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

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

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