• Vegan Iceland

    Vegan Puerto Rico

Austin Veg Event Roundup – February 2012

I’m going to try to do a monthly roundup of the veg-friendly events going on in Austin, Texas. I’ll do a blog post at the beginning of each month and will add to that post as I learn of new events worth mentioning. These monthly event roundups will appear in the Austin Veg Events tab at the top of the site.

To start, here’s the Veg Event Roundup for February 2012

Austin is a pretty veg-friendly city, so I’m sure there are other events going on that I’ve failed to mention. Do you know of other events I should add to this list? Please message me or post a comment below.

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Wednesday, February 1, 7:30pm

Free Vegan Nutrition Class at Beets Cafe

Resident certified health coach, Kate Brodsky will be holding an informal class and discussion on common subjects revolving around vegan health.

You can RSVP for the event on the Vegans Rock Austin Event page.

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Saturday, February 4, 11-2pm

Slaw Share

5M Farmer Charles Winningham (who also happens to be a chef at the W Hotel) has invited you to join him this Saturday at 11am to share coleslaw recipes in the kitchen. If you’re not up for cooking, but up for tasting, then come at 1pm and see how everyone did! If Monday’s practice session was any indication, the broccoli greens and cabbage-based slaws that were shared will continue to amaze!!

Note: Not necessarily vegan, but a lot of dishes probably will be)

Where: 5-Mile Farms
When: 11am cooking, 1pm tasting
Cost: $10 (5M-CSA Members FREE)

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Wednesday, February 8th, 6-7 pm

Class – Understanding & Addressing Food Cravings

Castle Hill Fitness, 1112 North Lamar Blvd

Many of us view cravings as a weakness, but cravings can provide tremendous insight into your nutrition and health needs. Join vegan and certified health coach Kate Brodsky for an informative class that will help you discover:

  • Reasons you may crave certain foods at certain times
  • Messages your cravings may be trying to send you
  • Specific tips for managing your cravings in ways that are healthy and beneficial
  • How to use your cravings to dramatically improve your overall health and wellbeing

Cost: $25. Bring a friend and you’ll each save $5 upon sign up!

To register: Call Castle Hill Fitness at (512) 478-4567  or sign up online here: http://www.castlehillfitness.com/calendar/600

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Friday, February 8, 7:30pm

Vegan Craft Night

A group of vegans from Vegans Rock Austin organize a craft night the 2nd Wed of every month at different locations around town.  This month they’ll be meeting at Cherrywood Coffee House.  Bring a project to work on – crochet, knit, beads, card making, whatever and come hang out/chat/eat.

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Friday, February 10, 4-7pm

Soup Peddler’s 10th Anniversary Party

281A South Lamar Blvd

This isn’t a strictly veg event, but I’ve heard that the Soup Peddler has some pretty great vegan soups.

Come celebrate the Soup Peddler’s 10th Anniversary with live music, games and prizes, free soup, and free beer.

And check out the facebook event page here.

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Friday, February 10, 7pm

VOLUNTEER POTLUCK – Monkeywrench Books

Join us for a vegan potluck and find out how to volunteer at the store.
Bring a vegan dish (no animal products including dairy, eggs, honey, etc.)
to share as well as a plate and utensils for yourself. Reconnect with old
friends and meet new ones!

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Saturday, February 11th, 1pm

5604 Manor Road, Austin, TX

Deep Green Resistance Group, Labeled ‘Eco-Terrorist,’ Speaks About Massive Nonviolent Campaign to Stop the 1%

Press Release:

Contact: Lierre Keith lierrekeith@yahoo.com Aric McBay aric@aricmcbay.org (847) 773-7478

Saturday, February 11th at 1pm at 5604 Manor Road, Austin, TX, Deep Green Resistance (DGR) National Organizers will speak about a new campaign they are helping to organize called OCCUPY THE MACHINE (OTM). OTM is a coalition organizing nonviolent civil disobedience actions targeting fossil fuel based industries happening in the Spring and Summer the likes of which have not been seen since the Civil Rights movement. (DGR: OCCUPY THE MACHINE) They will also share DGR’s strategy to address planetary destruction drawn from the book, Deep Green Resistance, by Derrick Jensen, Aric McBay and Lierre Keith.

During the past two weeks there has been much misinformation about the ideology and actions of Deep Green Resistance Austin from covert sources and some inaccurate reporting. Private intelligence agency Stratfor has labeled DGR’s anti-oppression work, solidarity with indigenous groups, and defense of natural communities, “eco-terrorism.” (Strange Bedfellows, The Austin Chronicle, 2/3/12) (Political analysis company faces hacking accusations, The Daily Texan, 2/3/12) This claim is flatly untrue, as the speakers will make clear.

The event is hosted by DGR Austin. Attendees will also learn how to get involved with DGR Austin and attend local programs, including Edible Plant Walks and Monthly Discussion Groups.
Deep Green Resistance is the only radical movement of its kind working to stop the destruction of the planet. DGR’s vision for a sustainable future on a livable planet includes dismantling industrial civilization before it destroys all life. Industrial civilization will be replaced by thousands of cultures that will arise organically from and fully integrate themselves into their local ecosystems. Community-based, directly democratic communities are central to DGR’s vision of human society. Deep Green Resistance has a plan of action for anyone determined to fight for this planet—and win.

