Exploring Lisboa, three days in Portugal‘s capital #1

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.

LISBON. I fell in love with this beautiful city. In the end of October I booked a flight to Lisbon in the middle of the night. It was actually two in the morning and I couldn’t sleep. The past few months the urge to go travelling by myself again, grew a lot. And I knew that now was the time. So I booked a flight with Ryanair and a Hostel on Hostelworld. (I’ve already considered planting a tree or collecting waste, because I don’t really trust the airlines eco donation program, I still need to look that campaign up…)

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By the end of November, the time had come and I went to the Luxemburg Airport and took a plane to wonderful LISBOA. The flight was on time, I only carried a small backpack and therefore didn’t have to wait for my luggage. The Metro station is located directly next to the Airport and getting to the city centre couldn’t be easier! I took two subways and within 30 minutes I found myself at the promenade of Lisbon. (I will publish another post about my hostel, public transport, expenses etc.)

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Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s main square.
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Beautiful Trams everywhere!
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Arco do Triunfo

I arrived at Cais do Sodré and walked down the promenade until I arrived at the Praça do Comércio. My first impression was „wow it looks even better than in all the pictures“ and my second one was „why are here so few people“. It was a Sunday afternoon in November. Definitely not the hot season but good for me, there weren’t as many tourists present, I can’t imagine how crowded the city must become during summer, even I’d love to visit Lisbon during the summer months.

I sat down at the shore, took a couple of breaths and enjoyed the smell of saltwater. I’ve really missed travelling!

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After having passed the big Arco da Rua Augusta (also called Arco do Triunfo), I discovered the labyrinths of small streets in Lisbon. There are restaurants in the middle of the streets, just like the ones on the famous „La Rambla“ in Barcelona. To be honest, I wouldn’t eat there, I’m quite sure the food and drinks will cost you a lot more than usual. It was quite funny when I caught sight of a couple that took the same plane as I did, sitting in a restaurant in the middle of the street. I decided to walk to my hostel, instead of taking a bus. I feel like it’s so much easier to develop a sense of direction when you’re exploring places by foot. On my way to the hostel, which was located in the Bairro alto, I’ve already found the place where I wanted to have dinner and saw many little boutiques and shops. There are so many cute shops in this city where people sell handmade jewellery, fair trade soap, old books or vintage clothes. It’s definitely worth checking some of those out, just to get some inspiration. Personally, I enjoy looking at beautiful small gifts, boutiques etc. But I love to look at it as a whole, because even if I decided to buy something, it wouldn’t be as beautiful at my home, as at the store. You know. Conscious buying and minimalism. 😀

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View from the Jardím de São Pedro de Alcântara
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Elevador da Glória

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Walking uphill, I spotted one of the three Elevadores, the trams that just go straight up and down one single hill (street). The one I saw is the Elevador da Glória and one ride costs 3,80€. Next to this small tram is the Jardím de São Pedro de Alcântara, which provides you with an amazing view of the city. When I was there, there were constructions going on, but it was still a very nice place.

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One of the small shops I really loved, they had travel related books, soaps, art, everything!

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After I checked in at my hostel, which was pretty easy to find by the way, I decided to go for an Asian dinner and had Salad, Tofu and Edamame at a restaurant called „Noods„. The Atmosphere was great, the food was delicious and they offer a big variety of Asian dishes and have vegan options. I don’t know why but I tend to eat a lot of Asian food when I’m travelling, no matter where I am…

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Noods, Asian cuisine, great dishes, bowls etc.

After having enjoyed my dinner and a Portuguese beer, I realised that it was still too early to go back to the hostel and decided that I was going to look for a rooftop bar called „PARK“ which is located on top of a parking lot. I actually found the parking lot and went up the stairs till I reached the upper level. Alright, to be honest, the walk upstairs is a little cheeky, if I hadn’t known that there was actually a bar on top of the building, I wouldn’t have gone up there (is that a sentence?). But I was eager to see the bar so I took the stairs, ignored the weed smoking teenagers and well, it was definitely worth it! The bar has an urban flair, provides a great view on the city, is decorated with plants, has two DJs who are playing good music and has an indoor and an outdoor space. Unfortunately they closed at 8pm that Sunday, probably because it was off season, I am sure it’s different during summertime.

