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Europe in The RAW 2011 ~ London

Monday, September 19, 2011

“The best for last?“ The last city we visited during this European vacation has certainly made it to my favorites list, just like Copenhagen and Amsterdam! London is very city-like, versatile, exciting, AND English speaking….yay! Before we left for our journey, I asked around for advice on where to get good quality raw foods in all of the places we were going to visit. The most negative warnings I got referred to London. I was told, all people eat in this city is white bread and fish and chips. This couldn’t be further from the truth! While I’m sure the above-mentioned foods are the most favored by the majority of people, if you seek out organic raw foods, you’ll find them. So that’s what we did and we booked a tiny apartment in Notting Hill near a three-story organic store (the one chain that has many stores all across the U.S. as
The View from Our Room
benefitsofcoconutsthamesfestivallondonwell but I don’t wish to advertise) that we visited three times during our two-and-a-half-day stay! And that is just the beginning…

The first day we met up with some of my husband’s friends and they took us around town to show us as many of the main attractions as possible. We were so lucky to have the nicest weather. The rain did catch us but only for a few minutes and the rest of the day the sun was playing hide-and-seek with the clouds.
I learned from my horrible experience in Amsterdam and was smart enough to make a salad and also packed some snacks to take with me just in case! It was the simplest salad but it saved me from having to eat out. Ironically, we walked through the most impressive line-up of vendors’ shops, including an endless number of international food stalls, at the Mayor’s Thames Festival right along the river. It was such an amazing event and there were several places where I could have gotten some quality raw foods, one of them an all-raw, organic place. Unbelievably, there was even a coconut stand there (of which I did snap a picture) with wise words at the front to teach the masses the benefits of fresh coconuts. The city center was quite beautiful, full of memorable architecture. We started at The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster (commonly referred to as The Big Ben, see above) and then saw the London Eye, which I find a very impressive structure. Look how beautiful it is, and no matter where you are in the city you can see it “watch” you. It’s so enormous!                      
London Eye

Next, we passed by the Millenium Bridge (instead of marching across it ; ) so it didn’t sway), then saw and crossed the beautiful Tower Bridge to get to the Tower of London. Later, we took a detour to see the Buckingham Palace and its gorgeous gardens,
before heading home through Hyde Park. It was such a beautiful walk. We got to feed a lactating squirrel (luckily, I had organic walnuts on me), photographed some ducks, and saw some of the art, such as the statue Isis, there. Our little tour covered just a small part of what’s to see in London. There are reasons to go back : )

The Millenium Bridge
Tower Bridge

The Tower of London & The Royal Garden
Hyde Park

Raw Food in London
The next day we were left to ourselves to do whatever we wanted on our last day in Europe. We decided to check out another part of the city, Camden Town. It turned out so well because we loved the area, we got to eat in a great restaurant, and there were tons of stuff to see so we spent the entire day there! Camden is famous for shopping, especially for its Stables Market, full of antiques and  
international food stalls. It is loads of fun to walk through this maze of shops and look at art and treasures from all over the world. But before we did that, we had lunch in a wonderful place across the street called inSpiral Lounge. This lovely place is an organic, vegetarian, high raw heaven. We didn’t know of its existence so it was a very lucky find, to say the least!

inSpiral Lounge – Review
As they say, a good first impression is invaluable. Mine was at least good. When we walked in we were greeted by lovely staff who were ready to serve us and didn’t hesitate to answer all my questions before figuring out what I could order. Andrew had (cooked) lasagna as his entree along with salads and I started off with a shot of wheatgrass and ordered a burger for my main meal that came with my choice of three side salads, yes, you’re reading that right, not one, not two, but three! I really enjoyed my first-ever raw burger, which was served on a bed of spinach and topped with some marinara sauce. The three salads I had were: a red cabbage salad, which had a creamy dressing, a maca & goji salad that was beet and carrot based, and caeser salad (my first ever caesar and my favorite of the three), which was nutty and savory, and so delicious.
As you can see the portions are quite generous too but that doesn’t mean I skipped the dessert. I wasn’t hungry at all but I had to try as much of their stuff as possible! So I ran back to take a look at the cakes and the ice-cream case (which you must pass by as you enter) and looked at what was raw. I went with the key-lime pie and since there were quite a few flavors of ice cream that were raw vegan I sampled
them and chose the lucuma-maple-pecan (ok, it had some maple syrup, not quite raw but we’re talking ice-cream anyway…) and the chocolate to go along with the cake. Whew, that was a good amount of sweets to share after such a meal. We cleared the plate though and we enjoyed every single bite. I loved everything at this place and I wish I could go back soon!



Goodies at inSpiral (and a bit of glare : J)

After lunch, we walked around a little more and as if we had any room left, we had some fresh sugar cane and young coconut. Andrew lived on Hawaii for a while so it was nothing new to him but it was my first trying both of them (besides a sip of coconut water before).

Are you impressed yet? What else would a raw foodie ask for all in one place??? London, or at least Camden, has got it all!
It was time to head back to our apartment so we got on the tube for our last ride before flying home the next morning.

Andrew & I - Maybe a LITTLE Run Down But Full of Experience!

I just remembered that night that there is a raw restaurant at the upper level of the gigantic organic store in the area we stayed so we went back to take a look at it right before closing. Saf is vegetarian and most of the stuff on the menu is raw. Since they had a table out front with their “snackables” I got to try some of their crackers. The superfood crackers were quite flavorful and had no added salt in them so they’re great if you avoid salt or high sodium foods.


I can’t believe how fast the three weeks passed. Six days in Barcelona and then five countries in fifteen days. It was the best vacation, ever! I got to see my family and a bunch of new places. I’m already sitting at home in L.A., typing away, and daydreaming of our next adventure somewhere far in a different world.

The funniest thing, and a closure to our trip, was the picture I saw at LAX airport upon arriving:


Having been the biggest dreamer my whole life, I always said I lived in La La Land. Little did I know that I literally did for the past year and a half! I love Europe and I love Los Angeles. The first time ever I didn’t mind coming home! : )

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