Tag Archives: Portugal

Dois galões, por favor!

The Portuguese version of Caffe Latte is O Galão. Espresso with hot milk.
The Portuguese version of Caffe Latte is O Galão. Espresso with hot milk.

Ten months have gone so quickly here in the beautiful and sunny Lisbon. The experience has been amazing and now that I have my last month to go I can´t believe how well everything has gone and how fast time flies. I have had great days and bad days and all those experiences have left a mark in my heart. I hope to return and at least visit Lisbon and other parts of Portugal somewhere in the near future.

I arrived here with my husband on September to study fine arts in the Faculty of Belas-Artes situated in the vibrant  Baixa-Chiado area at the heart of Lisbon. The University is different of those that I have been used to in Finland. Belas-Artes gives you an memorable first impression with its massive plaster statues on the hallways, high ceilings and architecture from the past centuries.

Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa
Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa
Students learn how to restore the old plaster statues
Students learn how to restore the old plaster statues

The teachers have been very positive and helpful as well as the fellow students. It´s fun to meet so many Erasmus students all the time and its rather easy to make friends or start a conversation about almost anything with people you have never seen before. Portuguese people love telling stories about their culture, history and all that sort of stuff, so it doesn’t take long to get some insight to their views of the country.

Window view from the University to the lovely red roof tops.
Window view from the University to the lovely red rooftops.

Its hard for me to describe how Belas-Artes is different from TAMK ( Tampere University of Applied Sciences)  but for instance it seems that there is lot more possibilities to do and learn different types of crafts in here. Whether ceramics, jewelry making, glass art, mosaics, plaster, and sculpture; metals, stone, wood in both more traditional and contemporary form etc.  But there are also possibilities to study animation, photography, design, illustration, 3D modeling and lots and lots of other things. And of course drawing, painting and sculpting. Belas-Artes has lot more space to do all the things, since its a huge building with four floors.

For instance at TAMK we don’t have the possibility to do anything with ceramics due to the lack of space and equipment. I have always loved doing things with my hands and working with clay, so on my first semester I took courses with ceramics. I really enjoyed them, and even though I probably wont be making tiles the rest of my life, I really learned to appreciate the art of tile making and ceramics in general. It is not at all as easy as I first thought. It is all about chemistry and to be truly great with ceramics you need to know how different ingredients work together. You need to be a little bit of a crazy chemist and Martha Steward at the same time. And things can explode – in the kiln.

Professor Pedro Fortuna measuring the ingcredients
Professor Pedro Fortuna measuring the ingredients
Prof. Fortuna showing how to make the glaze for the tiles
Prof. Fortuna showing how to make the glaze for the tiles
Students working at the ceramic class
Students working at the ceramic class
One of my works from the first semester, before firing
One of my works from the first semester, before firing
"The Unknown Thinker" After firing
“The Unknown Thinker”
After firing

 “Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”
― Edith Wharton

 

Our window view from our lovely apartment in Graça. “Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.” ― Edith Wharton
Our window view from our lovely apartment in Graça. I want to be like that tall building sipping the last rays of the sun.

The city is very beautiful in itself a lot of old buildings and the culture shows all over. The art scene is lively and you just simply cant walk walk down the streets without sensing abundance of art, culture and history in various different forms, whether in music, typical Portuguese tiles, street art and traditional crafts. You can always stop to have a coffee and chat with a friend in reasonable priced coffee places. I really appreciate the Portuguese mentality that they keep the prices of coffee down for social reasons. Everyone needs to be able to have social life, whether rich or poor. That is culture for you, Finland! In here a galão costs about 1 € or 1,20 €. In Finland a cafe latte is an investment  – the prices are hipster high.

Cafeteria under a fig tree at Principe Real
Cafeteria under a fig tree at Principe Real

At this week we are celebrating Portugal Day and St. Anthony´s Day and in Lisbon that means that the capital city turns into a welcoming village with music, food and people partying all over the city for the week. Evenings are crazy with loud music, crowds down the streets and the hot air.

