The best VEGAN ice-cream in ROME!

They say life is about enjoying the little things. That is the reason I ordered some small cups of ice-cream and instantly became the happiest person on Earth.

Since I became a vegan a few years ago, I haven’t eaten ice-cream, because the lack of assortment and because I believed ice-cream had milk on it. But gelato, the original ice cream of Italy, is different. Artisans say that the real fruit-flavored ice cream and dark chocolate (fondente) ice-cream doesn’t have to have milk on it.

So as soon as I had the plane tickets, I started looking for the best vegan ice-cream in Rome. I found some places on Tripadvisor, Google,… and decided to visit all of them.

To have an idea, through this trip to Rome, I tried seven different flavors and decided to create a ranking to rate this delicious gelatos.

NOTE: The titles are links to the Google Maps site so you can see where they are and a few photos of the places.

GELATERIA VALENTINO

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Near the Fontana di Trevi, there is a small place called Gelateria Valentino. When I entered I asked for soy-based gelatos, and he told me he only had a raspberry yogurt one, I was disappointed. But instantly he asked me is I was vegan or lactose-intolerant, then told me that he had vegan options, fruity ones. But a magnificent and delicious-looking mount of dark chocolate ice cream caught my eye. He told me it was fondente, and the best of all, it was VEGAN! Also, it won the Best Flavor of 2015, so I had to taste it!

TIP #1: I ordered a small cup of ice-cream fondette because I didn’t know at first that in Italy you can ask for 2 flavors in a small cup. Keep it in mind guys!

Taste ★★★★★

Texture ★★★★★

Price ★★★★★ (2.5€)

Variety ★★★☆☆

Experience ★★★★☆

IL GELATONE

Near the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, there is this colorful gelateria. Every flavor is handmade and decorated in a delightful way.

I have to thank Sara, my friend who joined me in this adventure, for walking over 3 kilometers just to get some ice cream. Yes, I’m crazy for gelatos, then we walked back the same distance to get her pizza al taglio. Now we are crazily at peace.

I came here twice, the amount of variety of vegan ice creams is, by far, the best I have ever experienced.

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The first time, I ordered pistachio and hazelnut. The second time, cappuccino (soy-based) and berries.

The best flavor was by far pistachio, followed by hazelnut and then cappuccino. But I had high hopes for cappuccino, so it didn’t meet my expectations and I ended up slightly disappointed.

Some constructive criticism, the vegan flavors weren’t decorated as much as the other ones with fruits, chocolate, cookies, syrup, or glittery sparkling delights …

But a nice thing about this place is that they have small tables anchored to the wall with chairs so you can spend some little time relaxing and enjoying their delicious gelatos.

TIP #2. Always ask for a cup not a cone, since they aren’t vegan. But here they have a gluten free, vegan cone. Enjoy!

Taste ★★★★☆

Texture ★★★★☆

Price ★★★★★ (2€)

Variety ★★★★☆

Experience ★★★★☆

FRIGIDARIUM

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We did not know about this gelateria until we walked around piazza Navona and found a huge queue at the door. People seemed to enjoy their ice creams, plus, they were covered in white or dark chocolate, the dark is vegan!

We waited for nearly 20 minutes and finally got there. I was completely disappointed at the little variety they had. Only fruity ones. I ordered mango and lemon. Not the best combination at all,  too sweet and too citric. But the cover of chocolate was the best. But the rest leaves much to be desired.

Taste ★★★☆☆

Texture ★★★★☆

Price ★★★☆☆ (3€)

Variety ★★★☆☆

Experience ★★★★☆

Conclusion: Go to Il Gelatone to try different uncommon flavors, and to Gelateria Valentino for the best chocolate you will ever come to taste!

TIP #3: You might find that there are already made cornettos that are vegan. But I recommend you to get them at artisan gelatterias now that you have the opportunity.

Let me know what you think in the comments below and send me pictures if you try them!

 

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Adventures in DINANT! #Solotravel

Hello wanderers! If you are planning a trip to Belgium, don’t be basic and just go to Brussels and Bruges, there is a marvelous town, you probably haven’t heard of: DINANT!

