[CITY GUIDE] LISBON

I think it’s not necessary to tell you over and over again how much I liked Lisbon and what an amazing city it is and so on and so on. Just one thing: go go go, visit it, have a great time, safe a lot of money because it’s cheap (I’m speaking of 10€ for a pretty good hostel bed and 9 for a perfect three-course-menu), it’s laid-back, it’s young and creative, and beautiful and busy and not too big but big enough. And so close to Europe’s most beautiful beaches. And after booking your flights takes notes and follow this little guide around one of my favourite cities.

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LISBON TRAVEL JOURNAL

Portugal is already some weeks ago and every day I planned on posting about our journey and every day I just ended up not finding a single free minute in which I was still able to think straight. For the past days I basically moved into the library and the rare few hours I got at home could only be spent watching some (very, very undemanding) TV series. It took me 3 days to edit some few photos, 2 more to format the post and now the only thing left is writing. I figured since this is what I have been doing for the whole day already anyways a few more minutes won’t be the problem anymore so here we go: a loong post about our time in Lisbon, to make up for all those post-free weeks.

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HOTSPOT: THE EYE – AMSTERDAM NOORD

A few weeks ago Maja visited me and after cycling through the whole centre, eating stroopwafels and wandering around the 9 staatjes district we took the ferry to the other side of the Ij. I have always wanted to take photos in this amazing location, the whole area around the film museum , the EYE, I just love the clean look, straight lines and the huge walls and mirrors. It was quite a cold day, very Dutch weather, but I loved the wind and I think the cold light kind of suits the photos.

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LIFE RECENTLY PART 4

It’s April and my last life update post was in January. What. How did this happen? I cannot believe how the past months have been rushing by: only two and a half more months and I am done with my first year at uni, a few more weeks until spring break and Portugal and definitely too little time until my statistics exam next week. Too little. But I’ve been planning to give a short life update for more than a week now and is there a better time to work something off your to do list when you really could use some time learning flashcards or trying to find out how to handle Excel? 

Even though it hasn’t been often since the beginning of the year spending some time in Düsseldorf is always good. Amsterdam has more and more become my home during the past months but coming “home” is always something different. 
The weather is getting nicer and nicer which makes it harder and harder to stay inside and study. I just love getting up early, enjoying the silent uni building in the morning, getting all my stuff done and the going outside as fast as possible. Or at least, that’s the ideal plan. Doesn’t always work out, but I give my best. 

Or we just go and spend too much time sitting in cafés, with open books and laptops and a lot of coffee and carrot cake. And sometimes we’re even quite productive. 

Friends visiting is always the best, not only because I finally have a proper reason to leave campus and spend time in the center. Cosi was here for a weekend, and then Maja, and I had a wonderful time with them, cycling around and exploring the city, showing them my favourite cafés and bars and looking at old photos and videos.  
I spent easter in France and had a wonderful time with my family and friends, it was all about eating lots and lots of croissants, baguette, homemade jam and chocolate eggs, going for long walks and cuddling with the cutest cats. We also went to the seaside for a day, it was rainy and windy but we walked along the beach had a picknick in the sand and nothing else matters really.

Apart from all that time has just flying by, so many events, so many essays and exams, so much cycling around. I started running again and it has never felt that good. Discovering new routes around the area and seeing that I get better and run faster and longer from week to week is just the best feeling.

I really, really will try to post a little more often but I cannot promise anything, I have never been busier in my whole life and enjoy it so much but all this leaves little time for blogging. I have another one or two posts prepared though and will give my best to give updates a little more often than every two weeks. 

9 STRAATJES AT DUSK

One last post from the weekend Cosi was visiting me. The photos are actually all taken by her and I just love how they capture the wonderful atmosphere in the 9 Straatjes district right after sunset.

 

 

 

I spent a week in France, with my family and friends, hundreds of sheep and cats and an extremely large amount of croissants and baguette and chocolate. It was such a beautiful and relaxed time and totally needed now that we’re halfway through the semester and have only a few weeks to go until final exams.
Summer is slowly looming and being woken up by sunshine, having coffee breaks outside and going for late runs make life so so much easier and happier. Very very excited for the next months, for taking my camera more often and exploring the last parts of Amsterdam I still haven’t visited yet!

SATURDAYS

When Cosi was here we spent a wonderful sunny Saturday in the 9 Straatjes district, wandering around, having baguette and hummus sitting in the sun by a canal and taking far too many photos. The weather was so beautiful and the colours so nice that I’m getting more and more excited for summer to come.

March is such a strange month, it seems so indecisive, some days are like a sneek preview for summer, all bright and happy and warm and I get a bit too optimistic thinking it might just go on like this and then the next day is like a sudden flashback to November, grey, windy and dull. But oh well, I guess after all this means we’re halfway through the semester and I’m so so so excited for the second half. I just can’t wait to be able to go running in shorts, and to cycle around in a shirt, study outside in the park and go out without having to worry how many layers will be enough not to freeze on the way to the bars. 

