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Vacation, Vegan Style (Part 1)

Posted Apr 08 2009 10:52am
We've only just returned from our lovely vacation a week and a half ago but the abrupt reality of taxes and what now seems like the never-ending audit makes our vacation feel like a long ago dream.

Ah, but thankfully I have pictures to remind me that it was no dream...well actually I still have my tan alongside peeling skin (yuck) and mosquito bite marks to remind me as well but that just didn't sound as romantic.

Our trip began with a wedding in Virgin Gorda, BVI which then segued into much needed quiet time in Vieques, PR. As any prepared vegan traveler does, I did quite a bit of research into restaurants & food options for the places we were going to and armed myself with Primal Strips & ProBars as backup.

Getting to Virgin Gorda from New York required a flight to San Juan, then a transfer to a small 2o passenger plane to Tortola and then finally a 20min ferry onto Virgin Gorda. We left on a 6am flight & arrived in Virgin Gorda around 2pm, needless to say we were a bit tired but our complaints were cut short when we ran into the many Australians friends that had also arrived for the wedding (the bride is from Queensland). They flew 27 hours and were ready to party. I was impressed.

Here's a shot from the small passenger plane from Tortola- it's been a very long time since I have been on a plane that small & was a bit nervous (however compared to the tiny puddle jumper later on to Vieques, I would have been grateful for this plane!) When we arrived, we knew we didn't have much time to really relax because there was another ferry to catch to take us to the welcome cocktail party on Sir Richard Branson's private island, Necker Island. The wedding party was staying there for a week so we got to party for a little bit the way celebrities do on Necker alongside Sir Branson. The party was quite decadent so it was really a shame that I was tired to begin with and after a few drinks I did not last long into the evening. No real pictures to share because it was dark on the island save for torchlight & two giant bonfires but it was a pretty amazing experience.

Here is the ferry that all the wedding guests were shuttled on- there were a few great actors & actress in attendance as well but the natural beauty of the sunset was the true show The next day, I was well rested & ready to explore The Baths which is THE thing to see in Virgin Gorda. We took a quick taxi ride and paid a small fee to enter The Baths which is a national park. Chickens, chicks & roosters abound. This is where I first realized that roosters crow all day, not just in the morning when the sun comes up.
To get to The Baths which I had assumed was simply a beach, you had to go down a 300yard trail/path. When we reached the bottom of the trail, we saw gorgeous turquoise water & giant rocks.
However the beach was quite small & the water was hard to swim in because of all the rocks, but we found a spot to settle in...we stayed on the small beach for about 40mins til some passerbys mentioned that we should go check out the path to The Caves and after some thought, we decided to check it out.

I can't believe we had been wasting our time sitting on that small beach when the true astounding beauty of The Baths was in the caves! Crawling through giant boulder formations & small tight trails, we discovered grottoes and to date the most amazing natural beauty I have ever seen. The pictures do no justice, everyone we passed on the caves were filled with awe.

Here is a pic of why it is called The Baths- grottoes like these, still as a bath. If you're brave, there are little paths through the water & rocks where you can dive off...
Emerging from the grottoes into stupendous rock formations, so many different landscapes in one place- simply breathtaking.
The paths take a little work to get through, holding onto rope to walk on slippery rock, crouching & climbing onto small ladders which can only fit one at a time...but even a city girl like myself managed in her flip flops.

In this pic, you can see the small queue forming below, waiting for us to come down so that they could go up. We lucked out that day because no cruise ships had pulled in- had the cruise ships been there, the trail would have been packed.

There was more to see like Devil's Bay, but by now we were ready for some food and opted for going back up & have a meal at Top of The Baths.

Veg options abound: Fried tofu (sans mayo dip) and a yummy lentil dish!


Meals were quite easy on the British Virgin Islands- there's always some West Indian veg curry roti to be had...and for breakfast, our hotel grilled some tomatoes, potatoes & and added a little guac spread. I also had a delicious vegan plate made up for me at Chez Bamboo- the owner is a transplant from NYC, which was cool.
The bride wore a gorgeous Oscar De La Renta gown. Both bride & groom looked so happy. The wedding took place on the beach at Little Dix Bay. Dinner was a giant buffet spread. I helped myself to some couscous, asparagus & salad followed by some mushroom pasta & roasted potatoes.
Here Fcat & I take a photo with the groom's sailing yacht, Athena in the background.
The reception ended with a great fireworks show and the after party moved onto to the boat.
It was a lovely affair and we were happy to have been a part of it. After all this celebrating, we were ready to head to Vieques for some rest & relaxtion...
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