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 Post subject: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:12 am 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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My mom and I just booked a last minute trip to Spain because we found a killer deal on airfare. We will have 6 days/5 nights in March and NO PLANS! We're flying into/out of Madrid, but are not necessarily planning to spend the whole trip there. Someplace coastal sounds appealing, but it'll be too cold for the beach, so I'm not married to that idea. My mom is talking about wanting to see the Gaudi architecture in Barcelona, so that's a possibility? Barcelona also appears to be pretty vegan-friendly, which obviously is a plus. Mainly we want to see some beautiful architecture/scenery, wander around, visit some museums, eat good food, and enjoy our time together. Nightlife is not really a concern.

Should we stay in Madrid and take day trips to surrounding towns? My mom speaks Spanish, so we are totally fine getting off the tourist path.

Also, what do I need to buy while I'm there that I can't get in the US? Last time I was in Europe (Germany/Czech Republic) I ate an entire jar of Chocoreale, by myself, in about 2 days. So that's where my priorities are. What is the white chocolate availability in Spain?

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:07 am 
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In Madrid there's a great, all-vegan store in Lavapies, Planeta Vegano; there I found vegan M&M-type candies, and I think they also sold chocolate spreads and white chocolate. It's got a lot of stuff, despite not being a massive store! More info here.

Calle Ave María, 42
28012 MADRID (Metro Lavapies)
Teléfono: 91 250 20 02 - Móvil: 617 442 734

Besides that, I'm not really sure, as I haven't really done much traveling that I can remember here in Spain. One place I know a lot of people go to, which is famed for it's beautiful Moorish architecture, is Granada...although now checking in Google Maps I see it's about 4 hours away from Madrid! It -is- near the coast though, so you could move towards it after you've visited Granada.

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:19 am 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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Oh, that store looks awesome! Thank you! I will be going with a half empty suitcase and plan to fill it with chocolate. I also want to bring back cheese but I don't know if it'd survive the 19 hour flight home.

I will definitely consider Granada. I wish I had more time in Spain. There's so much I want to see!

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:15 pm 
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Oh, I just left Spain yesterday! Barcelona is very cool, there's a ton to see and vegan food aplenty. Boyfriend doesn't care about architecture, but even he loved Park Güell. The market is also awesome.

We didn't really enjoy Madrid that much. It was okay, I really enjoyed the Reina Sofia modern art gallery. But it seemed like a very museum-focused kind of place, and we wanted to see a bit more varied stuff.

But Granada is amazing, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's our favourite place we've been on this month-long Europe trip. The Alhambra is gorgeous and just walking around the Albayzin (old town) is great. It's a bit of a hippy town so there are vegan options- I highly recommend a place called Paprika. We caught the bus from Madrid which I don't recommend- it was horribly cramped and didn't have toilets. The train is pricier, but would be worth it.

We're still on the road (in Morocco now!) so I haven't uploaded photos yet, but there are a few on my Instagram page (username is erinwiko) if you use it. Pictures always help me to make decisions!

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:55 pm 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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I don't use instagram but I would love to see your photos if/when you upload them, Erin!

I counted wrong and it turns out we only have 5 days (and two full travel days, yaaaay), so I'm starting to feel like it doesn't make sense to try to get to another major city. My mom and I are talking about maybe doing one or two day trips from Madrid instead. We're both interested in Toledo (been there? is it as cool as it looks online?). I've also been looking at Segovia. Then maybe 3 full days in Madrid.

Granada would be great, as would Barcelona, but I'm afraid if we try to go to too many places we won't get a chance to slow down and enjoy the trip. It'd be different if we had more time.

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:00 pm 
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Hi! I live in Madrid! There are lots of vegan-friendly places to eat around here, and our city is huge, so you'll definitely not run out of things to do here in 5 days. If you want to venture out though, I'd definitely recommend Toledo-I haven't been there since I was a kid, but I remember it being really beautiful-or Segovia, which I went to more recently. The views there are amazing, and the aqueduct is something that definitely needs to be seen in person, it's crazy. Both are really easy for day trips. Alcala de Henares is also a really charming little town on the outskirts of Madrid that's easy to get to. It's where Miguel de Cervantes was born, so they have a lot of things related to him.

let me know about any questions you have at all!


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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:19 pm 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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Oh, Alcala de Henares looks beautiful too. Thanks for the suggestion, Yackobucci!

I do have questions! First, can you recommend any tapas places that offer vegan options? I'm not picky, I just would like to be able to eat something, and I know my mom wants to do the tapas thing.

Second, do you know of any restaurants in Madrid that serve roasted calcots?