Facebook event page.

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Saturday, February 11, 8pm

Vegan Singles Dinner – Hyden Park Supper Club

A fun, social vegan dinner for singles of all orientation.

The dinner is $30 cash per person and will look something like this:

  • Local Seasonal Vegetable Curry
  • Saffron Coconut Moong Dal Soup
  • Heart Shaped Samosa Ravioli with Beet Chutney and Saag
  • Baby Greens Salad with Yogurt Tamarind Dressing
  • Garam Masala Cheese Cake (cultured cashew base) with Chocolate and Mango

BYO booze or juice (glasses, openers and filtered water provided)

Everything is vegan and mostly organic (including lots of produce from local farms, too).

Gluten-free option available upon request – spiced basmati rice (with the samosa filling and chutney) will replace the ravioli, everything else will be gluten-free.

To reserve your seat, email hydenparksc@gmail.com with your name and your guest’s name (if you’re bringing one),  and if you need a gluten-free meal. You’ll then receive a confirmation email with the address/directions. You can also send an email just to be added to the email list for future dinners.

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Sunday, February 12, 2pm
Edible and Medicinal Plant Walk
Hillside Theatre Zilker Park, 2206 William Barton Dr., in the Barton Springs Pool parking lot.

Do you feel like a tourist in our local forests? Are the trails painted with a sea of ‘green’? Wanna learn about your local plants and develop a deeper connection with them? There are many edible, medicinal, and otherwise useful plants right here in Central Texas! Wouldn’t you like to get to know them? Join DGR and some local naturalists for a free Edible and Medicinal Plant Walk. Donations are accepted and benefit DGR Austin.

We’ll meet near the Hillside Theatre, an outdoor stage, at the head of the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail. If you can’t find us, call  512-537-3476 .

Deep Green Resistance is a movement geared towards reestablishing our connection with the natural world, and dismantling the systems that are destroying our home. The walk will end with a brief discussion about how getting to know our land relates to the DGR strategy and analysis.

Our last walk was awesome. We had about 20 people show up! This month’s walk is sure to have even more of the small green edibles we saw last time so bring an appetite!

And bring your friends!

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Sunday, February 11, 6:30pm

Please join us for our regular monthly vegan potluck in February. Great food and great company. Very relaxed and informal— we welcome families and children, new vegetarians and vegans, and the “veg-curious”. Check our website (http://vegnetaustin.org) for a map. Please bring a vegan dish to feed 8 plus a serving utensil, as well as your own plate, utensils, and beverage. Also bring your recipe or a list of ingredients to help those with food sensitivities. You do not have to be a VNA member to attend our monthly potluck gatherings. Everyone in our Meetup group is invited- there are always lots of people at our meetings, since people come from our other online groups at Facebook and YahooGroups. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

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Sunday, February 12, 2012, 6pm

Meetup – Curry in a Hurry

The Austin Progressive Vegetarians Meetup Group will be meeting at Curry in a Hurry (2121 West Parmer Lane, Austin, TX) to eat their delicious vegetarian Indian food.

Join the meetup group and view the event here.

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Monday, February 13, 2012, 8-10pm

Texas VegFest Volunteer “Web Promotion” Party at Genuine Joe’s Coffeehouse

Come to our Volunteer “Web Promotion” Party and help us spread the word about Texas Vegfest online!

We’re meeting on Monday February 13th, from 8pm to 10pm at Genuine Joe’s Coffeehouse (2001 W. Anderson Ln, 78757).

At this volunteer meet up, we’ll get all the volunteers together to post information about Texas VegFest online at various community calendars, forums, group boards and event threads.

We have several lists of these communities and groups, and will be dividing them up between volunteers. So bring your laptop, come have some tasty beverages, and let’s get EVERYONE excited about Texas VegFest!

Please let us know if you are attending to ensure we have enough space. You can reply to volunteer@texasvegfest.com, or post a message athttp://groups.google.com/group/txvegfestvols.

If you haven’t joined our google group yet and you can’t find your invitation to join in your email, please go to Google to sign in and apply for membership. As we get closer to the big event, the volunteering discussion on our group will be getting way more active.

Thank you so much, see everyone Monday evening!

FB Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/105706142886923/

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Sunday, February 14, 2012, 7pm

Chocolate and a Movie at Monkeywrench Books

Does the thought of overpriced dinner and drinks at a stuffy restaurant fill you with dread? Are you looking for a way to show your appreciation for your friends and loved ones that doesn’t involve spending a ridiculous amount of money? Are you a fan of (vegan) chocolate treats? Do you love Johnny Depp as much as we do? Then MonkeyWrench has the answer to your problems! Well, at least some of them…

Join us this Tuesday Feb 14th for a night of sweets, chocolate-covered treats, drinks, and a movie. And what better movie to show about chocolate than Chocolat? Plus, how can you say no to Johnny Depp AND chocolate? Collective members will be preparing some of their favorite desserts to share, but you are also welcome and encouraged to bring your own! We will also have some drinks on hand, but you can also bring your own beverages to enjoy.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012, 5pm

Meetup – Thai Kitchen

The Austin Progressive Vegetarians Meetup Group will be meeting at Thai Kitchen (3009 Guadalupe St.).

