Wetlands II

2nd of February | World Wetlands Day

It’s finally here! After an amazing week in Tartu, it’s time to fulfil the promise made at the end of the youth exchange: raising awareness on the value of wetlands.

Upon checking the official website on wetlands (yes, that’s something real!), I ended up choosing a place close to my hometown.

Pateira de Fermentelos

40º33’52’N | 008º30’28’W

Ramsar Site Number: 2089

Even though I was not able to visit this place upon deciding on writing about it, I have very fond memories of being there.
Pateira de Fermentelos, despite its somewhat unusual name, is the largest freshwater lagoon of the Iberian Peninsula, spanning around 1,599 ha. Located in the district of Aveiro, it sits on the confluences of two rivers: Águeda and Cértima. In 2013, the Pateira de Fermentelos became the 17th place in Portugal recognised by Ramsar as an important ecological ecosystem, incredibly rich in biodiversity and provider of plenty of services vital to our planet.


This site is home to important populations of aquatic birds, like the little bittern and the black kite and different sorts of ducks. In addition, local fish, such as largemouth bass, carp and perch, and the commercial popularity of crayfish and rays, support the freshwater fishing industry of the region.

In addition to being a living sanctuary, the Pateira, as a wetland, provides some important ecosystem services, such as: groundwater recharge, flood control, sediment trapping and maintenance of water supply for both natural and human-made ecosystems.

The largest threat factors which might affect the ecological status of the site are essentially intensive farming, cattle raising, and contamination of water and soils by industrial and urban infrastructures. The municipality of Águeda has implemented a plan for the site which provides a set of strategies and actions aiming at the sustainable development of the area, including the creation of several pedestrian routes around the lagoon to make it a more inviting place for those eager to explore the surroundings.

If you see yourself wandering in the region of Aveiro, make sure to include the Pateira de Fermentelos in your plans! You will thank me later.

A beleza do lago ao Pôr do Sol


Never Have I Ever

A fun game to play among your friends/family/acquaintances… And a way to get to know people in a deeper way.

Never have I ever…

thought to be back to Armenia so soon.

taken part on a 7-day intense training course on the topic of Extremism.

discussed the importance of youth work as a tool to empower youngsters in being interested in democratic subjects.

realised that Populism has a broader concept and doesn’t restrict in itself to the “Western definition” of it.

discovered how easy it is to fall into extremist ideas.

filled in a Bogardus Scale which led to one wholesome discussion.

found out about the dark side of being politically correct: call-out culture; platforming; virtual signaling; bad actores and clicktivism.

adorned a notebook in such a beautiful way.

had some of the most delicious meals paired with the most delicious lavash.

seen an incredibly ingenious and ancient way of cooking bread.

found a Polish guy with such a big affection for Portugal!

randomly met one Portuguese exchange student in Dilijan!

been responsible for the well-being of three lovely Portuguese girls – Inês, Isménia and Joana.

hitchhiked in Dilijan’s town just for the sake of not having to walk back to the hotel.

frozen my ass off in Lake Sevan (while trying to capture its beautiful sights).

scrounged a beautiful tea mug and a Turkish coffee pot.

slept in an hostel for such a bargain – €3.

gone inside a super crowded bar just to ask for the Wi-Fi password to the bartender.

taken a tour around a museum by solely relying on escalators.

played Never Have I Ever with those from Portugal, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia.

This Erasmus+ Training Course, “Extremism for All”, was made possible with the support of the European Commission. Obrigado Inspira!


Found this article from 2012. We are in 2018, yet the situation remains (or is actually even worse).

On the 12th day of Christmas … your gift will just be junk

Every year we splurge on pointless, planet-trashing products, most of which are not wanted. Why not just bake them a cake?

(…) They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For 30 seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations. (…)

The Guardian