This part of the trip was a bit unplanned. Trying to get a cheap train north from Ljubljana resulted in a few nights staying in Villach, a town in the Gailtal Alps in southern Austria on the river Drau. I hadn’t heard of until I checked the direction of the railway line on Google Maps. And it turned into quite a nice stopover. We got a good value AirBnB in a residential area overlooking the town and spent a nice 48 hours around the river, churches, statues, squares, beer and food.
A bit like Ireland, there’s no shortage of places to go for a drink. Villach has its own brewery – Villacher beer – and a splendid Brauhof.
Also like Ireland, there’s the church for each bar.
And there’s a statue of the most famous Villacher – painter and sculptor Hanns Gasser
Down by the river, you can get a splendid 2 hour beer cruise with a nice backdrop of bridges and mountains
Away from the crowds and walking tours there are many quieter streets and walks in the centre of Ljubljana to indulge in a bit of street photography and to try and capture the look and feel of the city, even around the Triple Bridge when it isn’t so crowded..
It’s not all about the lake. Bled has some good walks and viewpoints around the lake, although it is prone to changes to the weather. I never made it up to the castle – it was wet and the light was going, but there it was nice to see the area away from the crowds at the lake.
It’s on many bucket lists of places to visit and Lake Bled didn’t disappoint. From Ljubljana you can get a direct bus or the more civilised option – the train to Lesce Bled and a short bus ride to the Lake.
Once at the Lake – the customary things to do are take a walk along the lakeside, hire a rowing boat, head over to the island and back, and then take a walk up to the castle. All very predictable no doubt but no less of an experience.
I didn’t get the usual shot from the high vantage point of the lake and island – the day became a bit overcast, wet with some bright spells and the Church of the Assumption on the lake was covered in scaffolding for renovation work. As it’s such a great place to visit, sometimes the photos have to take second place to the experience, even with some Fomapan100, Rpx25 and a wee bit of digital on the Fuji X20.
Having rowed to the island, there was a wedding to crash – complete with piper.
With the Ricoh loaded with the extremely slow Rollei RPX25, I managed to get a shallow depth of field in a pre-rain sunny spell – and hardly any grain.
After a few hours on the lake and island, it was time to head inland and up.
Pula was an hour’s bus ride from Rovinj and is a great spot for a day trip with a bustling old town, Roman ruins and plenty to point the Ricoh at.
Pula has its own amphitheatre, a wee colosseum.
Croatia of course has a fascinating recent history, particularly during the second world war where as well as being occupied by Nazi Germany, it had its own collaborating dark side – the fascist Ustaša which was resisted and subsequently defeated by anti fascist Yugoslav movements. There are a number of memorial to anti-fascism and Pula has a large memorial garden alongside the main harbour.
Back in the old town the town-hall is on a old Roman site
And various remnants of old walls and portals into the old city
Giudecca is the longish island that lies opposite the main island of Venice and you can get to it by vaporetto from St Marks. One of the main attractions is that it’s relatively quite and peaceful. Being mainly residential, most tourists don’t go across, but it’s a delightful place with some magnificent churches, views and cafes. En route the vaporetto also stops at San Giorgio Maggiore, the little island with the landmark church everyone photographs from across on the main island.
Rome was everything I thought it would be – magnificent in its ruins, churches, history and people. I’ll go again, maybe in autumn when the heat isn’t as crazy. The sites, streets, piazzas are all undeniably photogenic and maybe in less tourist-heavy seasons, I’d take a more measured photowalk round the numerous easily walked. Here’s some random shots of Rome. Shots taken on the Ricoh KR5 and Lomography Earl grey 100 film.
Romans – the current ones, not the ancients – are more often than not a stylish lot as are many of the tourists, at least not the sweaty football shirt-wearing middle-aged Irish ones. And like Paris, it’s easy to snap a more flattering street shot when you’re in such beautiful and iconic surroundings.
Photos shot on Ricoh KR5 with Oriental Seagull 100
Ueno Park is a large green space in central Tokyo and a great place for a walk around the city with the camera. There’s temples, museum, a zoo, entertainment – including Taiko drumming blogged here, flea markets and plenty of people. It’s also beside a large shopping area, the Ameyoko Shopping Street so you can easily fill a day here. And like Tokyo there’s any number of JR and metro stations in the area to get here.
All shot on the Nikon F60 and Kentmere 400 or Kodak Tri-X