What To Do in Hanover, Germany

Henriette Viemann , Germany

Even though it might not be be the first or most popular city that comes to your mind when you think of Germany, the city Hanover is definitely worth a visit and has a lot to offer.

In this article I’m going to  tell you why exactly you should plan a visit there and fun things to do during your stay.

First, we are going to start with a little bit of geography and history. Hanover is the located in the northern part of Germany and is the capital city of the German state of Lower Saxony. It has around 530,000 inhabitants, with that it is the thirteenth largest city in the country. The city was founded a long way back, in medieval times on the east bank of the river Leine, which flows right through the city and offers a lot of water sports activities for locals, as well as for tourists. Becoming a rather large town during the 13th century, Hanover received it’s town status  in 1241, mainly due to it’s position at a natural crossroad where a lot of trade took place during that time. Many churches were built in the 14th century, such as the city wall with three gates one can still see remains of them both today. Unfortunately, as an important railroad and production centre, Hanover was a major target for strategic bombing during World War 2, leaving big parts of the city largely destroyed. However, a lot of things were rebuilt and even though big parts were destroyed you can  still see a lot of old and historic buildings in the old town, which is definitely worth taking a walk through.

But what else are interesting activities one can do in the city ?

One of the first things you should do to get a great overview  of  the city is to visit the New Town Hall, located in the middle of the city.  It was opened in 1913, after it had been under construction for nearly 12 years. The building’s dome, where the observation platform is located, is 97.73m high. With it’s arched course following the shape of the dome , the dome’s lift is unique in Europe. From the observation platform you have a great view over the whole city and can see a lot of other famous sights from there.

Image

 

Another attraction that one shouldn’t miss while visiting Hanover is the Herrenhausen Gardens.  In total, they consist of four seperate, rather large gardens, called the Great Garden, the Berggarten, the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten. The Great Garden has been one of the most popular and distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe, ever since it’s opening in 1640, when the castle was built. During the same time , the Berggarten was  transformed from a simple vegetable garden that was used for cooking in the castle, into a large botanical garden with it’s own attractions.  The other two gardens, the Welfengarten and the Georgengarden have been constructed in the style of historic English gardens and are considered popular recreation areas for the residents and inhabitants of Hanover. The history of the gardens spans over several centuries, and they have always been a big attraction in  the city and remain  popular to this day.

Image result for herrenhausen garten hannover

Your bucket list also shouldn’t miss the Maschsee, an artificial lake situated south of the city centre of the city, just like the New Town Hall, which is in walking distance. Being 78 hectares large, it is the largest body of water in Lower Saxony’s capital. Just like the earlier mentioned Herrenhauser Gardens, the lake is a popular and well known recreation area for inhabitants and tourists and also serves as a venue for a big variety of water sports all through the season. Here, you can rent a boat for a pretty good price to just enjoy time on the water or you can go around on good bike paths on a bicycle or on inline skaters. Or you can just take a relaxing walk around the lake, which will probably take you around  40-50 minutes.

Image result for maschsee hannover

Last, but not least, I want to talk about something that you might not find that special, because a lot of cities have a zoo , but Hanover’s is actually special for many reasons. The Zoo is located right in the city centre, so it is very easy to get there, by public transportation, by bike, or by car.  The zoo was established on 4 May 1865, and comprises an area of 22 hectares. It contains about 3,414 animals in 237 species, which are cared for by more than 400 employees. There are seven differently themed areas or lands, from Canada’s Yukon Bay, populated by seals and polar bears, to the Indian Jungle Palace with its tigers, leopards and sacred grey langur monkeys, and the Australian Outback of kangaroos and emus. While visiting the zoo, you will be able to not only see a lot of interesting and exotic animals, but also do other activities, like going through a labyrinth, jump on a trampoline, or go to a big playground. Either way, you are going to have a great experience at one of the world’s most famous zoos.

Image result for zoo hannover

Personally I would say that even though Hanover has way more exciting things to show you, these are my personal favourites, since they are a lot of fun for everyone, regardless of what age you are. Generally speaking, the city of Hanover is definitely worth a visit and has a lot of activities to offer.

