Atacama

We went for 3 days to the Atacama Desert in Chile. What is impressive in this desert is that the landscapes can change in a very short time.

1st day: We landed in Calama at 9:00 am to reach San Pedro de Atacama 1:30 am later to arrive at our hostel.

We stayed a few minutes to put down our bag and visit the inn, which was very pleasant.

We walked all day in San Pedro, which is the tourist city of the desert. First, we had to book our tours, i.e. our activities with a guide, for the next two days. Among all the tours offered we had to compare prices and choose the most attractive places.

Then we walked around and inevitably came across the tourist shops.

Day 2: Raised 7am, direction the Arcoiris Valley accompanied by our guide Antoine, a Frenchman who has been living in Chile for 8 years now. If by any chance you would like to have his number for a possible trip to Atacama send me a message. We had a good laugh and he’s very nice!

After an hour’s drive in a valve we arrive in front of this magnificent landscape. Impressive colours. The green, red and yellow rocks take us away in a real painting.

The colours show the great richness and different concentrations of clay, salt and minerals. On the other hand, there are also interesting rock formations resulting from erosion.

On the way back we stopped to say hello to lamas. We tried to get closer but a lama spit at us so we found that we were too close.

After a break, back to our hostel, we leave for the Valley of the Moon.

A true lunar landscape, which has been shaped for millennia by water and wind erosion. The ground is made up of canyons, sharp ridges, ravines and mounds of grey and ochre colours that give it a moon-like appearance.

This valley is characterized by the absence of humidity, flora and fauna. Its desert and high altitude climate gives it a wide temperature range between day and night.

3rd day: We got up at 4:00 to see the geysers. Under -12 of temperature, the landscape was spectacular. Geysers sprang from the ground at a temperature of 30 degrees. It was possible to swim.

In the afternoon we went to a salt desert to see the lagoons. The predominantly white landscape makes it so peaceful. We walk on salt for about twenty minutes, the time to pass in front of different lagoons, to reach the last one in which it was possible to swim. Being full of salt, we are therefore carried by the water in the middle of the desert. This salt comes from the dissolution of salts from the volcanic soil of the surrounding region, by precipitation waters on the nearby Andean range.

If you taste the salt, you can see that it is very salty because it does not contain iodine.

Then it’s time to get back on the road to the hostel, and fly back to Santiago with lots of pictures in mind.

Marion

Stuttgart 2019: our assessment

Angeline

With a lot of emotion, I am coming today to make a summary of my Erasmus, but where to begin? These 5 months abroad made me grow on every level, in my mind but also in an academic way. I’ve been dreaming about doing this program since middle school, especially for studying in English. That is why I chose to leave for Stuttgart! At the beginning, I was a bit worried to go to Germany, because of the language I didn’t know a word of and because I wasn’t very attracted by Germany. But it seems like German people talk really well English, as well as staying attached to their traditions. In 5 months, all my biases on Germany disappeared as I discovered this heart-warming and festive culture.

At school, German students and the teaching staff welcomed us warmly. I lived in a dorm full of international students coming from all over the world. Parties, mutual support, sharing: the key words of this international community. There, no one is left alone and everyone found his/her friends. When you leave far away from your pairs and in an unknown town, that is reassuring. I was travelling already through all the people I’ve met. But I also had so many free time to actually travel in Germany and other countries, you must know that if you followed us on social media.

The Erasmus experience is enriching in many points because it makes you go out of your comfort zone to travel and learn at the same time. It is a real opportunity to be immersed in a culture and study in a new school for a semester, so I wanted to thank the IUT Bordeaux Montaigne and Ms. Blot for the organisation of those international partnerships that open our minds and make our academic journey stronger. Even if it can be intimadating at the beginning, all the memories I’ve made during 5 months will stay in my mind forever. I am so proud I’ve realised all the projects I wanted during this semester abroad, something I would have never be able to do by staying in my comfort zone in Bordeaux. Erasmus is a life adventure, an adventure I will continue to tell in 20 years, stars in the eyes. I realised my dream and I wish you all to go and live this amazing experience that you can only live once!

Angelina

I came back to my small French countryside one week ago, so it’s time to make an assessment of this Erasmus experience that has made me grow up and evolve.

We all experience the Erasmus adventure in a different way. Some make dozens of friends and go out in the evening very often, others immerse themselves in the courses, others take the opportunity to travel and discover the heritage of their host country and those in the surrounding area. I am in the third category. In love with travel, these four months gave me the opportunity to go to Copenhagen, Munich, Athens, Berlin and Crete, in addition to visiting the cities around Stuttgart. My favorites? Esslingen, Tübingen, Heidelberg and the gardens of Ludwigsburg.

