What to do in Napoli, Italy| Where to stay|Where to eat | Ft. Guide to Mt Vesuvius

Today I bring you an intimate guide of what to do in Napoli, Italy, commonly known as Naples. I will be expressing all that I have learned from talking with the rugged but beautiful South Italians and why you too should cultivate a love affair with Napoli

There tends to be two typical reactions that tourists elicit when they inadvertently express their opinions to 1000 people: loved Napoli or hated NaplesYes, I have intentionally juxtaposed the Italian name for city to the English one. This is simply because if you immerse yourself with the people of Napoli and get to know what it is like to belong to a city so diverse, you cannot help but show the respect of using its Italian name. But, for those who seemingly dislike the dirty city, I assure you that they are merely constructing their cornerstone opinions on a structure of very surface-level and superficial values. You can probably tell by my terminology that I do love Napoli, but that said, the city has a steep learning curve that one must be prepared to endure. Let’s first begin our journey from Napoli station. For those who have flown in, I am sure you will need to apply similar lessons.

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Exiting Napoli Centrale Station

The great man Rick Steves from Rick Steves Europe, himself, says prepare yourself for a confronting walk from Napoli Centrale station to your desired accommodation. I can tell you that describing the walk as confronting is a complete and utter understatement. In fact, words cannot describe the shock I experienced coming from the pristine, cobbled streets of Rome. What you will see is beyond chaotic, somewhat smelly and little English is widely spoken. There are busses pulling out in front of motor bikes, motor bikes almost running down pedestrians and fresh dog poop that has not been picked up by the obliging citizen. It is also important to note that per capita, there is significantly low amounts of green spaces such as parks and congregations of trees. This was probably the factor that I personally was not used to. But rest assured- from all that I have learnt about this chaotic city, I can tell you where you should stay and perhaps, where to avoid.

Stay near Spaccanapoli

 

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The divide stretches on and on

 

To immerse yourself in the most beautiful part of Napoli, I recommend you stay near Spaccanapoli or the historic centre. Spaccanapoli is the informal names given to the long, straight street running down the middle of Napoli’s historic centre. You can find a beautiful walking trail here. You can sign up for free with the linked AllTrails site, or you can pay to go pro and save numerous walking trail guides from around the world, allowing you to travel independently but yet still with a great source of information.

Be warned, budget hotels are hard to come by in the historic centre and tend to be a bit more ‘upper-market’ in style. This brings me to my next point…

Budget Travellers: Use AirBnB

It seems to be a trend that hotel and guest house owners, as well as AirBnB hosts, can speak English quite well and usually will be the best English-speakers you will come across in Napoli. Now, we didn’t stay in near the Spaccanapoli area. We stayed in an area North of Napoli Centrale station, which was only a 10 minute walk away from the historic centre and the glorious markets along the Spaccanapoli. I recommend this area budget travellers and for those who do not mind perhaps a more ‘working class’ area. We stayed in a cosy apartment and we met the nicest Italian in the world, the best AirBnB host and made a lifelong friend with Salvatore, whom I will be writing a special post about next. His apartment is almost always less than $70 AUD a night and in winter, is as low as $20 AUD a night (absolutely insane). The kitchens are fully stocked and you really feel like you have a home away from home in Napoli. We got to cut our own bread, eat punnets of olives and artichokes to our hearts content!

 

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Image credit: AirBnB, Nunzia and Salvatore

What to do in Napoli

Visit the Archaeological Museum

If you are planning to visit Pompeii, your trip will not be complete without seeing the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Many of the smaller artefacts found in the Pompeii archaeological site permanently live in the Archaeological Museum and often tell very important stories. I believe that if you are  someone who is not so familiar with the historical disaster in Pompeii but you are seeing the site because you know it has, at least, some worldly significance, a visit to the museum will definitely enlighten you.

The museum also has an amazing Farnese marble sculpture collection and Egyptian Artefacts.

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Centuries old mosaics

 

Indulge in Contemporary Art at Museo Madre

Just a stones throw a way from the Archaeological Museum lives one of my favourite contemporary art museums around the world. Smaller in comparison to the famous MOMA and MONA but the collection Madre has is that of great quality. Adorned throughout the museum are blurbs about the artists featured, documenting their inspiring creative lives. There is also free entry on Mondays, which you will find very useful as your dollars will most likely be spent on quite a few museums in Napoli.

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Napoli Underground- Napoli Sotterranea

I kick myself still that I was too jetlagged to get myself here. This is perhaps one of the best things to do in the city to truly get to know the history of Napoli city. On your tour, you will explore a 2400 year old Greek-Roman aqueduct that has provided the city with water for 23 centuries. It is incredible how much technology was developed so long ago that still provides blueprints for supplying cities with water all around the world.

 

What to do around Napoli

Napoli makes a very convenient home-base for anyone trying to get to Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius. Word of advice- you do not want to actually stay in Pompeii. You will get ripped off and the locals highly disapprove of the food scene here.  Napoli, on the other hand, is also a very good place to stay if you would like to hire a driver so you get to see the Amalfi Coast- but more about that in my next post.

Getting to Pompeii Archaeological Park

You are going to need to navigate to the Napoli Piazza Garibaldi metro station. For a point of reference, it is located beneath Napoli Centrale Station and there will be signs that will lead you down to the Metro lines. Get a train in the direction to Salerno- you won’t miss the Pompeii stop. It should take about 45 minutes. The Pompeii Archaeological Park is only  short, guided walk away from Pompeii station.

