Maria Marques

From Portugal
Living in: Braga, Portugal
  • Day7

    Viena 4

    January 1 in Austria ⋅ 🌬 8 °C

    Happy New Year Vienna! The weather is always the same - cold and windy! But we are weather proof and we don’t want to skip many things from our original plan, so we go metro hop on hop off and we can see a lot of the majestic buildings around the metropolis. The Golden Cabbage - the Secession and its nearby market, the Musikverin, where the famous new year concert was happening, the Museumsquartier where we had been the previous evening, now could be seen on daylight, the Karlskirche, the Votivkirche - a neo-Gothic church and the Minoritenkirche where there is a life-sized copy of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper on the church's northern wall. It is a mosaic made by the Roman mosaic artist Giacomo Raffaelli, commissioned by Napoleon I in 1809, but it was not finished before Napoleon's abdication. Francis II of Austria bought it, wanting to install it in the Belvedere in Vienna. As it was too large for the building, it was set up on the north wall of the church, where it remains to this day. The mosaic is 9.18 x 4.47 m and weighs approximatively 20 tons.
    Before going to the opera we still had time to visit the Wurstelprater, an amusement park and section of the Wiener Prater (a park) in the second district of Vienna, Leopoldstadt. This institution dates back to the time of the Austrian Empire, when Emperor Joseph II made the Prater (which has been serving as Imperial hunting ground until then) open to public in 1766. Soon the first snack bars, stalls and bowling alleys opened up on the grounds and the Wurstelprater was born. The best-known attraction is the Wiener Riesenrad, a giant Ferris wheel. With a weight of more than 240 tons and a height of roughly 65 m the Giant Ferris Wheel looms over the Prater in Vienna since 1897.
    The UNO city is normally the landscape for the Vienna marathon starting point. It is here that the skyline has some skyscrapers that are lined along the Danube.
    The Bat - Johann Strauss Opera - was hilarious and the cherry on top of the cake for these short holidays! The atmosphere, the performance and the music gave us three hours of pure entertainment! Surely something special to repeat! End of the day in the Bermuda Triangle- called like so because many people who go to this area tend to forget where they were during their passage because of the great amounts of alcohol that one can drink in this area.
    As the following day was only for travelling back home, this was the end of the journey!

    Only one more thing... Thomas, our Airbnb host was a character who prepared really nice breakfasts, was very enthusiastic about having people around... especially Wolfgang... and maybe the only person that I have met who says: I really love housekeeping!!!
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  • Day6

    Viena 3

    December 31, 2018 in Austria ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    This time we had a car and so we were around Vienna near the lake Neusiedlersee. This is an area with vineyards and we visited the Vinery Beck in Gols. The wine is completely different from the Portuguese wines. Nevertheless, some of them were really delicious and we ended up buying some bottles to bring back home. On the way back we stopped in an outlet shopping centre where we had lunch and after giving the car back we went around the city centre where the Silvestre - New Year’s Eve - could already be felt. There were different areas around the city with all kinds of music. At night we ended up in Stephansplatz where classical music was being played and we wished each other Happy 2019 under a “smashing” atmosphere. Meanwhile we had stopped in Bellariastraße in Bellaria coffee house for Sacher torte, apflestrudle and kaiserschmarrn... delicious! Dinner was at a small traditional Viennese restaurant and the night ended up on the street, dancing and drinking hot wine from the cutest cups ever!
    Happy New Year!!!
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  • Day4

    Viena 2

    December 29, 2018 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    The second day in Vienna was very rainy. The day before we had bought the tickets to visit Schönbrunn Palace and that was our first stop. This is definitely a special place to visit in Vienna. If you can start early you can have a relaxing stroll around the rooms. The free audio guide is very nice because it explains enough for one to understand what happened in Sissy’s time. Entertaining and not boring at all! After this we made an effort and went to the city centre but the rain got heavier and heavier, so our plans for the walking tour around the city centre were stopped after a while. One stop for coffee and Sacher torte, another in Saint Stephan’s Cathedral and even an attempt to go further after buying an umbrella weren’t enough to fight the discomfort of walking under the rain, so Wolfi went to the rent a car stand and the rest of us relaxed at the Airbnb for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening we met Miriam and Lucas for a special traditional dinner in Heurigen Sommerbauer Resi in Perchtoldsdorf. Heurigen is the name given to taverns in Eastern Austria at which local winemakers serve their new wine under a special licence in alternate months during the growing season. The Heurige are renowned for their atmosphere of coziness shared among a throng enjoying young wine, simple food, and - in some places – Schrammel music. Heuriger is the abbreviation of "heuriger Wein" (this year's wine). Originally, they were simple open-air taverns on the premises of winemakers, where people would bring along food and drink the new wine. Nowadays, the taverns are often situated at a distance from the wineyards and offer both food and drinks. Heurige where apple or pear cider is served are called a Mostheurige. In the well-known wine-growing areas of the city of Vienna many eating establishments have a rustic interior design similar to Heurige, yet they have a normal licence and sell wine they buy from outside sources.Read more

