Vegan at SAS | & the meat norm of in-flight meals.

bild 3SAS cater to a wide range of dietary requirements on their transatlantic and Asia bound flights. Give them 24 hours notice prior to departure to have a meal free from beef, gluten or even honey. Sounds pretty dreamy, eh?

One roll of bread and three types of condiments later

Now I don’t know if it was just as we were flying out of Copenhagen, a city that is generally quite – pardon my French – crap at providing vegan friendly food but thank goodness I had brought a whole bunch of snacks. What I was served on my near 11-hour flight between the Danish and Japanese capitals was rather ridiculous, particularly seeing as they do claim they cater to special diets and I have paid just as much for my ticket as fellow passengers in economy. Should I not receive the same amount of food?

It seemed all they had really done was to take the food items containing animal by-products and replace them with… jam. In different varieties. I mean, kudos for the effort of providing a poor vegan with the choice of different flavour jams but I am yet a little puzzled how exactly it will make my bread roll more filling? (My breakfast is pictured in photo above; while omni passengers were served filled baguettes, yoghurt with granola and a piece of frittata.)

The exaggerated meat norm should not board

And by no means is this a bash particularly aimed at SAS. (In fact, on my return flight from Tokyo the amount (and taste) of food was definitely improved.) In general it puzzles me how flight companies are thinking when planning their menus. The standard when it comes to in-flight meals on offer seems to be a choice between two. Meaning, as some people refrain from eating beef for a range of reasons, the alternative meal option will be something as far fetched as *drum roll* (or should I say drumstick) CHICKEN!

With a growing vegan population, and in regards to the fact that it is suitable for most religious- and dietary requirements, as well as just a more environmentally friendly way to eat — does it not make sense to provide a vegetable meal? Some grainy salads and for the bread roll opt brie for some tub of hummus. It is by no means original. But then again, neither is meat as an alternative to meat.

Until then, my dear special dieters – I reckon we are best off getting one of those bags Hermione carries in the deathly hallows and stuff it with snacks.

First two are outbound meals, third is return flight dinner from Tokyo.


Japan Photo Diary, Day 5-6: Bamboo groves, trendy coffees & hidden gems.

Alternative title, ‘A 2-minute Stroll Scroll down the Kyoto tourist attractions.”

Despite the early morning and having done no research other than which stop to get off at, we do not have to neither worry nor read maps when arriving to Arashiyama rail station as there is already a decent amount of tourists out and about.

We target a couple with pretty looking cameras and then shadow them; trying our best to walk slow enough not to surpass them, yet fast enough to not lose them behind the next corner. All while crossing our fingers they are, in fact, also on their way to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
Perhaps you recognise the grove; it can be found on several top lists on essential things to see whilst in Japan. These lists also tend to bring up the topic of how difficult the task of capturing this place on photo in a way that does it justice is.

Well, they are right. Now you guys know also.
DSC_0492DSC_0494Back in the city, a train ride and four espressos later, we slowly make our way to the Nishiki Market – a narrow arcade market stretching for five blocks.
DSC_0501DSC_0518 Via Happycow (as per usual) we find the all vegan restaurant Hale that is located within the market. The place is pretty well hidden if you do not know what you are looking for. Actually, it is proven difficult to find even if you DO know what you are looking for, as I have to walk past several times before finding its entrance.

Once inside, the place really feels like an oasis compared to the market chaos just outside.
On our way to Gion, aka the “Geisha quarters”, we stumble (quite literally) over Ryozen-Kannon when its massive sitting statue of the Goddess of Mercy surveying the city from her height of 24 metres suddenly hovers over us.
(My kind of philosophy if I ever open up a business ↑)

After this we collect our bags to check-in at our new airbnb out in suburbia and that is the end of that Wednesday.
Thursday calls for yet another early morning. We are at Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Temple, well before the gates open.

A security guy tells us to walk around the sides of the complex for 15-or-so minutes and there will be another gate that opens before 9am. Either he was pulling an early April’s Fool prank or something very essential got lost in translation, as we end up in the hills without a single alternative gate in sight. Atleast we got to enjoy a decent view from  up there.
Back at the temple grounds, still mere minutes after its opening, the place was pretty darn crowded (I can only imagine how it would be like going around noon!) and thus it felt very much like we were sheep being herded around.

I guess that is the thing with this kind of trip; you have a limited amount of time and you want to squeeze all the must-see sights in, yet you end up feeling completely un-original chasing down the same postcard views as everyone else. But hey, I guess that is how tourism works ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In the afternoon we join the crowd queueing up outside % arabica – the award winning coffee shop. (They also have a shop out in Arashiyama if you are needing a caffeine hit whilst exploring the Bamboo Grove!) These guys are really passionate about their doings, and it is easy to tell why the queue more often than seldom swirls its way down the street.

Also, check out the look of that sleek espresso machine?! Divinity.
Following along the tourist trail, we take the train out to Fushimi-Inari Taisha to climb up through its seemingly endless amount of torii gates in time for the sunset.

