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Vacation, Vegan Style (Part 2)

Posted Jun 29 2009 3:00pm
Ahmy poor little blog...I have been terribly negligentwrapped up long ago in some birthday blues (ahem- that was in April) and then just pure lack of motivation which turned into anxiety- you know how once you've put something off long enoughit suddenly looms enormous & overwhelming and it's embarrassingly a few months later...so let me just get to it already & share with you all the best vacation ever! So we last left off with the super fun wedding in Virgin Gorda and then we were off for some real relaxation in Vieques...

Ohwait- also my Hard Candy giveaway from forever ago- the randomly drawn winner
(expertly overseen by the reputable professional over see-er cats Booboo & Thelonious): Melody over at Melomeals!

Okay back to my post...before the actual relaxing part beginsI had to get over my tiny plane anxiety...I've been in some small planes before but this little 10 seater takes the cake and see the storm clouds blanketing the sky? As we waited at the San Juan airport to boardI was not a happy camper.
After a painstakingly long 25 minutes later where I felt every hop skip jump & dip our puddle-jumper made and of coursegrasping my mala beads & chanting mantras the whole entire timewe landed safely. We picked up our car & off to the cool little place I found online: Tower Lofts at Villa Venti

Designed by architectJohn Hix of the famous Hix Island House Viequeswe were able to experience his whole bringing the outdoors indoors at about half the cost. These minimalist concrete structures have no windows & outdoor showers. I have to admit being the city girl that I amwasn't too thrilled about not having windows & perhaps finding more nature indoors than I would like...but the space was just amazing and super calming.

This is the view from the bed and yesthat's rightno windows...
We had our own private rooftop terrace with the most amazing viewsour outdoor shower had the same views....




Unfamiliar with Vieques? It's a part of Puerto Rico. Vieques is the small island just off the coast of PR where the US Navy & Marine used to conduct bombings until years of bitter protests got them to finally leave in 2004. Because the Navy/Marines had occupied much of the islandonce they leftwhole tracts of untouched beaches were open to the public. The appeal of Vieques is that it isn't overly developed. There are no real big hotels except for a W Hotel making it's way in soon to take over the only big chain hotelthe Wyndham.

The allure of Vieques? Secluded paths like this one....
...leading to gorgeous empty beaches like this oneBlue Beach...which we renamed our private beach since there were only about 8 other people spread out so far that you could barely see them.

Another wonder in Vieques is the largest brightest bio-luminescent bay in the world- couldn't get a proper picture but basically when the water is agitated at nightbillions of tiny microorganisms light up...stick your hand in the water & swish it around & the water lights up...really amazing. Hard to get the picturethink of your hand in the water with a glow around it...

We took a mangrove/biobay tour- it's the mangroves that make this bay the largest bio bay in the world. Mangroves support an amazing amount of wildlife from baby fish to oysters to herons and everything in between.

Vieques is also home to wild horses...you have to drive carefully because there are always horses around...like these horses hanging out in front of school.
The old part of town is charming as well-

And what's even better- decent vegan food options! Especially cool was the Sol Food cart at the entrance of the National Park/Beaches...

Marked "vegan"- a delicious quinoa salad and yummy marinated chickpea & bean salad...

Also yummy were these arepas- tasty flour puffs one flavored garlicthe other coconut along with tart lemonade made for a perfect snack and that orange stuff is the most delicious hot sauce ever- made in Vieques called Coqui Fire in various flavors of hot. My favorite was passionfruit.

Other vegan deliciousness to be had in Vieques? El Quenepo is vegetarian-friendly and will accommodate vegans- I was thrilled. My entree was a West Indian fried ravioli- basically a giant samosa with mango chutneywhich was good but a little too sweetbut still yummy.

The best thing ever was the summer roll appetizer- it was so delicious. The micro greens had a distinct flavorso delicate & so flavorful. This was my favorite.

Just a few doors down was Bili'swhere I had a tasty vegetarian paella with chickpeasraisins & pinenuts- made for great cold leftover at hot beach the next day!

Most evenings we were greeted by Brahmin cattle at the gate back at our place because they share the land with a farmer...it was pretty cool. They will ignore you by turning their behinds to youexcept the little baby in the middle- staring straight ahead at us. Before we pulled upI saw two of the younger ones playing & jumping each other- was so sweet.

As we pack the car up and head back to the tiny airport for the tiny puddle jumperonto San Juan and then homeToby & Pete barked their goodbyes. These two sweet dogs were rescued by the hotel owners. Pete had been tied to a tree & left to die and Toby had been abandoned at the airport. They are the sweetest dogs ever and I am grateful to stay at a place where the owners love their rescues as much as I do. The Vieques Humane Society has made a huge impact on the island- there are a few strays but they have been very successful with their spay & neuter program & adoptionsjust another reason that I heart Vieques.

Last stop in my next posta quick night in San Juan on the Enchanted Isle of Puerto Rico!
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