RECIPE: [EASY AND VEGAN] BANANA BREAD

Ok I have a new obsession: banana bread. I bake it at least once if not twice a week and it’s by far my favourite snack. Due to my extreme laziness when it comes to time spent in the kitchen it took me a while to simplify the recipe as much as possible without missing out on the fun and I guess after now spending not even 5 minutes on preparing it, it is worth to be spread out into the world.

To be honest, it’s not the cake-kind of banana bread that you’d get in fancy cafés (it’s actually more like a baked banana oatmeal!) but I experimented a bit to make it a healthy snack that is still better than any healthy snack you could think of. Also, I use oat flour instead of normal flour, it is super easy and cheap to make yourself, simply put a package (or two) of oats in your smoothie maker or blender and fill the flour in jars to be prepared for your next baking session.
Ingredients for one small baking dish:
1 jam jar of oat meal (about 2 cups)
2-3 ripe bananas
3 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder
optional (but very much recommended):
half a glass of soy/rice/coconut milk
1-2 tsp chia seeds
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp cocoa powder
something to sweeten it a bit (sugar, honey, maple syrup…)
1. Mix the bananas and melted coconut oil, mix it with a hand mixer.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
3. Grease a baking dish with some coconut oil, add the dough and then bake the banana bread for 20-30 mins. (depending on how you like it) at around 220°.
4. If you want to add frozen raspberries or other fruit I would advice to do that half way through the baking, otherwise they might get a bit dry.
I usually just add stuff I happen to have in my kitchen, such as frozen raspberries, dried fruit, coconut flakes etc etc. It really is more like baking your daily oatmeal than a making a cake so don’t be afraid to experiment, it’s quite hard to do something wrong.  Also, it obviously tastes best when taken fresh out of the oven, with a little piece of chocolate or some peanut butter but it also works perfectly fine to freeze some slices and the toast them whenever you feel like it.

AMSTERDAM MY LOVE

Cosi is here in Amsterdam for the weekend and the weather couldn’t have been any better on Thursday. It’s still quite cold but super sunny and we cycled along the canals and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in the city centre.

Sometimes I don’t get to leave the campus for 4, 5 or even more days and then it’s not difficult to forget in what a beautiful city I get to live in. Luckily having visitors prevents this from happening and with Cosi being here I finally have a proper reason to spend a whole afternoon far far away from the campus and dorms and my everyday life, sitting on a terrace in the sun, buying birthday presents, walking and taking photos, and simply enjoying the time we have together. 
The amount of assignments and the length of my to do list both only seem to increase every day and I am so incredibly busy at the moment, I barely get a minute for myself, let alone enough time to properly and regularly do my groceries. But on the other hand I enjoy being so energised and charged up all the time, it just feels so good to be productive, to learn, to work so hard and then in the end of the day to go for a run and just feel so so proud and happy.
I never thought being stressed could feel so good but it actually does. I think it’s those fun dinner parties, walks in the park, coffees in the sun and tea sessions in between that turn the stress into something so positive. 
Photos are taken by both Cosi and me.

RECIPE: [VEGAN] PANCAKES WITH WHIPPED CREAM

I don’t think there is a better way to start a Saturday morning than with a pancake picnic on the floor, featuring a lot of sun, a lot of fresh orange juice and a bunch of friends. Once again Peppi had found an amazing recipe and even though I was quite sceptical considering it basically seemed like we were frying oatmeal I have to admit I cannot remember having any better pancakes.

The recipe is inspired by this one but we changed it a bit, using self made oat flour (simply blend oats in your smoothie maker) instead of normal wheat flour. 
Ingredients for 5-6 small pancakes:
250 ml oat flour (about one glass full)
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
200 ml soy or almond milk (or any other milk)
2 tbs melted coconut oil
2 tbs brown sugar 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
some olive oil to fry the pancakes
1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Add everything else (except for the olive oil) and add a little more milk if you want the pancakes to be bigger and thinner, a little less milk if you like them small and fluffy. 
3. Heat some olive oil and start building that pancake tower.
4. Top them with whatever you find in your kitchen, but my tip is blueberries and some other fruit and this awesome vegan whipped coconut cream. SO good, I want a whole bath of it.
Ingredients for a small bowl of vegan whipped cream:
1 can of coconut milk (left in the fridge over night)
2-3 tbsp powder sugar
1. Carefully take the creamy part of the coconut milk (that usually stays on top above the coconut water).
2. Whip it with the powder sugar.
3. Generously spread it onto your pancakes. Or cake. Or cookie, or just eat it with a spoon. 

ONE DAY IN ZANDVOORT

A while ago I we went to Zandvoort and after uploading the short video I made I totally forgot to post some photos I took that day as well. So here we go, a few weeks later, already missing the beach too much, I can’t wait to be back as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last weeks are so busy and packed, I rarely spent any time by myself. Finished my first semester, started the second one. We went skiing in France and it was one of the best weekends in a long time. I didn’t take my camera and the lack of ANY wifi for 4 days was so SO relaxing. Besides that I have a lot of work to do, many readings, many essays but oh well, starting over with new courses and new people is fun and motivating. So excited for spring now, excited to cycle around the city again, without frozen hands but with my camera.

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