If at first sight Stuttgart didn’t seem like the perfect city for me, taking the time to visit the surrounding cities and certain districts was the best decision. Germany is a beautiful country if you take the time to discover it and it is full of varied landscapes, between the countryside plains, the black forest in Bavaria, the wild and almost rebellious rhythm of Berlin, the beauty of the gardens, all the castles, etc. It is also very easy to travel from Stuttgart because the airport serves many countries and cities, and Germany is a border country for many others. 

Erasmus also means meeting people who will leave their mark on you among the fifty or so international students who are here at the same time as you and the German students at the university. People who push you into your projects, who become your pillars for some of them, who allow you to hold on when it gets difficult. A real atmosphere of support prevails between all Erasmus. 

But the Erasmus adventure is above all about growing. These four months abroad have changed me and allowed me to evolve, to define and to build myself. As in any experience, there have been ups and downs, but each event has allowed me to learn about myself and others, to know what I want and what I don’t. I feel that I am more independent than before, that my vision on certain things has changed. I discovered who I was, and I don’t regret having tried the Erasmus adventure. If you have the opportunity to experience it, go for it.

Thank you for following our adventures, hoping that we made you travel with us!

Annabelle

To review this adventure in a few words is not easy, many moments come to my mind. This Erasmus semester has been much more than a change, it is a real evolution in my personal and professional life. These six months were punctuated by meetings, trips, opportunities, and knowledge. Going abroad and experiencing the unknown is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the world around you. Sometimes you must know when to leave at the right time to come back better. 

Stuttgart is a surprising city, being lost there is sometimes necessary to capture those moments that we will not forget. I was lucky enough to meet some wonderful people, especially my German friends who have successfully integrated me into their own country and their projects. And then my two friends from Singapore, Esther and Enkainia with whom I shared this adventure and now these beautiful memories. 

I am very grateful to have been part of this experience. Thus, I would like to especially thank Mrs Blot for her trust, and to offer us this great opportunity to leave. 

Santiago: our review

Anaé

3 and a half months of immersion. This is an experience that makes you grow. New country, new population, new landscapes, new culture… in short, new what!

I am very grateful to have been able to live this experience. Chile is a beautiful and rich country. Despite a small psychological gap between the French and the Chileans (who sometimes have some problems of logic and speed), they are very kind and helpful people. The rhythm of life is not so far from the French and is closer to them than to the Spanish. Adaptation is therefore done rather quickly. As an Erasmus student, the courses are slightly less intense, which means that you can make many trips inside or outside the country. In small or large groups, these moments bring us closer together and allow us to discover real wonders.

This stay will remain a great memory, due to the many encounters I have had and the beauty of the country.

.

Zoé

Hola muchachos !

As you read our review article, I just got on the plane back to France. As you can see, we’re pretty good at timings at Read and Ride!

My Chilean adventure has just ended, after a little over four months here.

It was really a wonderful experience that allowed me to take exciting courses, realize great projects and meet many people. I learned a lot about Chile, its history and culture.

I even had the chance to take dance lessons and make one of my dreams come true: to see the stars in Atacama!

I would like to sincerely thank the IUT Bordeaux Montaigne and more particularly Mrs Blot, who puts all her energy and will to set up such beautiful partnerships. Thank you for allowing me to experience such an adventure.

So it’s on these few words that I’ll leave you to finish my journey… It’s now time for me to make way for the thesis, the summer job and the pro license… a whole program!

And above all, if you have the opportunity to travel, whether for your studies or for a holiday, don’t hesitate: go for it!

Hasta luego

Balance sheet : Erasmus 2019 Bruxelles

Maud & Jade in Anvers, Belgium

Jade

And that’s the end of those wonderful five months. A brief feedback on this Erasmus experience.

I went to live 5 months in Brussels, the capital of Europe. At first sight Brussels didn’t seem very exotic to me, half of the country’s inhabitants speak French and the culture is similar. Yet I have learned a lot from those five months there, now I know the complexity of this country divided into three languages and three cultures and its traditions.

What I would remember most about this incredible journey is my encounters. An Erasmus is sharing a few months of courses with international students. Ihecs welcomes many different nationalities: USA, Canada, Peru, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Germany, Sweden. It is a chance to be able to interact with all these students and learn by listening to their stories.
Also, I had the opportunity to travel in Europe, discovering the history of each country, traditions, architecture and culinary specialities I really enjoyed.

Erasmus allows us to get away from our daily life and comfort, we live with new people and we develop our open-mindedness. I think this will be a real advantage for working in the communication field.

I am very happy to have been able to participate in this Erasmus programme and if you have the opportunity, I would have only one thing to say to you: leave. It is a real experience to live!

Maud

Thankful, growing, flourishing. These are the 3 months that would describe me after my 5 months spent in Erasmus in Brussels. To experience an erasmus is to discover a new country, a new culture, new people from all over the world and to follow new courses.

I enjoyed the courses I took at IHECS, especially the Marketing course. I realized that marketing and communication are actually intimately linked, and learning the basics of marketing will inevitably be useful for my professional future.

But the Erasmus experience is much more than just new courses. I was able to meet wonderful people from all over the world. Exchanging with them and discovering their cultures has taught me a lot and I would always be grateful for that.

Jade and I have had the chance to travel a lot: Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malta, but also small Belgian cities like Antwerp, Bruges and Gant. I can’t say which city I liked the most because it was a different experience each time. Already a traveler at heart before leaving, this was confirmed!

And I continue my adventure this summer with a roadtrip in Andalusia and Portugal and then in Budapest!
I was also able to discover Belgium and Brussels. It is a very dynamic and student city and the Belgians are very nice!

I therefore recommend that you all have an Erasmus experience at least once during your studies! Leave without hesitation, you won’t regret it!
Personally, I intend to go back abroad if the opportunity arises!
Thank you all for following our adventures on Read and Ride and I hope that the next ones will live this experience as well as we did!

T

Bilan Erasmus 2019 : Bruxelles

Une journée à la découverte d’Anvers, Belgique

BILAN ERASMUS : JADE

Et voilà c’est la fin de ces merveilleux cinq mois. Petit retour sur cette expérience Erasmus.

Je suis partie vivre cinq mois à Bruxelles, capitale de l’Europe. Au premier abord Bruxelles ne me paraissait pas très dépaysant, la moitié des habitants du pays parlent le Français et la culture se ressemble. Pourtant j’ai énormément appris de ces cinq mois passés la bas, maintenant je connais la complexité de ce pays divisé en trois langues et trois cultures ainsi que ses traditions. 

Ce que je retiendrais le plus de cet incroyable voyage ce sont mes rencontres. Un Erasmus c’est partager quelques mois de cours avec des étudiants internationaux. L’Ihecs accueille beaucoup de nationalités différentes : USA, Canada, Pérou, Sri Lanka, Danemark, Allemagne, Suède. C’est une chance de pouvoir échanger avec tous ces étudiants et apprendre en écoutant leurs histoires. 

Aussi, j’ai eu l’occasion de voyager en Europe, découvrir l’histoire de chaque pays, les traditions, l’architecture et les spécialités culinaires m’a beaucoup plu.  

Erasmus nous permet de sortir de notre quotidien et de notre confort, on vit avec de nouvelles personnes et on développe notre ouverture d’esprit. Je pense que cela sera un réel avantage pour travailler dans le milieu de la communication.

Je suis très contente d’avoir pu participer à ce programme Erasmus et si vous avez l’occasion je n’aurais qu’une chose à vous dire : partez. C’est une véritable expérience qu’il faut vivre! 

En voyage à Stockholm lors de notre Erasmus

BILAN ERASMUS : MAUD

Reconnaissante, grandit, épanouie. Voilà les 3 mois qui me décriraient après mes 5 mois passés en Erasmus à Bruxelles. Vivre un erasmus c’est à la fois découvrir un nouveau pays, une nouvelle culture, de nouvelles personnes venant du monde entier et suivre de nouveaux cours. 

Les cours que j’ai suivi à l’IHECS m’ont énormément plu, surtout celui de Marketing. Je me suis rendue compte que le marketing et la communication sont en fait intimement liés, et apprendre les bases en marketing me sera forcément utile pour mon avenir professionnel. 

Mais l’expérience Erasmus c’est bien plus que de nouveaux cours. J’ai pu rencontrer des personnes formidables venant des 4 coins du monde. Échanger avec eux et découvrir leurs cultures m’a beaucoup appris et je serais toujours reconnaissante pour cela. 

Jade et moi avons eu la chance de beaucoup voyager : Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, Copenhague, Malte, mais aussi des petites villes Belges comme Anvers, Bruges et Gant. Je ne saurais dire quelle ville m’a le plus plu car c’était à chaque fois une expérience différente. Déjà voyageuse dans l’âme avant de partir, cela s’est confirmé 😉

 ! Et je continue mon aventure cet été avec un roadtrip en Andalousie et au Portugal puis à Budapest ! 

J’ai aussi pu découvrir la Belgique et Bruxelles. C’est une ville super dynamique et étudiante et les Belges sont très gentils ! 

Je vous recommande donc à tous de vivre une expérience Erasmus au moins une fois pendant vos études! Partez sans hésitation, vous ne le regretterez pas ! 

Personnellement je compte bien repartir à l’étranger dans la suite de mes études si l’opportunité se présente ! 

Merci à tous d’avoir suivi nos aventures sur Read and Ride et j’espère que les prochains vivrons cette expérience aussi bien que nous l’avons vécu ! 


Crete in one week (or more!)

A few days ago in my article about Athens (you can read it here) I told you that I’ve spent one week in Crete with my boyfriend during my vacations. It’s now time to share our experience in the largest Greek island with you, telling you about our favorite places, those we didn’t like so much, and those we haven’t have the time or the occasion to visit!

Chania’s port at night

Crete is a really large island, contrary to what we might think, therefore it will take you more than a week to visit the whole island if you want to see everything. We recommend you to move from one region to another staying around 3 days in each one. We also recommend you to rent a car for the duration of your stay. For our part, we had our pied-à-terre in Gazí, just outside Heraklion, and we decided to rent a car for three days in order to venture into places we couldn’t do by bus.

Cretan roads

WARNING: The bus network is the only means of transports that exists in Crete if you decide not to rent a car. But don’t worry, it’s really expended and pretty cheap (a day ticket costs 5 euros and a one-way ticket costs between 1.20 euros and 2 euros).

We also wanted to share the link of our Airbnb with you because we had an amazing experience. The apartment is really big, has two balconies, is located 50 meters from the beach and the owner is adorable; for example, he offered us a bottle of white wine and a basket of fresh fruits. It was “advertising time”, but now let’s talk about the places we visited during our stay!

Places to see absolutely

Chania

Let’s begin with a huge must-see in Crete : the old capital Chania (also called Xaniá) and largest city of the west side! Like all cities of the island, there are only a few places to visit, because the city atmosphere is felt walking through its narrow streets and on its Venetian port. You can also discover the east side of the port walking along the Sabbionara rampart to the lighthouse through the Guardians house.

Lose yourself in the streets of the city, don’t hesitate to go a little deeper into the heart of the less touristic districts. Take a walk to the old market and if it’s too hot (which wouldn’t be surprising!), the Folklore Museum and the Maritime Museum will be perfect for you!

If you have some time or simply like to swim, the almost transparent water of the Mediterranean Sea will call you for a short diving from the rocks or beaches that surround the city.

Seitan Limani and its beach

Located 30 min by car from Chania, Seitan Limani’s rocks and its famous beach are a must if you want to swim in a transparent/blue/green water but also if you have an adventurer spirit. The descent by car can be scary because the road is quite narrow and the curves very tight, but the view when you arrive on the wild car park is totally worth it!

If you plan to go to the beach, don’t forget your snickers (don’t wear flip flops) because you will need good shoes to go down the mountain. We don’t recommend that place if you’re afraid of heights or if you have young children because it’s very steep. But if it’s not the case, go there and enjoy it!

Rethymnon

On our way to go to the west coast of the island, we stopped by to visit the city of Rethymnon, third largest city of Crete. As for Chania, feel free to walk through the streets of the city to discover all its secrets. We really loved Rethymnon when we shouldn’t have stopped there normally; what a mistake it would have been!

But the main attraction in Rethymnon is its fortress. Count 4 euros to visit it and don’t forget your hat and your sunscreen because the site is not shaded. We highly recommend it to you because the view of the city and the see is really beautiful and the buildings are very well preserved, specially the mosque in the center.

Arkadi Monastery

30 min by car from Rethymnon, don’t miss the Arkadi monastery, a site we fell in love with. This place steeped in history (I let you read the Wikipedia page about it, this is really interesting) has served as a refuge during the ottoman conquest in the 19thcentury. The warm colors of the stones, the flowers, the greenery, the view of the Cretan mountains, everything was stunning. But because images speak often more than words, admire it.

If you have time, a car and 2 euros for the entrance, go there, you won’t be disappointed!

Bali and Sissi

These two villages weren’t on our itinerary at all, but as we turned around, we first stopped to admire the village of Bali. We didn’t have time to adventure ourselves through its streets but the view from the road was breathtaking in itself. It reminded me the car journeys with my parents when we stopped on the roadside to admire the landscape (it’s nostalgia time). If you have some time, I’m sure the village is worth it!

Another place we fell in love with is the village of Sissi. There are no monuments to see in particular but to wander the streets and discover the little port of the village at the corner of one of them is worth it. Feel free to go down to the beach through the shaded alley made for it and enjoy the view there.

Knossos

If you don’t like archeological sites, this place is not for you. But, on the contrary, if you like to visit ruins and to discover the places that have shaped the history of Crete, don’t hesitate! Accessible from Heraklion by car but also by bus for only 5 euros and in 30 min, the Knossos archeological site is clearly worth a visit. Some ruins are really well preserved and some others have been restored, but generally speaking, the site is really interesting and large. The site is also related to Greek mythology because it is said to have housed the famous Daedalus labyrinth in which the Minotaur was enclosed.

For 16 euros (or for free for students), you will be able to buy a ticket for the archeological site (which costs 15 euros alone, which is pretty expensive) AND a ticket for the archeological museum of Heraklion (which normally costs 10 euros). This is a great deal if you want to do both. The ticket is available for 3 days. But be careful, Knossos is a popular site for tourists and group, therefore we highly recommend you to go there at the opening at 8am if you can.

Heraklion

The city of Heraklion, largest city in Crete, is not a must-see for me but a great pied-à-terre on the north east coast. It is also not a place I don’t recommend you, because the city has some charm and it’s really pleasant to walk around. It’s port is really charming even if it’s kind of little, and walk along its fortress is agreeable (but be careful because the sun is very treacherous, I burned that day!).

If you like archeological museums, don’t hesitate to go to the archeological museum of the city. At the bend of the streets, admire the Agios Minas cathedral and the Lions Square. On your way, stop to have an ice cream at Da Vinci or eat something at Peskesi restaurant, one of the best (and probably the most beautiful) we tried in Greece.

Places to see for which we didn’t have time

Due to lack of time, there are a lot of places that we were unable to visit to our great regret:

  • Samariá Gorge: located in the south-west of the island, the Samariá Gorge are the perfect place to do a hike and discover some wild landscapes in Crete.
  • Elafonissi beach: a beach with pink sand, what to ask for more?
  • Balos Lagoon: a lagoon really beautiful where we wanted to swim so much.
  • The village of Loutró: located nearby Samariá Gorge, we were really interested by this village of fishermen with white houses. But be careful, we have read that the village has many naturist beaches so maybe it was a good idea to not go ahah. But the view seems stunning!

Places that are not worth it

Agios Nikolaos

Located in the east, the city of Agios Nikolaos really disappointed us. The proof is that we stayed there for only an hour and I took only about fifteen pictures. Except for its little port which is very charming and the water still blue/green, the city is not worth a visit. With all the places beautiful in Crete, don’t waste your time there!

Malia and Stalida (or Stalis)

If you want to swim and sunbathe among tourists and spend your days on the beach or drinking drinks, the seaside resort of Stalida is made for you, but apparently isn’t for us! I even came back without any pictures! Concerning Malia, we didn’t go there but we made some research and we found that it’s a city very similar to Agios Nikolaos and Stalida, a very touristic coastal city with just a nice port. But if you really like archeology, stop by to visit it archeological site.

Our tips:

  • As for Athens, don’t forget you hat and your sunscreen because even if there’s wind (particularly on the cost), the sun is treacherous and a sunburn is never too far.
  • Someone will probably tell it to you when you’ll arrive, but don’t drink tap water and buy bottled water instead. It’s not very ecological, but it’s for your own good!
  • Rent a car is almost necessary if you want to visit Crete so don’t hesitate to compare prices and especially opinions about rental agencies. There are a lot of them so you’re not immune to a bad experience. For our part, we rented a car for 3 days at an Hertz agency for 95 euros with the most complete insurance (necessary when you see how Cretans drive). The diesel fuel was a little more expensive than in metropolis as we expected it to.
  • If you are staying for only a few days and you are planning to stay in the same region, prefer to go to the west of the island which has much more charm and places/sites to visit.
  • If you are planning to take an excursion (for instance Santorini), be careful to compare prices to avoid scams, because as for car rental agencies, travel and excursion agencies abound.
Chania’s port

Crete is the ideal destination if you like to stroll through cities, get lost in more wild places, learn from archeological sites and museums, but also to rest and sunbathe by the sea. We loved Crete and I think that if the opportunity presents itself, we won’t hesitate to go back.

See you soon!

-Angelina

4 days in Athens

It’s almost time to leave Stuttgart, so I enjoyed a week and a half of holidays we had in the middle of our classes to go to Greece for a few days as a couple. On the agenda: 4 days in Athens and 8 days in Crete! I will very soon write an article about my stay in this Greek island but spoiler : I enjoyed it SO MUCH.

