Nascida e criada em Portugal. Já morei na Polónia, no Brasil, na República Checa e agora é a Suécia que me acolhe.
O meu blogue, tal como o meu cérebro, é uma mistura de línguas. Bem vindos!

Born and raised Portuguese. I have lived in Poland, Brazil, Czech Republic and now I'm in the beautiful Sweden.
My blog, just like my brain, is a blend of languages. Welcome!

sexta-feira, 8 de janeiro de 2021

Happy 2021!

Imagine you had a jacket with two pockets, that you use now and then. With time you learn what to put in which pocket so that you make use of them the best way. It works and you are happy and content. Now imagine that every winter, ou stopped using a jacket at all, because besides your wallet, phone and keys you also need space for your gloves, hat and umbrella. Instead of buying another jacket or finding a way to get more space for your winter things, you simply chose to not go out at all and avoid the problem. Now imagine that one day someone told you to look inside of your jacket. You did and found 5 more pockets there, of different sizes, some with zippers, some with special details and you get excited and try them all, and every time you find new and better possibilities. After a while, it seems basically impossible that you hadn't seen them before and you don't even understand how you could have missed that whole side of something that felt so known and comfortable before. 

That's how I feel. About running.

I have been running now for nearly 11 years. I was happy and content. Did basically only asphalt running and some races now and then. The more I trained the more my times became (big surprise...), but every winter I stopped running (or reduced it to 1 or 2 times a week) because it was cold and dark and who runs then anyway. Now and then I heard of other people doing mountain running and trail running, and how cool it was but somehow never thought it was for me. But then I moved to the forest (not to an actual forest, but a neighbourhood not far from one). And I found a whole new side of running, full of lite pockets here and there. I had moved here thinking I would use the broad marked paths to run, but got bored of them pretty quickly, especially due to the numerous other options around. 

This is how 2020 became a year of new things. 

This is how I became a forest freak. 

 

Gettings lost in small trails was my favourite summer thing. That and exploring new areas, new trails, new lakes, new challenges (like crawling under a giant tree that had fallen on the trail or climbing a rock to get to the other side). Then came the fall and with it the dark evenings and the wet and muddy trails and I slowly embraced them. With the right clothes, shoes and equipment nothing is too wet or too dark and mud washes off with water and soap. Now that I had fallen in love with running all over again I was just not going to stop because of the weather. Afterwards came winter and its snowy days, and after having survived months of rain and darkness I was just not stopping now either. And so it became that I started 2021 by doing something so new and so old at the same time. Running on snow!


Looking back I don't think it was a mistake to stop before. I just didn't see running the way I see now - as a part of my life and of who I am. Oh... and of course all this joy has made me go out the door more often, run longer than ever (although I'm less tired than before) and I ended up improving my personal bests. Quite a nice side effect :)

This is exactly what I want to bring to 2021. Find new within the old. Find challenges within the comfortable. Accept. Adapt. Learn. Try. Live. And have fun, at least a lit bit every day but hopefully much more than that. 

Let's all do that! 

Happy 2021!

quarta-feira, 19 de agosto de 2020

One year later...

This long break on my blog was only more or less intentional. Life got really busy last year and at some point, I stopped, reflected, and realized that blogging had become more of a duty than something joyful I did in my free time. I love blogging but I do not enjoy writing under pressure or when I feel I must do it. After that, I decided to take a break, let it go of my to-do list and return only when I felt I wanted to do it again. I knew I would miss it at some point, so there was never a risk for no-return. 

Today was the day. I decided to open my blog again and write whatever crossed my mind. Funny thing... My last post here was exactly one year ago!! I had no idea and thought it was a cool coincidence!

Here is a summary of what has been going on this side of the world.


August - September

Summer vacation in 2019 was spent cycling along the Swedish west coast and then in Denmark. It was of course great! Great views, decent weather and 10 days full of new things. After that, we started preparing and packing all our belongings to move into a new apartment.  

Lesson: no matter when you start packing everything, it is too late!

