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NORWAY ūüá≥ūüáī series part 3: ‘Picture perfect’

Dumpster diving, fjords and all those views!

Last post I was referring to one of my favourite places I have ever hiked. Before sharing you the spectacular view we need to go back half a day.

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We got a lift from a really nice guy living in a village near Molden. From the spot we put the tent up you could see the fjord, mountains, waterfall, light from the village nearby and what is more, the sunset. It was one of the nicest evenings. Not just because we had the perfect camping spot but we got lots of FREE food.

Here you go, trick from the poors’ sleeve nr 3: Dumpster diving. Yes, you heard me right. I know this is very controversial subject and to be honest, I am probably not the right person to tell this or share the experience but I can just introduce you what options you have while travelling on a budget. ¬†Dumpster diving in Scandinavia and dumpster diving in Poland probably will be completely different experiences but can save you LOTS OF MONEY either way. I am quite a picky eater when it comes to expiry dates. However, in Norway I saw a completely different aspect of it. That night Tom came back from the bins behind the shops with 5 Bolognese sauces and they were NOT expired, not opened, not gone bad, nothing. One out of 6 in the pack had broken and they threw away the whole box. We have also found some bread, cheese and ham, smoked fish, juice, all sealed and fine. Sometimes just expired today, yesterday or usually not even close to the expiry date.

My first step was to just be willing to eat the food from a bin. It sounds disgusting if you put it that way but why not if you can literally see, there is nothing wrong with it. I am still not eating food that is a bit iffy, especially meat products (another phobia I have) and you do need to be cautious in order not to get any food poisoning. I have never really dumpster dove myself, I have my own diver with me. I don’t think it’s weird or wrong but I am not there yet to do it myself. Seeing how much perfectly fine food people throw out (especially shops) makes me rethink about everything I thought I knew. People are starving in every single country in the world and shops just throw out food like it’s noone’s business. WHY? Because we take the¬†expiry dates and other dates as something they are not. Among many others¬†National Geographic has an article about this as well, showing how much food and money America wastes every year because people do not understand that expiry date shows quality but not safety. They claim that the smell/look/taste gives you better idea about the safety of the food than an expiry date. So here you go.

Tom also found a beach chair next to the bin and insisted carrying it around the whole time… GREAT!¬†So in the morning we took off with a whole bunch of food AND a beach chair. We got a lift by a taxi driver who recommended having a hike in the mountain nearby. Meeting another couple suggesting to hike Molden, we decided, why not. We got dropped off at the car park in the woods. It was supposed to be just couple of hour hike so we decided to leave the bags in the woods near the car park. This couple of hours up and couple of hours down is the best length of a hike for me. It doesn’t tire or bore you too much but is enough to experience amazing views.

Already on our way up we saw nice blackberries and blueberries waiting someone (us) to pick them up. On the first viewpoint I was already blown away. WOW! The way the woods made the mountains look so exotic! Well just look at that! The mountains, fjords, boats, woods… WOW!

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I have noticed that I like the views half way up better than on the very top. The mountains look closer and I think the pictures are better as well. What do you think?

Like in Gausta, I was running down like a goat. Half way down we decided to fill all our boxes with blueberries as they were so big and juicy. We even made couple of other people follow our lead and do the same. When we reached blackberries Tom got a little carried away and I was too thirsty to wait for him so I decided to go to the bags by myself. While I was walking down towards the car park I heard some crazy noise from the woods. I saw something black flashing between the trees and I just froze. Is it a bear??? What am I supposed to do now? Run? Stay still? Oh sh**! As I was about to make the fastest sprint I have ever done in my life the ‘something black’ came out from the woods. Yeah, it wasn’t a bear… It was a cow. The damn cow was doing… I don’t know what in there but for sure it did not sound like a cow. Yeah, seems like cows don’t really like me.

Down from Gausta, next stop… well as far on the way to Lofoten as possible. That means the next couple of days on the road again. we chose to hitchhike up to Lofoten from the main road until Mo i Rana and then take the longer but much recommended coastal road.

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One of the views on the road to our camping site.

