Through The Lens: Bruges Impressions #2

Today I have some more photographs of Bruges for you. This is the second edition of „Through The Lens: Bruges Impressions“, if you have not seen the first part of this small photography series, click here.

I hope you enjoy the photographs!

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The „Grote Markt“ is so beautiful!

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I became obsessed with taking pictures of beautiful doorways!

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and another doorway…
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…last one, I promise!
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This is what happens when you are taking pictures while you are walking… but still- these houses are so beautiful!

Thanks for „reading“!
xx, Sophie

Exploring Budapest #1

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

 

Hello and welcome back to Aperture & Wanderlust!

Last December I decided to go on two solo trips, the first one was a 72-hour trip to Lisbon and the second one was to Budapest. I spent four days in Hungary’s capital in stayed in a Hostel at Oktogon, which is one of the major intersections in Budapest. From there, I was able to catch metros to different districts of the city and if you are into walking like I am, you can also go to many places by foot.

Budapest first became „Budapest“ in 1873 when the three parts of the city, Buda, Óbuda and Pest united. The city has many Museums, great places to eat, shop and drink and a lot of history to offer. As I already said, I spent four complete days in this beautiful city, however, there are many things that I still want to see when it comes to Museums and historical places. In this post I will share with you what I did on my first day in Budapest.

Hősök tere (engl. Heroe’s Square)

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Hősök tere (Heroe’s Square)

From Oktogon, I walked up Andrássy út (street) and it took me around twenty minutes to get to my first stop, Heroe’s Square. It is located next to the City Park and is one of the major squares in Budapest. In the middle of the square, you will find the Millennium Memorial, which was built for the thousandth birthday of the Hungarian land-taking in 1896. On top of the memorial rises the angel Gabriel. To the left and to the right of the Millennium Memorial, there are statues of the Seven chieftains of the Magyars and other Hungarian national leaders. The history of the Heroe’s Square is very interesting to my mind, I can highly recommend reading about it. As I source I used a wikipedia article which I will link you here. At this point I need to say, that I really like using our well-known encyclopedia to learn something about the cities I visit, I feel like sightseeing is so much more interesting when you have some background information and are actually able to recognise sculptures or people in paintings.

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The Millennium Memorial 

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Városliget (engl. City Park)

Passing the Heroe’s Square, you will find Budapest’s City Park. Part of it is turned into a City Park Ice Rink during winter, which was actually a highlight for me since I love ice skating! I linked you a website that I used to learn about the opening hours and the entry and rental fees. It was such an amazing experience since you are skating in front of the beautiful Vajdahunyad Castle. It was magical! I paid around 11,90 EUR (13,12 USD – 10,05 GBP) for the entry and the skate rental, but it was totally worth it! (1000-1500 HUF entry fee, depending on the weekday and 2500 HUF Skate rental, you also need to bring a deposit of 2000 HUF for the skates)

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Vajdahunyad Castle

 

Széchenyi gyógyfürdő (engl. Széchenyi thermal bath)

Heading a little bit further into the City Park, you will find a huge building in the Neo-Baroque style, which is Europe’s largest medicinal bath. The also called – Széchenyi Medicinal Bath – gets its water from two thermal springs and is, according to many travellers, a must-do. Too bad I did not bring any bathing suits … next time!

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Széchenyi gyógyfürdő (Széchenyi thermal bath)

 

Margit híd (engl. Margaret Bridge)

The Margaret Bridge connects Margaret Island with Pest and Buda across the Danube. Margaret Island is a 2.5 km long island in the middle of the Danube River and is famous for its recreational area. I really liked the bridge because of its colour, plus- you have a great view on the Danube and the Parliament building (which I will tackle in another post).

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Margit híd (Margaret Bridge)

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Széchenyi lánchíd (engl. Széchenyi Chain Bridge)

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Another well-known bridge connecting Buda and Pest is the Chain Bridge, which is at the same pitch as the St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István-bazilika).

