Cliff Edge – Fraser Island 2017

I can’t believe it’s been already two years since I went to Fraser Island and did a Four Wheel Drive Tour exploring the island with other travellers.
We’ve seen so many great things around the island, bathed in so called „Champagne Pools“, did some skin care in a Tea Tree Oil lake and hiked up a hill and stood at a cliff’s edge. Standing there on top of the rock, I was so grateful for all the things I had seen on my journey so far.
My trip to South East Asia and Australia was my first, for me „real“ travel experience. The first time I did my own thing, went to the places I wanted to see.

I fell in love with Fraser Island because to me it seemed like at least 80% of the island was „untouched“ and in general it was „well preserved“ even though it is a tourist attraction. However, I haven’t seen any people besides my own travel group and some other travel groups at the Champagne Pool.
If you have a look at the following pictures, you will see that there is not a single body in these pictures, besides a sting ray swimming in the sea.
I loved Fraser Island and I am deeply grateful for this amazing experience!

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A sting ray swimming in the clear water of the pacific ocean. We’ve even seen a shark swimming around!

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Thanks for reading.
Sophie

Lisbon – A Travel Guide

Blogpost contains unsponsored ads (Airlines, Hostels, Restaurants etc.). These are all my personal recommendations based on my experience in Lisbon, Portugal. I don’t get paid for mentioning any of these places.

 

Hello everybody and welcome back to Aperture & Wanderlust.

Today I will be sharing with you kind of a summary of my Lisbon-Posts (click here for day one, here for day two and here for day three), I’ll call it a Travel Guide to Portugal’s capital. I hope you enjoy reading this and if you have any tips and experiences to add, feel free to comment down below!

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View from the Castelo de São Jorge

The Flight

I know it is controversial, but I booked my flights with Ryan Air, since they provide cheap flights from, in my case, Luxemburg to Lisbon. I arrived on a Sunday and departed the following Wednesday. For two direct flights, travelling with a small bag (not the usual carry-on size, you need to pay extra if you want to take a normal carry-on-sized backpack on board), I only paid around 30€. By the way, I travelled with my Fjallraven Backpack as you can see in the following picture and it provided me with enough space for my clothes, a book, my hygiene stuff AAAAND my Nikon reflex camera.

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The Hostel

I stayed at the HUB New Lisbon Hostel which is located in the Bairro Alto. I was really pleased with this hostel, they have a great breakfast buffet with fruit, cereal, bread, coffee, even cake etc. and a kitchen where you can cook. The room I stayed in offered enough space for the travellers, I stayed in an eight bed dorm room, however, since it was off-season when I went to Lisbon, I shared the room only with two other guys. The curtains at the bunkbeds offer you a bit more privacy and there are big drawers under the beds where you can store your backpack in (you should bring a pad lock though). Additionally, the location is good and it is just a fifteen minute walk to Cais do Sodré.

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8-bed-dorm at the HUB New Lisbon Hostel

Transport

Getting from the airport to the city center is pretty easy if you take the metro. You take the red line to Alameda and transfer to the green line and get off at Cais do Sodré. From there you can easily walk around or take the famous trams to get around.
I bought a VIVA-Card at the metro station that costs 0,50€ and you can load money on it. It therefore costed me only 1,33€ to get from the airport to the city center. However, if you want to reload it, you will have to put at least another 3€ on it, just keep that in mind if you don’t want to buy a new card. I will link you the website of VIVA here.

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Food and Drinks

Lisbon is a little bit cheaper than Germany, however you will still pay around 10-15€ in an average, nice restaurant. There are many great restaurants and small cafés, make sure to check everything out that appeals to you, I’ve seen so many nice places! I will now provide you with a list of restaurants and cafés that I enjoyed.

Noods – Asian cuisine, great bowls, noodle dishes and more!

PARK – A rooftop bar on top of a parking lot, nice atmosphere but the walk upstairs is a bit scary.

Basilio Café – they offer juices, bowls and have a great variety of vegetable packed dishes. Plus, the atmosphere is just great!

Go natural – I went to a café/Grab and go place but they also have supermarkets and restaurants.  You will be able to get Smoothie Bowls, juices, lunch and more there for a convenient price.

Time Out Market – Absolutely fell in love with this place, they have almost every kind of cuisine you can imagine!

Jamie’s Pizza – A Pizza place by Jamie Oliver, I really enjoyed a Pizza Funghi there!

Manteigaria – A food chain where you can get the famous Pastéis de Nata! People usually get one or two pieces of the Portuguese speciality and order a coffee and enjoy their snack next to the counter.

