Travel

PORTUGAL

Perfect for nature lovers and surfers

One of the best perks of planning a trip to Lisbon is its proximity to the beach. And the beaches are more or less dreamy like you want them to be, not crowded and perfect for nature lovers and surfers. Those individual stretches of white sand and Atlantic coastline with diverse cafes and bars, located close enough to see the sunset from the dinner table. 

 

Caparica in Portugal: A unique location for a peaceful getaway

Caparica is only 15 minutes from the Center of Lisbon or the Airport. The best time to visit this area is the late summer or during the autumn. The temperatures are still hot and you will have most of the peaceful scenery for yourself. 
The proximity to the City allows you to swirl into the busy nightlife or the daily bustle of a Capital whenever you feel like ditching the nature and feel the buzz of the city life.

 

 Peaceful tranquility at the beach during the afternoon hours

Peaceful tranquility at the beach during the afternoon hours

Perks of the beach-getaway 

Starting from Caparica, there are more coastlines as far as the eye can see. There are also treasure troves if hidden coastlines that are rarely visited by tourists, especially during the off seasons. Dramatic waves and steady winds make the whole coast a haven for surfers from all over Europe. 

 The famous path into the ocean in Caparica

The famous path into the ocean in Caparica

Accommodation in and around Caparica 

You can be sure to get fresh seafood, delicious green wine which is unique to this region and the best views of the beaches from the restaurants.
If you are looking for a great accommodation I would suggest to stay in Caparica as hotels and accommodation are far cheaper, and secondly who wouldn't wanna wake up and have the ocean as a backdrop? 

TORONTO

When I travel I love to have a mix of excitement and relaxation. I tend to be in really busy places and getting into a mode that lets me thrive while being surrounded by people. But on the other hand, I love to relax and get myself into more spacious environments to rewind for a  couple of hours.

 

Hamilton 

A smaller city, but full of history. Hamilton is located in between Toronto and the Mississauga falls. Don't just drive by, wander down those little streets and see what this place has to offer. 

hamilton

 

 

Lakeshore

Lake Ontario is massive. I spent so much time at the Lakeshore that I don't even remember which part was the best corner. If you go there on time you can even find a place to have a BBQ by the water.

 Lakeshore

Lakeshore

 

 

Toronto Island

The upgrade of the Lakeshore experience. You need to take a ferry to get to the island. What you get are sandy beaches, big waves and a great park to stroll around. See more of Toronto Island and how to get there in my vlog.

 Toronto Islands in Septemeber

Toronto Islands in Septemeber

 

 

Downtown on a weekday 

you can escape the hustle even in downtown. I went there on a Tuesday evening around 10 pm and it was empty! Perfect time to take landscape photography.

 Downtown Toronto.

Downtown Toronto.

CHICAGO

 

What to do during a 7-hour layover in Chicago?

I need to save when it comes to plane tickets. And I like to explore. So when I see a ticket that is almost 200GBP cheaper just because I have to wait somewhere for a few hours... I will take it. And use the time to discover the city. 

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How do you get around without knowing the city?

I arrived at the airport and I was utterly unprepared. Honestly, I did not even know in what state I was until I saw all the "Welcome to Illinois" signs. I felt a little bit lost because I did not make up any plans what I want to see or how I will spent my layover. 

Luckily I downloaded the app TripScout on my phone before leaving and an offline tourist map with all the famous sights, subway stations and streets for Downtown Chicago. The app really helped me to get around and localise myself when I was getting lost in the streets a couple of times. And the best, it shows you where to find the food you are looking for.  

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What to do in Chicago for a half day?

After a bumpy 40-minutes train ride from the airport to downtown I decided to walk around in the area first. I didn't really plan where to go yet as I just wanted to get inspired by what I see without having a fixed destinations. But walking with a macbook, a dslr, tripod and objectives over one shoulder can make you tired. Especially at 30 degrees and a restless 8 hour flight. I decided to take it eady and to see the parks and lakes of the city. From the centre it is only a 10 minute walk to the lakeshore. But somewhere talking about in my vlog! 

 

 

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How much time do I need?  