That evening we made it to Skei. We slept on a piece of grass by the fjord. Amazing view! Was not as private as one would like but perfectly peaceful and calm. In this part of Norway all the drivers seemed to be especially generous and interested in showing us around. They don’t just tell you what to see but also are willing to make stops and walk around with you. One guy even introduced us all of the people living in the valley. Yeah…

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They even insisted taking pictures of us.. which we never do unless someone offers and I don’t want to be impolite. So whenever I post a ‘couple’s picture’ know it was not planned!

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The best part of the fjords. It looks soooooooo amazing with the mountains and ships and all that jazz. One thing (a bit scary) in all this is having an emergency on the road. We saw an ambulance trying to pass on the road and it took forever just to take one turn. That is scary! People don’t really realise that it’s not a random guy trying to make it to work on time in the morning. Unfortunately, that’s how they respond, stopping in the middle of the road, keep driving and that’s why it takes forever to just pass one damn turn.

After most of the day in a car and rest in a ferry we made it to Trollstigen. And first time ever we were not the only ones with a tent.¬†How I got lost on that mountain… twice and how we got saved by a farmer you can read from the next post!

 

To be continued…

NORWAY ūüá≥ūüáī series part 2: ‘On the road’

Muscle pain, hitchhiking and free spa treatment.

I ended the last post with the budget question. How to afford butter on the bread in Norway?

Trick out of our poor sleeves number 1: If you are on a very tight budget like we were you do not buy bread at all. No it’s not a joke. You don’t buy bread because you don’t have to. Most of the Norwegian shops have bread slicers in the shop and for some reason local people tend to throw the ends of the bread to a (clean) bin next to the slicer. Here you go, here’s your bread that someone has already paid for. It’s not always perfect but the bread is fresh, untouched and what is most important, for FREE. So yeah, we ate the bread every single day the whole 2 weeks even when just thinking of it made you not want a sandwich until Christmas.

So we bought 2 chocolate cakes and took some bread from that small shop in the valley. While hitchhiking further a guy with an ice cream came over. You know, just to say that they would take us but their car is full. I have still not understood why do they do it. I guess it’s nice they come over and give us some company but… why. Sometimes they even pull over on the road just to say ‘sorry, I’m not going that way’ or ‘hi, sorry my car is full’. Confusing? Much!

It was so hot down in the valley that we took turns to sit in the shadow while the other one was hitchhiking. I tend to get heatstroke very easily especially when my head is not covered. I bought a hat just for that reason. As a girl with long(ish) hair another bonus is that it covers all your dirty hair. I have pretty dry hair usually but over 3-4 days cannot afford NOT washing it. Therefore, a hat on the road is your best friend. Finally, got a ride from a guy working in the Gausta mountain where we just came from. He had a day off and decided to escape the heat towards the next mountains. Perfect!

The first stop we made was on a view point to a waterfall. The driver told us all about the history of the valley, the town and Norway in general. I have noticed that I am far more interested in the history now than ever before. For some reason it is so much more fun to discover things from locals while being there than listening a teacher or reading it from a book. We heard everything about the heavy water and the sabotage as locals seemed to be very proud of it and mention it in every single car we sat in.

That and the next day we spent by hitchhiking around trying to see as much as possible. We made a little stop by a lake as I needed little cooling time out. We managed to find an access to the water from a private little bath off the road. That was a really dream come true. Sunbathing by a lake on a beautiful day. While standing there preparing myself mentally for getting in the water I noticed whole punch of small fish swimming around my feet. One of my… many…. fears are bloodsuckers. So whenever swimming in a new country or a bit muddy lake I get super paranoid that there are going to be bloodsuckers just waiting for me to jump in. Well this time there were no bloodsuckers but those small fish doing the same job… well almost. If you stood there really still they started gently biting/licking (not sure) your toes. I have no idea what they found there but the tickling sensation was kind of nice. Free spa treatment, jeei! And the water was surprisingly warm (considering it’s Norway).