The citadel of Dinant, a 1815 military edification at the top of an enormous rock will leave you speechless. Under the rock, there is the Collegiate Church of Our Lady, free entrance and totally worth viewing the inside and outside. The notorious pear-shaped bell tower will amaze you.

Near the church, there is the Saxo museum, the entrance is free. Saxophones where invented in Dinant and they are everywhere, the bridge, the streets,…

My first advice to you, wanderer, is to pay for the Citadel, it would be an experience you won’t forget. I’m not going to tell you much about the inside, because this is a spoiler-free environment, but it will bring you back in time plus the view from the top is totally worth-it. Price 8.5€ adult, 6€ child.

Take a relaxing walk along the bank of the Meuse river, watch the mountains, how green and rocky everything looks at the sides of the plain flowing water of the Meuse.

Along the way, you will find Rocher Bayard, a needle shaped rock divided in two, if you have the chance to drive a car or go by bus you might pass through the rock.

Finally, I didn’t have the opportunity, but if you are a beer-lover, go to the Leffe museum.

Have fun in Dinant! And tell me what you think or share your experiences an photos in the comment section below!

PD: I stayed at a couchsurfing hostess’ house in Dinant, I will talk about the experience in the future post!

Cheap transport! Travel with no money!

A lot of people ask me how can I afford all of my trips as a college student! The answer is that I never stop seeking for the best deals: cheap bus tickets, flight offers, train passes,…

This is how and where I find the deals:

  1. GO THEREPushpin marking location on map

    Find the longest trip. If you are planning to visit another country, you should look for this journey first. My advice:

  • Skyscanner. In my opinion the best flight search engine all over the internet. If you are flexible about your destination or dates you can put wherever in the destination and it’ll appear the cheapest flights. Once you know the airline, go and search for the flight in that airline, you may find a better price. Do it when using Ryanair (I love travelling with Ryanair since it is the cheapest and almost never delays its flights.)
  • Megabus: a bus company operating USA and Europe. I went from Barcelona to Brussels for just 1€!!! Search in advance for the best prices. Remember, it will take a long time (my journey to Belgium was a 23 Hour journey) but it is totally worth it!

PROS: Bus stops are in the centre of most cities, so you will save airport bus fares, train tickets,… Also, if you find offers it could be way cheaper than planes or trains.

CONS: Not the most comfortable, WIFI does not work sometimes, it takes a long time to go anywhere.


2.MOVE THERE.

  • National Rail Network, Interrail, Eurorail, Rail Passes in general,
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    from the blog ErasmusenFlandes

    if you want to backpack in a certain area or country you must go and look at their train railway website, or buses too, to see if they have any rail pass available that fits your needs. When in Belgium I got a 10 journey rail pass for 25€! The best thing is that you can take any train at any time you want, you don’t have to plan or schedule. Completely recommend this!  If you have journeys left you can always sell it to another backpacker.

  • BlaBlaCar, Uber,… It is kind of controversial but I really like these apps, especially BlaBlaCar. You can go to places where there is no bus or train stop, or go faster than with classical methods. And for a really competitive price. Always be careful, and if you don’t trust the driver or accompanies do not get into the car! I never had a bad experience using it, but you should be always careful! Like when hitchhiking, I have never done it personally, but it can be an option when travelling.
  • Also, I use Rome2Rio to know the cheapest way to travel from a place to another, and an estimation of the bus,train, taxi,… price.
  • You can also hire a car, use Rome2Rio to know the cheapest rental house.

Please give this post a like if you like it and follow me! Leave a comment on the things you want to see in this blog or questions you might have!

Wandering in Barcelona: A local perspective (CENTRE)

Hello wanderers! I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Barcelona. So this is the city, and nearby places, guide from a local perspective. I will show you most of the tourist attractions and the hidden gems of Barcelona.

Aside from the Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell, this city, bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean sea, hides marvelous crannies all around. This post is the first of 2.

We are going to talk about the center of Barcelona. In the next one we will review places such as Tibidabo, Parc Güell, Gràcia,…that are a little further than these ones, but are completely worth the visit.

First of all, we, people from Barcelona, orient ourselves with the Tibidabo mountin and the beach. Each one on an opposite side.