A Cultura do Hambúrguer – A bar located in the Bairro alto with an amazing interior design, they offer very fancy cocktails. The drinks aren’t as cheap as in the other, smaller and local bar, but still affordable.

If you like to drink beer, make sure to order Super Bock, Sagres or Imperial. Those are the Portuguese beer brands.

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Go natural Café

To-See:

In and around the city center:

  • Praça do Comércio
  • Elevador de Santa Justa
  • Castelo de São Jorge
  • Alfama
  • Tram 28
  • Elevador da Glória
  • Elevador da Bica
  • Pink Street 
  • Bairro Alto
  • LX Factory
  • Museums your interested in, I went to the Pharmacy Museum which was really interesting!

Belém:

  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • Torre de Belém

These are the things I did in Lisbon, if I came back, I would definitely go to Sintra, a small city in the west of Lisbon. It is known for its beautiful castles and a stunning view on the Atlantic Ocean.

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Torre de Belém

Shops and Stores

I’ve seen many cute little shops in Lisbon where people sold Portuguese jewelry, bags, clothes and more. If you visit the LX Factory, you will find loads of them, but I also loved a small store called „Hoiko“ where they sell handmade jewelry.

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Hoiko Jewelry store

Also make sure to go to one of the many sardine stores. I don’t eat fish but these stores look so nice and colourful. They even sell sardine cans from 1927! (Even though I’m not entirely sure if those sardines are actually from the nineteen-twenties…)

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Sardine Store

Another store I really loved was Organii at the LX Factory. They sell organic cosmetics and you will find anything from skin care to dry shampoo and conditioner bars.

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Walking around Lisbon, you will also find many old bookstores, selling new- and second hand books. 

More advice

Security: Personally, I felt really save in Lisbon, even though I was travelling by myself. However, I’ve heard from many people that they often got asked wether they wanted to buy drugs. It only happened to me once when I had company. However, as far as I can tell, just saying „No thank you“ (don’t let it sound too polite) will get you out of the situation.

Don’t buy tiles (Azulejos): You will probably fall in love with the beautiful houses in Lisbon covered in colourful tiles and maybe consider buying one as a souvenir in one of the small gift shops. However, it is often the case that people steal them from the houses in order to sell them, so just don’t buy tiles and just enjoy a picture of them.

Wear proper shoes: Lisbon’s streets and sidewalks are not made for high-heels, you will be likely to get stuck wearing heels. Do yourself a favour and pack some comfortable sneakers!

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Thanks for reading and feel free to tell me about your Lisbon experience!

xx, Sophie

Road Trippin‘ England #1 White Cliffs of Dover and spending the night in Folkestone

Blogpost contains unsponsored ads (Hostels, Restaurants etc.). These are all my personal recommendations based on my experience in England. I don’t get paid for mentioning any of these places.

Long time ago in 2018, (can’t believe it’s already 2020 and  I haven’t posted this article earlier) my dad and I decided to go an a road trip to England.
We drove my little, at least 24 year old, VW Golf Three Cabriolet to Calais and took the ferry to Dover. We had to book the ferry in advance and since my dad and I are usually not „over punctual“, we were fearing we might miss the ferry, which was not particular cheap to be honest. Fortunately, we made it on time and enjoyed the ride to England while at least half of the cars where honking because their alarms got off due to the movement of the ferry.

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The White Cliffs of Dover, arriving at the P&O Dover Ferry terminal

After twenty minutes, we could see the the beautiful and well known White Cliffs of Dover. I am definitely obsessed with rocks, cliffs and mountains, therefore, approaching the cliffs was really amazing to me. It didn’t take us too long to get off the ferry and we decided to drive uphill and go for a short walk. We parked the car on a car park near the Visitor Center Langdon Cliffs and wandered around the green meadows on top of the cliffs.

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View on Dover Harbour 
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Dover Castle

We had a great view on Dover Castle and enjoyed the last rays of sunlight, the view on the sea and the fresh and salty air.

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As the sun was beginning to set, we decided to drive through the city of Dover, in order to drive to Folkestone, a small city near Dover where our hotel was located. If we saw a nice spot, we would just stop, wander around, take a picture and then go on. Since we hadn’t really planned the trip, we had time to relax and go wherever we wanted.

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The hotel we booked a day earlier was the Southcliff Hotel, I nice and inexpensive hotel, that offered English and continental breakfast as well.