 

 

3 Days in Los Angeles, What To Do

Maria Bouman, The Netherlands

You cannot visit California without a visit to the City of Angels: Los Angeles. Famous for the movie studios, Hollywood and The Walk of Fame, but there is so much more to see in this spectacular city, even when you are only visiting for three days! So start planning your trip to LA right now, because I will reveal to you the best sightseeing places, restaurants and, of course, the most wonderful shops.

20 choses à faire à Los Angeles

Visit The Farmers Market

I started my trip with a visit to the famous Farmer’s Market. This is a great experience to try different kinds of foods from several cultures. From Italian pastas to Japanese sushi, The Farmers Market has it all. Around Christmas is the perfect time for a visit because of the special atmosphere and exuberant decoration. There are also many Christmas festivities going on, like live music and Dickensian carolers. The market is not only a great place to eat, but also to shop. All the big names like ZARA, Barney’s, Coach and many more have a shop in this area. So the perfect location for food, shops and fun!

Los Angeles Farmer's Market

Forget the Universal Studios and go to the Warner Bros Studios

Los Angeles is without doubt the capital of the movie industry. All the big movie companies are located here, like Universal, Warner Bros and Paramount. For all the movie lovers this is the perfect opportunity to visit one of their studios, but the big question is which one to visit? I chose the Warner Bros Studios. They offer different kinds of tours, like a general tour, classic tour, deluxe tour and even a horror tour. I decided to go for the classic tour because I am a big fan off the old movies. This tour is focused on the Golden Age of Hollywood from the early 1900s to 1960s. If you are not a huge fan of the old movies, than a better option is the general tour. The tour I took was 3.5 hours and it was an amazing experience. They showed us the movie locations of Casablanca, Rebel Without a Cause and many more! What is special about this tour is the fact that they really give you an inside look behind the studio. They showed us the depot with all the equipment they used in the Warner Brothers’ movies. In total the tour took around 3.5 hours so a good option would be to combine the tour with another day activity.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame

You cannot visit Los Angeles without a visit to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At this place you can find the real stars. In total there are 2,600 stars, from The Beatles to Johnny Depp, along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Fine Street. I went to this place in the evening, but I highly recommend going during the day. You have a much better view of the street and a lot is going on, like street performances and you can even take a picture with a real snake!

The Beatles -  Walk of Fame Star -    Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 194, the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Griffith Observatory Park, The Best of Both Views

Looking for the best view of the whole city? Go to the Griffith Observatory Park where you will find a breathtaking view on the City and the Hollywood Sign! There are two options to go. The first one is to go by car and park your car at the Griffith Observatory parking place. This is the easiest way but I would definitely recommend to go here by hiking. It’s active and by this way you discover so much more. There a dozens of way to get to the park, from beginner to advanced level. I was not prepared for a challenging hike so I decided to go for the East Griffith Observatory Trail. This hike took only 30 minutes, so perfect when you have more plans for the day. For this hike you can park your car to the intersection of Vermont and Vista de Valle / Commonwealth Canyon road and walk west on Vista de Valle. Go further and you see the picnic table, this is the start of the hike. This route is easy-to-follow and not that difficult. During this trip you will pass by many point where you have a magnificent view over the city of Los Angeles. After 30 minutes you will arrive at the Observatory, which offers you art deco architecture, the views on the Hollywood Sign and the Statue Memorial to James Dean. This was just one short and easy way to go. For an overview of all the different hikes go to http://www.modernhiker.com. Enjoy your hike!

