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?

Quick Update: Camp and New York City

Hello everybody,

I hope you are enjoying your summer at the moment and that the weather is good. In Long Island the weather great, even though it gets quite humid here and we sometimes have a 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) which is a lot when you are running around the whole day and do activities with the kids.

My third week in the United States has just begun (this blogpost will probably be published a bit later) and it is great so far. We had orientation for one week and the campers arrived the second week. We are a small camp in comparison to other camps in the United States, some of them have up to 7000 campers each summer. During orientation we prepared everything for the campers, for example we planned activities, games and different sessions, but we also had First Aid and CPR lessons. Additionally, we talked a lot about child behaviour and how to cope with difficulty situations, trust me – there will be difficult situations. It might depend in what kind of camp you are, just be prepared.

However, I can already tell that working with kids is an amazingly rewarding experience. One moment you think you are too strict and then suddenly they hug you, or draw you something and tell you that you are their favourite councellor. At the moment I feel like I am in a bubble because I don’t really feel like I am on earth right now. I am somewhere else, a save place that only exists to create great summer memories. It is amazing.

Yes, I am also exhausted sometimes. Coping with difficulties is sometimes really hard and sometimes I worry that I am not good enough for this job. But this is fortunately not often the case and when it happens I try to turn my thoughts on standby and focus on the kids, I am responsible and I want them to have a great time. Camp is about the campers, they are the most important piece in this great puzzle and it’s amazing to see how they change during that time. Kids who are bullied in school suddenly smile and laugh a lot. Introverted children suddenly become the loudest. It is a great community and I get up every morning with a smile on my face and am excited for the new day.

However, we also have off weekends when one sessions ends and the other is about to begin. On those weekends people go visit other places, which we did on our first day off. We took a train to Penn Station in the middle of Manhattan and spend our day in NYC. I know it sounds so stupid but it felt like coming home. There is no city like New York City. People from all around the world walk on these streets, it is always busy and overwhelming. This day we ran around a lot and visited some tourist attractions and even went to a thrift store in Soho. It was great! We don’t really have nice thrift stores in my town but the ones I visited in Amsterdam, London and NYC were amazing! Our day off was nice 😊

However, something happened: my camera broke. After six years of picture taking, something in the body is not working, and nobody can tell me what it is. I will have to wait till I’m home and figure something out for my time in the states. It’s sad but it can happen. We will see…

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy my NYC iPhone pictures 😊

Have a good week!

Sophie

Thailand 1992 – Koh Mat Sum

It’s time for some vintage photographs again! Maybe you have already read my last Thailand post, where I shared some pictures of my Mum’s Thailand trip in the nineties with you. Last time, I published photographs of Koh Phangan, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui. Today, I will be sharing with you impressions of the island named Koh Mat Sum. Turn on some nice music and imagine walking down these lonely beaches and enjoy the view.

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xx, Sophie

NYC #4 – The (partly) Alternative New York City Travel Guide

Maybe you have already read my first New York City post and know that I travelled to NYC for four days in 2015. Although I had a great time and saw great places and sights, I was (of course) not able to explore many alternative and non-touristy places.

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As you know from my second NYC post, I love to explore cities by foot. This is why I would try to not use the subway and walk through Manhattan next time.
If I go back to this wonderful city in a couple of years, I would like to focus on the alternative things to do.

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Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

This is still very touristy but a few steps from Times Square you will find the Rockefeller Center with its Ice Skating area. The last time I went to New York I desperately wanted to go ice skating, since it was very warm and I thought it would be quite refreshing.

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Visiting a Street Art Gallery

I love arts in general but I am also very interested in Street Art. Graffiti is not only about spraying walls anymore, many artists publish their graffiti in alternative art galleries.
Visiting a Street Art Gallery would be extremely interesting, especially if I could talk to New Yorker artists.

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Thrifting

Since I like to read blogposts about thrifting, especially by Kali Borovic, I would love to go to different Thrift Stores in New York. It is amazing how many great clothes you can find if you just be patient and spend a little more time in Thrift Shops.
Kali’s tips for thrifting and her thrift hauls are awesome and we should all try to live a more sustainable life and buy second hand clothing.

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Going to the gym in SoHo

This may sound weird to many of you but I am obsessed with sports and I love going to the gym. It is not that I always have to have a gym around me but I heard that especially SoHo has many alternative basement gyms to offer. So why not meeting some wannabe celebs in a nice hipster gym?

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Spending my afternoon in Strand Bookstore

Not long ago I found out about this bookstore on the website Goop.com. They describe themselves as a „modern lifestyle brand“ but I still do not know what kind of business they actually are. Anyway, they published something about NYC and mentioned this huge and beloved bookstore. I visited the official website (I linked the website in the heading) and became obsessed with the store without even having visited it before.
I really love to read and although I started using an  e-reader (because it is more comfortable and water resistant), I still enjoy conventional books. If I go to the library or to our local bookstore, I will spend at least two hours reading the caption of minimum thirty books, reading some chapters of books I think I would enjoy and then buying at least three books. Not very minimalistic I guess…

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Exploring China town and Little Italy

When I was in NYC, we just ran through these two municipalities because we obviously did not have much time. But it was really interesting to see all these people on the streets, selling delicious food and Lucky Cats (??)!
However, if I come back, I will spend much more time in these two districts.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this post and please comment down below if you have any ideas or advice on what to do in NYC.