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Folkestone

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Hummus and Falafel at the Aspendos Restaurant

The receptionist recommended the Aspendos Restaurant to us, a Turkish restaurant that offers a great variety of delicious dishes and has inside and outside seating options. I had hummus and falafel and they also served us fresh pita (I think it was pita…) bread. To be honest, I think this was just the starter but I can’t remember what I had as a main dish.

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The next day we left after breakfast and continued our trip, driving along the coast, seeing many nice places and beautiful houses. I really love the „typical“ English houses with the red bricks and the cute chimneys.

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After a short stop at a beach, we eventually arrived at our next destination, which I will talk about in the next England Road Trip post.

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Quick stop at a beach on the way to our next destination.

We really enjoyed Folkestone as a place to spend the night. The hotels there were definitely cheaper than in Dover, the atmosphere was nice and the view on the sea was amazing! We also spend our last night before heading back to Germany in the same hotel and tried another restaurant, which I can highly recommend, called The Meze House. It is a greek restaurant located almost next to the Southcliff Hotel in a street called „Shakespeare Terrace“– and the food was great! I absolutely fell in love with Halloumi fries and we eventually ordered them twice, since even my dad loved them, although he always referred to Halloumi as the „Squeaking Cheese“ and never really enjoyed it… until that point … :)!

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The Meze House, such a beautiful interior design!

Stay tuned for the upcoming articles about our little „England Road Trip Adventure“, I hope you enjoyed reading this!

xx, Sophie

Exploring Lisboa, three days in Portugal’s capital #3

Blogpost contains unsponsored ads (Airlines, Hostels, Restaurants etc.). These are all my personal recommendations based on my experience in Lisbon, Portugal. I don’t get paid for mentioning any of these places.

Hey there, if you haven’t read the first article about my Lisbon trip click here, and I will link you the second one here. Enjoy reading!

Day three in Lisbon. The rain was pouring. However, nothing could spoil my mood- I had great plans for the day. I borrowed an umbrella from the hostel, which was unfortunately broken. It folded over my head made me look like a weird version of Darth Vader, I really had to laugh at myself walking down the Rua de Século. I bought a new umbrella in the next best shop I could find and was then well prepared for the day.

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LX Factory – urban style, artsy and definitely worth a trip

The LX Factory is an old factory site that was resurrected and is now home to many cool stores, cafés and start ups. It is located under the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge and halfway between Lisbon’s city center and Belém (is that English?) .
In order to drive to the LX Factory, I went do the Cais do Sodré station and took the Bus 15E to the station Calvário. From Calvário, it is just a short walk until you will arrive at the former factory site.

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There was a temporary art exhibition at the LX Factory, where local artists sold prints of their works under the name of Merc’Art 2019 Art is a Human Right – it was great!

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I fell in love with the industrial style and all the little shops, cafés and ateliers. They even have the „First Floor Ethical Market“ every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 8pm which focuses on conscious consumption and shows artistic productions. Unfortunately, I went there on a Tuesday, but it’s definitely on my bucket list if I come back.

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I found a little store called Organii where I bought a solid conditioner and I am already excited to try it. Still on my way to a more sustainable lifestyle, I am always looking for Zero Waste options to try when it comes to hair and body products.
Another store which I really liked, was the Bairro Arte store, definitely the place to go if you are looking for artsy souvenirs or if you are into crazy decor.

 

Around noon I found myself in a small café called chef Nino which offers lots of juices, great breakfast options and soups. I had the soup of the day and the juice of the day, which was both delicious. The café is super cozy and I had a chat with the waitress who recommended a bookstore down the street to me. I wonder how crowded this place must be in summer but there were just a handful of tourists when I went there a month ago.

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Enjoyed my ginger-carrot-soup and a pineapple-and-something- juice.

The bookstore, which the kind lady recommended to me, is called Ler Devagar and to be honest, I thought it’s a bookstore but I assume it’s so much more. They have a cute café installed in there and also host music installations, performances, poetry and more. This place is simply amazing, they offer every kind of books you can dream of. Good for me that I was only travelling with my small Fjällräven backpack, otherwise I would have brought home tons of books.

Once again, the downside of travelling by yourself is that you have to get creative when it comes to taking pictures of yourself. I really needed a #seriousbookwormface picture of myself, standing on one of those fancy ladders. I therefore placed my phone on the stairs and took a picture with self-timer and hurt myself while I was trying to hopp on the ladder as fast as I could. People around me looked kind of confused…I know…I could have asked someone to take a picture of me…next time!