Join the meetup group and view the event here.

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Sunday, February 22, 2012, 7pm

Meetup – Tom’s Tabooley

The Vegetarian Network of Austin will be meeting at Tom’s Tabooley (2928 Guadalupe St).

Join the meetup group and view the event here.

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Thursday, February 23, 7-9pm

ATX Vegan Drinks

Whether you’re a long-time vegan, or just veg-curious, make new friends and meet up with old ones at ATX Vegan Drinks! Grab some delicious vegan food at Arlo’s Food Truck, located across the street from The Brixton, and bring it on over to the bar so you don’t miss a minute of the fun. The Brixton will be offering a selection of vegan beers and cocktails (alcoholic and non), including a vegan White Russian!

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Saturday, February 25, 1 – 3 pm
A Taste of the Tohoku – Presentation and Cooking Demonstration
The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts
1700 South Lamar
Award-winning author and chef, Elizabeth Andoh will teach A Taste of the Tohoku, a 2-hour presentation and tasting that is free and open to the public. Guests will be introduced to the regional flavors of Japan’s northeast, the Tohoku region. Elizabeth will combine and integrate Tohoku specialties with basic washoku principles (Japan’s indigenous food culture) and the no-waste approach of kansha (appreciation). All foods prepared and served will be vegan. Space is limited, RSVP here to save your space.
Elizabeth Andoh’s presentation serves as a celebration of her forthcoming e-original book: KIBŌ Brimming with Hope: Recipes & Stories from Japan’s Tohoku. This is Elizabeth’s sixth book, a culinary tribute to the Tohoku region that was devastated by earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident on March 11, 2011. Both Elizabeth and her publisher, Ten Speed Press, a Crown imprint of Random House, have pledged a portion of book proceeds to Japan’s recovery efforts.
For more public classes at the Natural Epicurean, check out this link:

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Saturday, February 25, 2-4 pm

Winter Foraging Walk in Central Texas

Near Wimberly, Texas (Directions and further details will be sent once registration is confirmed)

This class will be a simple walk and discussion about wild edible plants you can find growing in the winter and early spring. We will discuss how to identify, harvest and prepare the things we find. If we’re lucky, you might return home with a bag of wild salad or winter greens! Come prepared for the weather!

Cost: $30 (includes handouts, a wild snack and some foraged finds)

To register: email EatWild@gmail.co

For foraging tips and recipes for foraged foods, check out WildEdibleTexas.com

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Sunday, February 26, 2012, 7pm

Meetup – Cafe Express

The Austin Progressive Vegetarians Meetup Group will be meeting at Cafe Express (3418 N Lamar Blvd).

Join the meetup group and view the event here.

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Monday & Tuesday, February 27-28

The Brown Symposium at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX

Back to the Foodture: Sustainable Strategies to Reverse a Global Crisis

This year’s Brown Symposium considers Food from many angles and ponders ways we can rethink our relationship with this most basic, beautiful and complex of needs. There will be some great speakers here, probably lots of vegetarian talk, and best of all – it’s free! More details on the Brown Symposium event page.

Free Vegan Nutrition Class at Beets Cafe Tomorrow!

Resident certified health coach, Kate Brodsky will be holding an informal class and discussion on common subjects revolving around vegan health. This class will be Wednesday, February 1st (tomorrow) at 7:30pm at Beets Cafe.

You can RSVP for the event on the Vegans Rock Austin Event page.

Euro Bike Trip – Letters From The Road

The last blog post I wrote mentioned that I was going to spend the summer on a bike trip through the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland with a good friend of mine. Well that trip ended a while ago and I’ve been back in Austin since October….but it doesn’t feel right moving on to write about other things until I’ve done a post wrapping up the trip.

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I’m sure I’ll dedicate more posts to bicycle touring in the future and will elaborate more on specific trips I’ve taken, advice for other bicycle tourists, and things I’d do differently next time. Stay tuned for that, but for now…I have consolidated all the e-mails and notes I took during our trip and will share them in a 2-part blog post.

This first part, “Letters from the Road”, is a chronological collection of e-mails we sent to family and friends while away.

The second part (which will appear in a later post), will be called “Notes from the Road” and will be a chronological collection of cryptic notes I wrote to document each day of our travels.

Obviously a lot of details and stories will be left out of these letters and notes, but I think they’ll be an amusing summary of our experiences. Also, here is a link to some pictures. They are unedited and I haven’t written descriptions for any of them yet,  but feel free to browse at your leisure.

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8/15/11

Hi family.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m alive and well.

I am staying with my friend Jan, who I met on a hiking trip in New Zealand. He has been really great to me. Picked me up from the airport, helped me carry my bike box up several flights of stairs to his apartment, showed me around downtown, took me to a veg place to eat, gave me an extra phone he had so that I can get in contact with him if I need help while in Prague, my own set of keys so that I don’t have to depend on him, and he and his girlfriend chatted with me over several glasses of wine last night. I found a really cool veg. restaurant/health food store called Country Life (dumb name, good food) and plan to make them dinner sometime this week.