Have a nice weekend and see you soon!
Sophie

 

Paris is always a good idea (Audrey Hepburn) – Five Dream Destinations for 2018

Hello everybody and welcome back!
As you may know, I recently went on a huge festival in Germany where I almost slept on the ground because my matt was so thin. Consequently I did not sleep a lot.
While listening to the rain running down my tent, I thought about my travel plans for 2018.

Since I will be going to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia the next few month, I will probably not be able to afford lots of travelling anymore in 2018. Additionally, I think we should never exaggerate our travelling, as it should be something special.
However, I would like to share with you my top five cities I would love to travel to in 2018. I think I may be able to visit some of these next year, since they are all located in the western part of Europe and Ryan Air usually offers some cheap flights.

Dublin

The reasons why I would like to go to Dublin are rather stereotypical. You probably know what I mean….Irish Pubs, Nature, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle etc.
However, I also think that if you are interested in celtic and norse history, Dublin offers great opportunities to get informed about history and culture.

Madrid

Maybe you stumbled across my Spain posts (click & click) and already know that I travelled to Barcelona three years ago. But I would also love to go to Madrid next year, since it is Spain’s capital and I recently found out that Madrid is the third-largest city in the EU! We used to talk a lot about Madrid in Spanish class and I learned a lot about the city’s sights and history, which is the reason why I am extremely interested in Spain’s capital.

Lisbon

Firstly, only looking at these pictures causes wanderlust. Secondly, I think I should sign up for a Portuguese language course. Learning the language, exploring the city, taking amazing photographs and visiting Sintra, a small town near Lisbon would be a great experience.
After having explored Lisbon, I would like to go surfing in Ericeira, a municipality 50km to the northwest of Lisbon.

Prague

I really want to go to Prague since I read a blogpost about a Prague trip in 2012.
The historical centre of Prague must be very pretty and romantic.
Additionally, wandering around, having coffee in one of the little street cafés and going on a boat trip on the Vltava sounds very nice to me.

Paris

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
– Ernest Hemingway

I think Hemingway and Audrey are right, Paris is simply wonderful. I went to Paris five years ago when I took part in an student exchange with people from Lille, which is in the north of France. We went on a day trip to the capital of France but unfortunately we neither walked down the Champs-Élysées, nor we visited the Louvre.
This is the reason why I feel that I have never been to Paris before, consequently I would highly appreciate a weekend trip to Paris. I mean, „Paris is always a good idea“ right?!

Which cities would YOU like to travel to in 2018?

Have a nice week and stay tuned!
Sophie

 

Disclaimer: These pictures were not taken by me. I found them on Pinterest and created a new Pin Board for pictures I am using on my blog. If you are interested in the sources and the blogs where I got these pictures from, please visit my Pinterest and have a look at those blogs and the great people who took these shots.
If you are the owner of one of these pretty photographs, please send me an e-mail and I will delete the picture if you want me to. 

 

Why do we travel and can it teach us how to be happy?

Why do we spend tons of money on flights and hostels?
Why do we spend hours and hours of our precious time on airplanes?
Why do some of us feel a constant feeling of wanderlust?
And why do I think that travelling will make me happy?

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My friend and I used to talk a lot about travelling and especially happiness.
He often said that he would not understand why people would travel in order to become happy.
And honestly, I do not know the answer. And I am doing exactly the same thing.

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Does travelling make us happy?

As far as I know, many people travel in order to escape their daily life, in order to declutter their head and to be mindful about what they are doing.
In addition, many people hit the road because they want to find themselves and to find happiness.

But does that really make sense?
Partly, I guess.

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Maybe you have already read my post about Solo Travel, where I talked about my expectations and what benefits you will have from Solo Travelling.
Personally I feel that the best part is that while travelling (no matter if you are travelling solo or in a group), you will have to push yourself out of the comfort zone.
You will be confronted with certain obstacles and you will learn to solve problems.

While learning to be mindful you will probably get to know yourself even better.

It is very interesting to observe, how people behave when they are in another country.
We are acting differently when we travel, since our experiences in a foreign country are probably not similar at all to our everyday life.

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Can travelling teach us how to be happy?

To my mind, this question is very difficult. Personally, I think that you cannot learn to be happy, only because you spent some time abroad.
Happiness is way more complex than this.
Yes, you will be very happy while travelling, but we can only escape our reality for a certain time and sooner or later, we will return home and realise that we just ran away from our problems.

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We have to learn that happiness does not depend on our residence.

Travelling changes our views on things and it will make us happy for a while.
However, we have to learn how to develop a permanent happy mindset, in order to stay happy. Happiness begins in our heads.

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Benefits from travelling

Anyway, there are so many great benefits you will have from travelling.
Meeting new people, making friends, discovering new places, learning from other people, learning how to deal with problems, learning to be mindful, lightheartedness, getting to know other cultures, talking to locals, eventually learning new languages and so on.
Travelling feeds our souls, it challenges us and gives us unpayable memories and experiences.
I hope that I will learn to be happy with what I have and with who I am.

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This topic is very important to me, although I cannot find the right words to express what I feel. Sometimes it is hard to translate thoughts into a writing.
Nevertheless I hope you enjoyed reading this and I also hope you like the pictures I added to this post.

Have a great week and be happy :)!

Xx, Sophie

 

 

 

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