I am still debating with myself whether I am able to actually call this one a ‘travel’ diary. Others would say that I simply went home, but everytime I go back to Germany it feels like going back in time to a different life… like a time traveller, so maybe this is my time travel diary 😉
At the end of October both Nick and me had booked time off to go visit my parents in Germany. I hadn’t been over since last Christmas, so it was about time to come see them again. We had the idea to go over at this particular time after I saw a Facebook advert for a vegan trade show in Cologne, which happens to be the area that my parents live in. So we had started planning our trip – a trip that would be my longest visit to Germany since I had moved to London in 2012. I can’t believe how much time has passed already!
I usually fly over to Germany when I visit by myself – well I used to take the Eurostar to Brussels up until 2 years ago, when suddenly so many bad things started happening in and around Brussels, that I started avoiding travelling through the place. As we live within a 20 minute radius of Heathrow airport, going by plane has also become easier than ever, so for my visits in the past 2 years I have booked with British Airways, whose prices are still reasonable considering the comfort of flying from Heathrow.
As Nick and me were going together this time though, we decided to go by car. This was cheaper than 2 return flight tickets and luggage and would also allow us to bring stuff over to my parents house and take things from Germany back over in return. One of the things I had planned to do at my parents house was to scavenge through my old boxes of keepsakes to sort them out and ooooooh what a mission it was!
We had driven through the night to get to Germany, arrived at 5:30am but my inner clock woke me after 2.5 hours of sleep. I was especially tired on this first day, but hey: at least I didnt miss out on the first day and we could spend a good 3-4 hours emptying, sorting and laughing at things that I pulled out of my old boxes (especially photographs!) Most of the things I left at my parents were memories, such as photographs or things from my childhood. When I left my parents house in 2012 however, my parents had insisted that I empty & sort out my entire room – a room that I had lived in for nearly 20 years. I succeeded and sold/gave away most of my stuff, but as I had to move quite quickly within 3 weeks there was also some ‘stubborn’ things that I left in said boxes at my parents house.
I think I used to be a collector in my previous life. Seriously… some things that I kept for ‘memory’ reasons, I can only surprisingly raise my eyebrows at now. Wow, so much has changed over the past years – and I became a ‘I don’t need it, I don’t want it, get rid of it’-person. Everyone who’s ever been in my old room knows I’ve come a long way 😉
As usual we had quite a busy schedule whilst we were in Germany. I simply always try to do as much as possible and see as many people as possible whenever I am back, which can make the visit more stressful than relaxing at times. For this week however, we didn’t want to go over the top – but still made a list of things we wanted to do, but left open when or if we get to do these things.
I think it worked much better this way around as we didn’t feel like working along a list of appointments that we committed to.
My mum had arranged a lovely brunch for the family on our first Sunday and as a surprise had also invited my best friend Nicole and her boyfriend Alex. The brunch was in an old castle that had been renovated and build into a restaurant – something you definitely don’t get to see in London!
One thing that I love about Germany is the history. It’s simply full of historic old towns and buildings, medieval town walls, castles, town houses… it’s just like going back in time!
The castle we went to happened to also have a lovely garden surrounding the old walls, so we were able to spend a lovely day outside in the nature (when we were not eating through the entire brunch menu ;)) In Germany most brunches are a buffet, where you can simply eat as much as you can. At midday they simply switch the breakfast style dishes for lunch-style dishes and the food coma commends. Crazy right?
Big up to the kitchen chef at the castle restaurant – they didn’t have a single vegan item on the brunch menu, so he created a bespoke vegan meal for me and it was absolutely fantastic! It’s so lovely that there are such lovely chef’s out there that simply go out their ‘regular’ way to create something plant-based 🙂
We spent a good few hours in the restaurant, so a good walk in nature was well needed after.
The weather had it’s up’s and down’s on the day, but that didn’t stop us from running around the autumnal scenes. To be honest, I think cloudy weather, wind and rain are simply part of this wonderful time of the year and over the years I have come to appreciate the changes in our weather much more – and they no longer keep me sitting at home.
One of my high school teachers had always said ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’ and ooooh boy how right he was.
During our stay I finally got to show Nick one of my favourite cities: Cologne! I technically grew up there, and spent a lot of time during my last years in Germany there as I went to photography college in Cologne. Definitely a place that brings up loads of memories!
BAGELS & BEANS
During my stay I finally got to try out some vegan options in my home town of Aachen! As traditional as the place is – I think it’s some kind of achievement that even Aachen already has 2 bespoke vegan restaurants 😉
We met our friends Elke & Patrick for breakfast and visited Bagels & Beans in Aachen. Not a fully vegan restaurant, but with plenty of vegan options, so I simply had to give it a try – and was definitely not disappointed! I was about to order 2 bagels right away, but was actually cautious that people might think ‘wow, Romy – how much are you eating?!’ – and then my friend actually ordered 2 as well 😉
That way I finally got to try the Dutch Weed Burger! I had seen it plenty of times at Vegfest London this year and last – but their stall always had the longest queue and I never got to try it out before. Seems that I had to go all the way to Germany to finally get to try it 😉 But you know what? It was totally worth the travel! If they’re at Vegfest again next year, I will definitely brave the queue to get another one!
Bagels & Beans was already reasonably priced in my opinion – for 10-15 Euros you could have a good filling breakfast there, though the drinks were a little more pricey ( I guess they have to compensate on the lower bagel prices somehow ;)) I will definitely go back next time I’m around!