Jardim Zoológico Lisboa

Here we go again: A new blog post and it has not been more than 2 weeks already, ha! (only 10 days, but who is counting..) haha

As promised to my loyal followers on Facebook, I will finally show you the photos I took in Lisbon’s AMAZING zoo. That week I also received a special visit, which made this trip even better: Dr. Steel aka Captain Cool aka Bernhard. 😀 (I am not the one who came up with those names, I would have preferred the cute ones. hihihi)

Starting off with the entrance…You can already see a lot of cute ducks, peacocks and even monkeys jumping around before even paying the entrance fee. (Quick note for those fast food addicts out there: They even have a McDonald’s on the zoo premises. I have never seen this before. haha) However, the 20€ are totally worth it, because this is one of the coolest zoos I have seen so far. (And since I love animals I have been to quite a number of zoos, so I know what I’m talking about. :D)

What I really liked was the area with the tigers, because of the glass walls, which provides a pretty good view. One thing I really have to mention is the weird behavior of one tiger. It kept running against the glass and backed up in a very weird way. I don’t know what that tiger has been through but it must have been something disturbing. After a while it calmed down and I was able to take this cute photo. 🙂 Other than that it had a nice and big place to chill with many opportunities to hide. 😀

The best thing of this zoo was by far the cable car that takes you all over the premises with an amazing view of the animals. I don’t know who came up with that idea, but this is GREAT! For one, you get to watch the animals from this unique spot from above and I think it might be less stressful for the animals, since you only get the chance to look at them for a few seconds, since the cable car keeps moving without stopping and moreover there are still some great hiding spots if it’s getting too much for them.

So if you ever come to Lisbon and you are an animal lover as I am, this is the place to go! Below you will find my pictures. (click on each of the photos in order to make them bigger) Enjoy. 🙂

See you soon!

Claudia

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14 Places to visit in Portugal

Hello Internet-friends!

Since my last post (Lisbon Erasmus guide) I really got into that mood of telling you about what you could/should do if you choose Lisbon as your exchange semester location. Well, I guess not too many of my readers are considering that, though. hahaha. Still going to keep writing as long as I am inspired. Deal with it! Imagine me wearing cool sunglasses while preparing this guide for you on a rainy day. (Yes, rainy season is about to start. Noooooo.) So without further ado, here is a list of places that are worth a visit:

  1. Belem: area that belongs to Lisbon, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (monestery), Torre de Belém (very famous tower), Centro Cultural de Belém (looks very nice from the outside, about the inside I don’t know, because I have only seen in from far away haha)
  2. Cascais: it takes about 40mins by train to get to this small town (leaving from Cais do Sodre), very touristy place, Farol da Guia (lighthouse with a nice view)
  3. Carcavelos: about 25mins by train, nice beach and easy to reach
  4. Sintra: about 40mins by train (Rossio train station), known for its very old palaces, very beautiful landscape (Google it)
  5. Óbidos: about 1h by car, I would not recommend the train since it takes waaaay too long compared to the car, know for its Christmas town (also middle ages market in summer)
  6. Coimbra: about 2h by car or 2-3h by train, one of the bigger cities in Portugal, according to wikipedia many students are living there, maaany sights you should definitely see (one of the cities than many people recommended me to go)
  7. Setúbal: 40mins by car and much longer by train, one of the trips organized by the language course faculty (FCSH), known for the good wine
  8. Nazaré: known for its HUGE waves –> take a look at the pictures on Google haha (up to 30 meters)
  9. Caldas da Reinha: near Óbidos, famous for its thermal water, also organized by the language course faculty
  10. Évora: 40mins car ride, Temple of Diana (Roman Temple of Évora), language course faculty trip
  11. Batalha: near Nazaré, Batalha Monastery
  12. Algarve: region in the very south of Portugal, know to look like a “paradise”, very nice beaches, etc
  13. Porto: Stop talking, just go there! Either by plane or by bus (both starting at 10-15€), Look in my previous blog posts, I uploaded a lot of pictures from my trip. 🙂
  14. Madeira: (kind of) near the Canary Islands, if you are lucky you can find a flight for about 50-60€ round trip, very well known for its wine

Hopefully you find some places worth a visit after my brief summary. I have got all the information from 1) being there and telling about my own experience, 2) remembering what others told me or 3) doing a little research on Google. I am very open and would also really appreciate it if you find some mistakes and tell me, or if you have anything to add to this list. Thank you in advance! 🙂

Cheers!