 

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Just another neighbourhood

 

Getting to the top of Mt Vesuvius

Okay first I must warn you- if you are independent traveller not on an organised tour to Mt Vesuvius, getting there is unclear and slightly difficult. When you input directions to the carpark to the Vesuvius National Park (at 1000m) from Naples, google maps with either have a heart attack or take you on a really funky route. Below I have 3  routes for you- two we tried, one we failed at traversing. But we warned, if you try googling some these routes, you will not gain much clarity.

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Route 1: Train + Local Bus

So as previously mentioned, you need to navigate to the Napoli Piazza Garibaldi metro station and catch the train in the direction of Salerno. You need to get off at Portici Ercolano Station and navigate your way to the number ‘5’ bus. Supposedly it is a short walk but we couldn’t seem to find the bus stop in time and we missed it. It was going to be a 40 minute wait for the next one. If you successfully use this route then well done to you! You figured out the shortest route to Vesuvio. 

Route 2: Train to Pompeii and EavBus 

So, from Napoli Piazza Garibaldi metro station, get off at the Pompeii stop that will get you to the Pompeii Archaeological Park. Walk to the park (you don’t need to enter it) and find the Piazza Anfiteatro exit. From here, you will find the EavBus. This is a private bus company which is why the route is not listed on Google Maps. You can buy tickets on the bus for a few euros. We used this route getting back to Naples and the bus driver let everyone off at Pompeii station. It is definitely easier to use this route on the way back. You will see large coach busses that say ‘Pompeii’. Getting to Vesuvio National Park from Pompeii seems to be the hard part. But rest assured, I have a well-tested route for getting there. For some very vague information, I found an unhelpful website here, but hey, it may work for you!

Route 3: Train + Taxi

So just like route 1, you need to navigate to the Napoli Piazza Garibaldi metro station and catch the train in the direction of Salerno. You need to get off at Portici Ercolano Station. There are always taxi drivers outside of this station usually waiting to over-charge independent tourists who miss the bus to get to Vesuvio National Park. Be sure to say “top/up” of Mt Vesuvius, not “bottom/down”. It will probably take you all day, if not longer to walk from the bottom of the mountain to the top and there are no foot paths. Once you are done your walk around the National Park and you so happen to miss a bus back down into civilisation, there are always taxi’s waiting for untimely tourists like you (I mean, like me).

 

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One of my best photos to date

 

 

Hire a driver and tour the Amalfi Coast

If you have cash to splash, a 300 euro a day driver is probably no bother to you. But, if you stay tuned for my next post budget travellers, I have a friend who only charges 150 euros and he will also bring you dinner to your apartment. Yes, Napoli style pizza and dessert. But more on that later… here is a teaser photos of this beautiful coast.

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Where to Eat!

Finally you say, what Little Dove Travels is best at… Eating food. Well, I have for you three must-stop places.

Pizza Vesi

Multiple Locations 

English menus, warm and friendly staff and pizza that would be upwards of $20 in Australia is only 3 euros here. Controversial to say but this was our favourite pizza in Napoli. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try too many pizzas so we probably have no idea what we are talking about but I still highly recommend this joint.

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L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

Via Cesare Sersale 1/3, 80139, Naples, Italy

Yes, if you walked the streets of Napoli and listened to every pizza guide ever, then this recommendation is very typical. This has to be one of the most famous pizzeria’s in Napoli and for a very good reason. Cheap, no frills and squished in with locals, you will find only two pizza’s on the menu- the Marinara and Margherita. But this does not affect the lines that this place sometimes gets. Boring you say? Well, if you are a pizza connoisseur and enjoys pizza best the way it was originally invented and enjoyed, you will thoroughly enjoy drinking beer and sawing away at your tasty Sunday pie.

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Un Sorriso Intergrale Amico Bio

Vico S. Pietro a Maiella, 6, 80138 Napoli NA, Italy

I kick myself that I have lost the photos I took at this restaurant. But, your trip in Napoli- herbivore or not, will not be complete without stopping for this restaurants farm-to-table culinary creations. Look for the open black gate while you try to find your way down the small alley that Google Maps insists you walk along. Through the open gate, you will find the secret fully vegetarian restaurant (with plenty of vegan options) and prepare for some amazing food. Some of the dishes are combinations I have never even heard of but I still dream about eating the food here. Arrive hungry and order LOTS!

But that’s not all…

We have an exclusive post which will be titled “A Day with Salvatore” coming soon that will stem from this post. But, we hope to be back in Napoli so we continually update this all-inclusive guide.

Happy travels!

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Our First Europe Trip: The Route Overview and Sneaky Tips Part 2

Planning a Europe Trip? Unsure whether you should buy a Eurail pass or use EasyJet as much as you can? Well, you have come to the right place. I am a self-admitted travel-rookie who is just trying to learn about travel, take cool photos and then write about it. I have learnt A LOT by making a tonne of mistakes. But hey, I get to share what I learnt with you so I can make your trip easier! Bonus for you. Before continuing on, please read Part 1 of our trip overview so this post makes sense to you. This is the second piece in my mini-series (series I guess, why do I keep calling it “mini”?) of travel tips and tricks in Europe. Without further ado, continuing on from our last stop in Vienna, now we are off to Munich, Germany.

From Vienna, Austria to Munich, Germany

4 hour train trip with DB (main railway company in Germany), spent a total of 3 days

 

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Everyday Munich

 

Germany really does have everything sorted out in terms of their public transport system. We didn’t experience a single delay and arrived in Munich safely. I would highly recommend this particular train route.