J. answering an important call from the bank regarding our mortgage. Of course, they called when we were cycling along a very noisy road...

October

October was marked by very extreme experiences. We moved into our newly finished apartment at the beginning of October. It was so new we could still feel the smell of the paint. Moving day was very intensive but fun. Unfortunately, I also got the worse episode of food poisoning of my life! J. had to leave for a work trip and I stayed behind in the middle of a million boxes, not being able to find tea or a pot to boil some rice. On top of that, the fresh smell of paint soon started making me sick and I couldn't even open the windows for too long because it's Sweden and it was 5oC outside. No, my first days in our new flat were not the best, but it only went upwards from there! I love it here now! 

Lesson: do not forget to eat properly, especially when doing something so physically demanding like moving heavy things.

Moving day!

November

November is a blur. We only had some basic furniture and a lot had to be bought (and chosen), mounted and fixed. All of this while working full-time busy jobs. The first weeks we only had portable lamps because we never got the damn connection to the ceiling lamps right. Once we were so tired of shopping at Ikea for the millionth time and only wanted to get it done, that we rushed and bought 7 lamps for different parts of the apartment. We ended up returning six... However, the flat was slowly becoming more of a home and less of a random pile of things.

Lesson: do not shop exhausted and/or hungry. Never!


December - January

When our new place was finally looking decent we had to leave it for a month, but it was for very good reasons. Our honeymoon! We spent the most amazing four weeks in Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. It was my first time in Asia and only the second for J., so it was all very new. We lived so much in those weeks that we feel we were there for a year. When we returned we were so relaxed and happy that I could barely remember what my job was... Do you know that feeling? 

Lesson: so so grateful for being able to go on our honeymoon before the big Covid-19 storm hit us all. 

Sharing a magic sunset in Bagan, Myanmar

February - April

Uncertainty. First at work, not knowing if Covid-19 was, in fact, going to hit us or not (so naive of us...) and then when it did, at home trying to adapt to the new reality without going crazy. The funny thing was that at the beginning of February I asked my boss if I could work from home a few days every week because I needed more peace to do certain things. He agreed immediately, without having the slight idea that that was going to be the reality for the rest of the year. My Easter trip got cancelled, as everyone else's did. My training improved a lot!

Lesson: Some wishes might become true way more than expected.

We live now very close to a big forest and have been busy exploring its best spots :)

May - June

Accepted new reality and re-organized life in general. We transformed our soon-to-be guest room into a mini gym and an office with a big screen and standing/sitting desk. Online meetings became normal as did walks several times of day to prevent pains in new places. Our patio became a small garden where we started growing some vegetables and a nice bar for having after-work drinks on Fridays. The good weather also brought everyone else out to their balconies and we started to get knowing our neighbours, which turned out to be very nice. 

Lesson: So many! Maybe the most important is to be grateful for everything I have and for having learned to adapt to challenges life brings me. These have made me handle the pandemic in a better way than most.

Rasmus, our nicest neighbour, who likes to hang and to nap in our patio 

July - August

First, it was crazy with work, including many many extra hours, but then it was summer vacation again. Once again we cycled around, this time only in Sweden, and once again it was great. Sweden is so beautiful! Now it's back to work, mostly from home for the rest of the year, which is ok, because I got used to it. Oh, and I'm also training for my first marathon! I will do it on my own, or rather just with J., because all the races have been cancelled. 

Lesson: Sometimes the calm comes after the storm, and it feels great!

Gotland, the largest Swedish island - a beauty!


And how have you been? Have your life changed a lot in the last year? Do I still have any readers at all? 


domingo, 18 de agosto de 2019

Bruges - Belgium


Bruges is the capital of West Flanders and the hotspot of tourism in the region. I mentioned before that I had prefered Ghent to Bruges, but don't get me wrong... Bruges is amazingly beautiful and very charming. However, it is also veeery touristic and although we visited the city at the end of October, we could barely walk in the narrow sidewalks near the canals. That was what ruined a bit our experience with Bruges, but we still enjoyed the day we spent there.   