  • Day4

    Viena 1

    December 29, 2018 in Austria ⋅ 🌬 3 °C

    Once again we went to Viena by bus. 70 km separate us from Bratislava, so this was a short journey. When we arrived it was already a good time to eat and that’s what we did. The Schönnbrunn palace was packed with tourists and no more tickets were available for the day, so we bought them for the following day and strolled around the Christmas market where the traditional Viennese cookies and Christmas decorations. So cold but sooooo beautiful! After checking in with Thomas - our make up breakfast specialist host - we headed to the city centre where it was still possible to visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the pedestrian area with the Opera House and the Sacher Hotel with the fancy butler and the Sacher Torte fans queuing outside.
    At eight we met Dorothea and her husband in a nice traditional restaurant with delicious Austrian food!!!
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  • Day3

    Bratislava

    December 28, 2018 in Slovakia ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    After a 2:30 min bus ride from Budapest, we arrived in Bratislava. The Virgo Hotel was just a short stop for leaving the luggage and we immediately started walking to the castle. This a huge building with a stunning view over the Danube, the UFO bridge and St Martin’s Cathedral. Downhill, after a long stop for lunch, we walked to the Old Town and could still see St. Michael’s Gate (Michalská brána), Schöne Náci Statue, Čumil, the Primate’s Palace (Primaciálny palác) and Blue Church (Modrý kostolík). It was a pity that by 16:30
    It was already dark and that we couldn’t see the magnificence of the church by daylight. Nevertheless, the city is nice and all main attractions are within walking distances. It would all be perfect if we didn’t have to eat out or buy groceries. Most people aren’t friendly. In fact, it seems that smiling is a bit difficult for their facial muscles. As for communication, it is not so easy because most people, like shop assistants, waiters and bus drivers, don’t speak English... that’s about it for Bratislava.
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  • Day2

    Budapest 2

    December 27, 2018 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    This the second day in Budapest. We visit another part of the city. First, near home, the Great Market Hall - a beautiful building with the traditional Hungarian paprika hanging from the ceiling and all kinds of goods you can think of. Then we follow the plan we prepared and we strolled along the way to pass by Dohány Street Synagogue, the Jewish quarter, the House of Terror, Andrássy Avenue, the Heroes Square, Szechenyi thermal spa, Vajdahunyad Castle and finally, to relax from the long walk, Kiraly Spa Baths. The Turkish bath in Kiraly Bath has a characteristic dim light, as the pool gets its light from the 16th century dome holes covered in glasses.
    The bath has not been restored for many decades, which gives it an even more fascinating historical appeal, where the Turkish details are mixed with the medicinal bathing culture of the 1890s, and the practical, ahistorical approach of the Communist Budapest era.
    Kiraly Bath is open every day 9 am to 9 pm, and the once famous men only bath is now completely mixed, unisex every day.
    The day ended in Sir Lancelot, a medieval restaurant with theatrical exhibitions, live music, belly dance and huge amounts of food.
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  • Day1