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Again before continuing hitchhiking further we filled the boxes with fresh raspberries. So good! Raspberries are one of my favourite anyways and on the road they taste like heaven. Boxes full of good stuff, feeling all nice and fresh we managed to get to Odda by the end of that day. An amazing town in a valley by a fjord. You can see glaciers on top of mountain all around the valley. This is a town I would see myself living in. Having the mountains and water near your house is the perfect combination for us as a couple. What is more, one of the most visited mountains is right around the corner. As every other tourist we were hoping to walk to Trolltunga and have the famous picture on the cliff. Unfortunately, that did not happen for couple of reasons. First it was too crowded on top of the mountain so they decided to close the whole road going up there. Great! We could have walked from the car park but my legs were SO sore from Gausta. The last time I had my muscles that sore that I could barely walk was in university. So that was the main reason we skipped the most popular view of Norway. Well.. I probably would not have made it to the edge of the cliff anyways. I still had to get down to the valley from the car park, though, and oh boy, did that take time and effort. Couple of tears too.

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If this is not ‘Scandinavian’ then what is.

The whole rest of that day we spent hitchhiking further, hoping to get as far as possible. It wasn’t going too bad until we totally got stuck on the road in a town with the an amazing Viking church (above). Anyone who has tried hitchhiking knows how frustrating it can be. The most difficult part in standing for hours in one place is staying positive, keep smiling and not loosing hope. Even when it starts raining. I am quite an impatient person and it’s very difficult not to get bored or anxious on the road. Also one of the reasons (after safety) why I would never hitchhike alone. You can improve the odds by standing in a visible place with enough space for cars to pull over and look as friendly and harmless as possible but you will still depend on the strangers. Something that a control-freak like me does not enjoy. But I guess it’s a good way to grow, right?!…

And here is the trick from a poor sleeve nr 2: when on a budget, do not hire cars. Not just hiring them is expensive but gas costs more than you’re used to as well. Take a bike, walk or just hitchhike. So far hitchhiking in Norway has made me feel the most comfortable and safe during my whole hitchhiking experience. People are nice and don’t look weird when you’re standing by the road with your thumb up (can happen in some other countries in Europe). They always smile at you even though they might have no intention to stop. Unfortunately, taking a bus can be quite a nightmare in countryside so that’s why hitchhiking is the best option. Unless you have lots of time, strong legs and you want to cycle all those crazy mountains.

On our way to our new spot we met so many amazing people. We met two young Syrian guys who moved to Norway 3 years ago. We were so interested in getting to know how they find the life in there and how did they even end up in such a cold country. Apparently for a refugee Norway is expensive but full of great opportunities. At least those 2 guys found the life there to be pretty good. We also met two Polish guys who have been living in Norway over 10 years. With them we wanted to discuss what are the advantages and disadvantages of moving to Norway as a foreigner, what is it like to learn the language and how do local people feel about foreigners. Both guys spoke Norwegian and English so I guess the language is not as difficult as it seems. As an Estonian, and making the assumption just based on listening, it seems it would not be too hard for us to learn Norwegian. The sound of it is pretty sharp and robustious and should suit us perfectly. We also met plenty of Norwegians who gave us very genuine idea what is it like living in the countryside in one of the most amazing countries in Europe. I must admit I am very tempted to move up there one day. Despite the amount of taxis they need to pay and the fact they rely a lot on oil, they are pretty happy with their lives up there.

Because of spending most of the time on the road AND me having only 1 battery for the camera with (yeah, managed to loose one right before taking off from Manchester) I have very few pictures of those couple of days. I was really trying to save the battery for Lofoten. The featured image is from Odda, by the way. I have no idea why I literally have just 3 pictures of it, though. I promise I will make it up with the next posts! Speaking of which, next stop Molden aka the best hike AND view I have ever experienced.

To be continued…

NORWAY ūüá≥ūüáī series part 1: ‘Day one’

New boots, fear of heights and the budget!

I cannot believe how long it has been since I last sat down and wrote something. Not even going try to explain why. Let’s put it that way- life happened.

Anyways, I am now back in UK, back in routine and am ready to tell you all about my last holiday in NORWAY. I am going to make it into a short series as there is simply too much to tell and that post is going to be way too long otherwise.