Everyone comes out to join the party at the Portugal´s Day (9th of July) This starts a week of celebration
Everyone comes out to join the party at the Portugal´s Day (9th of July) This starts a week of celebration
You can buy all kinds of food down the streets with a reasonable price on the celebration week.
You can buy all kinds of food down the streets with a reasonable price on the celebration week.
The city gets a new decoration, tables and chairs are being brought to parks and people eat and talk and kids play around. Everyone is welcomed and all are neighbors.
The city gets a new decoration, tables and chairs are being brought to parks and people eat and talk and kids play around. Everyone is welcomed and all are neighbors.

 

There is something about that warm atmosphere and people hanging out down the streets and everything being so lively, that makes you feel part of the city. The music is really loud and people are cheery and of course the downside is that there´s now way to escape this celebration, especially since our apartment is located just above the craziness.  Nevertheless its a fun experience.

Me in the middle with my husband, roommates and two random photo bombers in the front :D
Me in the middle with my husband, our four roommates and two random photo bombers at the front

I think that the exchange period is not only about studying in the school environment, but even more about the real life in here. It´s vital to get to know the local people – making Portuguese friends can help you a long way. If you´ll need someone to translate you things or to advice you with anything, it’s the locals.

During our days off in here we have gone traveling to different places: Sintra, Cascais, Mafra, Ericeira, Setubal, Sesimbra and so many other places. One of my favorites is definitely the island of São Miguel at the Azores.

Volcanic lake at the Island of São Miguel
Volcanic lake at the Island of São Miguel

Of course we have been getting to know the city very well. I already know my way around and overall it´s a safe city. I have never felt unsafe walking down the streets. There are areas to be avoided though, at least the night time. There is a lot of beauty to be discovered, foods and wines to taste and things to explore. I can imagine how in years to come after this experience has ended I will miss this.

Capo da Roca,which forms the westernmost extent of mainland Portugal and continental Europe
Capo da Roca,which forms the westernmost extent of mainland Portugal and continental Europe

The thing I will most miss though are the genuine friends I´ve made in here, the long conversations and the laughs that we shared. There are people at the school I will miss, like Sr. Martins, to whom you can ask anything ceramics related and he will have the answer and I will miss the lively atmosphere of the Portuguese students while they work. The students were always helpful even if they didn’t know me. After one conversation they would start greeting you down the long hallways of Belas-Artes. They really make you feel welcomed and curious about different countries.The Erasmus experience gave me a lot of confidence to move abroad again and even though I always knew I wanted to live abroad, this experience made it so much more concrete. We are already planning for new trips.

 

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“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”

Isabelle Eberhardt, The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

Greetings from summerish Porto!

I’m a second year nursing student and I stayed in Porto for three months and did two different practical trainings in here. It was a very interesting experience because the school system is different in here, so there is a lot to compare and learn. The local students are very friendly and helpful, they don’t mind explaining how everything works in here. It has been a lot of help to have support from them, from daily life to dealing with different teachers.

2015-02-02 15.34.21 Entrance of my school in Porto

The city itself is very nice and easy to get to know. The center area is rather small and it is impossible to get lost. In the free time there is plenty to do, from enjoying a quick cup of espresso to going to see a good game of football in the weekends (there are two notable football teams in here). Also the connection between other cities is very nice and taking the train is rather cheap for the students.

Casa da Musica and the city hall.

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2015-04-11 15.51.32 The view on the city

Boavista F.C. and FC Porto

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Ocean and Castelo do Quejio

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Ferreira ‘vinho do Porto’ wine cellar and the famous Ponte de dom Luís I

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There is a lot more to see and wonder about in Porto and it surely is worth a visit! And specially because Portuguese people are very open minded and guest friendly!

Até logo!

Walking up the city of seven hills

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, isn’t called the city of seven hills for no reason. There really are hills almost every direction you go. So my high heels have been basically only decorating my room. Still the hills give possibilities to see amazing views from different sides of the city. And in the case you feel too tired to walk up the hills, there are lots of trams that take you up.

A tram in Lisbon
A tram in Alfama in Lisbon
One of the views from Alfama
One of the views from Alfama

The city is charming and so are the people as well. There are all the time something to do and see. Also the weather is, surprise, better than in Finland. We spent a day on a beach sunbathing already at the first week of March. Great escape from the winter of Finland!

Erasmus students after the first day at beach in Carcavelos in Portugal.
Erasmus students after the first day at beach in Carcavelos in Portugal.