Bruges é a capital da Flandres Ocidental e o centro de turismo da região. No post anterior escrevi que eu tinha preferido Ghent a Bruges, mas não me interpretem mal... Bruges é incrivelmente bonito e charmoso. Porém, também é muuuuito turístico e embora tenhamos lá ido no fim de outubro, mal dava para andar nos passeios estreitos à beira dos canais. Foi apenas isso o que arruinou um pouco a nossa experiência com Bruges, mas ainda assim gostámos imenso do dia que lá passamos.


Church of Our Lady and the complex around (a museum today). It dates from the 13th century and it's the tallest building in Bruges. It's very hard to photograph because of its size, but the whole complex and garden are beautiful. 

Igreja de Nossa senhora e o complexo em redor (um museu), construído no século XIII, que é o edifício mais alto de Bruges. É muito difícil de fotografar por causa do seu tamanho, mas todo o complexo e jardim são lindos.



Just as Ghent, Bruges medieval-style survived until today which makes the city centre very charming and quite special.
Assim como Ghent, o estilo medieval de Bruges sobreviveu até aos dias de hoje, o que torna o centro da cidade muito charmoso e especial.


Church of our Lady seen from the backside / A Igreja de Nossa Senhora vista pelo lado de trás



Rozenhoedkaai

Steenhouwers Canal with the Belfry and spires of the Stadhuis.
Canal de Steenhouwers com o campanário e os pináculos da Stadhuis

Markt or Market square / Markt ou a Praça do Comércio


After walking around the centre and trying to enjoy it as much as possible and to forget all the million selfies sticks in front of us, we decided to explore the surroundings. That was a great idea because 3 streets off the main sights the streets were empty! We also found a nice little restaurant in the surroundings where we had lunch. 

Depois de caminhar pelo centro e tentar aproveitar tudo ao máximo tentando esquecer todos os selfie sticks à nossa frente, decidimos explorar os arredores, o que foi uma óptima idéia porque 3 ruas depois já estava tudo vazio! Demos também com um pequeno e agradável restaurante nos ambientes onde almoçamos.

Moules Frites, Flemish stew and beer - it can't get more Belgian...
Moules frites, guisado Flamengo e cerveja - mais Belga era impossivel...


Gentpoort, one of the four of the city's gates. It's located on the road to Ghent, which explains the name.  
Gentpoort, uma das quatro portas da cidade. Fica na estrada para Ghent, o que explica o nome.


We ended up in the windmill area of Bruges, a very green and peaceful area, by one of the canals. Belgium a rich mill history and in the 16th century there were 23 windmills just in Bruges. Nowadays, there's only these four and only one is in its original location (Sint-Janshuismill). This was definitely the highlight of the day and we spent a fair amount of time enjoying the views and photographing the windmills from different angles and directions.  

Acabamos na área dos moinhos de vento de Bruges, uma área muito verde e tranquila, à beira de um dos canais. A Bélgica tem uma rica história de moinhos e no século XVI havia 23 moinhos só em Bruges. Hoje em dia há apenas estes quatro e apenas um deles está na sua localização original (Sint-Janshuismill). Este foi definitivamente a melhor parte do dia e passamos bastante tempo a apreciar a vista e fotografar os moinhos de ângulos e direções diferentes.

Top left: Koeleweimill 1765, used for corn
Top right: Bonne Chiere 1844 (rebuilt 1911), never used as a mill, just as decoration.
Bottom left: Nieuwe Papegaai 1790, oil mill
Bottom right: Sint-Janshuismill 1770 (the oldest), can still grind flour

Em cima à esquerda: Koeleweimill 1765, usado para milho
Em cima à direita: Bonne Chiere 1844 (reconstruída em 1911), nunca usada como moinho, como decoração.
Em baixo à esquerda: Nieuwe Papegaai 1790, lagar de azeite
Embaixo à direita: Sint-Janshuismill 1770 (a mais antiga), ainda pode moer farinha



After some peaceful hours wandering about the windmills, we went back to the craziness of the centre and to exploring chocolate shops. The evening was approaching fast and there were actually fewer tourists (all the bus excursions had left). We passed by a waffle cafe that had quite a long queue outside and became curious. We search for it on google and saw that the cafe was highly rated, so we decided to join the queue. The employees were efficient and we got a waffle each relatively fast (no seating though, that would have taken way longer). 