Travel “disclaimer”

So, we were really looking forward to Munich as you hear so many great things about South Germany and the wonderful wonderland of Bavaria. However, I must warn you: if you are coming from Vienna, Munich can be quite anti-climactic. Why? Well, Vienna was lucky enough not to suffer any noticeable damage in World War 2 but Munich, unfortunately did. This is not to say we didn’t enjoy Munich. In fact, it was our favourite city in Germany. The way they have rebuilt is a testament to their strength to overcome their past. After some exploring, we did discover a more picturesque, really German feeling side to Munich, of which I will talk about bellow.

 

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The beautiful canal that runs through Englischer Garten

 

Accommodation Tip:

If you want to find quaint German buildings, beautiful canals and parklands, stay near the Englischer Garten. If you are visiting Munich in winter, walk through the park until you find the Chinese Beer Garden. Here you will find the most adorable and perhaps the best Christmas markets in Munich. This seems to be a market only the locals know about as it isn’t as accessible as other markets so narky tourists seem to stay away. Trust me, you will be able to bear the cold for the beautiful walk.

 

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Christmas Markets found in the Englischer Garten

 

From Munich to Prague, Czech Republic

5 hour Bus trip with DB, 3 days spent

 

 

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Prague through the bushes

 

 

We had the absolute pleasure of spending Christmas in Prague. We rented the most amazing AirBnB and cooked up our own little feast. We ventured out to the Christmas Markets on Christmas day and of course, spent hours walking around the beautiful city.

 

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On a cloudy winter day, the city is still beautiful.

 

Travel Tip: Use Czech Currency and always carry cash

While Euros are sometimes accepted, usually retailers mark up the price when you pay in Euros. Why? Because they know the conversion to Czech currency is confusing and they tend to take advantage of tourists because of this. Also, the Czech Republic is a very cash-based society and ticket machines for transport tend to  require exact change. We got caught out a few times for not having enough coins for our tickets.

Travel Tip: Use the trams

In Prague, when you purchase a public transport ticket, it will allow you to use all metro trains, trams and busses within the city. Coming from Melbourne where we have the second slowest tram system in the world, I wanted to avoid the trams like the plague. However, there were no metro stations near where our apartment was located so we had to use the dreaded tram. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised and we used trams throughout our entire stay. They are fast, rarely get stuck in traffic and easy to navigate.

From Prague back to Berlin, Germany

5 hour bus trip with Student Agency, 6 days spent

This is the part of the post that I have been dreading to write all week. Why? Well, I will be honest- I have very few pleasant things to say about Berlin. But, I take solace in my European friends that too affirm how I feel about my experience in Berlin and mu opinion is not unjust. For any Berliners reading this, I apologise. Please know, I come from a different walk of life and Berlin is just not my cup of tea. Since I will not likely be writing a piece, down the track, about Berlin, I have incorporated a few highlights below.

 

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The sun shining on a Berlin Wall sculpture memorial

 

Berlin Highlights:

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you will have an absolute ball in Berlin. In particular, there is a very culturally strong population of Vietnamese expats living in Berlin and vegan Vietnamese food appears to be trending. Need a food-guide? Check it out here!

 

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Find out more in my Berlin Food Guide!

 

If you are a bit of a nerd (like me), you absolutely must visit the Berlin Natural History Museum. My home country, Australia, is not a big fan of natural history museums and tends to amalgamate mini-displays into their state museums and it really doesn’t give natural history in Australia any justice. Hence, I adore going to places where I can find a natural history of science museum. Rest assured, there are English signs, guides and displays everywhere. It is a lot of fun on a cloudy, rainy Berlin day!

 

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I love museums. Sorry not sorry. 

 

Travel Tip: Do not go to Berlin on New Years

We were too scared to leave our apartment over New Years and so we spent our the night watching Spirited Away and eating chocolate. Why? Because fireworks that would typically be illegal in many countries are legal in Germany. People throw fireworks out of buildings, out of cars and it is not fun. Having a firework go off, without any warning, a few centimetres away from you is bloody frightening.

Berlin to Frankfurt: A Must Read!

An absolute mess of a journey…

First things first- I would like to raise a few points. These points are what I learnt from the many mistakes I made in planning the leg of this journey.

  • There are two airports in Berlin. Berlin Tegal Airport and Berlin Schoenefeld Airport.
  • Use FlixBus bus lines when in Germany or DB busses, not City Bus Express.
  • If you need to get from Berlin to Frankfurt, just fly. Don’t bother with bus or train- trust me.

Addressing the first point- we flew from Berlin-Tegal airport to Dusseldorf because for some strange reason (well, my own error actually), I could not find any cheap direct flights to Frankfurt from Berlin. The few flights I did find were with Lufthansa, and being a university student, I was not willing to fork out a few hundred for this flight. In hind sight, I really should have just paid for that flight due to what unravels next. But rest assured, I have an even better solution to this problem later on.

From Dusseldorf, we were to get a bus with City Bus Express. However, the unfriendly bus terminal staff had not heard or ever seen any of these busses. And, it simply just did not show up in the bus terminal. So, we paid a bit extra to get on the next FlixBus bus and after a horrid day, we eventually got to Frankfurt.

The solution? EasyJet! They now have flights from Berlin-Tegal Airport and the ticket prices usually range from $60-90 AUD. This is the most cost-effective means and the most efficient way. Busses and trains are much too expensive and time consuming to outweigh flying to Frankfurt from Berlin. Save yourself the heartache, trust me.

Frankfurt back to Melbourne, Australia- Home

23 hour flight journey with Qatar.

Frankfurt is one of the cheapest places to fly out of back to Australia. But, that is if your journey makes sense and has a clear, cost-effective route. From the blunders we made, we have learnt to be much more flexible with our travels and have many tips and tricks to try next time we go to Europe. This is something I will be talking about down the track.