Griffith Park Observatory, Los Angeles, California by Matt MacMillan

A True Shopping Paradise

Los Angeles is by far the best place to shop in California. It offers a variety of high end brands, vintage stores, upcoming designers, big department stores and cozy boutiques. I started my shop session at Melrose Avenue. First stop was the legendary retailer Fred Segal. Well known for the perfect jeans. Visit also Gregory’s for great service and exclusive, high quality Italian shoes. I found here the perfect pair of over-knees suede boots. Go further on Melrose Avenue and you will find big names like Paul Smith, Balenciaga. Looking for something more affordable? Go to Wasteland consignment store. This vintage walhalla offers a big range of clothes for men and women. I ended my shopping adventure with a visit to most famous shopping street off Los Angeles: Rodeo Drive. Every legendary designer has his own brand store, from Chanel to Hermes. Shopping in this street is only possible with a big wallet, but even only for the window shopping it is a great experience.

Let's shop! Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills~Great shopping.~ Miss M

The oldest part of Los Angeles, Olvera Street

Done with the glitter and glamour of Hollywood and looking for something completely different? Go to Olvera street, the oldest part of downtown Los Angeles. This street is known as the birthplace of the city. It is famous for the Mexican heritage and it is part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. The street will give you the experience to be part of the old Mexico through the authentic architecture, restaurants, markets, traditional music and folklore shops. Go to this place during the day because in the night most shops and markets are closed. I would also recommend to check out their webpage with information about upcoming events http://www.olvera-street.com.  

21 Places Every Arts and Culture Lover Should Visit in Los Angeles via @MyDomaine

Santa Monica, The Pearl of The California Lifestyle

Before heading back home I made a little stop in the beach town Santa Monica. Famous for the beaches, 300 days of sunshine and the amazing sunset. Santa Monica is also well-known as a walkable and bike-friendly town. So park you car at the beach and explore the rest of the town by bike of with your walking shoes. Make sure to visit the Santa Monica Pier with a variety of shops, restaurants and carnival attractions. From the pier you walk straight into downtown Santa Monica in only 10 minutes! Around 2.00 P.M. it was time to go back home via highway 1. It was an amazing trip which I would never forget!

mijn favoriete stad is LA omdat ik het gewoon een hele mooie stad vindt                                                                                                                                          More

Where to stay?

Los Angeles offered a wide range of accommodations types. From cheap hostels to luxury hotels. I decided to stay at the Banana Bungalow Hostel in West-Hollywood because I made the trip on my own. A hostel is a great tool to meet new people because there are a lot of individual travelers. I would highly recommend the Banana Bungalow Hostel due the great location, free breakfast and drinks during the night.

 

California Road Trip Trough Big Sur

Adele Fadier, France

Does the idea of a California road trip makes you dream? From Santa Barbara to Monterey you will discover all the best spots of the Pacific Coast, driving on Highway 1.

The California Coast is one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. By this way you can discover all the California’s amazing natural life. Obviously, when you drive alongside the ocean you are going to see incredible places and views. That’s the upside of a road trip-you can stop everywhere you want. So, now I will show you the most famous spots of this Highway 1.

highway-1.png

After leaving Santa Barbara, your first official stop will be in San Simeon. In fact, this city located on California’s Central Coast offers drivers many reasons to stop and stay a while. San Simeon is home to 17,000 different animals, offering many opportunities to commune with wildlife and especially the elephant seals. Thousands of these sea mammals can be viewed sun bathing on a sandy beach or having a jolly good time in the water. The second famous place to visit in San Simeon is the Hearst Castle. It’s a National Historic Landmark which was a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947. Actually many people come to visit this castle because of its amazing Roman architecture.

Then, you can continue on the road until you reach Sand Dollar Beach, which is the largest unbroken stretch of sand in Big Sur and is considered to be one of the best surfing spots in Big Sur. Visitors said Sand Dollar Beach is a beautiful and relaxing spot to lay out or have a picnic. The beach is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and it costs $10 to park your car, but another thing that is important to know is that swimming at Sand Dollar Beach is considered dangerous – so be careful.

sand dollar beach

22.1 miles later you will arrive to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. A main feature of the park is McWay Falls, which drops over a cliff of 80 feet (24 meters) into the Pacific Ocean. In the same area you will find the Henry Miller Memorial Library, a nonprofit arts center, bookstore, and performance venue, championing the late writer, artist, and Big Sur resident Henry Miller and other creative individuals living in or near Big Sur. But that’s not all, in this place you can also find the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and the Pfeiffer Beach. This state park is massive with several hiking trails, picnic grounds and watering holes where you can see picnickers swimming with joy. About the Pfeiffer Beach, I strongly recommend coming in just before sunrise so that you can have the beach all to yourself. Moreover, it’s an amazing place to take pictures of the sunset or sunrise thanks to the impressive rocks situated in front of the beach.