I would recommend to use a layover to discover a new city if you have at least 2 -3 hours at the actual area. You need to calculate the time you need to get through security (Usually takes longer when you are in the US). Check if you have to collect your bags and check them in again, because that will take some time, too. Do you need cash or can you pay everywhere with your credit card? And plan at least one hour buffer time for the way back to the airport. Be suse you don't want to be that person that misses their connection flight because you took the subway back to the airport, but in the wrong direction and now you lost 40 minutes. 

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Taking good pictures while travelling solo // layover 101

I felt a little restricted while walking through the city because I was carrying this big, heavy bag. And I didn't use my camera for any pictures. All I used was my iPhone. And at one point a selfie stick. And I asked random people to take scenic Instagram pictures of me from very specific angles. Sometimes it worked and I got dreamy results like this one below :)  

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Is it not easier just to wait in the airport?  

YES! It is definitely easier but why go the easy way? If you have the chance to visit a city you would not see normally and you got the opportunity of a layover, treat it like a privilege. And apps like TripScout can help you to enjoy your self-organised trip without depending on any tour guide. You can eat overpriced airport food later!    

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Let me know what you think? Are layover worth it? Do you prefer waiting st the airport and do you have any recommendations what to do with the heavy hand luggage ?  

Have a great day!  

 

Travel: A quick guide to Amsterdam


 

Hey, 
this is another travel series! I hope you love short-trips because this one will take you to the City of Amsterdam! 
When thinking about Amsterdam I personally think about the great weather, bicycles, tulips, coffee shops and the most relaxed people who I ever met in a Capital. 

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I had the opportunity to stay in Amsterdam for a few days and I will tell you more about my stay in the next blog post! Here, I am going to give you an overview of the best places to visit when you only have a short weekend in Amsterdam.  

How to discover Amsterdam by Boat


Jump in one of the many boats and take a tour through the canals! You will see landmarks and details of the City you didn't see before!

amsterdam canal

Take a walk over the Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam


If you love flowers this market is for you! But even those who don't want to carry a bag of flower bulbs home will enjoy the scent, the atmosphere and the experience of the flower market

flowermarket in amsterdam

 

Discover the Night-life


As a bloody fellow from London, I always assume I have seen it all. But the Night Life in Amsterdam is amazing. It is vibrant, diverse and very relaxed at the same time. There is so much going on, even on the streets. 

amsterdam at night

 

How to get to the beach from Amsterdam

 

The best, if you want you can be at the beach in only 25 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal. And I am not talking about an overcrowded city beach. Zandvoort is not only the place of my childhood, as I spent there most summers with my family when I was little, it has a white sandy beach with so much space to run and enjoy the beach in an active way!

the beach of amsterdam

BARCELONA

It took me almost three years to visit the Tower of London. A spooky tourist attraction which reminds people of the medieval dark times of the City. I had the chance to see this place for all these years since I came to London and I never did it. Always had an excuse. Little Lea would have just had her way and go. On her first day, she would have curiously discovered this overcrowded place. 
Here are just a few reasons why travel can trick your brain to make you feel like a child again, and actually happy. 

Same old, same old

On a normal day to day basis, there is rarely an occasion where we break out of the daily routine. We walk or drive a certain way to work every day. We drink our coffee in our favourite coffee shop. We go to the same store. Buy the same food and see the same people. There is nothing wrong with routine but on the other hand, we do not discover the full potential of the place we live in.  While on a journey or travelling, we allow ourselves to learn and to be impressed by the many things we see. 

 The world is a playground:)

The world is a playground:)

The world is a playground

When we travel, we feel like children because we love to discover, play and see the world fearlessly. Everything seems to be like the next adventure that waits to be discovered. We do not separate ourselves from the environment, we want to connect to people. Speaking a few words in a foreign language and then be proud to order food while the waiter repeatedly says „I speak English too, no problem." No, we insist of showing of the five words we learnt because we want to connect. 