Agnes and her mom should be coming in on a train tonight, so I will hopefully meet up with them tonight or tomorrow. They’re staying in a hostel, but I think I’ll just keep staying with Jan since he already offered and I have my own room and bed. He lives a little outside the city center, but public transport here is great!

My bike box arrived at the airport pretty disheveled and missing 2 out of the 3 straps!! It looks like TSA opened it AGAIN after someone inspected it at the airport in Austin (I watched the Austin TSA lady open it, take everything out, inspect everything, put it back nicely, then strap it back securely). The second person who inspected everything must not have been so nice and nothing was put back where it was supposed to go!! My bike seems to be OK and nothing is missing except the straps I used to hold the box together…but I guess I won’t know until I start to ride it. Once I pump up my tires, I’m going to take it to a bike shop to get it checked out. But I don’t want to fly with Delta ever again if I can avoid it.

Prague is beautiful. I walked around all day yesterday, took a nap in the park for about 3 hours, then walked around some more. Today it’s raining. But I have a raincoat, a vegan croissant, some vegan tofu scramble stuff from the bio shop, water, and camera. So…I’m ready to walk. I still need a map, but luckily I don’t mind getting lost until I find a good one.

Will write more soon.

-Cristen

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8/17/11

Hi family.

Prague is a beautiful city.

I met up with Agnes and her mom the other day (they took a train in from Krakow).

During the day, I went to Letna Park (the place where they used to have the Stalin Monument). Now there’s a big metronome in its place and lots of cool skate spots. And last night we all went out to eat at a fancy veg. restaurant called Lehka Hlava (or “Clear Head”). Aga’s mom took the tram back home afterwards, but Agnes and I went to a show at a really cool bar. Her friend met up with us and we all stayed out really late drinking and dancing – too late for me to catch the bus back to my place, so I stayed with her friend. Now he’s at work and I’m not exactly sure where I am….but I have keys and a map, so I’ll figure it out. First thing though, I have to find some coffee. Then I want to go to a park that has albino peacocks and weird rock formations.

Aga’s mom will be here until Friday, so we’ll probably spend a few days getting organized before we head off on our journey.

Love you all and will check in again soon.

-Cristen

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8/22/11

hi moms. we are messaging you from my kindle which is really
difficult. just wanted to say that we are off on our trip. we plan to
bike up the river to dresden, with some stops along the way. we are
guessing this will take 1week so you might not hear from us for a bit.

here are our emergenc phones, but know that they will be off unless we
need them.

and now you have each other’s emails too.

we love you and goodbye

cristen and aga

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8/27/2011

Hi family.

So we finally made it from Prague to Dresden.
Despite a few stupid times where we got a bit lost from the bike path and biked with all our gear UPHILL for no good reason other than to torture ourselves…the trip was fairly painless and great fun.
The path was along the river the entire time, so has been pretty easy and really beautiful. We managed to camp for free every night except for 1 night when we stayed at a hostel owned by a cute Ukranian lady who took great care of us.

The weather here has been awesome up until today when it started to rain and get really dreary. But at least we managed to test out our rain gear. I an A+ to the rain pants.

Now we are staying in an amazing farm house in a village called Pokau. We took the train here from Dresden to visit my friend Anne (who I met in Oslo) and her family. Tomorrow we will hang out in Dresden, camp in her family friend´s garden, and then the next day we are off again. It will probably take us another week or maybe a bit longer to make it to Berlin. We haven’t looked at a map yet so aren’t really sure…

This is the first time I’ve had Internet access and probably won’t again for a bit. But I just wanted to let you know that we’re alive and well. And if you don’t hear from me again for a while, it’s just because we’re biking and camping and without a computer.

Hope all is well at home. I’ll try to send some rain your way (because you need it more than we do and we don’t want it here).
J

Oh and p.s….my Kindle broke on day 1. All the bumps screwed up my LCD screen.
Bummer. But I guess a good lesson that you can’t depend too much on technology. Time to get a real map and a good old fashioned book.
:(

-Cristen

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8/28/2011

Hi love.

You know its a good day when you’re cycling along the Czech Republic/Germany border through a Vietnamese market, you find matching wolf crotch shorts, then get to have a photo session in a cave.

Have a good day!

-Cristen

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8/28/2011

hey lady!
we made it to dresden yesterday after leaving prague on monday evening, so about 5-6 days of riding. if the weather holds up, and we make good time, and we don’t run into any major bike issues or get lost (we’ve been good at that), or get stunted by our approaching periods, we should be in berlin 6-7 days from tomorrow/monday.
it’s been fun… i’ve got butt rash/chafage out the wazoo (for seriously… get at least 2-3 pairs of good padded bike shorts), but hey, it’s all a part of the game, right? so far we’ve managed to camp for free every night except when we stayed at a ‘pension’ on the border so we could hike around for a day. been eating off the camping stove as much as possible and making about two beer stops, which seems to fuel our fire best of all. we’ve been jumping in the river to shower on hot days and doing our laundry there too. we’re only gonna be on the river for half of the trip to berlin though… so we’ll probably arrive REAL smelly. and me, with more chafing.
how are things on your end?? feel free to send my cz number an sms with any updates, but know it may take a few days to get a response. we usually have our phones off but turn them on every few days to check on updates… and can respond if/when there is reception in the area. i don’t foresee any internet stops on the way.
hope all is well with you!
liebe gruesse,
aga

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9/3/11

Hey family.
We just made it into Berlin today. Despite a few stops along the way, we managed to cycle about 60 to 70 km a day, making it to Berlin a few days earlier than expected. We’re still slow (which is fine with us), but I think we’re getting better.