In the same area, there is Partington Cove which is a beautiful hike to take in Big Sur. As you make your way through a tunnel, you will start to see the beginning of one of the most beautiful coves you will ever see – the water is so clear you can see the kelp and what seems to be the ocean floor below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A few kilometers further you can find Point Sur Lighthouse. That’s the only complete light station open to the public in California and it offers you an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean.

point-sur-lighthouse-30-640x427point sur lightouse

Then, you can continue your road until one of the most famous spot of the Big Sur, the Bixby Creek Bridge. It’s also one of the most photographed bridges in California due to its aesthetic design. It’s like a gate away to Big Sur.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now we arrive at the last area of this road trip, Monterey County, but don’t worry there are still many beautiful places to discover.

First, Garrapata State Park, an unknown Big Sur jewel – it’s a treasure to those who have discovered it. Garrapata State Park’s unpopulated hiking trails provide access to both the beautiful Big Sur coastline and the breathtaking Santa Lucia Mountains. So, you can’t miss it!

garrapatagarrapata sp

After this, you can go to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. This place is outstanding for sightseeing, photography, painting, nature study, picnicking, scuba diving, and jogging. The offshore area forms one of the richest underwater habitats in the world popular with divers. Wildlife includes seals, sea lions, sea otters and migrating gray whales. In this reserve you ought to go to China Cove and Gibson Beach, two amazing places to enjoy the view and the wildlife.

Point Lobos State Reserve at Highway 1 in California

Then, we will arrive at the penultimate city of this road trip called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. Here you can visit all the pretty streets of the city and the famous Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finally, we will arrive at Monterey, the last place of this road trip. This is one of the most beautiful coastal cities of California. It was originally the state capital of California but today it is best known for its beautiful coastline, its world-class aquarium and from the many John Steinbeck novels set there.

As a conclusion, Big Sur will offer you an amazing road trip to discover the California central coast trough the Highway 1. Do not hesitate to stop whenever you want to enjoy the view or the atmosphere of a place. Let appreciate the nature and the wildlife without human intervention. So enjoy it, but be respectful of all the places you will visit. Another important thing to know is that you have to work on your itinerary before you go. Sometimes, some parts of the Highway can be closed for any reasons, so it’s better to be informed in time.

You can find below a video of a road trip in Big Sur with some places to sleep and to eat.

Enjoy your trip!

My Weekend in SF

Luna, Belgium

Day 1

I arrived on Thursday morning at 10 am in the financial district. I reunited with my best friend from Belgium and it was kind of an emotional moment. To catch up and start slowly, we ate brunch in a Starbucks, which was really nice and chill. After dropping my stuff at her house, we went straight into the center of the city where we walked around a little bit and in the evening we went to the cinema and saw The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. We came back home quite early because we needed to have a lot of energy for the next day which was Black Friday!

image1.jpeg

Day 2

Black Friday was a really hectic, but super fun, day. We woke up at 5 am so we could start our shopping at 6 am. Our first stop was Urban Outfitters where we found matching Champion sweaters for a really good price. After that, came Sephora where we spent 75$ for an initial value of 240$ ! Then came Westfield which is one of the biggest malls in San Francisco. We went a little crazy and got really good deals at Pacsun, Hollister and Footlocker ! Forever 21 was also a success and overall we managed our time and money really well. We stuck to our plan and it was one of the most successful shopping-sprees. At 7 pm there was the tree-lightning on Union Square which was like a winter wonderland…

image3.jpeg

Day 3

We decided that Saturday would be tourist-day! First thing we did when we woke up was take a little walk in the neighborhood because it was really vintage-looking and quiet. After that we visited famous places like : The Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, Fishermans Wharf. That took the whole day and in the evening we went back to Union Square and did a really festive activity : ice skating! This was the most magical moment of the whole trip and the whole place really looked like a winter wonderland. After that we went up to Macy’s rooftop because that is where the Cheesecake Factory is located. We ate the most delicious cheesecake, one was tiramisu-flavored and the other one was raspberry-lemon. We called it a day and went back home for a good night sleep.