Claudia

p.s. I took that photo in Porto. 🙂

Lisbon Erasmus guide

Moving to a different city can be scary at first, especially when you hardly know anyone. So if you ever plan on going to Lisbon, you are lucky, because you know ME and I can help you with the first steps when arriving here. haha 😀

Accomodation

First things first, I am assuming you don’t wanna live under a bridge, so you definitely need a place to stay. But where to start? Well, you need to decide if you wanna be on the safe side and find a room before arrival or if you consider yourself a very brave person who likes adventures and accepts the challenge of finding a place last minute.

If you are the first type, I can tell you, there are a lot of online platforms, which help you with finding the right apartment for you. (e.g. uniplaces, inlife Portugal, and maaaany more –> google is your friend) I even got some offers sent to me by Nova SBE. One thing you might be concerned about (at least I was) is: Can I really trust those platforms? Does it really look like in the pictures? Is it a good neighborhood? Any noisy streets in front of my window? I did not book a room on those platforms, but I can tell what I have heard about it: At least nobody of the people I know has complained about it so far, but one disadvantage might be that you usually have to pay the first rent in advance, but then again, you are on the save side. 😀

If you would like to see the room first, before paying anything you will probably need to go down the not-so-safe-but-more-adventurous-highway. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it seems, because in Lisbon it is actually very easy to find a room. So for you, I recommend: Just book a hostel for a week or two and you will surely end up fine.

Regarding the different areas in Lisbon: A good place might be somewhere around the blue line, especially between “Marques de Pombal” and Baixa-Chiado”. The red metro is also fine in the areas between “Sao Sebastião” and “Bela Vista” or “Chelas”, since it’s not far from where it crosses all the other lines. (haha, this might me confusing, just take a look at the map)

Metro

The easiest way getting around the city is definitely by metro, since it is the only way of transportation that cannot get stuck in traffic. And ohhhh trust me, you do not wanna have the same experience as me when taking the bus during rush hour. Sitting in the bus for 1,5h instead of 20mins IS NOT FUN! HAHAHA! Back to my point: You will need a ticket for your stay and most Erasmus students usually buy the monthly ticket. (about 35€ each) BUT! You should know, in order to receive your pass you have to fill out some form, wait for a day and also pay (I think) 12€. After that you can top up your pass every month. Don’t forget to bring your passport, a photo and a loooooot of patience for waiting in line. 😉

Sim card

Getting a Portuguese sim card is essential if you don’t want your phone bill to suck the money out of your bank account. The best thing about it is: You don’t have to do anything to acquire it! 😀 Well almost… The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) or Erasmus Life Lisboa (ELL) will give you a sim card (at the welcome event at Nova SBE or in their offices) and the cool thing about it is, that the first month is for free! After that you need to pay for the upcoming months at a store of the network provider. If you own a Portuguese bank account (at the campus you will have a chance to open an account) you can top up your sim card at any ATM without paying a small fee.

Portuguese language course

Falas Português? If not, I got this really good offer for you: The language courses at FCSH (Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas) near Campo Pequeno. It’s 50€ for one semester with 4h each week, but sadly, it’s only for students from the European Union, so as an “international” student you will have to pay 350€ for the same course. WHAT? (I know it’s subsidized by the EU, but it’s still mean. haha :P)

ELL/ESN card

If you consider yourself a party animal and you cannot miss one single event, you should definitely get on of those cards. (Or even both? haha) You might have already guessed it, those card are issued by the two student networks mentioned above, and the advantages of holding such a fancy card are discounts or free entry to all kinds of clubs or events and even on ELL/ESN trips to different cities. I got my ELL card at the welcome event at Nova and paid 12€ for it. (Oh, and bring a photo)

I hope this was helpful for some of you and, I can tell you, coming to Lisbon is totally worth it, because it is a very cool and beautiful city and I am really happy about my choice.