We have found some fun places to sleep along the way too, including a cool house in the woods made of sticks and moss. Lots of stories, but I’ll save those for later. Aga’s butt started hurting really bad today and so she took the metro into town. I continued cycling along the Berliner Mauerweg (a really cool bike trail that goes along where the Berlin Wall used to be). I didn’t think it would take so long to get into town that way, but the path took all day and I only had a few photos of the route that I took with my camera…so not the best map. I got lost a few times, got a bent spoke, and had all kinds of funny people trying to help by guiding me in the right direction, drawing maps in the sand, and some cute lady just hopped on her bike – huffing and puffing to get me to the trailhead. It was an adventure for sure and much more difficult (but interesting) getting around without having Aga there to speak German. Anyway…I made it. And just in time to eat vegan African food along the river, have a few cold beers, meet up with Aga, AND find a free place to stay tonight with some really sweet girls in a nice part of Berlin. Good day.

I haven’t managed to find much time to upload pictures…but there are tons that I’ll have to post eventually (though maybe not until I’m back home).
:(

We should be in Berlin for at least a few days. I really like this city so far!!

Cristen

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9/8/11

Hey family.

Agnes and I were wandering around town today, went to a cool art commune place in a crumbling old building, and some guy was talking about the fires in Texas. We had no idea, so I just checked the news at this Internet cafe. Crazy! Glad there’s no danger near you.

It has gotten cold here already. I’m already wearing most of the layers I brought and will probably have to acquire a few more (like possibly some really colorful, loud tights).

Life is pretty comfortable in Berlin and if we stay until Saturday (which I think is the plan), we’ll have been here a week. It’s 200 km from Berlin to our next stop, Szczecin, so we’re guessing it’ll take 4 days (5 or 6 if we leave a few buffer days for relaxing, bike issues, weather issues). From there we’ll cycle along the Eurovelo (a marked cycling path along the Baltic Sea). We’ll only have a month to see all of Poland…so we’ll likely be taking some trains sometimes so that we can get to places faster. I probably won’t send another e-mail before we leave on Saturday, but just know that we’re doing fine and will send another update in a week or so.

I have some sort of pinched nerve in my back and it hurts really bad today. Just started sometime last night and it woke me up because I couldn’t figure out a comfortable way to sleep. It’s not any better today, so I’m not sure what to do about it other than to take some ibuprofin and try not to put too much stuff in my backpack when we walk around all day. Surprisingly, biking doesn’t seem to make it any worse…so that’s good at least.

Yesterday we rode out of town with Yvonne, our Couchsurfing host who has been taking great care of us while we’re here. We biked along a trail through the woods to a big lake, collected an entire bag’s worth of wild mushrooms, and made a meal out of them when we got back to the house. Today I went to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and ate some really great vegan German food.

We have been seeing some beautiful places. Not sure what the roads will be like in Poland, but whatever happens will be interesting. And Berlin is a great city. Lots of veg food and an overwhelming bike culture (bikes even have their own traffic lights!)

Miguel – I’ll be sending a package to our house in a few days. Not sure when you’ll actually get it, but some of the stuff in there is for your birthday. It’s kind of a weird collection of things, but I think you’d expect that coming from me. :)

Cristen

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9/14/11

Hi love.

Happy birthday! I wish I could spend today with you, but instead we’re spending the morning pushing my bike through construction zones, sand pits, and mud. Hope the roads get better than this. And I hope you have a great day.

I love you.

-Cristen

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9/15/11

Hey family.

So…We finally made it to Poland yesterday. We’re in Szczecin right now, but will probably take the fast boat up to the Baltic Sea to save time (assuming it’s still operating this time of year), then cycle along the sea for a few weeks since they actually have bike paths there. You may not hear from me again until we get to Gdansk, which I think is about 200km away (and since we go slow, that’ll take us a while).

When we first arrived in Poland, we detoured to see the crooked forest, then back into the town of Gryfino. And along the way back into the city, we met a cute lady who invited us for tea, several shots of homemade liquor, some chocolate, apples, etc. Then she sent us away with jars of pickles, jam, homemade berry juice, and crocheted Christmas ornaments. haha. So now our bags are really heavy, but a good intro to Poland. The Couchsurfing host we stayed with last night is a bike messenger and a vegan.
:)

OK. Gotta run.
-Cristen

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9/17/2011

Hi Adlucites.

I just wanted to say hello and to send an update from the road.
I sent a postcard from Berlin, but it probably hasn’t arrived yet.

We’ve cycled almost 1000 km so far and have made it from Prague > Dresden > Berlin > Szczecin. The path through Germany along the Oder River has been beautiful and scenic. No cars – just lots of sheep and birds. I even saw a few otters or beavers (not sure which because it was far away). Many adventures to talk about – such as wandering up on a volunteer fire brigade party in the small town of Obersdorf, partying and dancing under a big tent with everyone during a crazy lighting storm (I took shots with the mayor and the fire chief!), and then we got adopted by some townspeople for the night). I didn’t expect to like Germany so much, but I really really did.

