California 2014, Part 3 (Walking And Hiking)

I can’t believe it’s Thursday and our last day at the house already. Tomorrow we’ll move to Ocean Beach for the weekend. Time to wash laundry and blog.

On Monday I took a different route for my hike downtown, which was a bit better but not much. I decided that from now on I’d take the trolley and skip that part.

Anyway, I walked from Logan Heights to Petco Park and then into Gaslamp Quarter.

Gaslamp Quarter
Gaslamp Quarter

And then all the way up 5th to Balboa Park. Always be careful when I say that something’s in walking distance. Bring hiking shoes! 😉

There’s a 100 % vegan fast food joint called Evolution Fast Food on 5th/Quince where I had a wonderful mock chicken sandwich and a beet, carrot and orange juice for lunch. Look at the color!

Buffalo Chick'n Sandwich and beet, carrot, orange juice
Buffalo Chick’n Sandwich and beet, carrot, orange juice

They have outdoor seating, and I enjoyed the shady spot by the little fountain. :-)

Then on to Balboa Park.

Balboa Park
Balboa Park

As if I hadn’t walked enough already I hiked the Bridle trail where I took some close-up pictures of squirrels and lizards with my DSLR. I’ll post those as soon as I find the time to go through my photos.

Then I walked up to the fountain where I had a lemonade and listened to a jazz sax player while I waited for Eric. :-)

Old man plays saxophone in the park
Jazz saxophone guy

Not much has changed at Balboa Park since my last visit way back in 2001, except that there’s free wifi in the park now. Free wifi! Woohoo!

When Eric arrived from the conference we took another small walk through the Japanese garden, cactus garden and the Spanish village until sunset.

Sunset seen from Balboa Park
Sunset seen from Balboa Park

Then we walked all the way back to Gaslamp Quarter for a well deserved dinner at Gourmet India. There are plenty of vegan choices and we both went for the bindi masala and tandoori naan.

Bindi masala
Bindi masala

I liked that the okra wasn’t cooked all squishy like so often in Indian restaurants. It still had a little bite and hopefully some vitamins left. 😉

The restaurant shows Bollywood movies on the big screen (no sound, just captions) and with the check you get a complimentary Bombay Mix CD. Haven’t listened to it yet, but I bet it’s just my kind of music. Not. 😀

Gourmet India Bombay Mix CD
Gourmet India Bombay Mix CD

But a nice idea and a good way to remember the good time at their restaurant.

The original plan was to go to an Irish pub next to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but when we left the restaurant we were already quite tired. No wonder if you take into account that it was already 5 a.m. back home in Germany.

So we only had a beer at the Hard Rock Café across the street. I was surprised that this Hard Rock Café actually played some hard rock. I can’t say the same thing about their locations in Berlin and Frankfurt.

They have some interesting memorabilia on display. I liked Chris Cornell’s guitar best. 😉

Chris Cornell’s guitar (broken)
Chris Cornell’s guitar

Service was a bit slow that day, but the manager made up for it by quickly switching his role to bartender, running super hero style around the bar to rescue his thirsty guests. 😀

A funny end of a really nice day. :-)

According to my UP band I made 27,314 steps that day. 😉

Senk ju vor träwelling wis Deutsche Bahn

Two small anecdotes from our recent trip to Berlin:

It may have come to your attention that parts of Germany have been hit by floods a few weeks ago. As a result, even the Deutsche Bahn – the German railway company – has to take a couple of detours. Entirely not their fault, but still they feel like they have to apologize to their customers. Maybe because they’re so used to apologizing by now. So they decided to give them free sweets.

While we were enjoying a beer in the dining car, a Deutsche Bahn employee handed me a small bag of (cow’s) milk chocolate. I returned it to him, adding politely: “Excuse me, please keep it. We’re vegan and we don’t eat this.”

And I kid you not: the entire restaurant fell silent and everyone was like:

Of course, everyone had heard of the existence of vegans. But now here they were, two (!) of them, right before their eyes, having a beer, just like normal people would. They kept staring and staring. And I couldn’t help staring back, amazed at the kind of reaction you can still get out of people when you come out as vegan. It took minutes before the conversations went back to normal …

On our way back from Berlin – again enjoying a beer in the restaurant – I happened to sit right next to the exit where they had put up a table with a bucket full of free gummy bears.

bucket of gummy bears

A little boy passed by and asked if he could have some. I said: “Yes, they’re free. Take as many as you like …” and so he did, happily continuing on his way through the train.

When the boy was out of earshot I added quietly: “… and enjoy your ground up animal bones.”

The man at the table next to us, who had overheard this, burst into laughter and said: “Thanks, you made my day! That’s so funny! I will laugh all day!”

I replied: “Well, it’s true. Gelatine. Ground up animal bones and sugar.”

The man looked at me and said quietly: “Yes … I know …”

Half an hour or so later the man left the restaurant. On his way out he reached for a bag of gummy bears, then hesitated – and left without taking one.

I’m wondering if he’s still laughing …

Welcome, Dear Reader!

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re interested in veganism in one way or another. Maybe you’re considering to go vegan, maybe you are already vegan, maybe you’re just trying to figure out what veganism is all about, maybe someone you know just went vegan and you think they’re nuts.

If none of the above applies, you’re probably one of the poor souls that happen to know me from Facebook or Twitter or *gasp* Real Life, and I spammed you with the link. 😉

In any case, I hope you will enjoy my more or less frequent musings about my own vegan journey. Expect a mix of personal posts and stuff from around teh interwebs, sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes delicious … there are no rules to what the next post might be about.

So, stick around with me, feed your feed reader, and feel free to express your thoughts in the comments. Just make sure you’re not going to say shit meat eaters say. 😉

Happy reading! :-)

Oh, one thing: To cater to geeky me I’m running WordPress 3.6 beta with the Twenty Thirteen beta theme. So if things break, don’t blame me. I’ll customize the design when 3.6 is out of beta and I get tired of the default look. 😉