Best places to visit in Ireland

Hi there!

I went to Ireland two years ago and it was one of the most amazing countries I’ve ever been to. It is a country filled with music, joy and wonderful people. I strongly recommend anyone to visit it! I stayed in Dublin, but I took a day trip to see other places, so here’s a wrap of what I think it’s worth  visiting.

 

Cliffs of MoherCliffs of Moher

There are no words that can possibly describe the beauty of these cliffs located in County Clare. It is just a stunning view and despite they’re a bit far from Dublin, paying a visit is totally worth it! Plus you get to enjoy the beautiful landscape on your way there.

GalwayGalway

Galway’s city centre is just adorable! It has these beautiful and colourful houses, plus you can really feel the Irish spirit as you walk through the city while listening to the street performers playing some typical music.

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11120533_965710353451252_5564346114388865991_nGuinness Storehouse

For me, Guinness is one of the first things I think about when I hear the word Ireland (sorry not sorry) so, if you are a fan of beer, it is imperative that you visit the Guinness Storehouse. It’s a super interactive experience:  you find yourself involved in the beer-making process with a perfect ending: a free pint on the rooftop which has an amazing view.

IMG_1754.JPGTemple Bar

Temple bar was initially one of pub, but it got so famous that the whole area started being called that. It is an area filled with pubs and bars, which is a great place to grab a beer at the end of the afternoon or to go out and dance. You just feel the awesome and happy Irish vibes, and there’s also a lot of Irish music – super cool!

IMG_1593.JPGTrinity College

One of the oldest colleges in the world. It’s a beautiful campus and the library it’s totally worth the look.

 

St.Patrick's ChathedralSt. Patrick’s Cathedral & Gardens

This cathedral is just huge and it has a beautiful garden around it, totally worth a look.

IMG_1699Dublinia

This is a museum that allows you to “experience viking and medieval Dublin” and  learn everything about it! You will love it, specially If you’re a nerd for history like me!

11150849_965710146784606_4266593288713720167_nKilmainham Gaol Prision

This old prison turned into a museum has a lot of history to tell: you get to see the whole building and learn about the people who once were there. Cheers to the staff, the tour is brilliantly done.

 

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PS- I know this isn’t  a place, but have some fish and chips with a nice beer!

 

                                                                                                  Lots of Love,

Catarina

My Travel History

Hi there!

As my life goal is to travel the world, I though it might be important to tell you the places I’ve been to, so here it goes:

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Portugal – I was born here so… I’ve been pretty much everywhere;

Ireland – Dublin with a trip that included Galway and the Cliffs of Moher;

England – London, Peterborough, Cambridge , Stanford;

Spain– Madrid, Lloret del Mar, Roquetas del Mar, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Badajoz (and some other cities I don’t remember because I was too small so it doesn’t count);

France– Paris, Strarsbourg;

Germany – Munich , Baden-Baden

Austria – Vienna, Krems, Salzbourg;

The Netherlands– Amsterdam;

Belgium – Brussels, Bruges;

Czech Republic – Prague;

Italy– Rome, Verona, Venice, Vaticane;

Hungary – Budapest.

 

 

 

My Erasmus experience and why everyone should go on exchange

Hello everyone!

As you know, I’m Portuguese and I’ve been living and studying in Lisbon for a few years now. When I was taking my Bachelor degree, I decided to go on an exchange program and it was definitely what got me so involved in travelling. Therefor, I couldn’t avoid writing about it. Not only because it was a very important part of my life but also because everybody needs to know how great it is!

I always wondered how it was  and I felt like it would be good for me to step away from my “real life” for a bit. So, one day (most precisely the last day it was possible to apply), I made the most spontaneous decision in my life so far, and I just applied ! Even though I was scared of being far from home and going to a completely unknown place where I didn’t know anything or anybody. I just decided to give it a chance and try doing something different for once. It that was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I did the Erasmus+ Program in Krems an der Donau, an adorable little village in the lower Austria, one hour train ride from Vienna.

Not everything went well at first, because Austrians are REALLY different from Portuguese people. So, there I went with all my heavy bags, I took 1 air plane and 3 trains to arrive to Krems and the first thing that felt weird was that nobody would help me carry my bags into the train. Second strange thing was, as I got to Krems and my landlady went to pick me up, I greeted her with two kisses on the cheek (Portuguese way) and she was a bit confused.(Actually that one is on me. I should have known, too much intimacy!!) .

Then I had some problems with my courses, which I had to change completely. Let’s just say that it didn’t start the best way.