We finally made it to Poland a few days ago and (as expected) the roads and cycling trails are drastically different. Now we’re cycling along the Baltic Sea, but have lost sight of the bike path and are doing some research before we continue (muddy/sandy side roads + busy main roads with no shoulder + no bike map = no fun).

Every day has been interesting and up until now, the bike path has been along rivers and pretty forest trails. We’ve managed to camp for free most nights by just pitching our tents wherever we end up, but sometimes we’ve splurged on proper campsites or rental rooms with showers or stayed with Couchsurfing hosts.

Hope all is well back home.
If I make it out of Poland alive (just kidding…kind of), I will see you guys at the end of October.
:)

-Cristen

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9/19/11

Hi mom.
Just a note to say that we’re alive and well. We knocked on the door of a cute family to ask if we could camp in their yard and we’re at their house now having tea.
Not sure when I’ll have Internet again in the next few weeks, but will msg again when I do.

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9/24/11

Hey family

We’re still on the Baltic Sea. Still riding our bikes for 3-5 hours every day and going 30-70 km a day (depending on weather, errand stops, getting lost, etc.) And still collecting weird things we don’t need that only make our loads heavier (only we’ve gotten used to it at this point and have stopped caring about the extra weight).

We’ve had amazing luck so far with our bikes even though we have put the poor things through hell. Our little road bikes are definitely not meant for this trip and people sometimes give us funny looks as we pass by and they stare at our heavily loaded bikes with skinny tires. Our bikes hate cobblestone streets, potholes, and definitely SAND and grit (all of which are very common on Polish roads)…but the poor things are still trudging along. We finally had to stop at a bike shop to fix my wobbly back wheel, Aga’s brakes, and my bike rack attachment (that had broken about 200 km before we got to the shop and I had to rig it up to my bike all ghetto style with parachute cord and zip ties). We took a day off yesterday because of downpours of rain and stayed in a cozy guesthouse in Choczewo, where we played bananagrams, cooked lots of food in a real kitchen where we could use more than one pan at a time, and drank hot tea with vodka.

The plan was to cycle all the way to Hel (you can find it on a map) and then take a ferry to Gdansk….but we found out that since most tourists aren’t crazy enough to visit the Baltic Coast in September, the ferries have stopped running. So…we are now in Sopot and trying to figure out what our next steps will be.

Again, not sure when I’ll have Internet access again…but I’ll write again when I can.

-Cristen

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9/27/11

Hey love.

Aga keeps getting to talk to Bryce on Skype and I get jealous because I’d LOVE to talk to you and see your face. We may be going to Warsaw next weekend to hang out with Kasia, so if that all works out…maybe we’ll have Internet access there and I can talk to you more. Regardless…I love you lots and will see you soonish.

Last night we ate an amazing risotto meal that our hosts made us. Today it’s our turn to cook (as we decided to stay with them another night). Not sure what to make yet, but I think it’ll involve guacamole if we can find avocados. They don’t really have cilantro here either though.

Yesterday we all biked to this amazing viewpoint in the city that was somewhere in the forest (it was pretty dark). Our hosts Szymon and Monika are super cute. They take pictures of their food every night like I do, they geek out over all the macro plant photos they took last when they were mushroom picking last weekend, and they’re vegetarian. On the way back from the forest viewpoint, we found a hedgehog (they have them everywhere, but the only ones I’ve seen so far are dead in the road). This one was blind in one eye and seemed really old. He was just wobbling around in the middle of the road. Aga blocked traffic and I picked him up to carry him back into the forest. Poor little guy. Hope we saved him from death at least a little while longer.

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9/28/11

Hi family.

Agnes and I just spent a great few days with Szymon and Monika, our Couchsurfing hosts in Gdansk (a great city and probably one of most bike-friendly places in Poland).

We just took a train to Masuria, which is supposed to be a beautiful region in the northeast of Poland that is dotted with lakes (look it up – it’s nice!). Kasia and one of Aga’s friends may meet up with us while we’re here. Then next week, we’ll be taking a train to the Bialowieza Forest, which Aga is writing her thesis on. Probably won’t have Internet for a while again. Wish us luck with the weather.

-Cristen

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10/6/11

Hey family

Aga and I are in the forest bordering Belarus. We’re staying in a dorm at a science research center, where we have our own kitchen, warm beds, and the hottest shower I’ve had in weeks (actually the only shower I’ve had in about a week).

We had a ridiculous time getting here: helping each other push all our stuff up and down huge flights of stairs at the train station, shoving all our belongings and bikes onto a bus packed full of people (crazy bag lady style – it’s how we roll)…followed by several other amusing incidents, followed by a 20km bike ride into the forest through drizzling rain. All funny stories though.

And now that we want to visit Kasia in Warsaw tomorrow night (hopefully), we are now going to have an equally ridiculous time trying to get out of here and onto a train/bus that’ll take us into the city.