Please stay tuned for more to come with my series of posts about Our First Europe Trip. I am here to both inspire your travels, and make them easier!

 

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Melbourne, I love you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our First Europe Trip: The Route Overview and Sneaky Tips Part 1

First ever time travelling to Europe? Are you a travel rookie? Rest assured, you have come to the right place. I am a travel rookie too and I have made many mistakes, particularly in Europe. In attempt to kick myself into gear again and stop making excuses that I am too busy with university and my job, I am bringing you a mini-series: Our First Europe Trip. Today, we are starting off with a route overview- briefly touching  where we went, a few travel tips and a brief opinion of a few places. Later on in this series, I will be giving you all sorts of travel tips about your first time in Europe and I will be sharing you intimate details of every mistake we (I really) made. Stay tuned for plenty more to come!

Melbourne to Rome

Qatar airways, 26 hour trip. Time in Rome: 48 hours

 

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A view of Rome from Palatine Hill

 

One of the cheapest places to land in Europe (at least in Italy) from Australia appears to be Rome. We got a fairly good price on a multi-stop ticket with Qatar airways. NOTE: if you are not departing from Europe back home from another airport than you arrived in, than there is something wrong with your itinerary. There are many travel airlines that will give you this freedom without charging an arm and a leg. I will give you more advice about this soon. Even the great man, Rick Steves, says this himself.

Travel Tip: Get the airport train to Rome city

I cannot stress this enough- just keep walking past those scammer taxi drivers. When you exit customs, follow the signs to the trains and do not talk to anyone. They will say to you a taxi is cheaper than the train. Let me tell you, no, it isn’t. We jumped on a ‘first class’ train for 14 euros each to get into Rome main station. Second class will be even cheaper, we were just impatient. Do not forget to validate your ticket either! Don’t let the QR codes and dates on your ticket fool you as the ticketing system is very… strange in Italy.

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Image source: Loco2

The Verdict:

48 hours is not enough. Not when you are jet-lagged. Also, do yourself a favour: get a nice hotel with a 24 hour desk. Why? Stay tuned! Anyhow, we need to return to Rome. Our time there did not do it justice.

Rome to Naples

Time in Naples: 4-5 days. Train trip with Trenitalia regionale train

 

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Napoli- some say its an eyesore. The locals think their home is beautiful. I grew to love it!

 

Travel Tip: Get the IC Train

Splurge a little bit extra and get the InterCity or the IC  train from Rome to Naples. Do not get the Regional or the Regionale no matter how much (well it really isn’t that much) cheaper it is. Penny pinching can fail you massively and this is a key thing I learnt. Why? The regional train I was on broke down and we were stranded for 4 hours while all the locals around us argued with train staff. The staff would not tell anyone what was happening and frankly, I don’t think they are paid enough to care. According to our AirBnB host, this happens regularly. But, if you get the IC, you are well looked after and you get to travel express. You really do get what you pay for.

The Verdict: Naples

4-5 days in Naples suited us because we needed a chance to chill out and get over jet-lag. Obviously, this is not the most glamourous place to do this. Be prepared for the shock of your life when you exit Napoli Centrale station- Naples is dirty. But, it has a steep learning curve. Give it time, talk to the locals and eat some of the world’s best traditional pizza and you will develop a love for Naples. For well rested travellers, you will only need 3 days in Naples, inclusive of a trip to Pompeii, maybe 4 days if you want to see Mt Vesuvius and hike for the day. Of course, this is all depending on if Naples is your home base. Final verdict? Do not skip Naples. Find your reason to love it- it is perhaps the heart of Italy, particularly the heart of rough and tumble Italy.

 

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Naples is a great base to get yourself to Mt Vesuvius so you can see views like this!

 

Naples to Cinque Terre

Time spent: 2 weeks, studying with Monash University. Train trip on an IC train to La Spezia, regionale train to Riomaggiore

 

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A view from the heights of Monterosso

 

So you are probably wondering why we landed in Rome, headed south and then travelled 7 hours back north. We just really wanted Naples Pizza and didn’t want to go after I finished my study in the Cinque Terre. Want to know why I was there? You can read it here!

Travel tip: Travel in March

The Cinque Terre is an interesting place. It is suffocated by mass tourism in the summer but very little is open in the winter. March is usually when the retailers and restaurant owners return from their holidays and re-open and is the month before the massive tour groups start to hit. You can even try April, October and November. December to February there really is not much going on but May-September, prepare to get trampled on.

Cinque Terre to Genova*

Time spent: 2 days. Train trip with Trenitalia 

*This is where everything went wrong…

Well, after an anxiety filled research presentation, my last day in the Cinque Terre could not have possibly gotten any worse. There were ‘code red’ weather alerts and a massive storm resulted in all trains to Milan being cancelled. We waited 4 hours just to get any train possible and we ended in up in Genova. I would like to mention that for those 4 hours, we drank beer and laughed everything off as much as we could. Why? My partner and I are so highly strung that when things go wrong that bad, usually we would most likely have a break down. This will happen if you travel in Europe and you have to embrace it.

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The Verdict: Genova

My, oh my. Genova is so underrated. Eventually we got ourselves to Milan as our train to Switzerland was from there. Honestly speaking, I would take Genova over Milan any day. And I am not sorry for saying that. Genova has so much heritage and was one of Italy’s pioneer industrial cities. The vibe, the architecture and the people there are just lovely. It is also the birth place of pesto, so why else wouldn’t you go there?

