30 de junho de 2017

Oban, Scotland

In May 2017 I took the train from Edi to Oban to attend The Global Seaweed Workshop at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS). I love going on trains because of the scenery you are able to watch: yellow flowered fields, lochs, forests and hills. I found Oban to be a really beautiful, quiet and peaceful town. I finally tried the famous Scottish Irn Bru and really sorry to offend but whyyy do you drink an orange super sugary, fizzy, medicine tasting thing..?! As for food I went local and obviously ended up eating quite a lot of chippies and seafood, The Green Shak was really nice. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about seaweed, currently my main research interest. Here are some of the things and places I discovered during that lovely week.
Lovely bluebells
Dunnstafage Castle

Isle of Mull Ferry

Black Guillemot


Saccharina latissima

Rocky shores
Smol Pupper

IRN BRU.. why Scotland why ahah
Train ride

29 de junho de 2017


The city of wee roads and mighty mountains

Out of the ten days I spent in Scotland, only two were rainy, tapadh leibh (thank you in Gaelic) sunny blue skies! I loved this trip: getting to visit my childhood best friend Kiki, the beautiful Scottish landscapes, the medieval feel and immense stories of Edinburgh old and new town, the people and the accent! I really advise taking a free walking tour specially if you're travelling solo. I loved mine, my guide was an enthusiastic Scott with lots of stories to tell: Deacon Brodie locksmith by day, burglar by night; the first "anti burglar" system/alarms; the heart of Midlothian; the tale of Greyfriars Bobby, where JK Rowling got some of the Harry Potter names from.. and lots more. I also did the Edi underground historic tour at Mary King's Close, it was extremely cool.
Lovely Gorse covered hills, hello Spring!
We hiked through Holyrood Park towards the cliffs of Arthurs Seat, it's a beautiful walk plus super cool in terms of geology. It was spring at the time and the green hills were covered in meadows of yellow blooming flowers. It was a pretty hot day, but way up there the winds were blowing strongly. There are many paths to climb but we were feeling rather challenged and took the steepest and hardest one up. We reached the top, with its reddish sandstone, and had crows circling above us. There it was, the vast blue sea to the east, far away you could see the forth bridges too.

Holyrood palace
The Heart of Midlothian | A mosaic shaped heart in the middle of the street in Edinburgh, how cute.. except it used to be a tolbooth (prison) where executions took place and so there is a custom of spitting in the center of the heart which kind of looks stained.. eww.
Edinburgh castle

Scott's Monument for Scottish author Sir Walter Scott
Wee little Mr. Squirrel
Bobby belonged to a nightwatchman named John Gray and the pair were inseparable. After his owner passed away he spent 14 years by his grave in Greyfriars kirkyard. When Bobby passed away he was also buried in Greyfriars grounds. Sometimes people still leave sticks on his grave. A statue of this loyal pupper was put up and everyone rubs his nose for good luck making it shiny over the years. 
"Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all"
National Museum of Scotland - Dolly

Armstrong & Son Emporium


Fettes College (boarding school)
As we walked through the gardens we could hear the sound of water running in the stream. On the stone walls were green mosses and lilac flowers.

21 de junho de 2017


Vagár |

When arriving at the airport, before you head on to Tórshavn or wherever, why not first explore Vagár Island. To the east lies the largest lake in the Islands, Sørvágsvatn, falling into the Atlantic ocean through a waterfall, Bøsdalafossur. To the west a nice little town called Sórvagur with a beach. The weather in the Faroe's is very unpredictable and you can expect four seasons in one day. It was extremely foggy when I first arrived and a rainbow emerged from the mist.

I walked to the beach at Sórvagur, the island is filled with green mosses that find themselves covered in dewdrops many times. On the dark volcanic sand lay giant razor shells, long sponges and whelk eggs, treasures brought by the ocean. Spring time has just begun and the seabirds gather in couples, sing and chase each other in flight.

Funningsfijourd |

I spent twelve hours on a boat in funningsfjourd on a bright sunny day. I could see Slættaratindur, the highest mountain in the Islands.

There are seaweed forests underneath the water, giant kelps dancing with the currents, Laminaria digitataSacharina latissima and Alaria esculenta. They are inhabited by fish, polychaete's and small crustaceans: Crabs, Shrimp, Gammarids, which we saw aboard - it really is an Ocean Rainforest.

Kaldbak |

One morning, I went out hiking in the kaldbak mountains, keeping me company were the lovely Faroese sheep, that range freely everywhere. Mountains, meadows, cliffs and even eating seaweed on the beach. The rule is to fence the house and land from the sheep instead of the other way around.
On top of a hill rests a traditional house with a grass rooftop. They look so cosy and rustic they could be pulled out of a storybook. They absorve the many rainfalls and give a really good thermal insulation.