So where to start? Oh yeah, from the beginning.

I have always thought that Norway would be a country I would really really enjoy. Not just as a tourist but I believed I could even live there. Why? I am not sure. Maybe it’s just an intuition, maybe I’m a psychic, maybe because I like cold winters. ¬†I really don’t know. It was my first time going there and I was already like… 90% sure I am going to love it. I guess by the end of this series I will let you know weather I was a psychic or not at all.

It all started with a flight from Manchester to Oslo. I was flying alone this time as Tom wanted to hitchhike all the way to Norway to save money but I refused to waste half of my vacation on travelling to the destination. Yes, it was not the cheapest flight I have ever booked but considering it’s Norway, I guess it could have been even worse. I know people travelling up there for 8 quid, so bargain hunters, do not burry your dreams just yet! I tried to mentally prepare myself for 2 weeks of starving. Norway has been my dream destination but let’s be honest I do not have money to have a luxurious.. who am I kidding, not a luxurious, a decent holiday in Scandinavia. As always we wanted to see as much as possible and spend as little as possible. Usually 500 pounds for 2 weeks has been enough but can you do it in Norway?

We met in Oslo on Tuesday evening and planned to stay for 2 weeks, hitchhiking all the way from Oslo up to Lofoten.¬†It was unexpectedly hot when I arrived. I guess this summer has been unexpectedly hot everywhere in Europe. It’s been hot even in Manchester…. in the city of rain. We spent the night in the tent nearby the airport. I was a bit scared that there is not going to be anywhere to put up the tent or like in Canary islands, it will be in the dirt. This is the last thing you want- start your vacation in the middle of garbage.¬†Fortunately, that was not the case. It is still Scandinavia we are talking about. We found some fine grass near a pavement under the birches. Was not very private, but good enough for a couple of hour sleep.

We took off the next morning, again with sun shining and giving us hope to get far up towards the fjords. While waiting for the first ride near the airport a girl came up to us and offered 2 (almost full) pumps of camping gas. We knew we are going to need it up in the North, so it was more than perfect timing. What is more, no wasting! Hitchhiking in Northern Europe is said to be considerably easy. Unfortunately, the first half an hour did not make me feel this way. We were trying different spots on a roundabout until decided we need to walk further as clearly noone is stopping. As soon as we picked our bags and started walking we got a lift. I may need to make entire post about hitchhiking in Scandinavia to explain it but it seemed like whenever you carry the bag people were willing to stop more often.

*Damn… I think I need to write these posts right after I’m back from the holiday as I already start forgetting the details- which driver, when, how far?

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Well, we managed to end up at Gausta mountain by the evening. We decided to take a little hike up to the top before putting the tent up. First time ever I was sooooooo excited as I had just invested my money into a pair of new hiking boots. After suffering from tremendous knee pain on every hike I decided enough is enough and bought a pair of Meindls. Yes, unfortunately, not a vegan brand but I really needed the pair and had very limited time and options. I am going to take a good care of these and hopefully wear them forever…. well I guess not forever but as long as I am able to hike. I am definitely not planning to purchase another non-vegan ones. Maybe by the time I need new ones (far far faaaar in the future) they have better variety of vegan ones. So, there I was with my new pair of hiking boots, climbing the mountain like a goat. I honestly did not expect the difference to be that major.

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Despite the comfort, I didn’t go all the way up, though. The very last bit of this mountain looked extremely narrow and because of the wind the fear of heights got the best of me. I decided to go back down and let Tom climb the last bit on his own. I hate when that happens. I am always scared I’m going to miss out the best views because of a stupid fear. Anyone with a serious phobia or fear can relate. I want to go but I don’t. I am not a psychologist and I don’t know how to properly treat an irrational fear. All psychologist-friends, HELP! Among all my stupid fears heights is the one I really want to get rid of. And so far the best way has been getting myself into the situations where the outcome of overcoming the fear will remain as a picture to remind me that the fear is not the boss of me. I am. Unfortunately, days are not the same and that day was not The Day.

