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Advice? April 10, 2008

Posted by tuimeltje in travel.
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Not a what-I-ate-today post, but some questions about what-I’ll-eat-later.

Next week I’ll be going to Germany for a few days with the band I’m in, going along with another band we’re friendly with. We’ll be playing several tattoos in the Berlin-region (I think. Berlin isn’t actually on the list of places we’ll visit, but everyone keeps going on about the Berlin trip) and with the playing and the practicing, I kind of doubt I’ll be able to check out the local supermarkets for my food the way I do when we visit the UK for a few days.
Shame, really. I always love that bit about going elsewhere.

We’ll be staying in hotels, and some arrangements regarding food has been made as well. However, I have no way of knowing if there’s anything vegan available.

So. Questions.

  • How likely am I to come across people who speak enough English to grasp the basics of veganism? I can explain it in English well enough, but my German is pretty appalling. More like Dutch with a vaguely German accent than actual German, so I’m hardly a confident speaker. Dutch people are generally under the impression Germans are only marginally better than the French at speaking any foreign language, though the (non-tourist) Germans I met were always pretty good at it. They were all around my age, though. I kind of suspect people involved with the organisation of something like a tattoo might be a little older.
  • How easy is it to get basic vegan foods? While I was at the
    Animal Rights Gathering 2007 (or, as some politicians here referred to it, a training camp for eco-terrorists. vboj) a British guy was very surprised at being able to find various kinds of Alpro Soya in the fairly small local supermarket, so I might be a little spoiled.
    I’ve found vegan.de which seems to have decent general information, and Meta Filter made mention of ubiquitous falafel stands, which would be excellent, but I don’t know if the places we’ll be visiting are all that big. I’ll probably not have much free time, so I can’t skip all around town, leisurely looking for yummy stuff.
  • Does anyone have some practical advice on foods to bring along? I already have a few things to take along. Mostly snacks like ontbijtkoek, crackers, and studentenhaver (nut and raisin mix), but also two tins of Turkish beans&veg that could make a half-decent meal. It’s not much, but I’d like to take at least something. I could still go to the market and get me some more dried fruit there, but a lot of that is quite sweet and probably not too filling.

    I’m not particularly worried about starving, but I’d like to feel at least a little prepared. And while I won’t starve to death, I would enjoy this long and hectic weekend a hell of a lot more if I’d have some food occasionally. It’d be great if it tasted okay. Ish. I’d settle for vegan and okay-ish. I’m easy.

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  • Comments»

    1. VeggieGirl - April 10, 2008

    I’m afraid I don’t have much advice, since I’m not in Germany :0( However, check this link out for vegan-friendly restaurants in Germany:

    http://www.happycow.net/europe/germany/index.html

    As for snacks: bring along fruit, portable packages of cereal or oatmeal, snack bars, cut-up vegetables, nondairy “milk” – hope this helps!!

    Have a lovely trip :0)

    2. tuimeltje - April 10, 2008

    The cereal sounds like a good idea! I don’t think we have individual packages of oatmeal like the ones I’ve seen in the UK, but I think Brinta has some instant thingies. Not sure if it’s vegan, though. Will inquire

    I’ll have to get me some sturdy fruit and veg that can survive the weekend, and this is a good reason to buy those somewhat overpriced Nakd bars. :)

    3. sinead - April 10, 2008

    Meh. I never had any problems in Germany, especially in big-ish towns. Most people seem to speak English. Bakeries are your friends! And it’s really easy to find fresh fruit and veg, and most restos have salad + bread options, or…there are felafel places, like, everywhere. (yum!)….I miss German bakeries. They are wonderful, with a goodly amount of vegan stuff (not the sweets, but the breads) unlike in the UK, where bakeries are just ways to show how creatively milk can be added to every single baked good. Look for the label “rein vegetarisch” on things.

    4. tuimeltje - April 10, 2008

    Really? Excellent! Great to hear the thing about the falafel is true. I don’t mind eating that stuff breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a few days if necessary.
    I’ve heard it’s pretty easy to be vegan in Germany, especially in bigger cities.

    Also good to hear bakeries are good. I fear Dutch bakeries are rather like the UK ones…
    I’ll see if I can see my way clear to do at least a tiny bit of food shopping. :)

    5. Natalie - April 13, 2008

    There is a “Vegan passport” that you can get online — it’s a little booklet printed in 56 different languages saying “I am vegan, I do not eat… and lists everything out so that it’s clear to everyone when you eat out in a restaurant.

    Check it out:

    http://www.vegetarianguides.co.uk/products/veganpassport.shtml

    6. tuimeltje - April 13, 2008

    I’d totally forgotten about that one! Very convenient, thanks!

    7. Ulrike - April 16, 2008

    Hello! I’m actually German and spend five years in Berlin and I can reassure you that you will have no problem whatsoever! You can literally buy reasonably good falafel on every street corner, bakeries are usually pretty good, supermarkets stock soy milk and alpro soy yoghurt/custart/desserts. If you get a chance: there is a fantastic vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the Kreuzberg district, on Wiener Strasse. It’s called “Yellow Sunshine” and everything is clearly marked as vegan or non-vegan. Also, I’m quite confident that you won’t struggle with the language as most (young-ish) Germans tend to speak English reasonably well or at least well enough to understand that you don’t eat dairy/eggs etc. Have a great trip!

    8. tuimeltje - April 16, 2008

    Thank, Ulrike! As I’ll be quite busy, I’m not sure I’ll be able to visit Yellow Sunshine, but I’ll be sure to remember there should I ever be able to go back for play rather than for work. :)


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