Free buses: 5V 5E

Snorkeling in Kelp forests |
I went swimming in the freezing waters of the Atlantic, surrounded by the long kelp forests that kept entangling in my flippers. I lasted about half an hour with wet suit, head piece, socks and gloves. The underwater world is beautiful and colourful, shades of  yellow brownish, green and red everywhere I looked. I was too cold for explorer mode and finding interesting biodiversity, but I did come across this cute pink starfish, and yes I do look like a chubby seal.

Kirkjubøur |

This is one of the oldest villages on the Islands, and as such comes with many stories. The Magnus cathedral has been standing since medieval times and there is a family that has been living in the kirkjubø farm for 17 generations.

Free buses: 5V 5E

Tórshavn |

Tórshavn, or Thor's harbour, from the viking age norse mythology, is the capital of the Faroe Islands.  It is a very colourful town and is probably the busiest place in the islands. The parliament is settled in the old part of town, the Tinganes, wooden red houses with white windows and turf rooftops.

As isolated as they are, the Faroese are highly dependent on resources they obtain from around their environment: hares, sheep, birds, whales, fish.. Some of the techniques used by the first settlers for storing  food live on until today. Around Tórshavn you can find suspended fish being air dried, this is a normal sight and is a part of the fermentation process, it is called Ræstur fiskur.

Ræstur fiskur
The Nordic House

Hvítanes |

A little bit North of Tórshavn I came across the village Hvítanes, a nice, quiet and quaint spot. It was very windy that day. I walked towards the ocean passing by quacking geese that proceeded in a line, they weren't too happy about my intrusion. The villagers had their cars but also their boats, just parked by the water. 

Free buses: 2 & 5E
I was greeted with purrs and rubs by the fluffiest cat ever, he reminded me so much of Pinochio's Figaro with little white boots and black top. He sat on the steps of his front porch.

Most of the sheep in the Faroe's were either afraid of me or didn't really care, except for Liam's sheep. He must have mistaken me for somebody he knew, or was very curious, because way up from the hill top he glanced at me and decided to approach me, bleating all the way. He was very friendly and let me pet his nose but was disappointed that I had no food for him. His sudden interest made the remaining flock sheep curious, but they all kept their safety distance.

Fuzzy Woolie
Public transportation:
Airport to Tórshavn (70 dkk students)
Red buses free but don't run on Sundays

Nas ilhas Faroe existe natureza agreste lindíssima. Verdes, amarelos e tons escuros envolvidos no infinito atlântico. As montanhas chegam às nuvens com os seus cumes cobertos de neve.

Vagár |
Ao chegar no aeroporto, antes de se dirigirem a Tórshavn, por que não explorar primeiro a ilha de Vagár. Para leste encontra-se o maior lago nas Ilhas, Sørvágsvatn, caindo no oceano Atlântico através de uma cascata, Bøsdalafossur. A oeste uma pequena vila chamada Sórvagur com uma praia.
O clima em Faroe é muito imprevisível e você pode esperar quatro estações em um dia. Foi muito nebuloso quando eu cheguei e um arco-íris surgiu da névoa. Caminhei até à praia em Sórvagur, a ilha tem muitas vezes musgos verdes vestidos de orvalho.
Uma manhã fui fazer uma caminhada nas montanhas de Kaldbak, ar puro fresco na companhia das ovelhas. Corajosas, estão em todo o lado da ilha, a regra é pôr a vedação à volta das casas.
Na areia vulcânica escura, estão navalheiras gigantes, esponjas longas e ovos de búzios, tesouros trazidos pelo oceano. A primavera acaba de chegar e as aves marinhas vão namorando, cantam e brincam em vôo.

Funningsfijourd |
Passei doze horas num barco no meio de um fiorde, num dia de sol. Conseguia ver o Slættaratindur, a montanha mais alta das ilhas, coberta de neve.
Há florestas de algas debaixo de água, kelps gigantes que dançam com as correntes, Laminaria digitata, Sacharina latissima e Alaria esculenta. As algas são habitadas por peixes, poliquetas e pequenos crustáceos, caranguejos e camarões - é mesmo uma floresta tropical oceânica.

Kaldbak |
Uma manhã, fiz uma caminhada pelas montanhas em kaldbak na companhia das queridas ovelhinhas Faroesas que andam livremente por onde querem. Montanhas, prados, penhascos e até mesmo a comer algas na praia. A regra é vedar a casa e os terrenos, em vez de vedar as ovelhas, eheh.
No topo de uma colina, descansa uma casinha de telhado verde. São mesmo queridas e rústicas, parecem saídas de um conto. Elas absorvem as chuvadas e dão um excelente isolamento térmico.