On my way down I over took all the people I met when going up, feeling no pain in the knees, whatsoever. I felt like flying. The very last couple of hundred meters I did feel  the fatigue but not the pain. Of course Tom managed to catch me before the finish line despite my magic boots. But usually he does it way faster so I am still pretty proud of myself. Jeeei! Go me! The first night we spent under the stars near Gausta. We put the tent up on moss which is the softest bed ever. I had a very good night sleep that night.

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Next day, before hitting the road we decided to take most of the nature and filled our boxes with fresh blueberries. DE-LISH! I think we really nailed the season as there were so many berries to pick. What’s better than fresh berries when on a budget?! Especially in Norway where everything is SO, SO, SO expensive. Fortunately, not waiting long for the first ride. We got a lift by a local down to the valley. He was driving so fast down that I must admit I was a little uncomfortable. Not because I thought he’s going to crash the car or something but it just made me feel sick. Plus the fear of heights did not help either. We made it down safely (I promise, mom!)! We decided to check the local shop before hitchhiking further. You know that feeling when you just had an amazing hike, good night sleep, fresh berries, and then the reality check just shakes you. Shakes you hard! We managed to find a -50% aisle, something vital when travelling in Norway, Iceland or Switzerland. My sweet tooth was on fire as the only thing we bought was 2 chocolate cakes, each 3 quid…. Yea, not cheap even when -50% but they were so worth the money. I was craving for coffee and a salad as well but I had to punch that b*tch down right after seeing the prices. How to explain it? England is expensive but with a full time job you can afford butter on the bread. In Norway, with British salary you cannot even afford to smell the bread, with Eastern Europe salary you forget what bread is. Well, one needs just love, air and water to survive anyways, right?! You must be wondering how many kilos did I loose on that trip, well….. Not much. How? Well first, because I just said we bought 2 cakes for lunch but we also had some tricks ready to be pulled out from our ¬†poor sleeves.

 

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† To be continued…

Oh, before I let you go, I have already uploaded some pictures of the trip. Not just the day one but through out the entire trip, Go check them out as well!

Wellknown foods you didn’t realise are vegan

Some of the every day foods you may be surprised but are vegan.

(P.S yes, the featured image is my Paint art :D)

You’re vegan? What are you eating? Just a salad?

Yeah I used to think like that as well: If you’re vegetarian, you cannot eat any of the good stuff and if you’re vegan you cannot eat anything.

I thought after attacking the vegan community in one of my posts I need a post for their defence as well. It’s only fair. This post is for all my non-vegan friends who are still on the mindset that vegans cannot eat anything. Well guess what, even you are eating vegan foods without realising.

1.Bread/pastry

Any kind of white or dark bread is vegan unless they have added some cheese/beacon/eggs anything like that. A simple (without any special flavour or additions) bread is vegan.

2. Fries/chips

Unless the fries are fried in animal fat (unlikely) they are vegan. Unhealthy much? Yes, but still vegan.

3. Oreos

Yes, it was a shock for me as well. The cream between the bisquits are made of soya, so completely suitable for vegans. It has a notification for allergic people that it may contain milk.

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4. Dark chocolate

Most of dark chocolates are vegan. They may have added a note for people who are allergic that it may contain nuts and milk for some reason. Probably cause they produce products with milk and nuts in it in the same factory. After realising that I also discovered that all my favourite Kalev stuff are vegan (berries in dark chocolate)!

5. Hummus/humous

Humous is a chickpea paste and is vegan (unless added some weird ingredients like usually in shop products). I’m still in progress to improve my own recipe. Last batch I made was already quite close to what I after.

6. Quacamole

One of my favourite things EVER. Quacamole is an avocado paste and also usually vegan. Some shop products may include some milk or cheese powders but the original homemade/restaurant one is vegan.

7. Falafels

Yes, those yummy kotlets are vegan. Made of chickpeas or broad beans. And they are DELICIOUS!

8. Crisps

All natural flavoured or salt, vinegar, pepper flavoured crisps are vegan as well!