But for now, let’s focus on Athens, capital and biggest city of Greece, with more than 650,000 inhabitants (outside urban areas). Athens is a perfect city if you like to walk and to stroll through streets and gardens, but also if you are more interested in museums and historical and archeological monuments. After spending 4 days in Athens, I’ve prepared an itinerary for you not to miss anything about this city that has so much to offer! 

View from the Areopagus hill

Day 1

My plane only landed in the early afternoon so the first day wasn’t full but I had still start to explore the city a little bit! It’s really easy to reach the city center from the airport, either by bus (for 6 euros) or metro (10 euros), and it will take you about an hour. On site, the metro-bus-tramway transport ticket costs 4 euros for one day. The transport network is really well developed and allows you to go wherever you want in the city.

We’ve decided to stay in an Airbnb to live as much as possible close to the inhabitants and to cook after going to the market. Many accommodations exist at very reasonable prices so I really recommend this solution if you’re planning to stay a few days in Athens! Our Airbnb was located in the Attiki district, a popular but charming district. We enjoyed the late afternoon to walk around and get lost in the streets. Interesting fact about Athens : a lot of street (specially the main streets and avenues) are bordered by trees so that the sidewalks are in the shade, which is not a problem when it’s 31 degrees without wind! 

In the course of the streets, we discovered Saint-Panteleimon’s church and what I can tell you is that Greeks are very good at building churches! We also took a walk in Pedion Areos Park, one of the largest public parks in the city. A breath of fresh air in the middle of the city! We then returned to our Airbnb to rest in order to start the first real day of our stay.

Day 2

We started this day with a must-see in Athens: the Monastiraki Square and its market where you can find fruit stands at very competitive prices. 1kg of strawberries at 1.20 euros, unbeatable for such tasty strawberries! We then walked to reach the first archeological monument on our way: the Ancient Agora of Athens. The site is very large and impressive, and its museum is also interesting if you want to observe some statues and ancient objects found on the site.

THE great deal of this stay was a pass at 30 euros (or free for students) which allowed us to visit the Ancient Agora of Athens, the Roman Agora, Kerameikos site, Lykeion site, Hadrien’s Library, the temple of Zeus and the Acropolis. We strongly recommend you to take this pass sold each of these sites to be able to see them all at a lower cost, since the Acropolis alone already costs 20 euros and each other site about 4 euros. This will also save you having to wait in line each time to buy your ticket.

After the Ancient Agora, we went to Hadrien’s Library nearby. Feel free to walk the streets so alive and full of history when you go from one site to another, you won’t regret it! All sites are generally located in the hyper-center of Athens, so you can do everything by walking. Therefore we walked to the Kerameikos district (literally “ceramic” in English), the former potter’s district. Don’t forget you cap/hat and you sunscreen, as the sun is very strong and the archeological sites are not shaded!

Kerameikos site

At the end of the afternoon, we finally headed for THE most visited site in Athens: the Acropolis. If you can, go to the Acropolis from the opening at 8am to avoid heat and tourists, or at the end of the afternoon to avoid tourist groups like those on cruises, who usually do the tours early in the morning. But overall, there are still people there. The Acropolis is clearly worth the visit and we didn’t regret visiting it because this place is full of history and really impressive. The view is also breathtaking, and you will be able to appreciate the size of the city that you may not necessarily suspect. It takes about 1 hour to visit the Acropolis. We’ve decided not to do the Acropolis Museum, but count 10 euros in full price if you want to do it.

The Parthenon

Another highlight of Athens is the Pláka district, located below the Acropolis. It is the oldest district of the city, which has now become THE place to go out in the evening, have dinner and take a drink. Once again, take a stroll through the streets, get lost, and discover the small district of Anafiótika, a district in a district, with white houses and small alleys similar to the landscapes of the Greek islands. Don’t forget to look at the walls around you, you could see street art works that are worth it! Pláka is certainly my favorite district of Athens (not very original I know), and I recommend it a thousand times!

Day 3

For this third day, we started by visiting the National Gardens of Athens. A breath of fresh air in the middle of town, and it feels great ! I still recommend you to do this visit in the afternoon when it’s hot. We then went to the archeological site of Lykeion. It’s not a site that I recommend because there is nothing particurarly interesting or even impressive to discover. The site is located quite far from the others so don’t waste your time going there, are simply walk through the streets around.

A site that I recommend a thousand times on the contrary: the Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the first modern Olympic Games. This place is clearly worth the visit, but I advise you to go in the morning so as not to die of heat. We were very surprised  by the size and height of the stadium. Count 4 euros to access it, but believe me, you won’t be disappointed, and you will even be able to visit the stadium museum with an exhibition of poster of the Olympic Games since their creation.

Not far from the Stadium is the temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s gate, two other monuments and archeological sites. We then visited the last site of our pass : the Roman Agora.

Another must in Athens is to go for a drink on a rooftop to admire the city at night in a lively setting, often away from tourists. We tried the 360 Rooftop and we really liked it!

Day 4

We started our last day in Athens by walking around the Exárcheia district, known for its very civic atmosphere where the inhabitants have been managing many things themselves since the crisis. The district is also presented as the cradle of anarchism in Greece and is full of tags and street art works.

The overwhelming heat typical of Athens (35 degrees but felt much higher) finally got the better of us and we decided to take refuge in the Archeological Museum of Athens. I had read on several blogs that it was the most complete museum in the city in terms of archeology, and I can only tell you that this is true! It takes about 2 hours to visit the museum without necessarily stopping at all the works, but plan more if you are a big fan of archeology. Admission is 10 euros or free for students.

With this heat, and since we had done everything we wanted in 3 days, we went home to rest before going out for our last evening and do the last must-see of the city: climb the Areopagus hill and admire the sunset and the city at night. Athens is just as beautiful by day and by night, and I hardly recommend you to take some time to walk through its streets after dark.

What and where to eat in Athens?

In bulk, I give some Greek specialties that you MUST try during your stay: souvlaki (meat on skewers), gyros (kebab meat), grilled feta cheese, ice cream in general (they are big ice cream lovers), espresso or cappuccino Freddo (ice coffee to fall on the ground and so cheap), pitta and koulouri (a sesame covered bread that they eat a lot like here in Germany we eat pretzels). 

I also share with you my favorite places in Athens:

  • Rozalia: a typical restaurant in the Exárcheua district, in a shaded and charming setting.
  • Quick Pitta: the first restaurant we tested in the city center, to be tested if you want to taste several Greek specialties in “small” quantities.
  • Yard Restaurant: located near the Acropolis Museum, this restaurant is pretty touristic but remains very good.
  • 360 Rooftop Café/Bar: a charming and vegetal rooftop to drink a cocktail or a glass of wine with a view on the Acropolis. You can also eat there if you want.
  • Monastiraki Square’s market to buy a lot of fruits and vegetables.

You should also know that the purchasing power is much lower than in some other European countries such as France or Germany, you therefore will be able to eat well for less than 10 euros per person.

If you would like more addresses and the entire list of the places I’ve quoted here, click on this link to access to our Google map that allowed us to find our way during our stay.

Some tips:

  • If you can, visit Athens between October and May, and avoid the hottest months or you won’t fully enjoy your stay.
  • Don’t forget your hat/cap and you sunscreen if you want to avoid sunburns and sunstroke.
  • Take an Airbnb accommodation or an apartment for rent so you can buy your vegetables in the various markets in the city and cook them, there is nothing better!
  • If you are a student, think about taking you student card because a lot of monuments and museums are free for you, which is not insignificant.
  • Take out your walking shoes because Athens in a city in relief and many sites like the Acropolis are more easily accessible with good shoes.
  • Visit as many sites as possible in the morning to avoid tourists but also to avoid heat. Every day, we would end up coming home around 4pm to get in the cool before going out again around 7pm.

I think 3 days are largely necessary to visit Athens if you want to do the main monuments and sites as well as walk a little in the streets of the touristic districts or more popular ones. I had heard that Athens is a city known to be either adored or hated, which I can understand because it remains a very populated city, sometimes dirty in some areas, pretty polluted and made for archeology and history lovers. But despite all this, what I will remember about Athens is the people I found adorable, the mixture of urban planning and archeology, the diversity of cultures, its popular districts that live outside tourism, and of course its history!

See you soon!

-Angelina

The courses at Hochschule der Medien

Half of our stay here in Stuttgart University Hochschule der Medien is behind us, therefore is now time to talk to you about the courses and the school and, you know, maybe to convince you to come study here during your Erasmus semester !

A large number of programs called minors are offered by the University. For those who are scared by the German language, don’t worry, all the programs are taught in English ! You can find all the programs here, but to give you a little foretaste, be aware that you can specialize yourself in advertising, videos, management, design or journalism !

For my part, I chose the “Media Creation and Managament” minor, where I’m studying, among others, marketing, entrepreneurship and management. We also had to choose between TV and radio class, and I personally chose the TV. In this class, we have to realize a small and entertaining 5 minutes movie, without any theme constraints ! This allow us to work on our creativity and our skills in audiovisual. On the radio side, students have to host two shows per week, including a show dedicated to Erasmus students called “Lost in Germany”.