Depois de algumas horas tranquilas a passear pelos moinhos, voltamos para a loucura do centro e para explorar as lojas de chocolate. A tarde estava quase no fim e havia menos turistas (todas as excursões já tinham ido embora). Passámos por um café de waffles que tinha uma fila longa na rua e ficamos curiosas. Procuramos no google e descobrimos que o café era bem classificado e então decidimos juntar-nos à fila. Os funcionários eram eficientes e em menos de nada estavamos com uma waffle na mão cada uma (sem sentar, ou teria demorado bastante mais tempo).


There are two kinds of waffle: Liège waffle (left) and Belgium waffle (right). The first is the real deal, the one originated in Belgium, the other one is the american version, firstly introduced at New York’s 1964 World’s Fair by restaurateur, Maurice Vermersch. The Liège waffle is doughy, heavy and contains caramelized chunks of sugar. The Belgium waffle is made using a much lighter dough which provides a more airy waffle. They are both delicious, but having to choose one I would have to go for the Liège waffle. 

Existem dois tipos de waffle: a waffle de Liège (à esquerda) e a waffle da Bélgica (à direita). A primeira é uma criação Belga, a outra é a uma versão americana, introduzida pela primeira vez na Feira Mundial de 1964 de Nova York, pelo restaurador Maurice Vermersch. A waffle de Liège é pastosa, mais densa e contém pedaços de açúcar caramelizados. A waffle da Bélgica é feita usando uma massa muito mais leve que dá origem a waffles mais leves e porosas. Ambas são deliciosas, mas tendo que escolher só uma escolheria a de Liège.


With our stomachs comforted by delicious waffles we decided to go for a beer. We wanted to try a few different ones and we found that the beer museum offered beer tastings for 5 euros. The museum itself was closed but the bar was still open and we shared a tasting of 5 beers. 

Com os estômagos bem forrados por waffles deliciosas, decidimos e beber cerveja. Queríamos experimentar várias diferentes e descobrimos que o museu da cerveja tinha degustações de cerveja por 5 euros. O museu estava fechado, mas o bar ainda estava aberto e nós partilhamos uma degustação de 5 cervejas.


We left the museum just in time to see some pink colours in the sky and they headed back to the train station and Brussels.
Saímos do museu a tempo de ver o céu vestido de rosa e a seguir voltamos para a estação de comboio e depois Bruxelas.


Bruges is beautiful and special and I would love to go back and re-visit it without all the tourists, but I'm guessing if it was this crowded at the end of October, it doesn't get much better any other time of the year.
Have you been to Bruges? What's your experience?

Bruges é lindo e especial e eu adoraria voltar lá sem todos os turistas, mas suponho que se estava assim cheio no final de outubro, não deve haver altura do ano em que esteja muito melhor. 

E vocês, já foram a Bruges? O que acharam?

quarta-feira, 14 de agosto de 2019

Art here and there - Ghent

Some cities just have it all... as if the medieval architecture, the canals, the flowers and the best chocolates in the world was not enough, Ghent has also a lot of interesting street art. Actually, it's not just Ghent, as street art is very popular all over Belgium.

Algumas cidades têm tudo ... como se não bastasse a arquitetura medieval, os canais, as flores e os melhores chocolates do mundo, Ghent ainda nos brinda com arte de rua extradordinária. Na verdade não é apenas Ghent, mas a Bélgica inteira onde a arte de rua é bastante popular.



We saw a lot of murals in Ghent and there were probably many more to be found. One of the hotspots of street art in Ghent is Werregarenstraat, a narrow alleyway converted in a street art tunnel. The walls are constantly changing, as all street artists are welcome to express themselves, having to obey only to one rule: respect finer work than your own. 