Snorkeling nas florestas de algas |
Nadei nas águas geladas do Atlântico, rodeada de extensas florestas de algas que se emaranhavam nas minhas barbatanas. Aguentei cerca de meia hora com fato húmido, capuz, meias e luvas. O mundo subaquático é muito bonito e colorido, tons de castanho amarelado, verde e vermelho para onde quer que olhasse. Estava com demasiado frio para me aventurar e encontrar biodiversidade interessante, mas por acaso encontrei esta estrela do mar cor-de-rosa amorosa, e sim eu sei que pareço uma foca gordinha.

Kirkjubøur |
Esta é uma das aldeias mais antigas das ilhas, e, como tal, vem com muitas histórias. A catedral Magnus vem da época medieval e há uma família que vive há 17 gerações na quinta kirkjubø.

Tórshavn |
Tórshavn, ou o porto de Thor, da mitologia nórdica e era viking, é a capital das ilhas Faroé. É uma cidade muito colorida e provavelmente é o lugar mais movimentado nas ilhas. O parlamento está instalado na parte antiga da cidade, as Tinganes, casas vermelhas de madeira com janelas brancas e telhados de relva.
Por estarem tão isolados, os Faroeses são muito dependentes dos recursos que obtêm à sua volta: lebres, ovelhas, aves, baleias, peixes ... Algumas das técnicas utilizadas pelos primeiros colonos para preservar os alimentos chegaram aos dias de hoje. Em Tórshavn é comum encontrar peixes pendurados a secar ao ar livre, faz parte do processo de fermentação, e chama-se Ræstur fiskur.

Hvítanes |
Um pouco a norte de Tórshavn, está a aldeia Hvítanes, serena e pitoresca. Estava imenso vento naquele dia. Caminhei em direção ao oceano, passando por gansos resmungões que seguiram em fila indiana, não estavam nada contentes com a minha intrusão. Os habitantes tinham os seus carros, mas também os seus barcos, estacionados ao lado da água.

Fui recebida com ronrons e festinhad do gato mais fofinho de sempre, ele fazia-me lembrar o Fígaro do Pinóquio, com botinhas brancas e casaco preto. Ele lá se sentou-se nos degraus da sua varanda.

A maioria das ovelhas eram medrosas ou não me ligavam nenhuma, com exceção da ovelha do Liam. Ele deve ter me confundido com alguém que conhecia, ou então era muito curioso, porque viu-me do cimo de uma colina e decidiu aproximar-se, balindo todo o caminho. Ele era muito querido e deixou-me dar festinhas no seu nariz, mas ficou desiludido por não ter comida. O seu interesse súbito despertou a curiosidade do resto do rebanho, mas todos mantiveram uma distância de segurança.

16 de junho de 2017

Things I did to be more Danish

  • The language

Over the summer, before I even got to Denmark, I obsessed with learning the language. I used Duolingo, only the greatest app ever and it's completely free. It was so much fun, most of the vocabulary I retained was of numbers (en, to, tre, fire, fem, seks, syv, otte, ni, ti..!), dyr (animals), mad (food) and then, small sentences or key words.

Hej (hello)
Hej hej (good bye)
Jeg elsker dig (I love you)
Fred (peace)
Velbekomme (well you will become - like good appetite say before a meal)
Tak for ___ (thank you for) - It is always polite to thank someone for whatever they are giving you like mad (food) or kage (cake)
Jeg snakker ikke dansk.. Jeg taler en smule! (I dont speak danish.. i speak a little bit!)

  • Kor (choir)

I love to sing so I was very exited to join the university choir! At my first rehearsal, they had a name tag for me. Peter, the maestro, hugs everyone and cheers for new members, it was a very warm welcome. I made so many friends and it made my Erasmus experience extra special. In danish we sang: For Evigt, many danish christmas carols (Nu tændes tusind julelys, på loftet sidder nissen..), Jeg Tænder på dig and even Grøn Er Vårens Hæk for the crown prince at the anual DTU ball.

Angels DTU Kor

Gaia Micatovich Photography

  • Mad (food)

I had danish oats for breakfast 'the bears porridge'. I'm not usually a big fan of oats, but I really enjoyed their variety. I had them with almond, soy or rice milk and then added honey, raisins, berries or cacao. It was the perfect breakfast, specially during those long winter months.

I joined the salad club at my research group, and there was also a bread and cake club. I think it's fantastic that they have all this to promote socialisation between peers and contributing to a positive work environment. About salad, danish people eat EVERYTHING raw: raw peppers, raw cauliflower, raw mushrooms...! 