image2.jpeg

Day 4

For our last day together, we really wanted to enjoy each other’s company so we just did what made us happy. In the morning we went to the Golden Gate Park  where we had coffee. We saw amazing buildings and the weather was great, too. For lunch we tried a typical Frisco-dish which was soup in a bread-bowl. Because we are both vegetarians we ordered a tomato soup and it was delicious! The best place to eat this is on Fishermans Wharf at the pier and it is called Boudin Bakery. For desert we tasted a holiday doughnut from Krispy Kreme Doughnut and it was the best doughnut I have ever had … This day passed by quite quickly and it was now time for me to come back to Santa Barbara.

image4.jpeg

It was really hard to say goodbye again, but I had the best time with my favorite person in this world. Even though I miss her like crazy I know we will see each other again soon!.Thank you, Lou !

Why Danes are The Happiest People on Earth

Louise Mohr, Denmark

file-20180319-31617-8mfe08

Again this year the Danish people are dominating the World’s Happiness Report and ranks among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed. On the other hand, the U.S. is with a four-spot drop, ranked 18th this year.

So why is it that these pastry-loving, LEGO building people are winning the happiness race? And how do they compare to the States?

The Danish welfare state works.

Danes pay some of the highest income tax rates in the world (45% on average), but, in exchange, every Dane gets free health care, free K-college education (the students are paid approx. $900 a month by the government to go to school), highly subsidized child care and generous unemployment benefits.

Some might lift an eyebrow over the high tax-rate, but the Danes don’t look at the tax rate as a burden, but as an investment in our society and quality of life.

If you lose a job in Denmark, it’s not a big deal. Unemployment is built into the system. This is in connection to the “flexibility model”, which, quickly explained, is a system built on freedom for employees. The government programs retrain workers and position them better for the job market. By doing this, we create strong connections and also provide a guaranteed safety net, giving unemployment benefits for up to two years.

The government also has a great retirement system, providing for the elders over 65+ population through a combination of state-founded pension and private employer-funded pension programs. This not only relieves the stress for the elderly, but makes them feel secure about their retirement.

Here’s a video that explains further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=095ULhvaH5E

The perhaps most important aspect of the Danish culture is “hygge”, which they value as a cultural construct. It refers to high-quality social interactions. It’s used as as a noun, adjective or verb, and events and places can also be “hyggelige” (hygge-like). “Hygge” is most commonly translated as “cozy”, but is more an intentional intimacy, which can happen when you have safe, balanced and harmonious shared experiences.

“Hygge” is the Danish sense of well-being. Although Denmark is a highly individualized country, “hygge” promotes egalitarianism and strengthens the trust between people. It’s fair to say that “hygge” is fully integrated into the Danish culture psyche and culture.

But Denmark is not the only  country that has a concept similar to hygge – the Norwegains have “koselig”, the Swedes “mysig”, the Dutch “gezenlligheid” and the Germans “gemütlichkeit”.

The U.S. also places a high value on individualism, but there’s no real cultural equivalent of “hygge”. Income is generally associated with happiness. Even though the GDP is on the rise and the unemployment has been declining, levels of happiness in the U.S. have been steadily decreasing.

The U.S. income also continues to be an issue. There’s been a marked decrease in interpersonal trust toward institutions like the government as well as the media.

At it’s core, “hygge” is about building trust and intimacy with others. Americans could probably use a little more of that in their lives.