9. Peanut butter

Well, daaaaaah?! But you would be surprised if you knew where they add milk, egg powders and butter to so it’s not that daaah.

10. Skittles

Yep. The rainbow candies are vegan!

11. Belvita breakfast bisquits

Unfortunately not all of their products are but quite a big range is.

12. Alpro yoghurts, puddings and desserts

Yep. I loved them already before I knew they were vegan.

13. McVitie’s digestive bisquits

Not all digestive bisquits are but those in reduced fat are!

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And of course nowadays they have vegan substitutes also for gummy bears, cheese, spread, yogurt, cream, milk, mayo, milk chocolate, ice cream. Your local shops probably already provide all of them. Bigger chains like Tesco, Sainsburys may even have their own vegan products. There is bunch of other junk food that are vegan according to some sites but as I don’t really eat this kind of stuff and therefore not know the brands I’m not going to get in details in here. If you’re interested, can check them out yourself here.

As you can see there are so many products that already are vegan and so many that have substitutes. In this world you almost have to give up nothing to be vegan. Maybe a little money and some of your time to cook things properly.

 

 

When in England- funny moments vol 3

Continuing the series of “I was lucky I had a camera with”. More funny pictures from England.

I have put together another post with funny or weird moments from my life abroad. These are all taken in England.

So I guess no need for further introduction. Let’s just start.

 

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  1. This was taken from the White Cliffs in the South of England. You can see a tourist posing for the picture in a nice yellow padded jacket while at the background locals are taking a bath in the ocean. Temperature is contingent.

 

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2. This was from the same weekend. “When the importance of your job is just deceptive”.

 

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3. This one shows how inventive English people are. They manage the “unexpected kid” situation like pros.

 

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4. From the same trip and I guess no other words needed.

 

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5. I was tempted but that was not even in London but Windsor. Brothers, what you reckon?

 

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6. This may seem like an average holiday picture. Well it’s not. It’s taken in the center of Manchester in October before my birthday…. Did they change the date of Christmas Eve?

 

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6. This one I forgot to explain few posts ago. This was taken in Reading when we were trying out the canoe. 3 guys working across the river thought I am working for Vogue so they gave their best poses.

 

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7. Quiet workers in Arundel. Too lifelike? I think so.

 

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8. December in Hazel Grove. Okay maybe I failed with this picture because that’s not even funny. Remember, I am from Estonia. This is literally the most snow I saw all year (2017). Something to think about before moving to another country.

*This year has been a little better already! It’s March and it’s still snowing!

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9. Confused much? This is at my university campus. I have been living in a lie!

 

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10. Pictures are taken 9min apart. Within a half an hour it made the whole circle of 4 seasons at least 3 times. And not just that the snow stopped and sun came out, but the sky was completely clear like nothing ever happened (until 5min later it was a snowstorm again).

Thanks guys for spending time in here! Hope I either got you smiling or thinking hard before moving abroad. Enjoy sun, snow, rain or whatever else is coming down right now!

 

Vegans, Vegetarians and Omnivores

Are you vegan? Are you vegetarian? What are you? I have been asked these questions lately very very often so I decided to make a little post about this subject. Maybe this could possibly explain or make you understand why people (and I) have chosen one way or the other.

So first of all, no, I am not vegan. We eat mostly vegan when living in England just because of the quality of the food you can find from supermarkets. Of course there is an ethical reason behind it as well. I do not want to support any big chains that grow animals in poor conditions. If it’s possible to do it in the right way then why shouldn’t they all do that?! In my opinion, it is not about not eating animal products but giving the animals a chance to live a better life. Therefore, we still enjoy our steaks but we buy the meat only from small farm shops. One day I will grow my own animals and make sure they have lived a good life (not gonna eat them, though, but eggs and milk would be handy). However, when I go to visit someone or I fly back home, I do not expect all my friends and family to live like I do. I love food and I want my food to be high quality and tasty but I don’t expect everyone else around me have the same priorities. I still prefer not to buy meat from supermarkets but I feel in Estonia the dairy products are with better quality than here. And what is most important, in order to make a change (either environmental or eating habits related) you don’t have to give up everything. Not eating meat daily or preferring local suppliers is already a start.