 

I really enjoyed my first day in Lisbon and after I’ve had a nice dinner and a drink at PARK, I went to bed, tired, but with a smile on my face.

Stay tuned for the next Lisbon posts! I am still not sure if I prefer the ‚travel-diary‘ kind of articles, or the ‚recommendation-must-see‘ ones. What do you prefer to read?

Have you ever been to Lisbon?

Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees – the last days in New York

It is almost the end of Camp. The end of nine weeks working in a group of international women, taking care of girls from underprivileged families. What an amazing summer! We did so many things, went to New York City almost every weekend off but there was one thing left on my bucket list: Watching a baseball game.

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We were so lucky we got tickets for the Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees game. I mean – helloo – Texas!!! It’s been two years since I’ve spent two weeks in Fort Worth but I still own my Texas Rangers hat! Fortunately the game was on our night off and our camp director allowed us to leave in the afternoon instead of after dinner. So we took the train to Penn Station and bought a Yankees T-Shirt for my friend from Austria. Afterwards we took the subway to the Bronx.

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The atmosphere was great but I have to admit, I definitely prefer American Football over Baseball. I mean the rules are quite easy to understand but to be honest- to my mind it was kind of boring after the first 90 minutes. In fact, we had to leave earlier because we needed to be back before midnight but Texas Rangers won the game, that is all that matters! I do not regret watching the game, it was a great experience but I won’t do it again.

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After the campers had left, we had to clean up the cabins and prepare the camp for the next summer. It took us a weekend to tidy everything up and in the evenings we went out to have dinner with the councillors or went to the mall.

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I love Urban Outfitters, even though the clothes do not fit me :D!
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Cheesecake Factory, I think I’ve tried at least six different cakes that summer!

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One last time having pizza with my co-councillor from Berlin at our favourite pizza place!

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Nine weeks of summer camp were officially over, I wish I could go back! But I still had two weeks of travelling left! So stay tuned :)!

 

 

American Museum of Natural History – my last weekend off in NYC

Have you watched „Night at the Museum“? I did and I therefore had to visit the American Museum of Natural History. By the way, this was the last official weekend off we had. It therefore was the last weekend I spent with my co-councilors – time went by so fast that summer!

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Before we headed to the AMNH, we went to Times Square where I bought some drumsticks at Hard Rock Cafe for my brother and we spent some time on the streets of Manhattan and also visited Central Park.

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Strolling around in Central Park

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We arrived at the American Museum of Natural History around noon and getting closer the counter, we realised that it is up to the visitor how much one wants to pay. They have a payment recommendation of $18 but the least you have to pay is $1. There were three girls in front of us who all paid only $1 and to be honest, in that situation, I considered that as pretty rude. They did not look like they were not able to pay the usual entrance fee and personally I think that if you are able to, you should pay the recommended fee, or at least a couple of dollars just to pay tribute to the museum, its staff, its donors etc.

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The famous Tyrannosaurus!

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The museum itself has many different exhibitions, the first one we visited was one about the African continent and informed visitors about wildlife and plants. I could not get this scenario of lions jumping out of the windows at night out of my head. There was also a polar/marine exhibition with a life-sized blue whale hanging from the ceiling. It was stunning!
In addition to all the wildlife on exhibition, they also informed visitors about the evolution of mankind and demographic change, it was super interesting!
Last but not least we went to the dinosaur and fossil segment and it was really breathtaking, imagining that these creatures actually existed and ran around on the planet. I can highly recommend the AMNH to EVERYBODY! Kids will love it, you will see tons of dinosaur skeletons, you will learn a lot and I promise- it will not get boring!

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Kale, Salad, Quinoa, Falafel, Avocado and more!

In the evening, before heading back to Long Island, we went to Apple Bee’s. Unfortunately we were not really into their menu and therefore went to another little salad bar/deli and got some nice salad quinoa falafel bowls. It was delicious but I sadly forgot the name of the place…For desert we went to M&Ms world and got our personal M&M colour analysed. I am green! It was a fun experience but I do not recommend buying M&Ms there, it is unbelievably expensive!

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Good night New York City!