I had a rough few first  days and I must admit 2017-03-14 15_22_44-Catarina Palma (@catarinaaspalma) • fotos e vídeos do Instagram.pngI though about quitting and coming back home but I didn’t give up, so I just randomly started talking to people and, as my birthday was coming up, I though it might be the perfect occasion for the first party and for everyone to connect. Today I am proud to say that that party I threw in my house was what got together my current Erasmus group of friends, or as we call ourselves “Krems family”.

My flatmates were also an important part of my experience, they are all amazing ! I loved living with them, since we were all from different cultures and got along so well – We had a blast!

The few months that followed were amazing and absolutely unforgettable: we partied  (a lot), we threw international dinners with food from all over the world, and specially we got to travel together to amazing places like Italy, Hungary and Ireland. (Of course you’ll hear about that on other posts).

About the actual studies (which yes, I had to work a little), I found it very exciting, as there is more freedom to choose courses that you are interested in but don’t exist in your college back home. For instants, I was studying human resources management but I was able to attend marketing and hospitality courses which were new for me and I really liked. It is also important to have contact and work along colleagues from other cultures, as it will raise your cultural awareness and set your mind for international jobs.

Another great thing about exchange: it allows you to do whatever you want and be whomever you want! You get to reinvent yourself!

Going on exchange is really challenging, because you will go alone, you will depend entirely of yourself to live and make friends, if you’re sick there’s no parents to hold you. There’s just you. I guess this is the scary part.

My advice? Put yourself out there, start conversations, make friends from all over the world, travel, party ! Enjoy every second you have, and you will see the world and life like you never did. At least that’s what happened to me. It was an amazing period of my life: it helped me to grow up and to shape who I am today and to make friends for life.

So if you’re thinking about it… JUST GO and enjoy every second, because time flies, believe me!

                                                                                                                                                        Lots of Love,

Catarina

I went to the Harry Potter Studios and it was the best day of my life!

17238992_10154636727268318_259507777_n.jpgHello my dear readers!

I have an announcement to make: I am a major Potterhead.

I read each book a billion times and I lost count of how many times I saw the movies… I love it, and Mrs.Rowling is super cool for writing such an amazing story with such lovable (and some despicable) characters always in great detail.

So, this year I decided to do something different for my birthday: I went to London and treated myself with an awesome afternoon at Warner Brothers Studio: The Making of Harry Potter. It was (literally) a magical place over there! Seriously, this exceeds all expectations. It was absolutely amazing and it was worth every penny I spent !

The tour starts with an exciting speech given by the staff (Who might like Harry Potter the same crazy way we do btw) and I have to admit: I teard up a bit  (yup, I am that ridiculous). Afterwords,  you can just wander around the studio at see everything at your own pace. And there is a lot to see!

The Making of Harry Potter includes only  things that were used for the movies ! You might recognize some of the sets: the Dinning Hall, Hagrid’s Shack, the Weasleys’ house, the Potions classroom, the Hogwarts Express (there’s a freaking train inside!) and my favourite part: the Diagon Alley! You get to walk in the street with all the different stores including Fred and George’s Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts, the Daily Prophet… Let’s just say you´ll feel a bit like Harry felt the day Hagrid told him  he was a wizard.

There is also a part of the studio with the outdoor sceneries, which includes the night bus, the house of Privet Drive and the Weasleys’ car.

Furthermore you will  find all kind of props like the characters’ clothes from several occasions, all the horcruxes, the Mirror of Erised and the door of the chamber secrets.  The tour also allows you to understand some of the special effects they used and how they were made. Fun fact: Dobby was added to the scenes after they shot it, so while they were filming and to make it easier for the cast, they looked at a tennis ball on a stick as they were directing to Dobby.  

Other thing that I  found really interesting as well was that they sell ALL the candies they ate in the movie, this includes Bertie Botts every flavor beans, chocolate frogs and obviously the famous butter bear, which is absolutely delicious

It was truly an unforgettable experience, so here are a few pictures for you to have an idea. But there’s nothing like going there and see for yourself, which I strongly recomend 🙂

 

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If you’re thinking to go there soon, here are some tips:

  • Buy your tickets online and as early as possible, because they will sell out for sure.
  • To go there get a train to Watford and they have shuttles from there, for 2.5 pounds both ways.
  • They will open a new attraction on March 31 – The Forbidden Forest, so I think it might be worth the wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                     Lots of Love,

Catarina

12 things you have to do in London

London!  It’s such a basic destination for a traveler, but it’s my favorite city in the world. Well, at least until today. So, it only made sense that this was the chosen city for my first actual piece. I mean, I posted a billion pictures on Instagram, there’s no way this is a surprise for you! 

I went to England 3 times now,  but every time I’m there I feel that there is not enough time because the city is so amazing and it has so much to visit that I just don’t know how to choose. I absolutely love its vibes and cultural diversity, so I chose a few spots that I totally recommend on a trip  to London.