Plaza Catalunya is the heart of Barcelona, people meet there, the train station is under the square, basically it is the core of the city. There is El Corte Ingles, an enormous department store of 8 flats where you can find whatever you want to and Fnac, a music and books store.

Once there we can decide whether we want to go to La Rambla and Portal de l’Angel (both following the direction to the beach) or Passeig de Gracia (to the mountain).

La Rambla is the most walked street in Barcelona, and the most popular. You can walk along la Rambla and see little shops and tents that sell flowers, ice cream, newspaper, magazines and souvenirs that fill the street.

Half way through la Rambla we find La Boqueria. It is a MUST! Our local market is one of the bests in the entire world, you can find fruit, candy, meat,… from all around the globe, and super cheap! If you are a backpacker, or want to save money go to la Boqueria you can have a nice meal for 2€. And there are delicatessen such as chocolate strawberries, fruit salad (macedonia in the local language), smoothies, and weird food you won’t find anywhere else in the city such as ostrich’s eggs, exotic fruits,…

In front of la Boqueria is the Erotic Museum, for those how want to learn more about the sexy world of the Hindu Kama Sutra, erotic art, the origins of Spanish pornographic cinema, the history of erotic art through the eyes of the great masters of painting and the most astonishing sexual records, although it is not really visited by locals it is always full of tourists who take pictures of a Marilyn Monroe in the balcony. So look up at the balcony and take a picture of her!

At almost the end of la Rambla there is the wax Museum, please don’t expect it to be like Madam Tussauds. I don’t recommend going there, but a lot of tourists go. It is not worth it.

At the end of la Rambla there’s Colombus statue. Go there and take a picture riding one of the lions statues. If you want you can also go to the top of the statue. There’s an elevator inside the statue.

Next to the statue

is the port, were you can go and take a tourist boat that shows you Barcelona from the sea, and Maremagnum shopping center (it is opened on Sundays!)

By the see there’s the  promenade full of palm trees and scultures. Take some pictures there!

You can go to la Barceloneta beach, full of chiringuitos (Beach clubs and bars) and cool places like surf schools, boat renting houses and more. It is the favourite beach for tourist and some locals! You can also go to la Mar Bella beach, the favourite of young locals!

El Parc de la Ciutadella is not far from there and it is an underrated sight of Barcelona! This amazing park in the centre of the city has the zoo inside, the Parliment of Catalonia, some buildings such as schools, greenhouses,… but the most beautiful highlights there are Cascada Monumental (monumental waterfall) and the lake, where you can rent rowing boats. Please don’t go without visiting this park, it is completely worth it!

Arc del Triomf (Arch of Triumph) is 4 minutes away. Go there and enjoy watching people making huge soap bubbles, and maybe explode some! Who doesn’t like that!

Now it’s time to go back, Born street is a not so known place but definitely wonderful. It is known for handmade studios and workshops. Now it’s the moment you’re all waiting for! Get lost and wander in the Gothic Quarter. It is also a nice place to eat, beautiful and not as price as la Rambla. So put the map inside your bag and go on an adventure! You will find the most amazing and eccentric places there. This is my favourite nook of Barcelona, so have a nice time there!

Don’t forget to visit MACBA, a contemporary art museum in Barcelona well-known all around the world.

Let me what you think below in the comments! There is another post about Barcelona, the north part. Hope you enjoy it!

And remember, if you are planning to come to Barcelona, or you are already here, tell me and maybe we can go out for a drink or a walk!

A new beggining! SOLO TRAVEL in Belgium! (with no money)

Hello World!

A few months ago I decided to change my life. I realized we wait all week for Friday, all year for summer (I was in that stage, and I am still working on it) and all life for happiness. I decided while in economics class to go online and look for a ticket somewhere far, trying to escape from mundane.

My surprise: I found a bus ticket from Barcelona, my hometown, to Brussels in Belgium for just 1€!!! How could I not get it? So I did, at age 18 I bought my first ticket. My excitement in that moment cannot be expressed in words. All I ever wanted in life was to explore the unknown and is becoming a reality. I was doing instead of dreaming.

When I told my mother I was going to travel through Belgium alone, and that I only had a single ticket without return, she got really nervous but after several days showing her where I would be, the places, couchsurfing (I will talk later on this topic),… she let me go.

