop in the Azores) and from Toronto to Edmonton getting us back in town by 12am on Sunday. However because I have the worst luck getting back from Europe (Re: Erin and I getting back from Italy a day late because AirFrance strikes) we missed our connection in Toronto and had to stay overnight!

Here’s the scoop: anyone whose been to mainland Europe knows that time runs at a different pace from North America, and the day we left being no exception, our plane was three hours late due to the fact there was no plane to put us on. They found us a plane and got us all on only to tell us that they didn’t have clearance to take off so we waited another hour. Also this plane had no brand names it was just completely white, needless to say people were starting to wonder WHAT was going on.

Ok so finally we’re in the air and we have to stop in the Azores and we get unloaded and loaded onto a completely new plane! There are other random inefficient items that transpired but I will just keep it to that for now. The airline that flies from Portugal to Toronto is not the nicest, with a limited movie selection (Me Before You, X-Men Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, and the latest Ice Age), and a strong smelling salted cod meal (See my tips for Travelling as a Vegetarian!).

When we landed in Toronto they gave us a voucher for a hotel and a meal and sent us on our way. We had a flight at 7:10 the next day getting us back into Edmonton before 10! In the end the extra stop over wasn’t bad – it gave us all a real bed to sleep on.

On that last plane ride home I caught the Plague and so I’ve been recovering ever since, oh and working; I guess I’m back to working now to.

Talk soon!

Kathleen

Travelling with Family

Hi everyone! It’s time for another Travel Tuesday! These are seriously my favourite posts to make, and today is no exception. This Friday I will be travelling to Portugal with my family, and so today I would like to lay out some tips and tricks for travelling with the fam.

Now I am pretty lucky in the way that I get along (for the most part) with most of my family, and especially my immediate family. The people partaking on this adventure will be both of my parents, my younger (by two years) brother, and my grandpa on my mother’s side. Now none of us have travelled with this grandpa, and he has never been out of the country, so he is kind of the wild card of the upcoming trip. None of us know if he is going to freak out or be completely chill, so that should be something fun to look forward to.

As I mentioned earlier I get along with my immediate family, so these tips are not going to talk about surviving family you don’t like (that’s a whole other can of worms). However I would like to share my top three tips to make travelling with your fam easier!

Tip 1. Pack some Snacks!

Now of course this is country dependent (and diet dependent), but most places will have some convenient, already wrapped, snacks to pack in your bag. The reason this is tip numero uno is because I don’t live at home anymore, so I know that my eating habits are not in line with my families. I am also someone who gets VERY hangry, and I think we all know the more people in a group trying to pick a restaurant the LONGER it takes and the more frustrated I know my mother gets when I get hangry.

I’m taking two “gomacro” bars with me – both to keep my hanger at bay, but to also provide myself with some vegan options (you never know if your dad managed to sign you up for a veg meal on the plane or not). So this is the second part to this tip! If you have dietary restrictions (GF, Paleo, Vegan, whatever!) bringing some of your fave pre-packaged snacks and help to lower the group frustration and give you some tasty options (there is nothing I hate more than people obsessing over whether I have enough options)

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Tip 2. Lower your expectations

Now this tip is not to say “Give up all the fun things you want to do”, it’s more so that you should be more flexible. Everyone has a certain expectation of what the trip is going to be, some more rigid than others, and you can only benefit the trip by allowing yourself to be the flexible one. Your family wants to get up at 8 and go to the beach when you want to sleep? You can sleep on beaches. Getting dragged to a million museums? Try and make a game out of how many of a certain thing you can count, or talk to your family members and make up histories for the object. That way when it comes down to the important things you want to do, your family will have seen that you can give and take and they are more likely to give!

Tip 3. Bond!!

Seriously family trips are such an opportunity to bond with family members. Last year my brother and I talked for hours after my parents went to bed, pack some card games (seriously a deck of cards takes up no space!) and stock up on easy games to play! Ask your parents about how they met, what was their favourite job when they were younger, favourite pet- anything! Now’s the time to make memories!

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(the Bro and I)

Happy Travels!

Kathleen

(p.s any Portugal people out there got any cool suggestions? leave them in the comments below!)