Trip to Sintra + Cabo da Roca, Portugal

Hello my lovely Internet-friends!

As I have already mentioned in a previous post, I went to Sintra (small city with lots of beautiful palaces 😉) The first visit was not my last trip to Sintra, since it takes much more time than expected to see everything, which is why I went there again to see other palaces, as well as “Cabo da Roca”, the most western part of Europe with a stunning view of the Atlantic ocean. (If you look closely on my pictures, you can even recognize a curve of the horizon, so don’t you dare say the earth is flat!)

Aaaaand I have finally edited the very first video of my blog, which is very exciting for me, but don’t expect the ultimate masterpiece, since I am new to this. I recorded on both of our trips to Sintra and tried to capture the most interesting things to see. At the beginning you can see us (Yosi and me) walking through the garden of the “Castelo dos Mouros”, but we did not enter the castle, because it was too expensive and from the outside it did not look that exciting. haha. Moving on to the “Palácio Nacional da Pena” (where we did pay the entry fee), which is the most beautiful palace of them all, you can see that it is painted in bright yellow and red. (quick side note: We only paid to see the “park”, but in the end we could still walk through the outside of the castle, but were not allowed to enter an exhibition inside) The next one showing a walk in a cave is called “Quinta da Regaleira” and it also offers a lot to see, such as the circular staircase, a beautiful garden and some indoor views. Finally, Yosi and I also went on a 45mins ride from Sintra to “Cabo da Roca” and I really have to say that this is the most impressive view of the ocean that I have ever seen.

So if you haven’t checked out my video yet, I hope this short summary made you a bit curious about it. And without further ado, below are my video and my favorite photos of Sintra and Cabo da Roca. I hope you like them. 🙂 (Do not hesitate leaving a comment here or on Facebook! :D)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Vistor + thoughts on zoos

Better late than never! Finally I found the time to write about it and post my photos. So, almost two weeks ago, a good friend from Austria visited me over the weekend. We did this super-fast sightseeing tour through the whole city, starting off with showing her around the city center and getting on the tram at Praça do Comércio, which took us to the Torre de Belém. And believe me, we took loads of photos that day, especially since we were really lucky with the weather. haha. After that, we decided to pay a visit to “Jesus” (Cristo Rei statue in Almada), but we did not expect it to be such a long trip (boat + bus), so we ended up being there all alone, since it was already very late, but we had the most amazing view of Lisbon, especially of the “Ponte 25 de abril” (San Francisco bridge). Now that I think about it, it is very unusual to be “alone” at such an important sight. haha

The next morning we walked up to the “Castelo de São Jorge” castle which, again, provided us with a great view of the city from a different perspective. (Now looking at the city and Cristo Rei statue from the main platform. In fact it offers a 360° view of Lisbon.)

Day #3 we went to the Oceanário de Lisboa and honestly, even though I really wanted to go there, I did not expect so see that many different things as in any other oceanarium, such as the “Haus des Meeres” in Vienna. People always say that the zoos’ only purpose is to entertain humans, animals are being treated cruelly and that living in nature is always better than in an artificial environment. (Besides the fact that zoos evidently help endangered species, which is obviously a plus.) But especially two animal parks (L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia and the Oceanário in Lisbon) proofed that some animals do enjoy the area that was built for them by humans – at least in my opinion. I am no expert, but if you see animals playing with each other, doing silly things and just having fun in their “cruel” cages evidently shows that the zoos must be doing something right here. I watched penguins diving in the water playing with their toys and showing other obviously positive activities. Even the (amazingly cute and fluffy :D) sea otter is having the greatest time of his life there. haha

Summing up, I am an endlessly loving animal-freak (I mean, the cat videos are pretty hilarious. What would we do without them?) and it really makes my heart melt if I see such a behavior, that is not only triggered by giving them treats, but just by themselves. So besides protecting species from extinction, some zoos do a pretty good job in my opinion, Oceanário and L’Oceanogràfic being two cases in point. What do you think? What kind of experiences have you had so far? (In fact, in one of my latest posts I also mentioned a rather bad thing about a tiger in Lisbon’s zoo, but I do not know what exactly caused its behavior.)