We saw 4 baby puppies in the forest yesterday and it turns out they might have been wolf pups. I showed my photo to an ecologist guy that Aga knew and we’ll find out more about them later today after he shows my pic to some friends. If they’re puppies…we’re going to try to find them a better place to be. And if they’re wolf pups…yay – we saw baby wolves! I almost picked one up until he growled really ferociously at me.

I’ll probably have Internet access in Warsaw…assuming we can get there from here.

Hope all is well back home. Miguel told me it finally rained. Hope that theme continues.

I uploaded some pics, but it’s only a small fraction of the ones I’ve taken and they are all only from the Czech Republic.

-Cristen

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10/7/11

OK. We made it to Warsaw. Whew!

Our options were basically –

1.) Take the only bus (that leaves at 5am) from the forest to Warsaw. Plead with the bus driver to take us, our bikes, and all our stuff (we’re a mess).

2.) Bike 20km and take 4 trains (with a 4 minute layover between each). Not likely we’d make all connections with all the crap we have with us.

3.) Bike 50km on sandy, forest roads and try to make it to the train station by 2pm, take 3 trains to Warsaw and arrive really late at night.

Luckily option 1 worked out, so we didn’t have to deal with attempting the other two options…which would have been a huge headache.

Now we’re in Warsaw really early, and we’re just going to find somewhere warm and dry to hang out until Kasia gets off work.

Love you guys!

-Cristen

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10/11/11

Hey love.

We had a few fun filled days in Warsaw with Kasia (which mostly involved us hanging out in her bed, taking vodka shots, and telling stories). It was great and exactly what we wanted to do.

We made it to Krakow yesterday and, as part of the Unsound Festival, saw “The Man Who Saved the World”, a Turkish rip off of Star Wars that had the Indiana Jones theme song and enough crazy costumes for at least 10 years of Halloweens. It definitely helped that we drank beforehand, but I thought the movie was pretty awesome (in a horribly low budget kind of way). We made popcorn with nutritional yeast to bring with us and Aga and I already have our costumes planned out if we ever want to have a theme party based around the movie.

Tonight at midnight we’re going to see a movie called “The Earth Dies Screaming”, described as ‘a low budget sci-fi wonder, set in a world invaded by deadly alien killer robots.’ Maybe you’ve seen it? If not, I’ll fill you in on the details when I get home. I’m sure it’s riveting.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and that I miss you (duh!). Biking for many hours on end give me lots of time every day to think about how I miss you.

See you soon! In less than 10 days!!

-Cristen

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10/15/11

Hey Dad. I was just thinking that I should e-mail you.

I’m in Krakow now with Aga. We’re staying at her friend’s house and there’s a music festival going on.

I went to see the Salt Mines, Schinder’s Factory, and we biked along the river to a monestary that brews its own beer. There’s a lot of history here and it’s fun to have a bike with me so that I can just ride around and get to places easily.

Hope all is well at home. I’m excited to see you guys and I’m ready to go home at this point. It’s cold here.

-Cristen

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10/18/11

Hi mom.

After a 5 hr bus ride, a short bike ride across the border, and a 5 hr train ride…we made it from Krakow back to Prague last night. It was a long day!

Tonight I am making spring rolls, some sort of stir fry, and miso soup for my friend Jan. Tomorrow we will pack and box up our bikes. I get on a plane on Thurs the 20th and don’t get to Austin until midnight.

I’m excited to drink coffee and hang out with you all. Maybe we can do that Saturday or Sunday.

Talk to you soon. Love you.

– Cristen

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Back and Ready to Write

OK. I’m back now and ready to write. Well, I’ve actually been back in Austin for a while…but am finally ready to work on this site again. You’ll notice a site design change and that I finally have RSS feeds up and running. And I’ll be adding posts, pages, and photo galleries in the coming months.

Most of my posts will be related to travel (particularly vegetarian travel, bicycle touring, budget travel, and sustainable travel), but I will also post about topics pertaining to gardening and food. And being a vegan from Austin, Texas…I can’t help but also write about any interesting veggie events in the area. I’ll be adding a category page soon so that it’s easy to find posts about the topics you’re most interested in, I’ll be reviewing more vegetarian products in the near future, and I’d like to start featuring guest posts so that other people can share their veggie travel experiences as well. Anything else you’d like to see me blog about? Please write to me and let me know!

Vegan Cycling Trip in Prague/Berlin/Poland

It’s been oh so long since I’ve actually written anything on this blog, reorganized my photos and pages, and fixed up the site design like I said I was going to months ago. But things keep coming up (fun things!) and all that will just have to wait a bit longer.

The fun thing that I’m planning for right now is…a cycling trip in Eastern Europe!

I will be flying to Prague this Saturday (with my bicycle and all my gear) and my friend Aga will meet me a few days later. We don’t have any strict plans really, but we know that we’ll start by cycling up to Berlin (making some stops along the way to visit friends and see cool places like this land bridge), then we’ll head into Szczecin, then around Poland to see forests, national parks, rivers, and friends and family. We have lots of ideas of places we want to go, but aren’t sure how they’ll all fall into place just yet. We have 2 months to wander around…camping and couchsurfing along the way…so we’ll see how it goes. And I’ll be bringing a travel stove with me so that I can stay well fed (and vegan) while on the road. :)

In preparation for this trip, I came across a site that proved to be a good cycling tour resource. I’ll post a more extensive list of tips and links when I return from my journey, but for now…this site is great for planning a long distance bicycle tour. There is a downloadable bicycle touring survival guide, lots of informative tips, and just heaps of inspiration from other travelers who choose to see the world from a bicycle seat. I was thrilled to learn that they also have a podcast (oh how I love podcasts).

http://travellingtwo.com/

Anyway, wish me a safe journey!