Vimos muitos murais em Ghent e provavelmente havia muitos mais a serem descobertos. Um dos locais de arte de rua mais frequentado em Ghent é Werregarenstraat, um  beco estreito convertido numa espécie túnel de arte. As paredes estão em constante mudança, porque todos os artistas de rua são bem-vindos para expressar a sua arte, tendo que obedecer apenas a uma regra: respeitar trabalhos melhores que o seu.

 Werregarenstraat




 Murals all over the city / Murais pela cidade


 Other kinds of art can also be found, like this wall covered in man busts. 
Também vimos outros tipos de arte, como esta parede coberta de bustos masculinos.


Funny signs have also become more and more popular, and we saw these two in Ghent. Very fitting as I do love tea and I always fill up my cups to the brim!
O que também se tornou mais e mais popular foram sinais engraçados como estes que vimos em Ghent. Muito apropriado, já que eu adoro chá e encho sempre a chávena até a borda!



terça-feira, 13 de agosto de 2019

Ghent - Belgium


I was in Ghent with my sister, last Autumn. When we planned our trip to Belgium we knew we wanted to do a couple of day tours around Brussels. We had heard a lot about Bruges, so that was in our list, but we were not sure about the second one. We looked at the map and read a bit about Belgium, and decided to visit Ghent, at about 40 min. by train from Brussels. It turned out that we enjoyed Ghent much more than Brugges. It's smaller and cosier, and although it has a lot of tourists one can walk in Ghent!

Fui a Ghent com minha irmã, no outono passado. Quando planeamos a nossa viagem à Bélgica, sabíamos que queríamos fazer algumas visitas de um dia a outras cidades em volta de Bruxelas. Tínhamos ouvido falar muito em Bruges, então essa estava em nossa lista, mas estavamos na dúvida sobre a segunda. Depois de invenstigar na internet e no mapa decidimos visitar Ghent, a cerca de 40 min. de comboio de Bruxelas. Acabamos por gostar bem mais de Ghent do que de Bruges. É uma cidade menor e mais aconchegante e apesar de ter muitos turistas é possível andar-se em Ghent!


The train station is a bit from the city centre, but one doesn't have time to get bored. Right outside the train station, there's a beautiful modern building (top left picture). On the way to the centre, there's also a park and the closer we get to the centre, the number of older buildings increase. Much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact, but now and then a modern building pops up, which for me is what makes Ghent so special. 

A estação de comboios é um pouco fora do centro da cidade, mas não há tempo para se ficar aborrecido. Mesmo em frente à estação há um edifício moderno interessante (foto superior esquerda) e a caminho do centro há um parque. Quanto mais nos aproximamos do centro, maior é o número de edifícios antigos. Grande parte da arquitetura medieval da cidade permanece intacta, mas de vez em quando surge um edifício moderno, o que para mim é o que torna Ghent tão especial.


The historical centre of Ghent – from left to right: Old post office, Saint-Nicholas Church, Belfry, and Saint Bavo Cathedral.
O centro histórico de Ghent - da esquerda para a direita: antiga estação de correios, Igreja de São Nicolau, Campanário e Catedral de São Bavo.

 Saint-Nicholas Church and Saint Bavo Cathedral 

 Saint-Nicholas Church

Gravensteen castle or the castle of the counts from 1180. It was built by Philip of Alsace to intimidate the burghers of Ghent who often challenged the Counts' authority. The picture below shows the old market square, just outside the castle. 
O Castelo de Gravensteen ou o castelo dos condes de 1180. Foi construído por Filipe da Alsácia para intimidar os burgueses de Ghent, que muitas vezes desafiaram a autoridade dos Condes. A imagem de baixo mostra a antiga praça do mercado, do lado de fora do castelo.


Besides gorgeous architecture, Ghent is populated by water (canals, the river, fountains) and bicycles, in my opinion big contributions to the city's charm.
Além da arquitetura deslumbrante, Ghent é povoada por água (canais, o rio, fontes) e bicicletas, a meu ver contribuições importantes para o charme da cidade.