Here in Portugal travelling is really cheap. For example roundtrip train tickets to Sintra is 10 euro. Or flights to Azores 70e. That’s a reason why I have also made a road trip to Andalucía to Spain with my flat mates. 6 days in 5 cities under 200 euros. Also other things like food is cheaper here than in Finland. It is also possible to enjoy nightlife basically for free or with only couple of euro. Excellent for a student..

During the road trip in Andalucía we also visited Gibraltar and saw the cute monkeys.
During the road trip in Andalucía we also visited Gibraltar and saw the cute monkeys.

The university where I am is actually a private one. That I found out after two months, haha. The university is quite small but nice. I have only a few classes so I spend most of my time elsewhere. Thing that I’m really grateful is the buddy program in my school! Without my buddy I would have been totally lost during my first week here because of all kinds of problems with accommodation. But after all I have found lots of new amazing friends from all over the world. I wish the time wouldn’t pass so fast.

Other Erasmus students and buddies at the university.
Other Erasmus students and buddies at the university.

 

Até logo Finlândia!

Sunshine and x-rays in Portugal

Greetings from Faro!

I spend my practical training period in sunny Portugal. The first month I lived in a city called Portimao which is popular among tourists. There is a beautiful beach where is great to enjoy warm days off from work. I have got Portuguese friends because of my local room mates and it has been fun to get to know their way of life. I have found out that Portuguese people are very friendly and they like to party.

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Praia Da Rocha
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Portimao
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Centro Hospitalar do Barlavento Algarvio
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Farewell dinner in Portimao

I had one week holiday at Easter and I traveled to Lisbon. The capital of Portugal is very old and beautiful. The specialty of Portuguese buildings are decorated tile walls. I have tasted many Portuguese traditional foods like codfish and Pastel de Nata. People usually drink wine at dinner. Local people love small and strong coffee.

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Pastel de Nata
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Decorated tile walls

I perform the remaining part of my practical training in hospital of Faro. I live in a private apartment with my student friend. The rent is 190 euros for a room per month. Electricity is very expensive but luckily it is included. It was a surprise how cold it is inside the houses! I had to wear three layers of clothes for the first month but now it’s getting warmer. I’m glad the summer is coming.

As a radiographer student I work at radiology department and do for example conventional x-rays, CT scans, mammography and MRI examinations. I have also participated in surgeries and it has been very fascinating. It is quite different compared to Finland that medical staff is allowed to wear jewelries and keep their hair open at work. In Portugal the pace of work is much slower than in Finland, too. For example we are allowed to sleep at the night shifts and go out to have some fresh air during the work day 🙂

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– Anna-Sofia

Olá!

Greetings from Portugal! I arrived here 23.2 and my practical training started 25.2 in Portimao hospital. I live in the first four weeks in Portimao. After that I will move to Faro for two months. I’m here together with my classmate Anna-Sofia.

Centro Hospitalar do Barlavento Algarvio, EPE
Centro Hospitalar do Barlavento Algarvio, EPE

Everything has gone very well. We have a really nice portuguese roommates. The weather was really cold at first and inside of the houses were a horrible cold.  Luckily there was a heater! After two weeks the weather warmed up and we were able to go to the beach. In Portimao are a lot of wonderful beaches. One of the most famous is Praia da Rocha.

Praia da Rocha
Praia da Rocha

In Portugal people eat a lot of fish, and they love codfish. The most famous dessert is the Pastel de Nata. Mealtimes are quite different. Lunch is eaten two or three o’clock and dinner around eight o’clock. Food in the shops is a bit cheaper than in Finland and eating in restaurants is cheaper to. Shampoo, soap and hair sprays are even more expensive than in Finland, which was quite a surprise.

Codfish, bread, olives and Pastel de Natas
Codfish, bread, olives and Pastel de Natas

Hospital equipments are really old. Here are still used to image plates. In Portimao the magnetic resonance imaging device is about 14 years old. But almost everything is working. It has been very educational to learn to use manual devices.

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Mammography room
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Plain x-ray room
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Emergency room

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The Portuguese pople are really nice and kind. They are always ready to help. The Portuguese people are much more family-oriented than the Finnish. Family is very important here. Young people living with their parents until they get married.