As a Dane in America, i find the the lack of free healthcare the most problematic. The United States reminds to be the only industrialized country in the world that fails to provide universal healthcare for all citizens. The concerns regarding this are significant and continues. Most people here are scared to get sick, and because of the high cost they avoid the doctors. American healthcare is the source of innumerable issues for many, both those withe and without coverage. These issues are not limited to the financial prospect, but has a far-reaching influence on their quality of life, psychological stability, and fundamental happiness for society at large.

After spending 3 months here, i can vouch for the rudimentary differences between America and Denmark. The divergences extend beyond policy, logistics or political agendas. There is a complete different feel to the place, a different tone to the culture on a fundamental level. I truly believe that America could learn something extremely vulnerable form the danish culture, if they had the trust to do so.

Animals Facing Extinction

by Malena Julia Banjavcic, Switzerland

Help. What does help mean? Who needs help? And what help do they need? What can we do to help? These are questions we should ask ourselves every day. We are not alone in this world, even if it sometimes feels like it. There are people, who need help, but also animals. And we all need to start to ask ourselves how to make a change, because there are animals facing extinction and their time is running out.

So what does it mean when animals are in real danger facing extinction?

Plants and animals which are facing extinction are called Endangered Species. Particularly, it says that these species are very likely to become extinct in nearer time.  Of course, there are reasons in nature why animals become endangered, but for the most part we, humans, are the reason. Evidence of this is provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). According to it, we are now losing animal species at more than 1,000 times the normal rate. In 2012, the IUCN featured 3,079 animals and 2,655 plants as endangered worldwide. Whereas back in 1998, the figures were 1,102 animals and 1,197 plants.  People often don’t even know that animals, which are well known, are critically endangered. Examples of species which are facing extinction are the Amur Leopard (pic. 1), the Bornean Orangutan (pic. 2) or the Malayan Tiger (pic. 3).

 (pic. 1)     (pic. 2)    (pic. 3)

If nothing changes, we put ourselves in danger, too. The world is a whole, big ecosystem. Ecosystems depend on healthy plants and animals. Without them an ecosystem is not even possible; they are the foundation. When one of the species becomes endangered, the whole system slowly starts to fall apart. So every loss of a species triggers the next. Just like animals and plants, we, humans, also depend on healthy ecosystems like forests, oceans or grasslands. So we’re risking our health and environment when we don’t do anything about the contamination.

We, humans, cause the extinction of a lot of species only by living, but this can be changed. We have to live together with the animals. I once heard someone saying “it’s not our world, we just borrowed it” and I think that is the truth.

I  think something important to do is to educate. We need to teach people and especially children about what is happening right now. If people do not know about the problem, they can’t do anything, but it’s also the job of our governments. How do people still sell furs and skins of all these endangered animals without being punished for it? Another thing which helps, is ,of course, the support for several organisations which work on this problem. Support can mean financial for those, who either don’t have the time or the will to go to the affected places where help is needed, but volunteer work is also support. Not only do you help, but you also experience beautiful countries and learn something about our world, the different cultures and also about yourself. “Work” doesn’t always mean it’s not fun.

It’s not that difficult to change something, so why isn’t there a change going on? – Ask yourself.

Image result for change

 

 


sources:

 

 

 

 

Things To Do in Switzerland

Alyssa Knutti, Switzerland

Switzerland is officially the second happiest country on the planet, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report. And while you read this article you’ll soon realize why Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. There are so many things you can do in this small country from exploring the Swiss Alps to passing the spectacular Rhine Falls or sailing around Lake Geneva.

  1. Go skydiving

An amazing place where you can skydive is Interlaken. Interlaken is close to the capital city and is surrounded by peaks of the alps. It’s one of the most spectacular spots on earth to go skydiving.

Image result for skydiving interlaken

2. Take the Glacier Express

You should definitely ride with the famous Glacier Express through the mountains. Riding the train is pretty spectacular because it has huge panoramic, glass windows. If you want to take the whole ride you have to get in from Zermatt and then you go out at Davos or St. Moritz.