So without further ado, here are my most favorite photos of this awesome weekend with Julia. 🙂

Claudia

p.s. If you would like to be updated more often, check out my Instagram (clanxart) or Snapchat (claudia.see) account.

Deadlines

Hello, long time no see!

Well, that’s because (and this time it is really true haha) I am suuuuper busy with meeting all the deadlines for university. First of all, I did not expect it to be THIS stressful and second of all, one group project needed a little more attention than others (Nicola, here’s a little thank you shout-out haha), because everything that could go wrong, which usually never goes wrong, eventually went wrong. hahaha (I could still cry/laugh about this. haha)

However, as you might have seen on my Facebook page, I visited the Oceanarium of Lisbon, and moreover I have been to Sintra again. Yes, this is the second time and there will surely be a third time, because even though, Sintra is a very small city, it offers a lot and, in case you are not hyper-motivated you will need more than one day to see everything.

Anyway, I promise, I will upload some photos soon and believe me, Sintra’s palaces are the most beautiful ones I have ever seen, so stay tuned,

Claudia

 

p.s. My mysterious visitor.

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

Quick update

Hello world!

Looking at my last blog post, I realize that it already dates back to October 12th, which is waaaaay too long ago. I knooooowwwww, I am supposed to keep you updated in regular intervals, or at least this is the plan for now. I have always really liked writing and my goal is to regularly write something.. just anything! I have kept a diary since I was about six or seven years old, so I indeed started writing pretty much at the same time I learned how to write in school. haha. My first entries’ handwriting looks literally like someone is holding a pen for the first time in their life. So excuse my lazy self, but sometimes I rather like to keep the readers of my diary ( = me and my future selfs haha) updated.

Anyway, here is a brief summary of what I have mainly done during the previous two weeks:

  • I have finally finished and handed in my bachelor thesis. whoooooo….! Still waiting for it to be graded though.
  • Regarding my planned internship in February, I have already sent out quite a few applications, but I still need to write about 500 more. Damn you, job market! Wish me luck! 😀
  • I am in (almost) full control about what’s going on at university. I even have time to attend some extra courses, such as learning print (“Python”) programming. (You are a nerd if you know what it means :D)
  • I have been back in Austria for one weekend, due to a very special family-related occasion. 😉
  • Aaaaand I dyed my hair pink. (Temporarily, so it was gone after about 3 times washing, but it was fun. :D)

So for the first time since I have started my bachelor degree I don’t feel as stressed about studying and all the deadlines as ever before. Maybe that’s because I know that I will be finished soon and that the most time-consuming part is finally over. I am still planning on doing my master degree, but I am really looking forward to my first full-time internship. 😀 (which is longer than 1 or 2 months)

Have a nice week, hang in there it’s Friday soooooon! And I pinky-promise, you’ll receive more regular updates. 😀

Claudia

p.s. featured pic: current mood

Weird things in Lisbon – part 2

Of course, I have already collected a few more weird facts about Lisbon. The more weird things I am faced with here, the more I like this city. 😀