This one was a top pick from the trip’s bucket list. There are four kilometres of wooded pathway that crosses over Inari-san. The bottom bit is well crowded with people wanting to have their photos taken, you are basically a potential photo bomber every 6th step you take (but don’t quote me on those numbers!). The higher you proceed, the lesser the crowd. Top tip of the week.
About halfway up the mountain there is a beautiful pit stop with a view over Kyoto. DSC_0662DSC_0665
We climb up as the sun declines from the sky. Suddenly the crowds seem to have vanished and you can hear birds chirp and the light buzzing as power travels through the electricity wires.
For both brunch and dinner that day we went to Choice, which I think you can tell is a pretty top notch grade. I will write a seperate post dedicated to this place a bit further on.

This is part 3/7 of my Japan Photo Diary, the previous posts can be found here:

× Japan Photo Diary, Day 1-2: Jetlagged in a rainy Tokyo.
× Japan Photo Diary, Day 3-4: Livin la vida Ryokan & the 1st glimpse of Kyoto.

Next time we will do a daytrip to Nara & Osaka, and head out on a historical hike. Until then! x

Japan Photo Diary, Day 3-4: Livin la vida Ryokan & the 1st glimpse of Kyoto.

Leaving Tokyo behind, we put our JR-passes to use travelling north east towards Yudanaka.DSC_0118DSC_0119
Passing by snow covered roof tops and 1998’s host of the Winter Olympics Nagano ↑, where we changed trains and had time enough for coffee.
DSC_0131Once we arrived to our final destination of Shibu Onsen, another train and one bus later, the weather looked like this.

Since we arrived a couple of hours prior to check-in, we decided to get the area’s no.1 tourist attraction over and done with, namely visiting the Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani.
DSC_0136DSC_0142DSC_0154I had read somewhere that one could walk up the hill to the monkeys in about half an hour, but must have missed out on the tiny detail of that being from the last bus stop and not from the village at the bottom of the hill… Either way, we chose a forest route signposted from the village and I am sure it took us well over an hour (and that excludes the many photo-breaks that were made along the way) and only met one couple and two snow trucks on the way. #offthebeatentrack #theroadlesstravelled 😛

But never mind that, apart from my choice of footwear (sneakers baby) getting completely drenched in the snow slush that covered the road, our longer walk through the high rising pines was absolutely beautiful.
Arriving at our destination, my heart was definitely pounding at an increased speed. I could not help but to think of my latest monkey-encounter in Malaysia, especially when one jumps out in front of this American couple, on their way to depart, and grabs the lady’s plastic bag containing the printed t-shirt she had just bought and completely demolishes it.

The Snow Monkeys are definitely an interesting breed. What is particular about them is how they are the northern-most living nonhuman primate. To keep warm during the snow filled months they bathe in the natural hot springs. Other than that, they do all the regular monkey business. (Like flea picking and starting fights over hierarchical issues and what not..)
Back at the Ryokan, we changed into our yukatas before going downstairs to enjoy our dinner; which seemingly consisted of a thousand tiny little dishes.

It all felt a bit like being on a health retreat; sitting in our robes, on the floor, eating a meal mainly consisting of different kinds of mushrooms and tofu (I had requested a vegan meal after all).
DSC_0344DSC_0297DSC_0327Shibu Onsen consists of nine bathhouses, whereof only one is open to the public. The other eight only locals or overnight guests have access to, through a master key that your ryokan will provide. It is said to bring good luck if you visit each one of them.

At first I was a little worried we would not have the time to visit all nine, but finally you do not spend an excessive amount of time in each hot spring. Like 5-10 minutes tops… Unless you want to faint from low blood pressure of course.
The following day was spent mainly on different modes of transportation. Back to Nagano, up further north-east to Kanawaza, before finally reaching Kyoto.
At this point I was absolutely starving and we were both a bit cranky arriving at Kyoto Station. But the higher we walked up to explore this magnificent station building, just in time to see the sun fall down over Kyoto and leave everything in a beautiful pastel tone, we quickly forgot about our hunger.

Above and below are “some” photos to illustrate. (Yes little photo bomb, but no kidding, I have already excluded like half of them!!! Too much pretty)
Our airbnb was like two blocks up this road, by the way. (Pun intended)

This is part 2/7 of my Japan Photo Diary. Hope you enjoyed this somewhat mastic post of two very different towns. The last post covering our first two days in Tokyo can be found here:
Japan Photo Diary, Day 1-2: Jetlagged in a rainy Tokyo.

Next up is two days of exploring Japan’s ancient heart, aka Kyoto.
Until then!

Nightfall over Copenhagen: little mermaids & raspberry sorbets.


After a meal in a steamin hot indian restaurant (we meet again BOOB SWEAT, ol’friend of mine!), we continued to wander the streets of Copenhagen whilst the sky put on a show of different shades of blue. Past statues, monuments and spires. Mum stubbornly with her nose in the guide book, trying to locate us despite not knowing how to read a map properly.

Photos from earlier that day → Copenhagen Day 1: Rosenborg Castle and yoga posing swans.