We allow ourselves to be impressed again  

Nobody ever said: "Macchu Pichu. Phew, that's just stones and some grass. I have that in my backyard.“ We are impressed by things that are new to us and from a different culture. Even when we travel in our own country the grass in the holiday destinations seems to be greener.  As a Londoner, I have to live with the stereotype that we are impressed by nothing. Somebody could juggle with some kittens, knives and ice-cream in front of us in the tube and we don’t even raise our head. Yes, in London you see everything and you are never impressed by anything. But when leaving the usual habitat, we blossom up and we allow ourselves to be impressed by the little things again. 

 Climbing in a hole: Not pretty. Not grown up. But 100% fun

Climbing in a hole: Not pretty. Not grown up. But 100% fun


Being mindful  


When children play, they only play. When the run, the run. When they eat a messy cone of ice cream, they solely to that in that very moment.
On an everyday basis, most adults developed a more or less addictive relationship with their electronic devices and especially with their phones. I personally feel incomplete, almost showing significant withdrawal symptoms when I step out and I forgot my phone at home. A phone is the best distraction from being mindful. Just letting five minutes pass without checking, updating or socialising with somebody on your phone is a challenge for the modern adult. When travelling, we still document our adventures, but we are more selective in which moments we just keep completely to ourselves by enjoying the very moment. 

That's why travel makes us feel like a child again.  
It makes us feel like a child again in terms of being fearless, adventurous and full of living fully in the moment.  

Beachify your life: 5 secret beaches you have to visit

If there is something I love most about travelling than that's the fact that I always have to visit at least one beach in a country. I am a beach person. I love the sand, the sound of the waves, the salty air and the stillness just right before the sun goes does and almost falls into the ocean. 

Natural beaches

Yes, as you might have guessed I am not a fan of overcrowded part beaches. I prefer the stillness and the unbeatable comfort and luxury of an almost empty beach.
P.S. The beaches are not listed in a particular order.

1. Cuba: Beaches close to  Rio Tao  

Cubas most famous white sandy beaches are in Varadero. But if you like the adventure and a bicycle ride to a completely empty wild beach you have to go east.  About 10 miles from Baracoa, close to the river Tao you will find incredible wild and mysterious beaches. The sand is dark brown, almost black and you will feel like you are in the jungle. 

 Sunburnt but relaxed. This beach is too unreal 

Sunburnt but relaxed. This beach is too unreal 

 Space and silence

Space and silence


2. Jamaica:  Treasure Beach and Starve Gut Bay

One of the best and most tranquil beaches with the comfort of plenty of private guesthouse and lodges. The perfect trip for ecotourism and sustainable tourism in Jamaica. 

 Treasure Beach

Treasure Beach

 Silent beaches are just a few miles away from Treasure Beach

Silent beaches are just a few miles away from Treasure Beach

3. South Africa: Llandudno and Cape Penisula

The ocean looks extremely beautiful but the temperatures suggest to stay outside of the cold Atlantic during the most times of the year. But still, if you are into surfing, the beaches of the Cape Penisula will provide you with everything you need: Wind, Space and great waves. 

 Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise

4. Cape Verde: Sal

A beach that is not always empty, but its local charm and laid back atmosphere make up for that. You can watch fisherman coming home with their daily catch, schoolchildren jumping into the waves after a long day. 

 

5. Kenya: Mombasa 

White, sandy long beaches with not too many people can be found outside of the tourist areas of Mombasa Beach. Take a cab to the next beach and enjoy a dip in the warm, tropic ocean. Also perfect for snorkelling!

 White sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water

White sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water


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Lea

HAVANA

Basketball is one of the hidden national sports in Cuba.  Almost every evening during the week, cuban basketball players are meeting up in the famous 23 y b in Havanna. The suburban area in Vedado can be reached by foot or with a maqina.  

When arriving at the court with the yellow grass, I saw a playground for children and two basketball courts. One court was filled with young teen boys, the other one was the men's area where the game was taken quite serious. 

Even though I was the only female in this space, it was one of the rare areas in Cuba where nobody tried to pick me  up or to catcall at me. The focus was on the game and besides the fun, welcoming and playful environment the attention was set on the court. I was happy to shoot in this great athmosphere and focus on capturing this energy this evening.