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Milan to Bellinzona, Switzerland

Time spent in Bellinzona: 2 days. Train trip with Swiss Federal Railways

Thankfully, from Genova we could get a train directly to Milan where we got our train to Switzerland. A brief point about Milan: Milan is flashy, and that is it. Moving on, our train trip to Bellinzona was absolutely stunning and Switzerland’s train system was a breath of fresh air after being in Italy for close to a month.

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Travel Itinerary Tip

If you know me personally, you know that I love trying obscure craft beers, drinking wine and spending evenings in cosy bars. There is a bar called literally called Folk Bar, full of folk décor and it is the cutest dive bar in the world. I really mean that; I have never been to a bar like it. Though Switzerland’s beer is pricy (and Switzerland is pricy in general), if you hit up Folk Bar at apertivo time, after 5-6pm, you will get a glorious amount of free bar snacks with your drinks. Oh, and plenty of snack refills.

The Verdict: Bellinzona

Bellinzona was absolutely breath taking. If you love mountains, snow and cute folk bars please get yourself here. Swiss-Italy is extremely refreshing after you have spent a bit of time in busy Italian cities. I also highly recommend staying at the ‘budget’ style hotel, Osteria Leon D’or. The breakfast is great, the staff will bend over backwards for you and it is right across from Bellinzona station.

Bellinzona to Zurich

Time spent in Zurich: 2 days. Train Trip with Swiss Federal Railways

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Travel Tip: Be prepared to spend

We knew right off the bat that Switzerland was an expensive place to be. But, nothing could prepare us for how expensive it truly was. Because we had to budget for the rest of the trip, we couldn’t do all that much in Zurich except for walk around, occasionally have a small treat. For two university students, it was a waste of time and money for us to go to Zurich. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city. But for us it was impossible to enjoy Zurich on the cheap. But I got a few cool photos… that’s all that really matters right?

Zurich to Vienna, Austria

Time spent in Vienna: 3 days, flight with Austrian Airlines

Traveling to Vienna from Zurich was one of those instances where it was genuinely cheaper to fly with not just a budget airline, but a premium carrier, than the train. Let me just say this: Austrian Airlines were absolutely fantastic. Great flight, lovely staff and everything inside the plane is red and white and its just so cute. Also, Zurich and Vienna’s airports are also very easy to navigate and get to and from- all you need to do is jump on the airport train.

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Sneaky Accommodation Tip:

Stay at Pension Neuer Markt. There are numerous pensions in Austria. Basically, they are a form of budget hotel but the staff look after you as if you are family. Also, the breakfast was magical and the whole place was so vintage and chic. I would stay here again when we return to Vienna.

The Verdict:

Spoiler alert! Well, I won’t say too much more than this: Vienna was one of the absolute highlights of the trip and has to be one of my favourite cities in Europe. Stay tuned for why it was our favourite but for now, enjoy some of my Vienna photography. And now before this blog post gets too long, this will be the end of part 1 of our route overview. Stay tuned for part 2!

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Berlin Vegan Food Guide

Today, I bring you the long-awaited Berlin Vegan Food Guide! Hooray! But let’s be honest, being vegan in Berlin is easy. Happycow will be your best friend here, as Berlin seems to be one of those cities for which Happycow is super helpful. Vegans and vegetarians, you know what I mean. My list of recommended places for this guide, however, all have a common theme – and that is Vietnamese style and Asian-fusion vegan food. I’ve also chucked in one Indian spot for you. Berlin is a wonderfully international city and has opened its arms to many expats from all around the world. This food guide will focus on Vietnamese food primarily, as Vietnamese expats seem to be absolutely thriving in Berlin while cooking up some amazing vegan food. Furthermore, Vietnamese people are just some of the loveliest people I have ever met. This food guide is a tribute to my best friend, who is Vietnamese herself (and Sri-Lankan, and Indian, and a billion other things I am sure). I have her to thank for my love of Vietnamese food.

Cat Tuong

South Vietnamese, Kastanienallee 89, 10435 Berlin, Germany

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The amazing Mi Quang
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The most amazing fried dumplings

Cat Tuong deserves an award for being the best vegan Vietnamese restaurant. Wait, scratch that, it should win an award for being the best Vietnamese restaurant ever. Cat Tuong is just the perfect example of a restaurant that not only re-vamps traditional cuisine for vegans to enjoy, but has mastered the art and craft of true South-Vietnamese style cooking. My heart pangs when I think about this restaurant. Why? Because I live in Australia – halfway around the world – and it means if I want to go here again, I have to get on a plane and travel 24 hours (if I am lucky). We went here twice during our time in Berlin, and I got the Mi Quang both times. You simply MUST get the Mi Quang, trust me on this one. Or just trust me all the time – I know my food, I promise! We also had the best vegan fried dumplings, and Vietnamese coffee with a dash of vegan condensed milk. To top it off, the staff are incredibly hospitable and the aesthetic to the place is a nice fusion of traditional Vietnamese art, but with a modern twist. It’s just so cool!

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An amazing stir fry with rice noodles
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Banana sticky rice dessert

+84 Vegan Vietnamese Kitchen

Vietnamese with a Thai twist, Habersaathstr. 52 (rechts), 10115 Berlin, Germany

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The clay pot special

This restaurant is divided into two – one side vegan, the other omnivore (aka ‘traditional’ Vietnamese). We arrived right as it opened because we had not had breakfast that morning, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were more people sitting in the vegan half of the restaurant. This place really knows how to use their herbs and spices to make every dish taste fresh, wholesome and super delicious. You would never know that you are, apparently, ‘missing out’ on meat. I would describe this place’s cuisine as a mix of Vietnamese and Thai – as it features many Vietnamese classics, but also has a range of curries (such as the mock ‘duck’ curry) that you would generally see on a Thai menu. I had the Eggplant Clay-pot dish, which was a special, and it was absolutely delicious. The staff were lovely, spoke great English and have English menus if you cannot read German. If you want a vegan dish that satisfies your fussy omnivore friends, hit up +84!

