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

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

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?