  • bags for your umbrella: When you enter some shops, you will find long, slim plastic bags next to the entrance. When taking a closer look, the instructions tell you that you can use this to put your wet umbrella in there. First thing that came to my mind: Heyyy this is very thoughtful, in Austria they don’t provide you with this. Second thought: What a freaking waste of plastic. I usually take my own plastic bag or if I forget it once, I will just shake off most of the water before entering the shop and then walk around carefully so that my umbrella does not touch anything.
  • cashiers packing your bags: Another reason, why everything is much slower here. When you buy a shopping bag at the grocery stores, some cashiers help you pack the things you bought. That’s weird, but I like it. 😀 (Although I almost always bring my own bags. But again: Waste of plastic. haha)
  • flea market: There is this street not far from my home with heavy traffic, which was once closed for a flea market. When I go running, I usually pass this road and one day (I think it was during the weekend) the whole road – even the sidewalk – was blocked. So you can imagine how awkward it was when I had to run between those tables and all the people selling/buying things. Eventually, when I reached the bridge that I usually cross I was able to see how big this flea market actually was. (Technically I wasn’t, because I couldn’t even see where it ends, even though I had a nice view from the bridge.)
  • insanely huge offers: In the supermarket you would get for example “18+6” packages of tissues or “38+10” rolls of toilet paper. haha I mean, here it might make sense, because that’s something you will always need, but when it comes to candy it’s insane. I never did it here, but I remember once buying 8+2 gummi bear packages when I was in the United States. But that’s ‘merica and I am in Europe here, wtf? haha
  • planes EVERYWHERE: (At the time I am writing this, it has already happened a few times. haha) So Lisbon’s airport seems to be very close to the city center. hmm Why would I think that? Because you can literally see/hear every single plane that is landing here. And it’s not just a cute little white plan far away in the blue sky. Let me explain it like this: I can tell which company operates this plane by just reading the freaking name of it on the outside. (And I certainly do not have perfect eyes, since I need glasses when I am attending my universtiy courses.) So imagine this: You sit in class, listening to the teacher and every 5-10minutes a plane passes by, producing so much noise that your only chance understanding what the teacher says is, by being an expert in lip reading. I am not joking, this is so weird. haha
  • Harry Potter: No, I am being serious, the school uniforms from Harry Potter were apparently inspired by the uniforms in Portugal. (Not the other way round) J.K. Rowling used to live in Porto. Sometimes I feel like I am in Hogwarts when there is a group of students walking around with their uniforms. Awesome 😀

 

p.s. It may not look very close on the picture. Trust me, IT IS close!

Let’s talk about money.

Oh hello there,

Yes, you have read correctly. I am now going to tell you a bit about how expensive (or inexpensive) the life in Lisbon is. Of course, this is based on a comparison between my home country Austria and Lisbon, because these are the only places I have lived long enough (and not been on vacation), to be able to tell about the amount of expenses.

First of all, my considerably high experience in shopping groceries derives from my regular visits in supermarkets. (That sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it?) Anyway, I have already found quite a high number of products, which are so much cheaper than in Vienna. Here are some of them:

  • 250g of sliced cheese (which tastes by the way really good) for 1€ (no, not 0.99€. It’s exactly 1€.)
  • water: Let’s leave the fact aside, that in Vienna most people drink water from the tap. Here they don’t, because it has a slight taste of chlorine. 5l of Water cost 0.45€. Whaaat? In Austria, the cheapest bottle of water (1.5l) costs about 0.20€ (if I recall correctly, because I don’t buy these very often)
  • noodles: As mentioned in one of my previous posts, 500g of noodles, and I mean ALL KINDS OF NOODLES (including colorful, Farfalle, etc.) cost 0.75€.
  • milk: I have to buy lactose-free milk, which is always more expensive than “normal” milk in Austria. Ha! Not in Lisbon, here it’s 0.95€ per liter, which is at least 10cents cheaper than in the Viennese supermarkets.
  • canteen at the campus: As far as I know, the Nova campus has 2 canteens. You get a meal for 2.5€ (or 3€), including a soup, dessert and a drink. Well, don’t get me even started on the prices at the WU campus. IT’S 5-6€ FOR A MEAL. (sometimes including a drink or a soup) And NO, you gotta buy that dessert separately, which is another 2-4€, depending on weather you want just a single cookie or a huge piece of delicious chocolate cake. (ok, now I want chocolate.)
  • McDonald’s: I am guilty. I have been there. Too many times already. Some things are definitely cheaper. Done. Next.
  • night life: YES, one more cool thing about Lisbon: It has so many opportunities when you want to go out at night. It seems like there are hundreds of different bars and clubs. I have been at a club, where a GIN tonic is about 6€. (capital letters, because the amount of gin in there is way more than I expected.) In Austria you will have to pay around 8€ for a long drink with less alcohol. (I recommend “loco”, a decent bar for having a cheap night out. Jk, don’t go there. And don’t trust the people on the “Jodel” app who tell you otherwise. :D)

 

The end. 😀 (Too lazy to write a concluding paragraph.)

Thank you all for reading my blog. I really appreciate it and I would love to hear from you too. Don’t be shy, just leave a quick comment here. I am looking forward to reading them! (or on my Facebook post, if you don’t have a WordPress account)

Claudia