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Red mock duck curry

Monsieur Vuong

Vietnamese and Asian Fusion, Alte Schönhauser Str. 46, 10119 Berlin, Germany

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Vegetable and glass noodle soup

Monsieur Vuong is a bustling, vibrant, family-run restaurant that has a rotating menu (it changes every four days). They pride themselves on their creativity and they use fresh, seasonal produce to churn out modern tributes to Vietnamese street food classics. The staff reassured me that they always have a vegan option, which was just music to my ears. I had the vegetable and glass noodle soup, based on a South-Vietnamese classic that I can’t seem to find/remember a reliable translation for. What I can tell you, however, is look out for the word “chay“, as this translates to “vegetarian”. Vegans do not fear, as these dishes will almost always be vegan as well. Vietnamese people hardly ever use dairy, except for condensed milk in their Vietnamese Iced Coffees. Anyhow, the food here was delicious. I advise, however, to book ahead, as we only just squeezed in for lunch.

Quy Nguyen Vegan Living

South Vietnamese, Oranienburger Str. 7, 10178 Berlin, Germany

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Aren’t those mushrooms just beautiful?

First up, the second you walk into this Restaurant, you are going to instantly feel warm and happy with all the chic, wooden decor everywhere. Soon enough, you will be greeted by warm and friendly staff again, which is a trend you will encounter if you hit up the places in this food guide. We ordered the Pho Chay, and the vegetable broth was quite good, which seems to be hard for a lot of Vietnamese places to master in Melbourne, (where I live). We also ordered a stir-fry with mock-chicken, which was the highlight for me. I forgot to get a snap of it, but we also ordered a Chinese bao (a soft fluffy bun with vegetables inside instead of traditional pork), and that was also very good.

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The Pho Chay

Hasina Eatery

Indian, Ofener Str. 2, 13349 Berlin, Germany

If you are looking for a healthier take on Indian food, with fully vegan alternatives, look no further than Hasina Eatery. If you are a vegan who lives a low-oil or an oil-free lifestyle, Hasina Eatery uses oil as sparingly as they can – they cook most of their dishes in water. Be warned, because of this you don’t get that indulgent, fat-filled hit on your taste buds, but everything is still super tasty, and your stomach will thank you later for not eating an oil-laden vegan korma. You can also bring your omnivore friends here if they are bugging you for butter chicken. You can kill two birds with one stone!

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Vienna Vegan Food Guide

Vegan and vegetarian food in Vienna is endless and wonderfully creative. Vegan or vegetarian options are often available where ever you go, which came as a pleasant surprise considering this is a meat and cheese loving city. As I similarly described in my Munich Vegan Food Guide, you won’t need my help scouting out delicious food at entirely vegan or vegetarian restaurants. But, I wanted to create a list of my favourite places, as well as places you wouldn’t expect to have great vegan or vegetarian food. Food in Vienna is highly affordable and you can score a falafel kebab (or ‘kebap’ as the Austrian’s say) for 3-5 euros, pretty much where ever you go. Let’s jump straight in, shall we?

Das Augustin Restaurant

All-time favourite restaurant, Märzstraße 67, 1150 Wien, Austria

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I just had to start my list off with Das Augustin as this wins the award for the all-time favourite restaurant for my entire Europe trip. If your someone who really appreciates warm ambience in a restaurant, you must make it to this restaurant. Vegans, they had a bio-vegan Wiener Schnitzel with vegan Austrian-style potato salad. Now, this is what I came here for, to try a traditional cultural dish but veganized. Just to top off the experience, there are cats who reside in the restaurant. And don’t worry, they aren’t interested in your food. Rather, they will literally sit on a comfy chair with you at your table if you are lucky. As you can see, I got to eat dinner with this beautiful tabby cat.

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They also have a wide selection of vegan starters. They were out of the vegan wurst (sausage) so we had the hummus and bread- highly, highly recommend if you are a fussy hummus lover like me. To top it off with, they have meat options for your omnivore friends or partners and a great selection of vegan and organic wines.

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Aida Cafe Vienna

Bakery cafe, Multiple Locations around Vienna

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In your time walking the beautiful streets of Vienna, you will probably see a few of these cafes. Typically, I stay away from chain cafes, at least back at home, but Aida Cafe Vienna will not disappoint. It is the perfect place for a small bite to eat or for an easy lunch. Austrian service is top notch and you will love sitting in this awesomely pink and cute bakery cafe. You are going to get hungry on your travels in Vienna, particularly in wintertime and simply due to the amount of walking you will find yourself doing. The first Aida Cafe I went to had a poster on the wall that said “Vegetarian-Friendly”, which was lovely to see.

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They had a range of small bowls of soup, served with a delicious Vienna-style bread role. Vegans, politely ask to hold the cream or if that isn’t possible for some reason, order the Pasta al Pomodoro, pasta with tomato sauce. It was actually some of the nicest Pomodoro sauce I had on my trip to Europe, who would have known! You can see in the picture I forgot to hold the cheese. Vegetarians, go ahead and enjoy that cheese. Aida Cafe Vienna also will have options for your schnitzel loving and omnivore friends. If you want a treat, indulge yourself in their pastries. Every product has allergy information marked, which was great to see.359278480_IMG_1579

Xu’s Cooking

Kaiserstraße 45, 1070 Wien, Austria

As you walk the streets of Vienna, you will quickly come to realize how international this city is and how welcoming it is to foreigners. Austria opened their borders to many displaced Vietnamese people after the Vietnam war, so Asian-fusion restaurants are abundant and they are extremely high quality. Xu’s Cooking has to be the best Asian fusion buffet I have ever eaten at. Everything is super fresh and almost entirely vegan, with the exception of a few clearly marked dishes that contain egg. Monday-Friday their lunch buffet is only 8.90 euros per head. Eat your heart out here, it is so worth it!

