When you arrive in Salzburg, you know you are in Mozart’s town. He’s everywhere in the form of 2 Mozart Houses, numerous statues, music venues and every item of tourist tat you could think of. I have to confess to actually not liking classical music (I’ve watched the Amadeus movie a few times..) and I’ve no real academic interest but he has definitely become a bit of a tourist magnet for the city.
Of the 2 Mozart houses, we visited the Mozartheim – where he grew up before going to Vienna. His birth house in the main shopping area is above a Spar and had much longer queues. There’s no photography permitted inside the Mozartheim – and it is rigorously enforced.
One slightly dodgy statue of Wolzgang is artist Markus Lüpertz’s ‘Hommage to Mozart’ outside St Mark’s church. The half male/female ‘lumpy’ piece isn’t overly prominent in the city tour guides and not too revered by its citizens. It puts the Ronaldo one in a bit of perspective.
Finally despite all the keyrings, stickers, phone covers and countless other pieces of tat, my favourite item of shopping is the Mozart Chocolate Balls. (genuine Salzburg)
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..
I had no real expectations regarding Ljubljana having little knowledge of the city or indeed of Slovenia beyond the usual photos of Lake Bled. It was however one of the friendliest, relaxed, photogenic and enjoyable cities I’ve been to in Europe, and there seemed to something going on at every junction along the river.
The area around the Triple Bridge can attract the artists and the crowds.
There is a statue of France Prešeren, Slovenia’s greatest literary figure near the bridge which is a general meeting point – and the starting point for the excellent Free Walking Tour.
And in direct line of sight from Prešeren is a little wall statue of his unrequited love and subject of many a poem, Julija Primic.
And of course if you’re hungry there’s many food vendors.
Venice is great to visit – but every bugger will have taken every conceivable picture there is to be taken. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take photos, try to find something different to shoot or just decide to visit somewhere and record what’s there. I didn’t do the usual slow shutter speed shot of blurred gondolas parked on the lagoon with San Giorgio Maggiore in the background (no tripod anyway..) but with a bog standard film camera / prime lens and cheap monochrome film you’ll get something different from the thousands of smartphone grab shots and selfies.
All photos shot with the Ricoh KR-5 on Oriental Seagull 100, developed in Ilfosol 3..
Any trip to Rome should really include some Roman sites – as in ancient Rome. There are numerous sites across the city, but as it was my first trip to Rome the easiest thing to do was the Forum and Colosseum. Oh, and a quick travel tip – go early (obvious) and buy your combined ticket to both at the Forum entrance – everyone seems to queue at the Colosseum for a ticket, with your pre-bought ticket you can just walk smugly by.
For photography I had the sturdy Ricoh Kr-5 with a roll of Oriental Seagull 100. After one shot, it was obvious that the Ricoh’s batteries were done – I’d no metering so it was Sunny 16. And as it was very, very sunny, basically F16 at 1/125 or 1/250 for toning it down a bit.
The forum was at the heart of ancient rome – market places, temples, government buildings, courts – if it was happening in Rome, it happened here. The remains date from around the 7th century BC to around the 3rd century AD. The sense of history and place is amazing and more than I’m capable of describing, but for a tourist with a camera it’s a delight to take a slow walk around the ruins and try and capture some essence of the place. Even on a 40 year old camera with a dodgy meter.
The Forum is well worth a visit, and actually makes for a much nicer photo walk than the Colosseum – which isn’t too shabby either.