Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Madrid Veg & Vegan Diaries


Being a vegetarian has its own sets of pros and cons, but if you ever thought that being a vegetarian will be a challenge to travel & enjoy some of the most exotic and scenic destinations of the world, then this article is a must-read.

Sol in Madrid is Famous for This Veg Platter
Vegetarian, or non-vegetarian, vegan or dairy product lover, your travel plans should be sans any such concerns, especially when you wish to travel to places that have been there in your wish-list...Always!
Supriya Himanshu, Founder & Editor of Allwhatshewants.com, a vegetarian by birth, and vegan by choice (sometimes) recently travelled to Spain, Madrid in particular, and is sharing her Veg & Vegan travel diaries, just to let the women out there know that nothing should stop them when it comes to Solo Travel, not even FOOD!

" How would you travel to Europe, you are a vegetarian? What are you gonna eat in Spain, you are a vegetarian. These are some of the cliches that I did get to hear when I was doing my preps for this maiden solo trip to Spain last month. Well, no doubt that I was worried and kept thinking what if I won't get anything vegetarian, then how will I explore Madrid and enjoy the city? Contrary to the above said, as you can see in the pictures, I had quite a memorable trip to the stunningly beautiful Spain, and came back with my fantastic food journey, just to share it with the world.

For an Indian like me, who's so used to her daily dosage of lentils, chapattis (breads), rice and sabzi (cooked veggies), travelling to a country like Spain that is all about breads, beef, pork, seafood and many different forms of cold and cooked meat, it was a matter of concern as I was going to stay in Madrid for almost a week. But I realized that if you do a little bit of research, and figure out the vegetarian options, your travel becomes all the more fun. And, that's exactly what I did.

A Complimentary Vegetarian Breakfast at Holiday Inn Express, Madrid

First Thing First

Common Veg Platter in Bistros of Madrid

It's really important to convince yourself that you are travelling to enjoy the city and not cribbing about what's not available. So, when I landed in Madrid, I was mentally prepared for the food that I was going to relish throughout my stay. While the hotels (IHG) where I stayed did offer some basic options (see pic  above) for the breakfast, something that comes complimentary with IHG Rewards Night, the city tour, and trying out various familiar restaurants and QSRs did help me getting enough vegetarian options for my daily diet's needs.

Super-yummy Veg & Cheese Pizza, Paired With  a Rosa 
Since I had already told myself not to crib or complain, I started visiting the famous tourist spots like Buen Retiro Park, where I was served one of the best vegetarian pizzas of my trip with a subtle Rosa wine, or the Royal Palace of Madrid, located in close proximity to Opera metro station. I particularly remember this beautiful tourist attraction, not just for the surreal Royal palace or Almudena Cathedral but primarily for the super-yum Veg & Vegan restaurant that I luckily explored in one of the lanes close to the metro station. Not, that too didn't happen by chance. This part of Madrid witnesses an amazing footfall of international tourists, European mainly and thus, the area is flooded with Bistro-style restaurants, both from fine dine to pocket-friendly ones. The highlights of their menu are all non-vegetarian delicacy, and that led me to inquire for a vegetarian restaurant. People of Spain are kind, you see and the owner was quick enough to tell me about one and only one in his bad English.

The Best of the Trip, Veg & Vegan Food Platter
I quickly took a note and headed to the direction in which he pointed me to go to. And, in no time I found this lovely restaurant that offered me not just the best vegan food of the day, but also a vegan hot chocolate drink and some chocolates. It came as a sweet surprise to know that the restaurant was run by the LGBT community, as never could I otherwise imagined to see such a well-themed restaurant, running so peacefully in India...

Veg Pizza at Crowne Plaza, Madrid
Anyways, so my days in Madrid were going pretty smooth actually. Something that initially didn't expect. But yes, there were a few glitches too, if I must put it candidly. If the bistros and restaurants offer you some decent variety of cuisines, the well-known QSRs like Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, or Mc Donald's for that matter have either a very limited options of vegetarian, like french fries, or cheese salad, or literally no vegetarian in MD's case. Yes, an Indian will be shocked to see that Mc Donald's in Madrid has no vegetarian burger option. You are quickly asked to leave the queue if you want to place a veg order. Such a pity as these famous QSRs have an amazing menu in India to choose from, and still, we Indians keep complaining of choices when we are at any of these!

But this sure didn't mar my mood any day and I kept visiting newer tourist spots each day. I particularly liked Gran Via, Sol, Calle De Alcala (one of the longest streets of Madrid) for the spotless and clean streets, shopping choices, and of course some good food. But at the end of the day, I would come back to my den, my hotel room and that's why I decided to try one of the vegetable options available at Crowne Plaza, Madrid. The pizza in the picture (above) is what I tried on the last day. This one was red pepper and Eggplant one, a combination which many Indians might find awkward but I simply relished and managed to finish it in no time.

That one Veg Burger During This Trip...

After all, I had yet another veg travel for the very next day. Yes, I was coming back to Indian via Finland, and to my utter surprise, in a country where the delicacies are Bear and Reindeer, I managed to find a yum veg tikka burger at this QSR called Burger King.

This maiden solo trip of mine has gone down the memory lane in the tastiest possible way, and will be an experience that has helped me learn how to prepare my future travel itineraries in a much organised, pocket-friendly way both in terms of food and travel."

So, next time when you are planning to travel, simply keep on adding the dream destinations as food can never ever be a glitch, you know!

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