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. 😉

Aaaah, Metal Festival Food!

Doner Kebab, food stand in the background

What’s better than a 3-day metal festival? Right, a 3-day metal festival that’s free, basically in my front yard and has the best vegan döner kebab in the world! I’m talking about the turock Open Air in downtown Essen. :-)

The vegan kebab is so good that I had one each festival day. Frankly, it’s so awesome that I’m practically following the “Untervegs” food wagon around whenever I can. 😉

I wonder how many people didn’t even notice their döner was vegan. Especially after a couple of beers …

As far as the music goes, I really enjoyed Enforcer from Sweden. Check out their new album “Death by Fire” if you’re into good old traditional heavy metal. :-)

Other bands that I’ll check out further are Mercenary and Black Abyss.

All in all a fun weekend, and the weather gods had mercy most of the time.

Enforcer on stage

Do you want fries with that?

One thing you learn early on in your vegan career is to always carry backup food when you’re going somewhere, because you can never be sure to find something to eat out there. In my case that’s a usually a small bag of almonds and an apple.

This rule applies especially when you’re at small metal festivals in Germany. Most of the time all they have are hot dogs or some other kind of sausages.

So, I was extremely surprised to find simple fries at the Shout it Out Loud Festival in Duisburg last Saturday. They went much better with the beer than almonds and apples. 😀

Fries with ketchup

Much could be written about the festival, but this is not a music blog. I wasn’t really excited about most of the bands that night, but when H.E.A.T. hit the stage with their opener “Breaking the Silence” I finally entered party mode! They were my secret headliners and made the Quireboys and Tesla look like old men to me. – Oh, wait!  😉

See for yourself: