The New Apartment: A Blank Canvas

View from the balcony | No Apathy Allowed
View from the balcony

Hi friends, I don’t have a lot of words for you today, but I thought the least I could do was share a few photographs of my new (still empty) apartment!  I picked up the keys on Saturday and will spend my evenings this week cleaning and painting before moving in this coming Saturday.

To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement!  It’s about 55 square meters (or about 600 square feet) split into two levels.  The living area, kitchen, bathroom, and balcony are on the main level, and then there’s a ladder up to the sleeping area.  It is technically what in Germany is called a Dachgeschosswohnung, or attic apartment, meaning of course that the apartment is where the attic used to be.

If you’re familiar with German architecture at all, you know that this means that some of my walls are slanted where the roof slants in.  In other words, the apartment is not lacking in charm! ;)  I love that it’s bright and airy and that my balcony faces south for plenty of sunlight, and I also kind of love the beams in the ceiling.

Living room | No Apathy Allowed
Part of the living room
Living room | No Apathy Allowed
Living room and the ladder up to the sleeping area
Balcony and kitchen | No Apathy Allowed
Looking towards the balcony + the kitchen
Sleeping area | No Apathy Allowed
The sleeping area, with built-in wardrobe
View out the front windows | No Apathy Allowed
View out the front windows

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now.  I’ll surely be posting some updates in the coming as I get settled in!

What do you think?  Would you live in an attic apartment?  How do you deal with moving stress?

Five Senses Friday no. 64

Rhododendron Park Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
Rhododendron Park

You guys, I know it looks like this blog is turning into a Five Senses Friday-only blog, but I hope you’ll stick around and have a bit of patience as I adjust to my new job and figure out how to balance my life.

Adding to the chaos, last week I signed the rental agreement for a new apartment!  It’s a very cute place in an Altbremer Haus in a great location, so I’m super excited.  But it also means I’m in the midst of packing, organizing the move, and getting all the utilities and such set up in the new place.  Not to mention planning some major furniture/appliance purchases and collecting lots of ideas on my Interior Inspiration board on Pinterest.  You’ll definitely be hearing more from me on this topic!

But in the meantime, here’s a review of the past week according to my senses…

Seeing: Lüneburg’s university for a work meeting.  There was no time for exploring, but it reminded me that I need to take a day or overnight trip there to explore the city during the summer time (my last visit was during Christmas market season).

Hearing: The crack of baseball bats.  Yep, even in this Fußball crazy country, there are a few baseball fields around — one of which happens to lie along one of my favorite running routes.  Even though I’m not a huge baseball fan, the sound of the ball hitting the bat is so rare here that it makes me nostalgic every time I hear it.

Tasting: Currywurst und Pommes for a terribly unhealthy lunch on Tuesday.

Smelling: Musty old packing boxes that have been gathering dust in the cellar for a year and a half.

Feeling: A little extra sweaty during my runs now that summer has decided to arrive in Bremen.

Happy Friday!  How has your week been? Feel free to join in if you would like! And for more Five Senses Friday (or Monday), visit Life Simplistic and Travel with Emily. 

Five Senses Friday no. 63

Lisbon's streets | No Apathy Allowed
One more photo from Lisbon…

Folks, lots of exciting changes and new beginnings are underway in these parts.  Some I can already mention — like a new job that will be keeping me in Bremen for a little while longer — and some others I’m keeping under wraps for the moment so I don’t jinx ’em. :)  In any case, this week has been full of anticipation and planning for the future, which is really kind of my favorite thing in the world…

Seeing: Sweden win last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest (although I guess I could also place it under hearing) — a uniquely European annual spectacle of pop music that’s been running for nearly 60 years.  For more insights, it’s really worth having a look at Ginger’s description over on her blog.

Hearing: KEXP‘s live stream.  I love that radio station so much and am still a devoted listener even though I haven’t lived in Seattle for over 13 years.

Tasting: An obscene amount of gummy candies and Fritz Cola at the aforementioned Eurovision viewing party.

Smelling: Freshly ground coffee.

Feeling: Sore shoulders.  I moved out of my old university office this week and have been gradually schlepping all of my binders and books and papers home in an overfilled suitcase, just so I can move them all into my new office next week.

Happy Friday!  How has your week been? Feel free to join in if you would like! And for more Five Senses Friday (or Monday), visit Life Simplistic and Travel with Emily. 

Bremen | Rhododendron Park

Did you know that rhododendrons are the state flower of Washington?  We grew up with them in our yard and every time I see them here in Germany, they feel like ein Stücken Heimat (a little piece of home).  So I’ve always been curious to visit Bremen’s Rhododendron Park, the second largest collection of rhododendrons in the world with over 600 types (!) spread over 46 hectares.  But of course seeing them in bloom is a question of timing — the season is typically from the end of April to mid-June — which never really came together until just a few weekends ago.

Although the weather was a bit cool and on the cloudy side, the flowers were beautiful!  And as a bonus I also discovered that the park is home to plenty of azaleas as well.  It was a sea of pink, purple, red, white, and salmon blooms — serving as inspiration for a whole host of hobby photographers roaming the park with fancy lenses and cameras.  Maybe I should just let the photos speak for themselves…

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

There is still a bit of time this year to catch everything in bloom, but I’d hurry if I were you!  You can reach the park with the Straßenbahn 4/5 (Bgm.-Spitta-Allee or Horner Kirche) and then just follow the signs,   or just take Bus 31 to the main entrance.  Enjoy!

P.S. For lots more photos, here’s my Flickr album.

Travel | The Streets of Lisbon

Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

If you’re a design geek, it’s perhaps nearly impossible not to fall in love with Lisbon’s architecture and the colorful tiles (azulejos) that adorn so many of the buildings.  A huge highlight for me was simply getting lost in the winding streets and snapping away to my heart’s content.  Since I told you all about my visit in my last post, I’ll keep this post short on words and long on photographs.

Arco da Rua Augusta | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Arco da Rua Augusta
Arco da Rua Augusta | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Arco da Rua Augusta
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, including the Casa dos Bicos | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, including the Casa dos Bicos
Near the cathedral | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Near the cathedral
Facade of a building in Saldanha | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Facade of a building in Saldanha
Green and orange azulejos | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Green and orange azulejos
Tiles in the Alfama neighborhood | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Tiles in the Alfama neighborhood
Green azulejos | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Green azulejos
Sea green azulejos | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Sea green azulejos
Elevador de Santa Justa | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Elevador de Santa Justa
Rossio railway station | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Rossio railway station
Rossio railway station | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Rossio railway station
Azulejos at Mercado da Ribeira | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Azulejos at Mercado da Ribeira
Lisbon archway | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Archway
Beco do Bugio | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Beco do Bugio
Turquoise azulejos | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Turquoise azulejos
Bairro Alto | The Streets of Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed
Bairro Alto

Amazing, right?  Inspires me to further explore Portugal, like Sintra and Porto!  For even more pictures from my time is Lisbon, click on over to my Flickr album and my Instagram account.

Would you decorate your home with these colorful tiles?  What was your favorite building in Lisbon?

Travel | Two Free Days in Lisbon

Two Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

I am constantly struck by how many beautiful places there are in the world and Lisbon is definitely one of those places!  I unexpectedly fell head over heels for Lisboa and really can’t wait to go back.  The majority of my time in Portugal’s capital city was spent at a conference at the university, although luckily for us that also included two events in the gorgeous city hall (Câmara Municipal).  To make the most of my time there, I added two days to my trip — one at the beginning and one at the end — so I could at least get a little taste of what Lisbon has to offer.

It’s so easy to just wander through the city, getting lost and enjoying the views.  In fact, that would be my first recommendation if you’ve got some time on your hands.  The streets, the buildings, the hills, the panoramas — it is all incredibly breathtaking and lends itself exceptionally well to wandering.  My favorite thing to do was admire the beautiful tiles (azulejo) typical of Portuguese architecture — so just like I did for Malta, I’ll dedicate a separate post completely to Lisbon’s buildings.

But first let me share some of the other highlights from my two free days in Lisbon…

Waterfront

Waterfront | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

Maybe it’s because I grew up near the Puget Sound, but the waterfront of any city seems to be the first place I am drawn towards.  Lisbon’s offers a fantastic view of the Ponte 25 de Abril — a bridge which draws many comparisons to the Golden Gate Bridge — and the Cristo Rei across the water — a statue inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer.  I especially liked the stretch between the Terreiro do Paço and Cais do Sodré subway stations, with plenty of little food and drink stands along the way to enjoy the sun and cool breezes.

Belém

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

Belém is a waterfront suburb steeped in a rich maritime history, located about a 20-minute tram ride away from central Lisbon.  You can take #15 tram there from Cais do Sodré, but give yourself plenty of time.  When I traveled there on a Tuesday afternoon, the trams were jam packed with tourists and only ran very irregularly.  Belém is so popular because it houses some of Lisbon’s main attractions, like the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Torre de Belém — not to  mention the Antiga Confeitaria de Belémwhich purportedly sells the best pastel de nata (a traditional custard cream tart) in the whole city.

If you’re in the mood for something sweet, make sure to either show up early or bring your patience with you because the line can wind down the block!  I almost gave up any hope of trying their famous pastel de nata, but luckily I saw some colleagues closer to the front of the line and cut in with them.  Totally worth it!  The tarts are small enough to devour in about two big bites and you can sprinkle some powdered sugar or cinnamon on them too.

Cascais

Ocean near Cascais | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

After devouring the pastel de nata, I was joined my colleagues on a spontaneous drive out to Portugal’s beaches along the Cascais coast.  Being able to splash around in the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy the warm weather with soft sand between my toes was a most pleasant surprise for me that afternoon, and I would highly recommend taking a side trip out of the city if the weather is nice!   Although it’s quicker to travel by car, Cascais is also accessible by train from Lisbon’s city center.

Castelo de São Jorge

View from the Castelo de Sao Jorge | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

Castelo de Sao Jorge | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

Castelo de Sao Jorge | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

The Castelo de São Jorge is one of Lisbon’s main tourist attractions and rightly so, offering some of the best views of the city and the waterfront below.  Originally a Moorish castle, and it was eventually turned into a castle for the Portuguese kings in the 14th century, and has also been used subsequently as a prison and army barracks.  These days it’s quite a lovely place to spend a couple of hours enjoying the panoramas and climbing along the ramparts.  I visited in the late evening as the sun was going down and was treated to a lovely golden light pouring over the city.  Another plus: there are peacocks wandering the grounds and they’re quite fun to watch!

Mercado de Ribeira

Mercado da Ribeira | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

Mercado da Ribeira | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

Pad Thai at Mercado da Ribeira | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

For my last day in Lisbon I had booked an 11K run with Lisbon City Runners, but decided to cancel after coming down with a cold on the last couple days of the conference.  Seriously disappointing!  Instead I mustered up my energy and followed a tip on Instagram from Jess on Thames and made my way to the Mercado de Ribeira on the waterfront.  One half market selling fruits, veggies, meat, fish, and flowers, and one half trendy eatery, it’s a fantastic place to grab a bite to eat.  The eatery half brings together an impressive assortment of foods from some of Lisbon’s top chefs and restaurants under one roof — a foodie’s dream come true!  I ate some delicious pad thai while scouring my travel guide and planning my afternoon’s activities.

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

Elevador da Gloria | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

View from the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara | Two Free Days in Lisbon | No Apathy Allowed

After lunch I wandered uphill through the narrow streets and stairways of the Bairro Alto and eventually found myself in the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a lovely park with views out across the city and the Castelo on the hillside across the way.  I spent my last free moments in Lisbon relaxing here with a lemonade in hand.

**

So that’s what I managed during my two free days in Lisbon, including one day with a little less energy than normal thanks to my stupid cold.  Plus lots of wandering and photographing through the Bairro Alto, Alfama, and Baixa districts, of course.  Another post featuring the city’s gorgeous architecture is coming up soon!

P.S. There are plenty more photos in my Flickr album!

Have you traveled through Portugal?  What are your top tips?  Have you tried pastel de nata?

Five Senses Friday no. 62

Bairro Alto, Lisbon, Portugal | No Apathy Allowed
A sneak peek at my photos from Lisbon!

This week has gone by in a flash as I adjusted back to Bremen life after several days in Lisbon.  I have a couple of major projects distracting me at the moment, but as soon as I find a way to carve out some time to organize my thoughts, you’ll be hear plenty from me about my new favorite city!  (If you can’t wait, visit me over on Instagram for some photos.) In the meantime, here’s a look at the week…

Seeing. Large groups of men carousing through the parks and open spaces while pulling wagons behind them carrying alcohol. Yep, yesterday was Männertag/Vatertag/Christi Himmelfahrt (Men’s Day/Father’s Day/Ascension Day) — please don’t ask me to explain why they’re all combined into one celebration — and apparently that’s what German men like to do on their holiday.

Hearing. An improv/jazz pianist from California play a concert in Die Glocke.

Tasting. My first ice cream of the season!

Smelling. Even with a cold it’s hard to miss the smell of the lilacs in bloom.  My favorite!

Feeling. I bought a new pair of shoes that apparently need some major breaking in, so now the back of my heels are rubbed raw.  I seriously hope they’re worth it.

Happy Friday!  How has your week been? Feel free to join in if you would like! And for more Five Senses, visit Life Simplistic and Travel with Emily.