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Swing Kitchen

Vegan burger joint, Schottenfeldgasse 3, 1070 Wien, Austria

I would probably go as far to say that these are the cheapest but most scrumptious vegan burgers in the world. We got the ‘cheese’ burger and the vegan Wiener schnitzel burger. Less than 6 euros for a burger? I swear I was dreaming. They even track the amount of carbon emissions that Swing Kitchen saves everytime someone orders one of their burgers over a regular meat burger. Wonderful!

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Veggiezz

Vegan burger and comfort food joint, Salzgries 9Wien, 1010, Austria

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If you would like a bit of a fancier burger or vegan comfort food experience, Vegiezz has you covered. The decor is just beautiful and the wait-staff are just lovely, you can tell they enjoy their job. They have a wonderful selection of vegan-friendly alcohol and the experience really capped off our last night in Vienna. I forgot to note down specifically what I got but you really cannot go wrong here at all.

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Biosk

Bar and Cafe, Museum Quarter, Vienna

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There always seems to be one or two places that I am desperate to go to but either they are way too busy or they are closed. Biosk was one of them! I am unsure if it is open year round, but it is a permanent fixture in the Museum Quater. They have organic and vegan-friendly beers and wines and I am sure it is an awesome spot to sip on some cruelty-free alcohol, fair trade coffee and eat some organic snacks.

StrudelBox

Take away strudel kiosk, Schulhofpassage, 1060 Wien, Austria

Vegan Apple Strudel? Yes please! I just wish I got to try it… yes this was another one of thsoe places that I stupidly saved for my last day in Vienna and did not check when it was and was not open. Please, eat all the vegan strudel for me- do it for me.

Cafe Freud

Cafe and Restaurant, Berggasse 19, 1090 Wien, Austria

If I ever wanted good quality, museum cafe food at a reasonable price in Australia, I’d probably get told to bugger off. In Europe, however, this is actually a possibility. After a pilates workout in my pension room, a long walk and an amazing visit to the Sigmund Freud Museum, I was getting quite ‘hangry’. So, we hedged our bets and were pleasantly surprised by Cafe Freud. I got a fresh and homemade vegetable soup with a piece of sourdough bread and yet another Cafe Americano. The soup was 3.50 euros and it was the perfect warm and tasty snack I needed to continue with my day. Also, the cafe is full of Freud decor, as you’d expect and its really quite charming.

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Noodle King

Fast food Japanese/Chinese, Approximate address: Museumstraße 12, 1010 Wien, Austria, also multiple locations around Vienna

Fresh, cheap and high-quality sushi and Japanese food are surprisingly easy to come by in Vienna. Being one of my favourite cuisines, I often get hankerings for Japanese food. I apologise in advance as I could not find the exact address as for some reason they are not listed on the internet very well but there are multiple Noodle King and Mr.Noodle locations around. The one I went to was near the Museum Quater, so it should be easy to find. They have vegan maki rolls and avocado maki rolls (what I call inside-out sushi), as well as freshly cooked stir-fries. I had the Avacado Maki roll and got 12 pieces for less than 5 euros. Bargain!

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Nordsea

Fast food joint, Multiple locations around Vienna

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With the sheer amount of wonderful things to do in Vienna, you will often need a quick lunch to have on the go. I know back at home, the last thing I would expect to see at fast-food franchise selling fish and chips is an advertisement for a Vegan Avocado Wrap, but what do you know, Vienna is often full of pleasant surprises. So if you’re desperate, grab an avocado wrap to go or indulge in one of Vienna’s ‘kebap’ shops.

Wintertime Bonus: Christmas Markets

Multiple locations around Vienna

Whichever market you go to, you will always find candied almond, Austrian style hashbrowns and spiraled potatoes on a stick, chestnuts, mulled wine and perfectly salted pretzels. Explore the markets if you are lucky enough to be in Vienna in the wintertime. With this amount of treats. you won’t be jealous of the wurst stands!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Munich Vegan Food Guide

Vegan food in Munich? German vegan food in Munich? You have come to the right place. You can be an independent vegan or vegetarian here, trust me. Munich is a global city with an abundance of Turkish food –  falafel kebabs are on nearly every street corner. You will also find a range of other cuisines here, which is beautifully refreshing if you have just come from Italy and have been eating pasta for every meal for two weeks straight! However, in terms of German food (Bavarian food specifically), that is vegan or vegetarian-friendly, it can be a little bit harder to find. With that being said, there are options out there. As such, I will present to you my fool-proof list of delicious vegan German food that will not disappoint!

German Food and Beer Halls

Max Pett

Pettenkoferstraße 8, 80336 München, Germany

As we stumbled off the bullet train, famished and sleep deprived, we ditched our bags at the hotel and found the nearest vegan restaurant. This restaurant is entirely alcohol-free (an unusual sight in Munich), in tribute to the original founder Max Pett himself. So, if you are in the mood for a drink with your meal, look elsewhere. We had quite a late lunch, so we missed out on the Bavarian daily specials that come at a great price (10-12 euros) but nonetheless, I had my eye on the Wiener Schnitzel. Yes, I know, not technically Bavarian/German, but Viennese cuisine can be equally hard to come by in vegan/vegetarian form. I would have to say, this was the best vegan schnitzel I have ever had. They mastered the crumb style that typical Wiener schnitzels have, and the texture of the mock meat was perfectly chewy but soft. We also had the eggplant mozzarella rolls and they were to die for. Vegan cheese does not get better than this!