A few courses are delivered through workshops combining participatory courses and practical applications. In my minor, we were able to attend to two workshops on entrepreneurship and on management in time of change. These two workshops were really interesting and we could imagine a real company that we then presented to real entrepreneurs and field specialists.

This minors system has a lot of benefits :

  • It allows you to progress in English.
  • The groups of Erasmus students in every minor are kind of small, around 8 persons, so it’s easy to build friendships.
  • The workload is relatively low, so as the number of hours of courses (I personally have 10 hours per week). Therefore it gives you the time to travel, to make friends, to create memories and even to work on some personal projects.

In addition to the classes, the University Hochschule der Medien offers a lot of extracurricular activities such as dance, swimming, yoga, DIY workshops and even skydiving ! Furthermore, a film screening takes place every Wednesday evening in the University’s cinema (yes, there’s a cinema), and it is pretty much always in English ! This year, we saw the movies “Hidden Figures”, “The Greatest Showman” or “I, Tonya” for example.

Finally, the student association “Erasmus Student Network Stuttgart” is really engaged and active (you can find their Instagram account and their Facebook page here) ! For example, we already told you about our two integration weeks (the video is right here if you haven’t seen it yet), but their investment doesn’t stop here ! They had organized for example several hikes through the city or in the countryside around, parties on campus, barbecues to celebrate the end of workshops, and a lot of other events for the weeks to come.

With all these information, I hope that I convinced you to come here to realize you Erasmus semester in the University Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart !

See you soon !

-Angelina

Santiago and its wonders

Holà chicos,


You have already had the right to some articles about our life in Santiago, but we haven’t told you about the city and the wonders it hides.
I will therefore be in charge of sharing with you my beautiful discoveries. And, of course, I’m not going to spare you my great culinary skills. But let’s start quietly, shall we?

PARKS


Did you know that there are more than ten parks in Santiago? Well, I admit that there are some more or less grown-ups, but all of them are very popular with Chileans, whether at lunchtime or to breathe after a busy day at work.
My favorite is Bicentenario Park. It is a few minutes from my house, and as soon as I discovered it I enjoyed running there from time to time. There are even pink flamingos!!!!! (see picture)


But it’s not the biggest one I’ve ever walked. Last weekend I went hiking with two friends to one of the many parks on the Andes mountain range, called Quebrada de Macul. Well, I can tell you it was going well. The landscape is magnificent, I found an air of South of France, the crickets and olive trees were missing and I swear to you that we were there.


The last one I will talk about is the Metropolitan Park of Santiago, in which you can climb the Cerro San Cristobal. A Cerro is a hill on the top of which there is a religious building. I have been there several times already, because you can see the whole city of Santiago and a beautiful sunset (you even have the right to a picture of me with it. And yes, you should be lucky!)

The Sunset and me
The view and me

FOOD

Let’s get down to business now.


So, for those who don’t know me, I am a great epicurean and cook, so I am happy to find the addresses not to be missed in each city I visit.


Like all major capitals, Santiago does not lack restaurants from all over the world. Indian, Peruvian, American, Italian, Mexican, and even French! And I must admit that I have already tested many of them. Between Burgers, Pizza, Buddha Bowl, Sushi…we always find our happiness. Speaking of sushi, a little aside, here one of their specialties is fried sushi. Yes yes yes you read well. Here is a small picture to give you an idea. They are sushi as you know them, but they add a frying pan around them and fry them, so you can only eat them with chicken or vegetarian.

on the left you can discover these famous fried sushi. Here they are with peppers and fresh cheese.


Let’s go to the burgers. Here, there is something for every taste and every diet. There are some that are more gourmet than others, such as one in which a fried flowing cheese is added. Then, others more healthy, like the vegetarian burger from Bravo 195 (which became my HQ, see photo) with a red bean steak, sheep’s cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and a nice fried egg to top it all off! A real delight! Not to mention the great homemade fries to accompany it.

Vegetarian Burger signature Bravo 951


On the pizza side too, I found something to make my little thing happy. As a fan of Neapolitan pizza, I was surprised to find a good number of addresses that make it. I’ve already done almost everything! Here is one of my favorite pizzeria, both by the place and by their pizza (see picture Omerta).

Then to finish, I was pleasantly surprised ( yes i’m often surprised in life) to find a multitude of healthy and vegetarian/vegan addresses where you can enjoy wonderful bowl, good big avocado bread, hummus….. in short you understood the idea…


On this friends I leave you, I haven’t finished exploring everything yet! But I’ll be back soon for new adventures!


See you soon!


Anaé