terça-feira, 7 de abril de 2015

Street Performers and the Most Beautiful Store Facades | Santa Catarina Street, Porto, Portugal

Santa Catarina Street is one of the most well known and crowded streets in Porto, it is almost 1,5 Km of stores, restaurants, cafes and hotels. Cars are not allowed in this street, which makes it great for pedestrians, street artists and street sellers to walk around freely.
Curiosity: The first Zara store to open outside of Spain, was in this street in 1988!

Shopping is also a cultural experience here

As this street is so old and has so much history, most store facades are works of art, some are sculpted in materials such as metal, stone or wood, also some are beautiful mosaics or azulejos. 
Three of the most remarkable buildings are the Palladium Galleries, designed by the architect Marques da Silva; Majestic Café, built in 1921, it has been a place where some of the most brilliant minds of Portuguese literature meet and finally the Grande Hotel do Porto, that has hosted people such as Eça de Queirós (one of the biggest Portuguese literary geniuses) and Teresa Cristina, the last empress of Brazil. 
Furthermore, some well know Portuguese writers were born and raised in this street: Camilo Castelo Branco and Guerra Junqueiro are just a two examples.

Street Performers and Street Sellers

As this street is always crowded and cars are not allowed here, it is the perfect place for street performers and street sellers to settle. All kinds of artists can be found here: Native American musicians, classic/rock musicians, violin players, accordion players, human statues, painters and even this guy making giant bubbles. Street sellers are sometimes not legal, but you'll find them a bit everywhere, selling a bit of everything: clothes, shoes, paintings, hand crafted stuff and food, mostly snacks like roasted chestnuts or hot dogs.

Inês Tavares

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domingo, 5 de abril de 2015

Thoughts of a 17 year old girl on Human Rights

Human Rights is something I think about rather frequently and do some research on, so why not put some of my thoughts out for the world to read. I'll start by talking about the role played by Human Rights defenders, as I consider myself one, and then elaborate on two quotes related to the theme, that I found worth sharing and commenting.

"Two brothers of the El Agha family mourn their father, killed during the shelling of the town of Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza. The offensive lasted seven weeks, during which more than 2,100 people were killed in Gaza, 69 percent of which, according to the UN, were civilians. Amnesty International published a report that (…) suggested violations of international law on both sides." Source: Word Press Photo

What is the role Human Rights defenders play in today’s society?

Human Rights defenders play a crucial role in today’s society, they fight for the oppressed, for those that can’t fight for themselves. I find it outstanding how some people dedicate their lives to the greater good, most times, for the greater good of complete strangers and sacrifice the ones closer to them and themselves everyday.
If it wasn’t for these brave people, women would still not be able to vote, America would still be segregated and Portugal could actually be still ruled by a dictator.
I hope that in a near future, the Eastern world and all the countries that are not being ruled in accordance to the Human Rights chart, adopt new policies, and that is only going to be achieved if everybody fights for it.
Finally, I think that everyone of us should be involved in the struggle for Human Rights, not defending every article (I believe we don’t have to defend every article because we don’t have to agree with all of them, that’s also freedom of thought and speech) and not necessarily sacrificing themselves for it, but at least doing something. As meaningless as it may seem, if we all cooperate, great things shall be achieved.

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Martin Luther King

Currently, after decades of fighting for Human Rights, some are still not respected in all countries. I agree with Martin Luther King’s sentence, everybody must battle for what they believe in and, like everything in life, if people don’t fight for it, they’re never going to get it.
I believe it’s pretty clear that Human Rights are never going to be fully followed in the whole world, but we can and should try to accomplish that. In my opinion, the first and most important thing to fight for these rights is information. If people don’t know there’s something to fight for, they obviously won’t do it. So the first step is education for all, freedom of thought and speech and access to information, this is the basis for a fair and equal world.
To make it actually happen, there should be as many people as possible involved, so every single one of us has to play a role in the struggle for Human Rights. One doesn’t necessarily has to dedicate their life to it, simple gestures matter, and with internet access that has been made the easiest thing ever.
In summary, I believe that if everybody is granted access to education/information and if we unite in order to accomplish what we believe in, it will soon become a reality and the worlds will become a better place.

"Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even violent hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups." Source: Word Press Photo

“…there have been dramatic advances in crafting and implementing a system of universal human rights…” Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Looking at the world with the eyes of a 17 year old girl from Portugal, I would say it didn’t change much. In the Middle East, for example, women are still highly oppressed, forced to get married at a very young age, not allowed to do such simple things as watching a volleyball game or dress as they want; in countries such as China, India and Bangladesh child labor and slavery are very common and human trafficking, torture, etc. are yet happening thoughout the world ( and these are just a very little few examples).

But, if one compares what happens nowadays to what happened, for instance, a century ago, one realizes we’ve come a long way. In the Western civilization, dictatorship is almost extinct, pretty much everyone is getting good education and health care, discrimination still exists, but not as much as there used to be. Of course there’s still plenty to be done, but in general, I do agree with the sentence.

"Waria is (…) often used to describe transgender women. Waria in Indonesia generally live in isolated communities and suffer a degree of marginalization and discrimination." Source: Word Press Photo

Inês Tavares

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quarta-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2015

How to keep your hair on point all day (even on the road!)

How to keep your hair on point all day? That's an easy question - just braid it! The city I live in is very windy because it's close to the beach, I have extremely long hair and bangs, so you can imagine the nightmare it is to live in Aveiro! So when I'm not in the mood for messy crazy flying-all-over-my-face hair, I simply braid it. There are loads of tutorials on youtube on how to make all kinds of braids and updos... To be honest, I'm not very good at it, but my friends, specially Maria (who has short hair), are always happy to give me a hand. (P.S.: Yes, it's me in all the pictures.)

Inês Tavares

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segunda-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2015

Igreja do Carmo | Porto, Portugal

This church was designed by the architecture José Figueiredo Seixas and built in the XVIII century. It was inspired in the Baroque and Rococo styles, the last one being the dominant one.

Inês Tavares

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domingo, 22 de fevereiro de 2015

Palácio de Cristal Park and Garden and Pavilhão Rosa Mota | Porto, Portugal

I always struggle to start a new post, I never know how to beggin - probably the number one reason for me not to write as often as I would like to. So here I sit, sipping on my tea and wondering what the heck should I start with...
So here we go - Palácio de Cristal gardens are the perfect place to spend a peaceful Sunday afternoon with the family. It probably has the best panoramic view of the old part of the city and Douro river. It has a total area of 9,57ha, and was designed by the German landscaper Emile David in order to embellish the area around the Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), which was demolished in 1951. Pavilhão dos Desportos took its place, it was designed by the architect José Carlos Loureiro. Since its construction, all kinds of sports have been played there, from hokey to badminton. In 1991, its name was changed to Pavilhão Rosa Mota as a tribute to Rosa Mota, one of the best Portuguese athletes of all time.

Inês Tavares

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sexta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2015

Gap-year volunteers: constructive help or waste of time and money?

First of all, what is the "gap-year"? It is a year teenagers skip school after they finish highschool, and in which they can do whatever they want. During this year, I believe they'll mature and most defenitely find answers for the future. Gap-year volunteering is, for sure, not a waste, neither of time or money.
During this time teens will learn a lot, about the world and specially about themselves, and if they can volunteer to help people at the same time, I can only see advantages. Some may say it's a year wasted, a year when they should be studying in college, but, in my opinion, if they aren't mature enough for college, they are wasting time anyway! Nevertheless, some can still argue it is a waste of money, but I say: knowledge and experiences are priceless. Helping others is more rewarding than money.
To sum up, I believe gap-year brings multiple advantages - maturing, learning, experiencing, seeing, doing! - so just go for it and have the time of your life,

Inês Tavares

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quinta-feira, 29 de janeiro de 2015

My Current Travel Playlist

What's the worst part of travelling? The waiting! From flight delays to long road trips, music is the travellers' best friend. So here's my top 15 songs to listen while travelling (or anywhere, really).

Inês Tavares

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