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Oeey gooey cheesy Eggplant Rolls

 

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The wonderful Wiener Schnitzel

 

Prinz Myshkin

Hackenstraße 2, 80331 München, Germany

This is an entirely vegetarian restaurant, and the majority of their dishes are also vegan or can be made vegan. This was one of my favourite meals of the entire trip. Depending on the day, they will have a Bavarian-style lunch special or something internationally inspired. They are a great price (7-9 euros). Here we have mock steak and veggies. The sauce unified the dish perfectly. For more German classics and other unique international dishes, enjoy the food here by night or order the lovely Polish beet soup entree.

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The lunch special

Augustiner Bräustuben

Vegetarians who love cream, you will be satisfied with the Cream of Mushroom Sauce with the Bread Roll Dumpling. Vegans, I apologise in advance, you will not be able to get a full dinner plate here, but you can still enjoy a bucket of pretzels and some great beer.

Löwenbräukeller

Nymphenburger Str. 2, 80335 München, Germany

This is the one beer hall in Munich with a fully vegan main dish and it was awesome. It was hearty but surprisingly healthy – it was made entirely from vegetables. Ask for an English Menu, and you will see a section that literally says ‘keeping the vegans happy’. I didn’t note down the name of my dish, but the menu is seasonal here, so there will always be something new and delicious on the menu.367536432_IMG_1675

Bellevue di Monaco

Müllerstraße 2, 80469 München, Germany

This cafe may not have German food, however, the quaint, modern style cafe has more than what meets the eye with its cute aesthetic. This cafe supports the Youth Refugee Centre in Munich and offers delightful vegan desserts, middle eastern lunches and tapas. What counts is this place is German at heart; always welcoming of those from around the world, just what you will feel as you eat vegan cheesecake and sip lovely coffee.

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Oh that lighting, oh that cheesecake.

Wurst and Burgers

Gute Nacht Wurst

Klenzestr. 3280469 Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Currywurst may not be Bavarian, but it is a Berliner speciality, and that is close enough for the vegan or vegetarian who does not want to miss out on experiencing German cuisine. They also have cheap mulled wine – 2 euros in wintertime!

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Bergwolf

Fraunhoferstr. 1780469 Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Another delightful place for vegan currywurst – just hold the mayo!367536432_IMG_1800

Hans Im Gluck Burgers

Multiple locations all over Germany

So after a while, we got a hankering for some burgers. Burgers are the main food we go out for in Melbourne, and we had not had one in 5 weeks. I hang my head as I recall just how amazing this vegan burger was and how, if I ever want one again, I will have to travel 24 hours by plane to Europe. Not only do they have several vegetarian burgers available, they also have a list of vegan burgers. I almost had a heart attack when I first bit into the burger, as the patty is deceptively meaty. Rest assured, they have all of the fully vegetarian and vegan options you could ever want in a burger.EF21AF6E-A0C9-4788-BF40-0EB9B8778552

Markets and Stores

Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt 3, 80331 München, Germany

This is Munich’s most famous open-air market and you could probably spend an entire day walking around here. I know, it isn’t a specific restaurant, but there are all kinds of fresh juices, pretzels, bread, olives and pickles everywhere. Even at the Bratwurst stands, you will find a tasty selection of pretzels, mustard and sourkrout.IMG_1015

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Vitalia Healthfood Stores

Multiple Locations, Rosental 7, 80331 München, Germany (near Viktualienmarkt)

I was extremely sad to find out that Munich’s chain of vegan supermarkets shut down in 2017 but I was relieved to stumble upon this amazing health food store. Nearly everything inside is vegan and every single product is clearly labelled with its price tag. If you have access to a kitchen, stock up on all the veggie sausages Vitalia has to offer. I made a Christmas breakfast with meat-free vegetable Weisswurst (Munich breakfast sausage) and it was the best vegetarian sausage I have ever had! While you’re at it, if you are running out of your cruelty-free lip balms, make-up and shampoo, treat yourself at Vitalia as they have an amazing selection of organic and cruelty-free beauty products.

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Vegan Weisswurst for breakfast !

 

Christmas Bonus: Munich Christmas Markets

Multiple locations around Munich. May vary year to year 

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Schupfnudein mit Sauerkraut. I forgot to get the cheese taken off here, sorry vegans!

I absolutely loved Munich’s Christmas markets and they had some the best mulled wine on offer. You pay a small deposit for a lovely mug as shown below and it is a wonderful way to enjoy a hot beverage without using plastic or paper cups. Munich is quite waste conscious, so be sure to be on board with that as you explore the city.

Anyhow, onto food.

Munich’s Christmas markets will always have something on offer for vegans and vegetarians. For vegetarians, there is meat-free Käsespätzle, a cheese and potato dumpling dish and if you are lucky enough, vegans, you will stumble upon the unnamed stall featured bellow with fully vegan options. However, if you cannot find it, look for a stall that has Schupfnudein mit Sauerkraut. It is sourkrout and oval-shaped potato dumplings- just ask to hold the cheese and you will have a very tasty, hearty street food to eat throughout Munich. Also, a given, there are pretzels everywhere. And mulled wine, glorious mulled wine.

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Käsespätzle on the top left

 

Enjoy your time in Munich and I challenge you to find Vegan German or Bavarian food.

Much Love,

Little Dove Travels and Food