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This is a rooster randomly walking on the street (from our Canary Islands trip).

2 years ago I would have laughed into your face if you would have told me I’m gonna start this kind of lifestyle. I have always been into healthy food but vegetarianism and veganism have never crossed my mind. Mostly because I had no idea how much food is out there. I had never tried quinoa, lentils, all different types of beans, vegetables etc. It seemed like if you are vegan, all you can eat is a salad. I have learned so much about cooking vegetables and keeping a balanced menu without any one or the other way processed meat.¬† I didn’t even have a favourite dish (how sad was that). Now I can tell you my favourite dish is vegan tomato soup. Not because it’s vegan but because it’s healthy and DELICIOUS. You don’t need to add meat to your menu just because you need protein or you need to fill your stomach. You can have protein and filling food from vegetables as well. However, because I simply love bbq and to get my B12 and all the other vitamins in proper amounts I keep eating meat now and then.

Before I explain more bout my opinion about total veganism, one thing people need to realise is that vegetarian or vegan food is not always healthy. Animal products do not make the dish unhealthy, the way of cooking and using products that are not fresh and are already processed make them unhealthy. Also using lots of salt and sugar. I gave up white sugar years ago and haven’t had any other type of sugar in the household for a while either. We use mostly honey to sweeten everything. Next to bbq the second thing I could never give up. So when going out, do not expect that vegetarian or vegan choices are healthier ones. You need to know how and what the dish is cooked from. Especially nowadays that there are so many vegan substitutes for non-vegan products you need to be very careful if you are trying to eat healthy.

That said, there are many different reasons why I still do not want to be considered as vegan. The main one is that I love meat way too much to properly give it up. I believe in listening your body and eating based on that (craving for chocolate or wine is not a need though). It is extremely important to consult with your GP or a specialist if you have any specific conditions before changing your diet (or whenever changing your diet drastically). However, I think that listening your body is almost as important. Acne, tiredness, weight changes, all these things might alarm you about your diet not being right. I grew up on pork and was used to eating meat every single day. I couldn’t even imagine not eating meat. Here I am, all grown up, and eating meat maybe few times a month. Surprisingly when it comes to dairy products then it has been easier than expected. I most probably would struggle more when living in Estonia but here they don’t have anything I crave for anyway.

Another reason why I do not consider myself as a vegan is that I don’t want to be part of this community. There are many parodies out there which all unfortunately reflect the truth. When moving to UK with a decision not to eat any animal products from supermarkets we joined few vegan groups in facebook to see where do they buy the food. Shockingly the attitude towards omnivores, even vegetarians (and sometimes other vegans who in their opinion are not doing “it” right) was extremely negative. For instance one of the group members posted a picture of a girl eating an ice cream next to a cow with very rude and abusive comment. Then all the other people started directing their anger under the picture calling people names based on the fact that a girl was eating an ice cream. No one really knew if it was actually a vegan or diary ice cream but an assumption was enough to heat everyone up. I want nothing to do with this kind of people who use “saving animals” ideology as a weapon towards other people. So just because of the negative and very aggressive atmosphere I do not want to belong there.

Now a little more serious problem appears when it comes to vegan parents raising their kids. Some parents realise that their decision to be vegan should not affect their kids’ choices. I work in health care and reading how parents either lie to their kids to force them into veganism or simply refuse to cook any animal products when their kids ask is shocking. Growing body needs balanced menu and raising kids omnivore doesn’t mean cooking meat daily or buying fish fingers (or other processed cr*p). In my opinion (and only mine), kids should be raised omnivores until they are able to decide themselves how they want to eat. That means for sure not before the end of teenage. A 4 or 5-year-old does not know what is good for him or what he should eat. If they could choose, they would feed on sugar.

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A little illustrative picture how we should all friendly co-exist. ūüėÄ

Now if you are vegan and reading this then do not feel like you are attacked. Being vegan is okay. You just need to realise that noone is born vegan or vegetarian. If you meet someone that strongly disapproves your believes then think of them as yourself way back before you started changing your eating habits. They may realise it and agree with you later in life. Or they may never agree with you. Either way it’s okay. We all have one life to live. Instead of jumping on each other because of the ways we have decided to spend it let’s just acknowledge each other and live loved in peace.