I had the traditional smørrebrød (danish open sandwiches) with the classic rye bread and butter, smoked samon and the special mustard; and the one with rosbeef and remoulade. It is very common for danes to eat a light meal at lunch, such as smørrebrød, they have it with boiled egg, tomato, avocado, cucumber and canned mackerel. I also tried their fiskerfillet with remoulade sauce and a bunch of other danish foods at conferences and university events.

Oh those delicious danish kages: kanel snegle (cinnamon snails) and my favorite spandauer with the egg, marzipan and jam filling. One thing I love about danes is their constant celebration of anything: birthdays, reaching a goal, overcoming obstacles, promotions, goodbye parties... and anything happy really. It's a joy and always cause for someone to bring in a cake or bread to share with everyone. Bread is shared with all of the choices, butter, cheese, jam, chocolate spread and the yummiest: pålægschokolade from Galle & Jessen, they are chocolate sheets.
Lakrids (liquorice) - I don't exactly love it, but I can tolerate it!!

  • Fireplace & Hygge 

Sitting down on the couch with my blanket, comfy socks and drinking a hot cacao or tea, on a winter cold and grey day. I already wrote about jule (christmas) and hygge in Denmark here)

  • Cycling 🚴🚴🚴
I cycled to and from work, and around the area where I lived. The busy streets of Copenhagen can be scary, far, and uphill to cycle back where I lived. But mostly, I'm a scaredy cat! I wrote about bicycles and such here.
  • Full agenda

Danish people make plans calendar wise as weeks of the year ("uge") something you would never do in Portugal. It puts a different perspective on time, a full year has 52 weeks.
Between travelling, choir concerts, going on tours, hanging out at Bastard café with my friends and volunteering at CPH volunteers, I had my hands full. Danish people always need an early heads up because they have extremely busy schedules.

During Halloween I attended a CPH volunteers event in Valby to facepaint kids, as spøgelse (ghosts), edderkops (spiders), grøn heks green witches, scary princeses, frankenstein, spider man.. and many more! I myself dressed up as an itsy bitsy edderkop. I painted some spider webs with my eyeliner, made the bun with a hair doughnut, added goggly eyes and four long fuzzy wires that were pinned on each side to make the eight little paws. I bought everything from Tiger and had the inspiration from Sweethearts Hair.

  • Flying Tiger 

Many rainy afternoons were spent at Tiger, buying useless crap, all my drawing equipment and school supplies. I absolutely love Tiger ❤ 

  • Knitting

I went to a hygge workshop organized by the International House Copenhagen where I met some lovely ladies that reminded me how to knit. Knitting can be very soothing and hyggelig, i'm just not very good at it, i lack the patience..

  •  Bedtime reading
I read some of Hans Christian Andersen's magical fairytales every other night before going to sleep. He is a beloved danish children's books authors well know for The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea, The Emperors New Clothes and many more.. He was born in Odense but later on lived in a house in Nyhavn and actually wanted to pursue ballet but was a bit clumsy.

  • Weather and clothes

It is very important to get a warm winter jacket that is wind and rain proof. Denmark is very very windy most of the time, it's also much more practical for riding a bicycle. I had an intelligent jacket from 80DB Original and it was perfect. There is no point in having very warm sweaters beside the big coat because indoors it's summer all year long.. I had warm winter socks and boots from Timberland and they were fine. For cycling, I used rain pants over my jeans sometimes, and warm gloves - very important, you will freeze off your hands. Getting something to cover your ears is also a good idea, I had a white wool headband from Tiger, a bonnet and also a warm scarf, November to February were the coldest months. 

For spring, I got myself a rain poncho, once again from Tiger, but it didn't rain a lot this year. 

  • MobilePay
Almost nobody carries around money in Denmark and it's really hard to find an atm. Everyone uses ebanking and pays with contactless cards and the awesome MobilePay app. The app is basically linked to your card and is the easiest way to pay off friends and small businesses. Whether its 5 or 500 dkk, sharing the debt of small things like pizza and drinks was never so easy! 

As a student you can get a students account free of any charges, I opened up an account with Danske Bank which some people complain about, but personally I had no problems with them.

To any Portuguese people out there going to a country with different currency, Caixa Geral de Depósitos makes a card for "Residentes no estrangeiro" it's amazing because it lets you withdraw cash without comissions.

Teresa Caria

17 NOVEMBRO 12-13h Rádio Marginal "Amanhã a conversa é com Teresa Caria, a Artista Plástica que descobriu também a arte de partilhar...