-Cristen



Compassion Over Killing’s Free Vegetarian Guide to Austin

Compassion Over Killing’s Vegetarian Guide to Austin has been updated and the second edition for Summer 2011 is now available.

You can order a free copy here.

Mother’s Cafe Benefit for Thundering Paws on 5-17-11

On Tuesday, May 17th, Mother’s Cafe and Garden will donate 25% of all their profits for that day to Thundering Paws, a no-kill animal sanctuary in Dripping Springs.

I volunteer at Thundering Paws periodically and I adopted my cat Pandora from there many years ago. The shelter rescues a lot of animals (primarily cats who suffer from injuries, abuse, and neglect), and takes care of them until they find loving homes. She can greatly benefit from the funds and I can certainly vouch that it’s a cause worth supporting. To learn more about the shelter, visit www.thunderingpaws.org.

If you like eating at Mother’s Cafe, all you have to do is go there, enjoy their wonderful food, and Thundering Paws gets a donation. Yay!

You can also download the flyer and pass it along to your friends and family.
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Anne Zabolio saying goodbye to Pandora.

Pandora in her new happy home.

Pandora in her new, happy home.

Pandora in her new, happy home.

Veg Travel Product Review – Edward & Sons

Edward & Sons supplies a large variety of foods that are natural, organic, gluten free and vegetarian.

I recently had the pleasure of sampling some of their ready made products that are particularly good for travel. And while it has taken me a while to finally sit down and write about them, here it goes…

:)

Back in November (during Thanksgiving weekend), some friends and I went on a camping trip to Enchanted Rock and it was the perfect place to test some of this stuff.

We had made a massive Thanksgiving feast the day before the trip, so we just packed all the leftovers into a cooler, brought along the pie iron, and whipped up some quick gravy seasoned with Edward & Sons Not-Chick’n bullion cubes.

The result was a tasty, crispy hot pocket covered in thick, yummy, gravy.

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And because it was around 20 degrees outside, it was really great to have some packets of Edwards & Sons Miso-Cup instant soup. We all huddled around a campfire, boiled some water, and slurped the brothy soup mix happily. If I was in my own kitchen, I would have added extra tofu cubes and some veggies (hijiki or wakame would have been great), but since we had limited ingredients with us…the soup was warm and soothing as is.

This is the kind of stuff I never think to buy, but i’m always really excited when it’s around. Such a cold cold night made me realize how great it can be and I’ll probably make a point to bring it along on more camping trips. In fact, I actually have some stashed away in my travel/camping kit right now.

You can learn all about these Miso-Cup soup mixes here. Apparently they’ve been around since 1978!

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The next day, we went hiking and I brought along some Gumi Bears (by another Edwards & Sons brand called Let’s Do…Organic). They are organically sweetened and colored by organic fruit and vegetable ingredients. And unlike most gummy snacks, which are made from gelatin, these ones are made from apple pectin.

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Like I said, I took them hiking and gobbled them up. Yum, yum, yum.

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I didn’t eat up everything while camping though. Some stuff I tried at home.

Edward & Sons also owns the brand Road’s End Organics, which makes organic and dairy-free pasta mixes. I sampled the Cheddar Style Shells & Chreese on a day that I was too lazy to cook dinner and I really liked it.

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I ended up adding some nutritional yeast, black pepper, and chopped spinach to spruce it up a little bit. And with my leftovers, I mixed in some Ume Vinegar to add a little kick (and also just because I’m addicted to the stuff).

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*I actually haven’t finished sampling some of the items I set out to review…so I will continue adding to this page as I review more Edward & Sons items (like the ones below). Stay tuned.

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In the meantime, you can browse their product catalog, find some fun new products to try, and use their store locator to find the nearest place to buy them.

Their site also offers a large collection of recipes, which are organized by brand. And if you have your own recipe you want to share, you can submit it as well.

Interview on SavorMyLife.com

I recently featured in an interview with Benjy Portnoy on SavorMyLife.com. During the interview, I discussed tips on traveling alone as a woman, making new friends in other countries, and addressing controversial topics (like veganism, animal rights, environmental issues) without offending people.

The complete interview can be found here.

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National Vegan Pizza Day in Austin – Sat. Jan 29th

An increasing number of pizzerias are starting to serve vegan pizza options.

And to celebrate this growing trend, the makers of Teese Vegan Cheese and popular food blogger Quarrygirl have declared a national Vegan Pizza Day on Sat., Jan. 29!

Austinites have quite a few options for finding a slice. Here is a listing of some places to find vegan pizza in Austin on Vegan Pizza Day.

One of my favorite places to get a vegan pizza isn’t mentioned though. My article about East Side Pies is here.

My article about East Side Pies can be found here.

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