 

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My Estonian moments while travelling.

On Eesti S√úNNIP√ĄEV! Otsustasin selle postituse p√ľhendada oma armsale kodule.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† It is the BIRTHDAY week of ESTONIA! I decided to dedicate this post for my sweet home.

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See on minu Eesti!                                                                                                                            This is my Estonia!

 

T√§histamaks uhket juubelit, olen ma √ľles otsinud k√Ķik pildid oma reisidelt, mis tuletavad mulle meelde, kui kaugel ma ka ei oleks, Eesti on alati minuga.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† So, in order to have a fun birthday celebration I have put together a post of few moments from my trips. These pictures remind me wherever I am, Estonia is always with me.

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Laev Tenerifel sadamast v√§lja triivimas. Armas, kas pole? ¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† A boat sailing out from a harbour in Tenerife. Just so you know “armas” in Estonian means cute.

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Kohvik Lanzarotel. Tere-tere, vana kere! ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A caffe in Lanzarote. “Tere” in Estonian means hi.

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See v√Ķtmehoidja! Muide, pilt on tehtud k√Ķigest paar aastat tagasi. M√§rkasin tuttavat m√ľnti kohe, kui autosse istusin. Saksa-Koera p√§ritoluga autojuht isegi ei teadnud, et see on Eesti m√ľnt. Olevat selle saanud oma vanematelt, kes on Tallinas k√§inud. Kuidas ma ise selle peale tulnud ei ole?¬† 5-kroonisega vist ei m√§ngi v√§lja. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† This key holder is made out of Estonian 1 crown coin (picture is taken few years ago, so we already had euros then). As soon as I sat in the car I noticed the familiar coin. Apparently the owner of it, a guy with German-Korean background, didn’t even know it’s Estonian. After I told him, he remembered he got it from his Parents after they came back from a trip to Estonia.

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Toidukaupluste kett Iirimaal. Pole just palju neid √§risid, kes valu reklaamiks kasutavad. ¬†¬† A food store chain in Ireland. “Valu” in Estonian means pain. So if you’re into super pain, you have come to the right place.

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Ma pole eriline (okei, √ľldse pole) lilles√Ķber, aga neid p√Ķllulilli vaadates tuleb alati koduigatsus. Pildil olevad on p√§rit L√Ķuna-Inglismaalt, Arundeli aiast. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† Estonian national flower is cornflower. Whenever I see cornflowers or poppies I think automatically of home. This selection in the picture is from South of England, Arundel.

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Ja kui sa oled juba väga kaua kodust eemal olnud, siis näed sini-must-valget igal pool. Isegi seal, kus on vaja pilti töödelda, et teised ka näeksid.                                                       And if you have been away from home for way too long you start seeing the colour pattern of your flag everywhere. Even there where you need editing for others to see as well.

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Eelmise aasta s√ľnnip√§eva t√§histamine. Kui Kalevi tooted on k√Ķik s√∂√∂dud ja midagi Eestimaist enam pidup√§evaks j√§rel ei ole. Eks peab j√§lle pidusokid v√§lja otsima, sest Kalev on otsas!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† Last year celebrating the Independence day. When you have no Estonian sweets left but you are trying to make it feel like home. I guess I have to take out my party socks again because I have done it again.

PALJU √ēNNE, ARMAS EESTI! M√Ķtlen ikka Sulle ja loodan, et valitsus……. sind t√§ielikult untsu ei keera. Armastan sind ja n√§eme varsti!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Oo, paneme √ľhe mu lemmikutest Eesti lauludest ka k√§ima, mis toob alati pisara silma. Imeline.

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY DEAR ESTONIA! I am thinking of you and hope the government is not……. screwing you completely up. Love you and see you soon!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Oh, let’s play one of my favourite Estonian songs¬† as well that always make me tearful. So powerful, so beautiful!