I definitely enjoyed my last weekend in Manhattan. Now there is only one activity in NYC left that I have not already talked about- so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!
xx, Sophie

Afternoon in Amsterdam

Hello everybody,

before we get into my little Amsterdam experience, I just want to draw your attention to my new domain. Unfortunately, someone managed to use my old domain and I had to switch to http://www.aperture-wanderlust.com – I just wanted to let you know! Sorry for the inconvenience.

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Alrighty, in June 2018 my friend and I decided to go on a road trip to Belgium and the Netherlands. On our way back to Germany we decided spend an afternoon in Amsterdam. Since it was a quite spontaneous-low budget-trip, we did not plan to stay over night and parked in a P&R parking area for only a couple of euros. The parking fee also included the ticket for public transport. From there we just took a tram to the main train station in Amsterdam.

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To be honest, I definitely need to go back because even though we have seen and admired the pretty buildings, streets and channels, we have not been to a single museum and I cannot really give you any tips or recommendations besides from just strolling around and enjoying the beauty of the city.

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However, what I really love about Amsterdam is how friendly and open people are. People talked to us on the streets, complimented us from their bikes and the atmosphere in general was really nice. As you can see, I took many pictures of the facades and channels, of course we could not miss taking some pictures of ourselves 🙂

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We finished our little side trip to this gorgeous city with some good old pasta in a nice, little restaurant. I will definitely come back!

Do you have any recommendations for my next Amsterdam trip?

Thanks for reading!
Sophie

Grand Central Station and the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Weekend off in NYC #2.2

Welcome back to New York City, it’s been waiting for you!

Today I will be sharing with you some pictures of the Grand Central Station/Terminal, Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We decided to dedicate one weekend to different Museums in NYC and that day we went to the MET and also visited Grand Central Station.

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I guess all Germans out there will understand that I was pretty excited when I found a real bakery at Grand Central Station. Yes, they had real bread and great bread rolls that were not sweetened and did not taste like cake rather than like original bread. My friend and I bought ourselves a lunch and another bread roll with cream cheese for our „Abendbrot“ („Dinner“ in German, or if you want to translate it literally „Evening bread“). It  was  amazing !

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I really love the ceiling of Grand Central, it actually reminds me of the magic ceiling in Hogwarts…
Even though I’ve already been to Grand Central in 2015, I didn’t know that there is an apple store up the stairs. My friend unfortunately, crashed her iPhone screen the other day and bought a phone case at the store, but as far as I can remember, you really pay the price for the location.

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On our way to the Whispering gallery

Also- did you know that the Grand Central Terminal has a „Whispering gallery“ in front of the „Oyster Bar“ Restaurant? If you are directly facing one of the four corners of the gallery, you can speak to you friend who is facing another corner, even though you are meters apart from each other.

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Additionally, I just found out that there is a tennis club on the fourth floor, isn’t that crazy? However, this attraction is not really a low budget activity as far as I’ve heard…
Last but not least, did you know that as one of the largest railway stations in the world, Grand Central Terminal is actually radioactive? And that because of its granite walls the radiation levels produced by the station exceed the radiation levels that are allowed in a nuclear power plant?

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In the afternoon we decided to stroll through Central Park and then headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The MET is the largest Art museum in the United States of America and it’s located on the Upper East Side, on the edge of Central Park.
At first I was really worried about the queue in front of the building but as far as I can remember we did not have to wait longer than fifteen minutes.

Correction: I confused the ticket price with the tickets in the AMNH – we paid $12.00 for a student ticket.

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Anyway, the current exhibition in summer 2018 was „Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the catholic imagination“ and it was breathtaking.

The Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition—at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters—features a dialogue between fashion and medieval art from The Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism.

Looking at all these stunning robes or rather at these artworks, accompanied by impressive, classical music, created such a majestic and powerful atmosphere. It was simply amazing.

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At that time there was also an impressionism/naturalism exhibition „Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence“including art pieces by Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Edouard Manet. Impressionism (19th century) is one of my favourite eras and art movements in the history of art. The MET has so many great exhibitions and if you are at least a little interested in art, you will love it. And if not, you could still enjoy the view on the Manhattan skyline and Central Park from the roof terrace on top of the building.
I will definitely come back if I get the chance to!

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Have you ever been to NYC and did you go to the MET? If yes- how did you like it?
I wish you all a great week!

Sophie