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:20 am 
Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
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Yup! There's a place in Lavapiés (Lavapiés is basically the best neighborhood in Madrid for vegan fare-even if you don't go to a specifically vegetarian restaurant, there are tons of Indian, Senegalese restaurants, etc, that are vegan-friendly, just like in the States) called Bar Label that does some vegan tapas, I believe, and then my friend and I passed by another bar that she told me was started by a group of anarchists and that they do vegetarian tapas as well-I glanced at the chalkboard that they had outside and seitan was listed amongst the foods and I remember it looking pretty vegan-friendly. I've also been to bars in this neighborhood where I was just going for a beer but ended up getting served a tapa of hummus on bread, that sort of thing.

Otherwise, if you go to a regular bar for tapas, look for pimientos de padrón. They're delicious little green peppers that are cooked in olive oil and salt, and they're really fun to eat-unos pican y otros no (they're usually really mild but sometimes you'll get a really spicy one!). They're a Gallego tapa but I think you should be able to find it in lots of places. Patatas bravas are also usually vegan, but you might want to be careful, sometimes they're made with mayo. Pisto's a vegan stew, but sometimes they'll crack an egg into it. Salmorejo is similar, but also, sometimes is topped with ham/egg. Also, if you see on the list of raciones/tapas a vegetable followed by asado or a la plancha, that usually means it's just a grilled veggie.

El Mercado de San Miguel, which is really close to Puerta del Sol, is a really pretty indoor market that has an amazing olive/pickle stand and juice stands, and then lot's of omni tapa stands.

I haven't seen roasted calcots, but they're in season around March, and I'm sure you can find them somewhere.

If you happen to be in Madrid on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday, I wouldn't mind showing you guys around!


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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:26 pm 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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I'm making a list of all of those tapas to be on the lookout for. Thank you! El Mercado de San Miguel is definitely on my list; I saw it on Anthony Bourdain and knew I needed to go there. Heh.

Thanks so much for the offer to show us around! I'm not sure what our schedule will look like yet, but I will let you know if we'll be in Madrid on the weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:19 pm 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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One more question: are churros typically vegan (minus the chocolate)? Google indicates that the traditional ingredients are basically just flour, sugar, and oil. I'm surprised because I just assumed they'd contain eggs and wouldn't have bothered to ask.

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:08 pm 
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Weeee! I'm going to Madrid soon :-)
Spain is totally magical ...
And a genuine vegan paradise although famous for corridas and ham :-/
So in short, what I'd recommand:

-Tigernut milk (chufa) (most common brands are not vegan but I found organic vegan ones at 'corte ingles' foodfloor)
-Almonds! Aguacates! Mushrooms! Oranges!!!!! :-)
-vegan polvorones are difficult to find but if you have the patience to read ingredients list in spanish, it totally worths it!!!!

-Madrid Restaurants: El Vergel, Viva la Vida
-Granada: probably the most fascinating place I've ever seen <3
(...But quite far indeed. And there is plenty to see near Madrid)

... but besides I actually need advice too:

I had found Tofu curado in Barcelona (Veritas store), but where can I find some in Madrid?
Are there other markets besides San Miguel? like, older ones?
Any advice about Salamanca and Avila?

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:57 pm 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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Adding El Vergel to my list! Thanks µ:)! (and welcome to the PPK!)

Is chufa the same as horchata? I know Spanish horchata is commonly made with tigernuts, which is different from the Mexican rice milk variety I'm familiar with. I'm looking forward to trying it.

The 9 hour round trip train ride is the only thing making me hesitant about Granada. It'd basically cut out a whole day of my already short trip. I think I'm going to have to pass on it, sadly.

I thought of something else! Thrift/consignment stores! Are there any in Madrid? My mom and I are pretty serious thrifters.

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:21 pm 
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(wait... I thought I had answered yesterday?)

...ANYWAY: Weeee!!!! Thanks !!!!! :-)

and yes, chufa is horchata -tigernut tastes fantastic (something between almond and anis)

I also wanted to go to Granada for2 or 3 days, but a spanish colleague advised me to go to other cities closer to Madrid instead; so, not to go to Granada sounds wiser indeed. And there are plenty of marvelous places to see near Madrid (like Toledo and Segovia <3 ) How long are you actally staying?

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:28 pm 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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I will be there 5 days. I know I'm spending one of those days in Toledo, and probably one in Segovia.

I booked a B&B two blocks from an ice cream shop with soy ice cream (Heladeria Ricci). I'm going to be fat and happy by the end of the week.

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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:06 am 
Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
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huh, I'm not sure about churros! the next time I'm near a churreria I'll let you know.

there's a thrift store that I go to sometimes called Humana-it's a non-profit, and I think there's a couple locations? but the most central one is near Anton Martin/Atocha (the big train station). It's a pretty standard thrift store, a lot like any Goodwill/Salvation Army you might have been to in the States, and the prices are pretty good. Then there are trendier vintage shops in places like Malasaña but they're pretty expensive. If I remember the names of them I'll let ya know.


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 Post subject: Re: Spain: tell me where to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:49 pm 
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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Cool, thanks!

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