Image result for glacier express switzerland

3. Visit the James Bond Restaurant

The famous James Bond restaurant in Switzerland is located at the top of the Schilthorn, a 2970 meter high mountain in the middle of the country. The restaurant is called Piz Gloria. It is where the 1969 James Bond movie was set. It’s also a revolving restaurant. That means you can eat and the view changes all the time.

Image result for james bond restaurant

4. Get soaked by the waterfalls

If you want to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Switzerland you have to go to Lauterbrunnen and take the one hour hike to Trummelbach. You’ll actually pass about two or three other waterfalls along the way. Trummelbach is the most famous waterfall. It has been formed by the melting snow breaking through cracks in the rocks.

Image result for lauterbrunnen waterfalls

 

 

Top 5 Places to Visit in Portugal

Carlota Pedro Pinto, Portugal

Did you say you needed a vacation?

With the increasing amount of stress in our routines throughout the years, the word getaway is becoming more popular in our society. Everybody is always looking for an opportunity to turn off all the noise and go on a  little vacation.

And that’s when Portugal comes along….

Being one of the best getaway destinations right now, I’m gonna give you an inside scoop of some of the best places to visit while in Portugal!

1.Elevador de Santa Justa (Lisbon) – For one of the best views in Lisbon head to one of the most beautiful monuments right in the city’s heart. Towering above the whole city you can get  a breath taking view at any time of the day.

Risultati immagini per elevador de santa justa

 

2.Ponte de D. Luis I (Porto) – The panoramic views of the outlying city and the mouth of the river are truly memorable. One of the best spots to get to know Porto better.

Risultati immagini per ponte d luis porto

 

3.Ponta da Piedade ( Algarve) – The Ponta da Piedade makes for an amazing half day excursion from Lagos, and hiring a fishing boat to explore the cliffs is a life time experience!

Risultati immagini per ponta da piedade portugal

 

4. Pasteis de Belem ( Lisbon) – Pastel de Belem is a Portuguese cake, so it’s mandatory to at least have one when you come to the city ! Pasteis de Belem is the name of the world famous bakery that opened in 1833. It’s still open today and there’s always a long line to get in because of it’s amazing reputation, so be sure to get there early!

Image result for pasteis de belem

 

5. Sintra – Remarkable cultural landscape this historic town is worth a day of your trip! In this amazing town you will find many monuments and breathtaking sights that will blow your mind away, which is totally worth an amazing tour through the streets of Sintra!

Image result for sintra

As a native I’ve been always in love with Lisbon, being my hometown i have a special connection with the city. There’s many places that  I love to visit on my daily basis but walking through the streets of Lisbon will always be my favorite thing to do!!

Image result for streets of lisbon

The Differences Between My Hometown in Germany And Santa Barbara

Paula Krumme, Germany

I live in a little city in West Germany. The name of the city is Stadtlohn, not far away from the Netherlands. My city has only 20,000 inhabitants, so Santa Barbara is much bigger because Santa Barbara has around 92,000 inhabitants. I will have only been here for 6 weeks in SB, nevertheless, it is a big change for me. Not only the number of people who live there is a big difference, but also the style of the houses. The houses of Santa Barbara have a very special style. They have white walls and red tiled roofs. The houses in my hometown are all different. I cannot say how a typical house in Germany looks, but what I can say is that the houses are often much bigger than in Santa Barbara.

Stadtlohn :

Výsledek obrázku pro stadtlohn

Santa Barbara :

Image result for santa barbara

Added to that to go shopping is a very different thing, too. When I want to go shopping for some clothes in Santa Barbara, I only ride with my bike to State Street and there are a lot of different clothing stores. When I want to go shopping in my hometown, I have to drive around one hour with the car because in Stadtlohn there is only one great clothing store.