First of all: How did I get the 1€ ticket? There is a company called Megabus that sometimes has tickets at that prices in Europe and USA. You can get the tickets 3 months in advance. They charge you 0.5€ as a fee so the final price was 1.5€! The trip was 23 hours long, with a 4 hour stop in Paris.

paris
River Sienne in Paris, near the Megabus stop.

Two weeks later I received an email from Ryanair, they had offers, so I checked it and voilà, Brussels-Barcelona for 14.99€. Can you believe it? So I got it.

The new challenge: I had to carry all of my stuff for 14 days in a 30L backpack.

Megabus experience:

Advice, bring a lot of things to keep you distracted, it’s a loooong trip. Every 4 hours or so the bus will stop so you can go to the bathroom, and walk a little bit, get some groceries,…

Crossing France was a delightful experience, it made the hours seem minutes.

Also, even though they say they have free WIFI, they don’t. They tell you that it doesn’t work, in both of the buses I went on.

Furthermore, I arrived in Brussels at 3 am, so I was alone, in the freezing night of Belgium waiting outside of the North Station for 2 hours since they opened the station, and they let us sleep in some benches till 6 am, then they woke us up, because people were starting to use the transport.

I spent 3 hours wandering in Brussels, I visited Mannekin Pis, the Grand Place, la Bourse, Mont de les Arts (my favourite view),… This is the link for the post where I talk about the attractions, seesights, activities,... (my next post is just for the activities, places to see, things to do,…)

Then I went to meet my Couchsurfing host!!! It was my first time doing Couchsurfing! And I only have to say one thing: It is the best discover on this trip!

Couchsurfing Experience:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the feeling of welcoming, and unity that gives you couchsurfing is inexplicable.

I stayed with 3 different couchsurfers:

  • First in Brussels with “Querido” an experienced host with over 270 references and the greatest heart. He has been the main point in this chapter of my life. He taught me to be more confident, to love myself, to be different. I cannot put into words how much meeting him has changed  my life. While I stayed with him (the first time because I missed him so much and told him if I could go back and spend some time together) I stayed with a lot of people, one day we were 7 surfers and the host. We were all from different places, Brazil, Russia, Quebec, France, Spain and so on. Home is where the heart is, and a piece of my heart will ever stay at his house.

couch

  • Then in Brugge I spend 2 nights with Tom, a 30 year-old  wise man with an amazing taste in music and health knowledge. He lived and alternative life, outside of what society was expecting him to be. We did a tour in Brugge and took the bike and went to Holland (yeah I was exhausted hahaha)
  • Finally, in Dinant, I stayed with Valerie, an amazing girl who prepared an improvised room in the garage for me, so sweet. Even though she was sick, we got to know each other one night while we played the guitar and talked about degrowth and alternative economics, really deep hahaha. And her terrace had the best view ever.

balcon-diinnant

To sum up with, please try Couchsurfing, it will make your heart and soul grow, but don’t use it as an hostel. Couchsurfing is about connecting with people, so talk, cook, play, sing, dream together. You won’t regret.

Food and other expenses:

I spent, more or less, 20€ in food. I ate very little, I should have planned a little bit more. So my advice, keep in mind what to eat and how much you eat while traveling.

I had normally dinner at home (couchsurfing) and when I was out I went to a supermarket and grab some piece of fruit and bread, or a bag of salad. I carried some food in the bag so I had snacks and cereal. I went twice to an Italian takeaway place in Brugge, a nice pasta bowl was only 3.5€ and I went to Subway in Ghent once.

I walked 160 km in 10 days just to save money from the transport hahahha. You don’t have to do that. If you are under 26, a Rail Pass all over Belgium (10 trips) is 51€, if you are older is 76, if I remember well. But I got mine from a girl who only used 3 trips, for 25€.

Also, in Brussels there is a place called USE IT, where there is free WIFI, free lockers, free maps and guides made by locals (they saved me from getting lost too many times, so worth it and they tell you places to get free water, cheap menus, free museums,…), free coffee and tea, chargers, computers, and free tours on Monday noon, I talk here about it. Please go if you can, you will see the city as never before, with all his secrets, and uniqueness.

Please put in the comments below any question you might have! And let me know what you think about the post and future post you want me to do! Thank you! :)