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Szabadság híd (engl. Liberty Bridge)

Liberty bridge is to my mind, the most beautiful bridge in Budapest. I was told that it is a famous gathering place for young people during the warm summer months. You will probably see some more pictures of this „instagram-worthy“ bridge in the upcoming posts.

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Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge)

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Cipők a Duna-parton (engl. Shoes on the Danube Bank)

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Cipők a Duna-parton (Shoes on the Danube Bank)

The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial that was created in 2005 on the east bank of the Danube. It reminds us of the Jews who were killed during World War II by the Arrow Cross Party, which was a right-wing extremist party in Hungary. This party was in power from October 1944 to March 1945 and during this short period, tens of thousands of people were killed, most of them Jews and Romani. The memorial is very impressive and should serve as a warning for future generations.

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Climbing Gym: Monkey Boulder Budapest

I travelled with carry-on only, but still had some space left for my climbing shoes. The evening I arrived, I went to the biggest climbing gym in Budapest, called Monkey Boulder (The website is in Hungarian, but Google Translate did a good-enough job for me :D)
It was really cool to boulder with locals and at least five people talked to me in Hungarian which was super funny. No, I do not speak Hungarian, but they were fortunately fluent in English. Bouldering in Germany is pretty expensive, but I only paid 2100 HUF (6,25 EUR – 6,89 USD – 5,28 GBP) which is super cheap. I really loved getting in touch with locals and just chilling out after my flight from Germany.

 

I hope you enjoyed the first part of my Budapest series, let me know if you have ever been to Budapest and what you liked most about the city!

Thanks for reading, Sophie

Through The Lens: Bruges Impressions #1

Bruges (Flemish: Brugge; German: Brügge) is a beautiful city in Belgium near the dutch border. Its historic city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this beautiful city is home to almost 120K people. This post is more about the pictures, which is why I decided to choose the title „Through The Lens“. My friend and I only spend two hours in Bruges but we loved wandering through the beautiful streets and enjoyed the architecture of the buildings.

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The Markt (the market square)

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Belfry of Bruges on Market Square (The highest building in Bruges!)

Ending this post with „Thanks for reading“ is not really appropriate I guess – therefore: Thanks for having a look at my Bruges-Photographs, I hope you enjoyed them!
xx, Sophie

Road Trippin‘ England #2 – Hiking the Seven Sisters

Blogpost contains unsponsored ads (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.

 

Hello and welcome back to my Road Trippin‘ England series!

If you have no clue what I’m talking about, make sure to check out the first post of this series where we took the ferry to Dover and started our road trip (click here).

After we had left Folkestone, we headed towards our next destination:

The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters are a series of chalk cliffs, situated in the South Downs National Park between the two coastal towns, Seaford and Eastbourne.

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We parked our car in a car park in a street called Crowlink Lane. From there we took a twenty minute walk to the cliffs across the meadows of the national park which are home to sheep and cattle since the area is used as a farm.

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The view from the cliffs is simply stunning. However, be careful and stay away from the edge- as solid as they may seem, these cliffs are naturally unstable and cliff falls happen.

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Yup, these cliffs are definitely naturally unstable. 

Tea Time

If you need a break from hiking, you can enjoy a coffee or tea, as well as other foods and drinks at the Birling Gap Café next to the National Trust Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters.
On our hike we haven’t seen too many people, only at the Tourist center that I’ve just mentioned. As far as I can tell, many people just like to park their car near the cliffs and enjoy the view, only some people actually like to hike the cliffs.

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After a quick coffee break, we went back to the car and enjoyed the walk being surrounded by baby sheep with their mothers and curious calfs observing us through the fence of their meadows.

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A curious baby sheep approaching a calf. 
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Poor little baby sheep got scared when the calf snuffled. 

I loved hiking the Seven Sisters and I will definitely come back (with better footwear)!
Thanks for reading.

xx, Sophie

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