Bangkok is a wonderfully colourful place, so why not try some black and white film, head out to a market or two – or a temple and see what clicks.
Markets are incredible places in Thailand – hot, sticky, crowded, aromatic (in so many ways) and no-one seems to object to a photo being taken. These were taken around the Chinatown food market areas and the ridiculously big Chatuchak Market in the north of the city using the trusty Olympus OM20 and a roll of Ilford FP4.
On all my visits to South East Asia I encounter groups of students who are looking for a tourist to practise an interview in English with. The first time it happened I, of course (and without any justification) thought ‘is this a scam?’ And of course it isn’t. All the times it has happened, I’ve talked to bright, enthusiastic students about Ireland and visiting Thailand while at all times trying to curb my natural Norn Iron accent tendencies. Studying English as a foreign language is one thing, trying to understand Belfast is another.
Last few shots of Munich. It was my favourite spot on the European tour – the beer, the weather, the very German signage, the beer, the architecture, the metro (clean and punctual) and the fact that every green space contains a beer garden. I’ll go back.
And finally – lederhosen, sex and falafel all under one roof. So German
Munich or München (but why is it FC Bayern Munich in English and not FC Bavaria Munich ? – we need to know) has long been on the bucket list despite around 25 trips to Germany over the years. Finally I got there as the final stop on my 2018 European tour with a few days to kill before heading back to Dublin. And of course as the least hipster tourist in the world, my first stop was the Hofbräuhaus. The world famous beer hall and tourist trap. And it was magnificent despite the crowds and tourist prices.
Once indoors, it was time to go digital with the lovely Fuji X20.
Many other photos were taken on the Huawei P9, but were drinking selfies which are better not to be shown.
Colour pictures – the Fuji X20, mono on the Ricoh KR5 and Fomapan 100
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
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