 

Belém

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I decided not to take a bus to Belém and walked instead, in order to see more places. I discovered a parking lot with the perfect view on the Ponte 25 de Abril, a suspension bridge connecting Lisbon with the city of Almada on the left side of the Tejo, which is by the way, the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. In the background: the statue of Cristo Rei in Almada.

To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed in Bélem which is the district of Lisbon which is famous for its museums, different sights like the Jerónimos Monastery, an UNESCO World Heritage Site (which is actually very beautiful!) and the Belém Palace, which is today the official residence of the President of Portugal.

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From the Monastery, it is a one kilometer walk to the Torre de Belém, which is one of the most known symbols of Lisbon. It was really impressive to see the waves hitting the strong walls of the tower.

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Time Out Market

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I had taken the Bus 15E from the station Mosteiro dos Jerónimos back to Cais do Sodré and decided it was time to have dinner. I went to the Time Out Market again and had a super delicious Pad Thai which actually tasted like the original one in Thailand. I then met a guy from the US and we decided to check out some bars in the Bairro Alto, a district in Lisbon that is famous for its night life.

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Night Life in the Barrio alto

If you go on a night out in Lisbon (and even during the day), be prepared to be offered drugs and substances by men on the street. It only happened to me once, but as far as I know, a „No thanks“ and then continuing to walk usually works and will get you out of the situation pretty quickly.
However, there are so many nice bars offering good, and in comparison to Germany, cheap cocktails and drinks.

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I think our favourite bar was the A Cultura do Hambúrguer, since its interior design is simply amazing and the drinks are delicious and kind of „outlandish“. Someone definitely got creative there. The barkeeper was a young woman from Brasil who told us that she worked in Ireland for one or two years and recently came to Portugal. I found it simply amazing how she just decided to leave her country and her continent to work in Ireland which is, to my mind, completely different to South America and then moved again to Portugal. You go girl!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the this article of the Lisbon series.
Stay tuned for more travel content!

xx, Sophie

Exploring Lisboa, three days in Portugal‘s capital #2

Blogpost contains unsponsored ads (Airlines, Hostels, Restaurants etc.). These are all my personal recommendations based on my experience in Lisbon, Portugal. I don’t get paid for mentioning any of these places.

Welcome back to my „Exploring Lisboa“ series. If you haven’t read the first article, click here. To give you some background information, I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and left the following Wednesday in the evening. I therefore spent around 72 hours in Lisbon, which is around two complete days plus the day of arrival and departure where I was able to explore some things too.

Today I will share with you what I’ve done that Monday, I’ve tackled some of the most famous sights in Lisbon that day, which is the Elevador de Santa Justa, the Tram 28, the Castelo de São Jorge, the historic district of Alfama, the Pink Street and the Time Out Market.

 

Elevador de Santa Justa

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My first stop that day was the Elevador de Santa Justa. It is an elevator that was originally built to connect the streets of Baixa with the district Chiado. This vertical lift is a famous tourist attraction, if you want to use the lift, you will have to wait approximately thirty minutes, since the queue is usually pretty long. Additionally, it will cost you some money to use the elevator to go up, I will link you a website with further information about the prices here.

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Well, I wasn’t very keen to spend my time in Lisbon, waiting for an elevator, so I decided to look for bridge that connects the elevator with the upper streets. If you walk past the actual elevator and walk up the street, there will be stairs to your right at some point that will lead you up to the Chiado district from where you can access the bridge that is connected to the first platform of the elevator. It is definitely worth to walk up there and enjoy the view, even though there are better viewpoints in Lisbon, as you will read later in this post.

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I simply love listening to street musicians! There are so many young, creative people in Lisbon!

 

The Tram 28 disaster

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Lisbon is known for its little trams that connect the different districts of the city. The most popular one is the wooden Tram 28 which goes from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique, passing many historic districts, including Graça, Baixa, Alfama and the Bairro Alto. It will take you to many beautiful places in Lisbon but be prepared to stand in line for a long time.

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When I arrived at Martim Moniz, I was pretty happy to see that there were only two girls in front of me waiting for the tram. When they were about to enter, a man got in their way and pointed towards an at least 150m long queue of people, all waiting to enter the historic tram. No way was I gonna wait for so long to stand in a tram full of people and likely being pick pocketed. I therefore decided to walk to my next destination, which was the Castelo de São Jorge. Right behind the Tram 28 station I found escalators, surrounded by beautiful residential buildings covered with gorgeous tiles. These escalators will take you uphill and you can give your legs some rest, while enjoying the view! Of course you can take a tram to the Castelo, but I really enjoyed my walk, since I found many nice photo spots, and little shops selling unique Portuguese souvenirs.