    Budapest 1

    December 26, 2018 in Hungary ⋅ 🌬 5 °C

    Budapeste

    It is the 26th December and we arrived the day before in Budapest. After some phone calls to Catherine it was possible to get into the Airbnb flat. It is in an old fancy block of flats. Tixa and Wolfi described it as the scenery of a James Bond movie. The are two open courtyards that we have to cross and an arched veranda leads us to the butterfly door! Nicely renovated it has room for the five of us to be pretty much comfortable.
    The following morning breakfast is at home and after that the city is here for us to experience it. It is bank holiday in Hungary and the streets are almost empty as we head to St Stephen’s Cathedral. It is a magnificent Basilica with splendours ceilings and Christmas trees around. The Christmas market outside is full of lovely handicrafts, food and hot wine stands. The smell of the spices invades the cold air yet full of Christmas spirit. But we still had a lot to explore and the Parliament and the river bank with the Shoes Memorial are outstanding under the pale sunlight. After crossing the Chain Bridge we stop for lunch in a Belgian beer pub. Delicious food and a perfect way to get back to warm hands and faces. It was cosy enough to keep us there for a while but still on time to visit the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Castle Hill. The view to the other side of the river is amazing and we can have sunset and evening in our pictures. Crossing back the Chain Bridge we look back at the castle reflection on the Danube... breathtaking too. Again the chilly windy evening takes us inside a coffee shop to eat apple cake. Walking back home for some rest before dinner, we still pass by the Christmas market for mulled wine that keeps us warm all the way back.
    Dinner is around Raday utca. We choose an Hungarian restaurant and, again, the food is delicious!
    Nothing better than to end up the day at a ruin bar a bit far away from home... well... it was actually a bar in the Jewish ghetto because Szimpla Bar was closed - second Christmas Day.
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  • Dec1

    Back home

    December 1, 2018 in Italy ⋅ 🌫 3 °C

    Coming back home was also part of the project learning experience.
    The Italian train system isn’t the best thing in the world. So, what we most feared happened: we had to catch two trains and the first one was so late that we couldn’t catch the second. Still, we were lucky enough to have a second one a bit later. We only had ten minutes but that would have been more than enough to be relaxed. The only problem was that apparently the last platform was number four, so I asked where platform one - ours- was and we ended up in the metro station, according to five different security officers at the platforms... Lesson: stop, look better and trust your feelings. We ended up running like mad people and begging the train officer for two more minutes because not everybody was inside the train. It was a crazy rush but team work solved it all. Thanks Portuguese team for being so fast!Read more

  • Nov30

    Verona

    November 30, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 4 °C

    Verona one more time. This time started from the opposite way. On top of the hill where the city can be viewed, the river can be seen and the cold air gets into your lungs as if you didn’t even need to make it happen.
    Downhill we end up in the oldest bridge in the world - UNESCO of course - Ponte Pietra, not before visiting the Roman theatre. This is an open air museum and the whole day we have an history class going on with the Italian teachers in the morning and a specialized tourist guide for the Arena in the afternoon.
    English Literature was obviously focused on the way, wouldn’t it be the city of Romeo and Juliet. We visited the house of Shakespeare’s heroine, touched her breast for luck and gazed at the balcony where she would supposedly be.
    The Roman Empire can be seen all over the city but the Arena is the best preserved one in Italy and nowadays it is still a place for shows - gladiators were substituted by opera or pop concerts. The acoustics is outstanding!
    But the day was far from being over because after “reality lessons” the hosting families of the Italian students took everybody to school for a farewell party with local food prepared by themselves.
    It was an amazing experience. Teachers and students have learned so much from this experience and the purpose of the project was accomplished, but this is just the beginning. We went to Italy to learn, we have put some things in practice there but our school is waiting for us to tell them how we can use photography to motivate students’ awareness of self esteem and safety.
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  • Nov29

    Roverè

    November 29, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    We spent this day in a different school. Roverè is a mountain village and it was pretty cold when we arrived there. On the way, on shady places the frost covered the hills with ice crystals, that later were glittering in the sun.
    The students from this school were waiting for us and were very proud of all the things they did at school. The robotics LEGO league competition in which they are involved, their regular classrooms and also the school facilities. The morning ended up with the final rehearsal of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. A moving simple adaptation of this amazing book.
    Before lunch it was still time to use photo techniques on the mountain. The hiking tour lead us through a winter wood full of art! I mean, real paintings were hanging on the trees!
    The afternoon was under the surface. This time it was a forest of stone. Stalactites and stalagmites are formed on the Cave of Monte Capriollo. It is a funny place with limestone formations, bats and an imported cave creature from the Dolomites caves called Protheus. It is white, blind, has red ears and eats alive worms. But the mountains still had something special for us: an amazing red sunset!
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