Workmates
Workmates

Next I’m moving to Faro. There everything will be new and exciting again. I hope that rest of the exchange will be really nice and I will meet a lot of new people!

Krista

Todos os dias – Art sudent life in Portugal

My everyday life here in Portugal has definitely been different from that of Finland. I live in study in beautiful Oporto, the biggest city in northern Portugal and 2nd biggest city in all of Portugal. My school «Escola superior artística do Porto» or «ESAP» is a private university for different fields of art ranging from fine arts to cinema and architecture. Students here usually complete their studies in 3 years.


The school building is located in downtown area in the center of everything. I’m living in the suburbs myself – in a nice and peaceful neighorbood called Prelada, 1 hour walk (or 20 min by bus) from the center. I don’t mind it – I like using the public transportation around here and since it’s not that easy to drop at home during the school day you can be more productive and plan your days better… or just hang around in the city center. This contrasts my living in Tampere where I resided a 7 minute walk from school right in the center. I quite like this solution for a change.


Our education takes place in three different buildings and as an art student I spend most of my days in the Belomonte building as seen in the picture below.
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It is very old building with a long history as are many of the buildings in the downtown area of Oporto. I heard from my colleagues that it used to be the headquarters of banana traders in the past – I wonder if that’s why there’s cell in the basement? Anyway, it is a great and inspiring environment for an artist.


My school days are relatively easygoing here – they usually start at 10 am and finish around 4 pm. Of course there’s a lunch break in the middle. I only participate the practical courses my school offers as my portuguese language skills are quite not up to the level of following lectures. In the first semester my classes consist of two project classes, dealing with print-making and artist pastiche work, litography and engraving classes and two illustration classes, dealing with conceptual tasks and self-published fanzine. I enjoy them wholeheartedly – since printmaking nor illustration are offered back in my home school!


Of course I have had time to travel around as well – mostly to the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. Portugal is very friendly and relatively small country with lots of beautiful historical and natural sites to see.
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Here I am at Farol do Cabo de São Vicente, Sagres – far end of the southern Portugal. On the background is the Atlantic Ocean. Boy, did it wind down there!


Of course I enjoy my trips and the student activities around here (awesome parties), but in the end I came abroad also to live and experience the normal life with its ups and downs. I think I have quite succeeded in building myself a nice and comfortable home here – as it should be. Portugal has been good for me and I still look forward to many days to come!

Têm um grande momento!

Autumn in Porto

Olá!

I spend my autumn in Porto, the second largest city of Portugal. Porto is located northern part of the country in coastline. Porto is surrounded by water; in the west side is Atlantic Ocean and in the south is the Douro river.  In the district of Porto is living about 1,5 million people. Porto is famous about the portwine, which is produced there along the riverside of Douro. Me and my friends made a trip to see how they do it..

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View from Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, otherside of Douro river.
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Wiew from the bridge to old part of the Porto; Ribeira.
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View from Gaia to Porto and the boats in Douro
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The famous bridge Ponta de Dom Luís I
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Harvesting the grapes
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Wine plantations in Douro Valley

Porto has warm atmosphere and people are friendly. The weather is chancing rapidly because of the affect of the Ocean; in one moment it is completely blue sky and sun is shining and suddenly the sky is full of clouds and it starts to rain. During the autumn when the summer sun start to fade away, couple days it was raining a lot. So much that even if you have umbrella, it would be the same be outside without it. It is very windy also, so it is common to see a lots of broken umbrellas around the city after a rainy day. But most of the time the weather was pleasant.

I have been doing practical training there in the Hospital. I have realize that the hospital environment is actually quite the same as in Finland, but of course there are some differences. Most of the patients don’t speak English with me, but it has been nice to notice that everyone are still very nice to me and don’t mind that I’m taking part of their treatment.

I have been traveling around the Portugal as much as possible and my dream was when I came here to travel to Azores. And I did it and it was amazing place! It was mixture of great new people, beautiful hiking trails in amazing nature; many of the trails were inside the cater, whale watching in the Ocean, relaxing in hot springs under the sky full of stars…

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Portugal is amazing place and I will definitely go back there, I didn’t see enough yet!