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On my way to the Castelo I haven’t met many people but when I spotted more tourists, I knew I was getting close. In front of the Castelo were some artists, selling their art work like the man in the picture who created unique art using coffee as colour. However, most impressive to me where the two guys who played music with their instruments, called Hand Pans. I really enjoyed listening to their music and bought their CDs to support them. They met in Lisbon, one of them is Spanish, the other one from Berlin. I just love the idea of two individual artists meeting and uniting, creating new pieces of music together, supporting each other and enjoying themselves, which is quite good to see in the picture I guess.

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Castelo de São Jorge

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I stood in line for around ten minutes maximum, but depending on when your planning to visit the Castelo, you might have to wait longer. However, it is definitely worth it! If you are between thirteen and twenty-five years old, you will pay only 5€ for the entry, if you are older you will pay 10€.

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The castle complex, surrounded by a garden, provides you with castle walls to walk on, and old towers to climb. You will be exposed to one- or maybe THE most beautiful view in Lisbon. You can see the whole city from different viewpoints in that area, it is simply amazing! However, I would recommend wearing closed shoes with a good profile, since the steps up the castle are quite steep and might be slippery.

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The streets of beautiful Alfama

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After having visited the Castelo de São Jorge, I decided to explore the historic district Alfama, which is recommended in every travel guide. On my way I found this greek looking spot with a man playing the guitar and singing. I sat down for a while and just enjoyed the fact that I was travelling by myself, that I could do whatever I wanted and I was extremely grateful and extremely happy. It was a wonderful feeling!

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However, I think my expectations for Alfama where a little too high. I don’t even know what exactly I expected but it is still a gorgeous district of the city. I adore the tiles of the buildings, and just the atmosphere, there are many small and sometimes hidden restaurants. I haven’t even seen many tourists but instead some locals who always smiled back when I smiled at them. To my mind, it just felt so different, so relaxed, so kind.

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An encounter that’s typical for solo travel

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My next destination was the Pink Street, but on my way I discovered a cute little place that was very appealing, called Basilio Café. I ordered a green juice and just came back from the bathroom when I saw a young woman sitting on my place, next to my backpack which I had left there, hoping the Portuguese would say something if someone wanted to take it. I mean, it was a small café full of locals and the waitress even talked to me in Portuguese. Anyways, I told the girl that I was sitting there and she apologized and was about to leave when I asked her if she was on her own. She agreed and I asked her if she wanted to sit with me. That is how I met Sarah. She grew up in London and spent some days in Lisbon, and we chatted for at least an hour in that café. I was really happy that I had asked her to stay, since we had a great conversation and she is such an engaged and inspiring young woman. This is what I love about travelling by myself, I think we wouldn’t have met if I had been travelling with someone else.

 

„You just need a street and a couple of buckets with pink paint to create a tourist attraction.“

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Sarah and I decided to go to the Pink Street together, it is near the Cais do Sodré  station and pretty easy to find, even though it isn’t too long. It is really funny how „easy“ it is, to create a tourist attraction, just paint the street pink! Okay this isn’t quite true in this case. The street used to be Lisbon’s red light district and was originally called Rua Nova do Carvalho. Today you will find many bars and restaurants there, it is one of the places to go to if you want to go on a night out.

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Me, standing on the Pink Street, my face matching the colour of the street, super exhausted :D!

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Time Out Market

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It was time for Sarah to leave to catch her flight home and I decided to grab a drink at the Time Out Market, a huge food court with many different food options available. International food, typical Portuguese food, Wine, a Bar and next to the food court there is a big grocery market where the locals buy their greens, meat, fish and more. Good thing about this place: If you travel in a large group, everyone will find something to eat!
Have you ever heard of Pastéis de Nata? It is a Portuguese speciality made of egg yolks and topped with cinnamon. At first, I thought it was something with cheese, until I tasted it. It was super weird, as I was expecting something salty and it turned out to taste sweet, actually reminded me of cheesecake or something with pudding. It wasn’t really my thing but I’m glad I gave it a try!

I finished my day with a pizza at Jamie’s Pizza. I mean, I had pizza at a Jamie Oliver restaurant, to me, that’s pretty amazing!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my second day in Lisbon. I’d love to hear your feedback and Lisbon travel tips!

xx, Sophie