Buh bye!

Claudia

Weekend trip to Porto

Finally, I have been to Porto. It is located in the north of Portugal and – as far as I know – the second biggest city of Portugal with about 200.000 inhabitants. So pretty much the same size as my home town Linz. 😀 Usually, I am not a big fan of small cities, but I really liked it there.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will rather just show you how it was than blablabla-ing about it in this post. Here are just a few facts about the trip:

  • 3-4h bus ride
  • We were a group of – I think – 11 people.
  • We stayed in a pretty nice hostel in the center of Porto.
  • Porto has maaaaany bridges.
  • We also did a wine tasting.
  • Aaaaand we went surfing again.
  • More photos might follow after I managed getting the rest of them.

 

 

Surfing in Carcavelos

YES, I have finally lost my surf-virginity. I mean, who comes to Portugal and does not go surfing? It’s like skiing when you are in Austria.

First things first: I think you’ve already guessed it: Yosi joined me last Sundayfunday (25th of September). After a 40-minutes ride by train we arrived in Cascais where the surf school is located. While wandering around the small and beautiful city center of Cascais, we were able to witness the Cascais Triathlon which led through the streets of the town.

After arriving at the surf school, we discovered that it is not only a surf school, but also a hostel with maaaaaany Germans staying there. I have already got used to hearing my mother tongue literally everyday and everywhere. (Even the Persian owner of a shisha bar talked to me in German. haha) Lisbon seems like the second home for Germans after Mallorca. haha  Fun fact: The majority of international students at Nova SBE are Germans, followed by Italians.

Moving on to the cool part: The surf lesson at the Caracavelos beach. (15mins drive from the Cascais surf school) Although it has already been a week, I still hear my teacher screaming: “Paddle, paddle, paddle!!!!! PADDLE FASTER!!!!!!” (imagine it with this cool Portuguese accent haha) This is what you have to do if you want to catch a wave, which is veeeeery difficult. I only managed to catch a wave once on my own, while the other times I have always had help from my teacher. haha. Even though I fell off the surf board more times than I can count and swallowed a lot of sea water, I had so much fun and I am looking forward to my next surf lessons. (Already booked one in Porto. ;))

Aaaaaand since we were such good surf students, Yosi and I rewarded ourselves with delicious burgers in Cascais. 😀

Have a nice week! 😀

Claudia

Vogue Fashion Night Out – Sept. 2016

Hello Internet-friends!

On September 15th there was this huge “Vogue Fashion Night Out” event on the shopping-streets of Lisbon. Yes, I know.. I am sorry for my friends on Snapchat who were constantly being spammed with all kinds of pictures by my over-excited self. I think my Snapchat story has never been more alive. But I was so excited about everything!!!

But before I try to make you all jealous about how cool this was, I would like you to meet the amazing Yosi! (I swear, that’s how it’s written in her passport.) She has been a great companion since my Lisbon adventure has started. (Hi, Yosi! :D)

We got free tattoos. (Of course, they were real.)

We got free drinks.

We got discounts in all the participating shops.

We had all kinds of different opportunities to make funny photos. We even got some of them printed out!! 😀 😀

We had these cool orange fans given to us. (Look at them legs – photo)

And: For the first time, we discovered how insanely huge the Bairro Alto is. (For the non-Lisbon friends: It’s the nightlife area with looooots of bars, restaurants, etc.) I haven’t seen anything like this before.

In order to make it easier for you to imagine the fun, I present to you my gallery below. (Don’t hesitate clicking on the pictures.)