Moreover, in Santa Barbara there is literally always something happening in the city. It does not matter what time is it. There are always many people walking around. Also you can do many different activities. For example you can go to the beach, surfing, stand-up paddeling, hiking, bowling or you can go to a disco in the evening. In my hometown, there is never really much going on, because we do not have many activities we can do. The sea is really far away (around 2 hours by car) and, in addition, we haven’t got a lake to swim in. So when it is really hot we must drive to another city or we must go to the public outdoor pool, but this is not very much fun. In addition, we do not have a disco, a cinema or something like this. For activities like these we have to drive to the next city.

But a big advantage of my little city is that everything is reachable by bike. All my friends live only a maximum of 15 minutes away from me. So it is really easy to meet them and I am independent because my parents do not have to drive me and I do not have to wait for a bus. Also I do not have to pay for something. Compared to Santa Barbara, this is a big difference. For most students who live in a hostfamily must ride the bus every morning and sometimes the way is longer than 1 hour. I had a lot of luck in that I have the possibility to ride a bike to school every day here in Santa Barbara. Also my way is not too long. I only need around 15 minutes. But on the first days it was really stressful and complicated to ride the bike because the driving rules are really different to the driving rules in Germany, too. Here in Santa Barbara there are many streets, where all cars drive in the same direction. So you don’t have oncoming traffic. Every second street goes to the left and the other streets go to the right. This is possible because all the streets are parallel. In Germany you always have two-way traffic. So you can drive on every street in every direction, also with the bike.

The last difference i want to talk about is that in Stadtlohn everybody knows each other. In Santa Barbara you are one in a thousand. On the one hand, in Stadtlohn, there is a strong family environment and it is fun when you go in the city and you can be sure you will see people you know, but on the other hand, they also talk about everybody. So when there is new gossip, everybody knows it directly, for example when somebody posts an ugly picture on Instagram. Compared to Santa Barbara, there are so many different kinds of people and it doesn’t matter what you say, do or wear.

In conclusion, I can say that Santa Barbara and Stadtlohn are completely different. In my point of view Santa Barbara is in every case the better city for a vacation because of all the activities you can do and the good weather, but for living, I prefer Stadtlohn because in Stadtlohn the living standards are higher. When you want a big house in Santa Barbara you need a lot of money. Also you need a lot of money in Stadtlohn, but most of the people can afford this. I think the reason for that is that in Stadtlohn you have better chances to get good jobs.

 

 

It’s Fiesta Time

Patrycja Iwaniuk, The Netherlands

The Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is a week of celebrating the traditions, history, heritage, and culture that has been in Santa Barbara for hundreds of years. Since the beginning of the week, the first preparations can be seen. Music can be heard on every corner of the street. The first Fiesta eggs can be bought and smashed to color the streets with colorful confetti and even the people dress up in beautiful and traditional costumes. They proudly walk through State Street giving it wonderful ambiance.

Also, here at the EF school and in the Santa Catalina residence the feeling of Fiesta is in the air. More and more decorations are being hung up in the school and even some teachers can be seen wearing some great colorful outfits. Wednesday was Tamale Day and some students had the opportunity to make some beautiful Fiesta eggs, which are by the way strictly forbidden to use in the residence. Luckily for us, there is enough space outside to break these eggs and throw some confetti on our friends. As Wednesday night was the grand opening at the Mission, Thursday morning the decorations were even greater. In the afternoon students were welcome to enjoy some chips with salsa and delicious churros. To add to that, in what way can you end the day better than having people break a piñata in the middle of the schoolyard?

The big days, however, were without hesitation Friday and Saturday. Before the big parade, everyone started to get out their chairs and blankets to save the best spot for the whole family. After a very long wait in the sun, the parade had begun. Dozens of beautiful horses gaited through State Street and the music played by the musicians completed the picture. It was really a new experience for me as a foreigner, since I have never seen or been to this kind of a parade. Over the past couple of days, I have really seen that the people of Santa Barbara cherish this week of joy and a lot of tourists who walk down the streets with the biggest smile when someone throws confetti to them. We can still savor the moment for a few weeks until the confetti disappears and then the first eggs can be eaten as a preparation for next year. As for me, this was my first time and hopefully not the last… VIVA LA FIESTA!