  1. Check out Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

I know, it’s pretty obvious, but it’s a great place for taking a few shots, specially if you take a walk along the Thames and enjoy the view. The London eye is also located close to there.

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  1. Get lost in the Markets

London has a lot to offer in what concerns to markets: Camden, Portobello, Convent Garden, Borough, Broadway… But if you don’t have a lot of time, you will have to make choices.

Camden Lock is my favorite, it is located next to the canal, it’s a great place to grab a quick and cheap bite due to its large variety of street food stalls from all over the world, and I must warn you: all the food looks wonderful (foodie alert!!!). Do check the other stores as well, you can find art crafts, vintage articles, souvenirs… it’s totally worth the look. Don’t miss on Convent Garden, it’s such a cute place. It has a bunch of stores, pubs and nice restaurants where you can sit down and relax a bit. The inside is full of color and the architecture is really nice.  If you are a fan of the famous movie “Nothing Hill”, you should check Portobello Market as well, it sells fruits, jewelry, clothes… and you get to see the original “Travel Books Shop”, which is now a souvenir store!

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  1. Take a walk in the Parks 

The parks are an absolute must in London. I suggest you take a relaxing walk through Green Park on your way to the iconic Buckingham Palace. Do check out Hyde Park, which is close to the Palace as well. If you like animals, take some peanuts with you to give the squirrels, they will grab it from you hand and it’s just adorable.

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  1. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace 

Buckingham Palace is just stunning and the magic of this event will make it seem even more fantastic. FYI it happens everyday at 11am.

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  1. Admire a few museums 

The British Museum is one mandatory stop for a first time Londoner, BUT if I had to choose I would go with Natural History Museum. I mean, it has a huge dinosaur and mummies, how can you miss that? Victoria and Albert is also a good choice if you like art.

 

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  1. Walk along the Tower Bridge and go inside the Tower of London 

This worldwide known bridge is just fantastic, so don’t miss the chance to take some great pictures. The inside of the Tower  is just incredible, you get to see the guards, the interiors with complete furniture. It’s really interesting and it really takes you back in time.

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  1. Catch a Musical 

You know London is a city of art, so if your favorite musical is in Town, don’t miss your chance.

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  1. Shop at Oxford Street  

This popular street allows you to feel the real city spirit, plus it has a zillion stores where you can have your shopping dream day! You  know that certain brand that doesn’t exist in your country and you reaaally want to check out? It probably has a store there.

oxford-street

 

  1. Eat at Chinatown 

If you are a fan of Asian culture this is the place to go! Chinatown has a wide variety of Chinese restaurants, and the wide majority has really good quality. Pay attention to the prices though, not all of them are cheap!

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  1. M&M’s Store 

If you have a sweet-tooth like me, you will love this store. Not only will you drool because of all the M&M’s they have there, but also the store is really fun and colorful. It has a bunch of cool merchandising of the brand, they really pulled it off!

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  1. Check the banners at Piccadilly 

You know, those popular screens with advertising that look a bit like NY, don’t miss a chance to take a great shot of it. Just make sure the lights are on, because when I was there the last time it was under construction (just my luck!)

piccadilly-circus

 

  1. Harry Potter: Making of at WB Studios 

For those who aren’t Muggles, this is the best place you can go when in London. Seriously, I had the best day of my life. You can see every little detail they used in the movie, you will learn about their tricks, see their sets and it’s just amazing. Of course that it is not possible for me to resume my experience in one paragraph, so of course I will make a piece about it really soon!

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And you? Are there any spots you like in particular? Is there anything else you might find worth visiting? 

I have much more to tell you about London, so stay tuned  !

 

Lots of Love
Catarina

The first one

Hello !

My name is Catarina and I am a 24 year-old Portuguese girl. I was born in the amazing city of Lisbon, which is absolutely one of my favorite places in the world. I grew up in another city, I moved Lisbon again to go to college and I’m now living here. So yeah, you’ll be hearing a lot about it.

Why write a blog?

Ever since I was a little girl, I always felt I was a bit… let’s go with peculiar. And I was really lost about what I was passionate about and wanted to do with my life. I heard “you’re such a character! You should write a book” one too many times… I actually considered starting a blog then, but I didn’t know what to write about…

After having some international experiences I got really into travelling and meeting other cultures, so I decided to go on exchange. And boy, did that change my life! I totally got the travel bug! I constantly think about travelling, meeting new people, trying different foods… I got totally hooked. So I thought to share my experiences, stories, and tips with the world: that’s what the blog will be all about.

Stay tuned!

Lots of Love
Catarina

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