 Bicycle parking outside the train station / Estacionamento para bicicletas perto da estação

Graslei and Korenlei, the quays in the historic city centre of Ghent that were once a part of the medieval port, located on the banks of the Leie river. Nowadays this area is a cultural and touristic hotspot. 
Graslei e Korenlei, são os cais no centro histórico da cidade de Ghent, que faziam parte do porto medieval localizado nas margens do rio Leie. Hoje em dia esta área é um ponto cultural e turístico.

 Korenlei

 Graslei

 The cuteness is spread all over the city, even in residential areas with its nice tile-built houses and secret alleys. 
A beleza da cidade está espalhada por toda a parte, mesmo nas áreas residenciais com as suas casas de tijolo e becos secretos.

A good example of the modern architecture that one can find in Ghent is the new library, De Krook. The site was still under construction, and although the building seemed to be ready it wasn't open, so we couldn't visit it. The building is located by a water canal and although it may look quite odd, it fits the landscape and gives a nice contrast to the surroundings.

Um bom exemplo da arquitetura moderna em Ghent é a nova biblioteca, De Krook. O local ainda estava em construção e, embora o edifício parecesse estar pronto não estava aberto, por isso não pudemos visitá-lo. Esta biblioteca fica à beira de um canal e embora pareça um pouco estranha, encaixa-se bem na paisagem e faz um bom contraste com o resto.


 Mordern arquitecture in Ghent / Arquitectura moderna em Ghent


A funny thing we noticed was that some sidewalks were full of these metallic engraved circles. Some had images of the most various city scenes, while others had adverts for local businesses. I tried to google it without any success, so it's the origin of these discs remains a mystery to me.  

Uma coisa engraçada que vimos foram estes circulos metálicos com gravações em alguns dos passeios. Alguns tinham imagens das mais variadas coisas da cidade, enquanto outros tinham anúncios de pequenos negócios locais. Tentei encontrar informação no google mas sem sucesso, pelo que a origem destes discos é um mistério para mim.


Ghent is great and beautiful and no matter what it involves a lot of walking (I and my sister walked 35 000 steps!). That takes to the other part of being in Belgium - the Belgium diet!
Ghent é fantástica e bonita e a sua visita vai envolve muita caminhada (eu e minha irmã andamos 35.000 passos!), o que nos leva à outra parte da cultura Belga - a dieta!

Snacks are easy - chocolate pralinés and waffles. In each corner, there's a chocolate shop, each one more beautiful than the previous one - so go for it.
Os snacks são fáceis - pralinés e waffles. Em cada esquina há uma loja de chocolates, cada uma mais bonita que a anterior - então força, é só escolher.

 My sister and her waffle / A minha irmã e a sua waffle

 An old warehouse turned into food court / Um antigo armazém convertido numa zona de comeres




And of course, no one can leave without trying the famous Belgium fries. We tried a couple of different ones in Ghent, both bought on the street. There's always a large variety of sauces to choose from. The fries were good even without the sauce, but it was also a lot of fun to order sauces without having any idea what they were. 
E claro, ninguém pode ir embora sem experimentar as famosas batatas fritas Belgas. Nós experimentamos duas diferentes em Ghent, ambas compradas em quiosques na rua. Há sempre uma grande variedade de molhos para escolher. As batatas fritas eram boas mesmo sem o molho, mas também tem a sua piada pedir os molhos pelo nome, sem ter qualquer ideia do que são.


We were in Ghent the whole day but we couldn't leave without another walk through the centre, this time to see all the buildings lighted up.
Passamos o dia todo em Ghent, mas não pudiamos ir embora sem um ultimo passeio centro, desta vez com os edifícios todos iluminados.



We were very happy to have chosen Ghent and I strongly recommend everyone to pay a visit to this beautiful and historic city.
Ficamos muito contentes por termos escolhido Ghent e recomendamos vivamente a todos uma visita a esta cidade linda e histórica.