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Nature of Plitvice

If you think about paradise, the national park of Plitvice in central Croatia comes pretty close to it. A marvelous place of nature it encompasses 296,85 square kilometers of pure wild. The forests seem to be endless and the gentle hills make for some beautiful curves in the panorama. Here and there you find a castles or a water mill, or a trail leading to a lake with some stunning waterfalls.

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Urban Discoveries featuring Brothers’ Barbers

This article is part of the “Urban Discoveries” series, in which we seek and discover interesting and well designed places to eat and drink around Europe and especially in Vienna. This time though we did something else and on the occasion of a bearded friends birthday and the need to buy him a present we visited a barber shop and did a shoot there. The text was written once again by my collaborator in this series Maximilian Martsch with the birthday child and soon to be model (probably) Lukas standing in. Thanks to the nice guys at Brothers Barbers for the warm welcome and the good time.

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When you think about a beauty salon for men, Brothers’ Barbershop is probably pretty close to what you’d imagine. It’s a happy place for the bearded half of the population, well bearded until they leave again. Or a little less bearded. Or bearded in a more nicely way. Anyway you get the point.


Right when you enter you will be completely taken in by the stylish yet relaxed vibe of the place. Wooden shelves full of all kinds of products for your manly hair and beard, exposed brick walls, a nice lounge corner if you have to wait for your appointment, and of course the old fashioned, black leather barber chairs. It’s a mix of modern interior design and good splash of nostalgia which is best displayed by the vintage ads for shaving necessities. While you wait for your appointment you can enjoy a beer, a coffee or even a cocktail if you are up for the extra kick – they definitely want you to feel comfortable.

And yes, of course they also have a traditional barber’s pole spinning happily outside of their shop. A little trivia on the side: the red, blue and white striped pole is the traditional sign for a barber to label his shop. It is said to be in use as a trade sign already since the middle ages. There are several explanations for the use of red, blue, and white. Probably the most ghoulish one refers to the spill of blood (blue represents venous blood) and the use of white bandages which goes back to a time when barbers were also consulted for simple medical procedures, like tooth extractions.

Blood is luckily not an all too frequent sight at Brother’s Barbershop – at least nothing happened during our visit. But joke aside, even though the barber’s use open razors, they are all well trained and know exactly how to handle their equipment so you always feel in safe hands. The barbers are also part of the experience at Brothers. Not only are they the living examples of up-to-date hair and beard styles, but they are constantly cracking jokes with each other and the costumers which definitely contributes to the friendly fraternal feeling in the shop.

The interior, the banter, the clean shape, and hot towel in the end, all of it makes a visit at Brothers’ Barbershop a real treat. It might be not the cheapest option to get a haircut and shave but the quality and overall experience totally compensate for that. If you want to visit Brothers’ Barbershop yourself make sure to get an appointment beforehand, because their waiting list can get pretty plong.

For more information, impressions, and appointments go to http://www.barbershop.wien/.

Discovering Évora

I was lucky to come around quite a bit in Europe’s most southwestern country, but a spot that was blank on my map of Portugal was to the East of Lisboa. The ancient city of Évora, founded by the Romans before Christ. On the day of my visit in early May the opportunities for interesting shots were great, as there was a storm coming with heavy clouds, but the sun was still there refusing to obey and shining on the beautiful buildings of Évora, making for a great and gloomy atmosphere.

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The Algarve

Although I travelled Portugal extensively, curiously I never have been to the Algarve, the southern coast of the country, before. I must admit I had my prejudices. This part of the country, it seemed to me, was reserved for the sun seeking mass tourist. Northern Portugal seemed much more mysterious and interesting to me. It was the road less travelled. But boy – was I missing out! The Algarve with it’s white architecture glowing in the sunlight seems like a natural extension to the Portugal I know. Sure there are tourists but at this time of the year (beginning of May) not more than in Lisboa. Give it a try!

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Portugal on Lens

Over the years Portugal became a country and a topic I revisit now and then. Again I had the chance to travel to this beautiful Iberian country and shoot some photography there. This time around though I had no access to my usual set up (Canon 70D with Tamron lens), but had to borrow equipment from my girlfriend. It was interesting to shoot with a different camera than I got used to. The Sony SLT-a77 is not as advanced as my Canon of course but it has some merits. I liked the the viewfinder and the shots are per default more wide which make them slightly more cinematic. The first series is kind of a highlight reel of the week I got to spend in different parts of the country. From first to last picture the locations are: Lisboa (bridge of the 25th of April), Capo da Rocca, Cascais, Fatimá, Óbidos.

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Chess Players in Union Square Park

In this personal post my friend Lukas shares his thoughts about his passion for chess and the current state of the game in connection to a recent visit we had in New York. The picture were shot in Union Square Park.

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Chess has seen better days. Maybe it’s an underestimation of the current standing of chess, but the societal impact and prevalence of chess seems to be lower than in the past decades. If one does not specifically look for them, there’s few people around to have a casual game or to chat about the latest tournament results.

There are, of course, reasons for this. In order for a sport to be enjoyed and appreciated by the masses, skill must be apparent to the layman. Everyone can clearly see the skill on display when a professional footballer scores a spectacular goal, shooting the ball right past the goalkeeper’s fingertips, with only inches to spare. Chess is a different matter. The hidden reasonings of a complicated chess move can only be appreciated by people of an at least somewhat similar level of skill.

I’ve always found it fitting to compare chess to a language. It can hardly be enjoyed by people who do not understand it. It demands continuous practice or your proficiency will fade. And, not least of all, it takes two fluent speakers to create a good conversation. I’ve had a mixed relationship with chess over the years. I’ve had my past with chess clubs and tournaments, but the drain on my personal time was too significant to stick to it over the years. Most of my friends do not play, and meeting those who do gets more difficult by the year, as lives change and responsibilities pile up. Then there is, of course, the internet. Nowadays, people who need their regular dose of chess generally retreat to online platforms. This might be extremely convenient – as one can play anywhere, anytime – but something is lost on the way.

On a recent trip to New York City, one of the most important things on my personal to-do list was to visit the local chess-playing community, famous for playing in the parks of Manhattan. When I finally found the time, the weather could not have been worse. The mild temperatures of the past week gave way to sporadic snow and a bone-chilling, uncomfortable cold. I was wondering whether I’d find anyone to play at all. Still, even in such harsh conditions, I found people standing in circles, playing, silently watching or engaged in light-hearted conversation. Not only did I get to play my games, I got much more than that.

As I was sitting there, at Union Square Park, in the heart of one of the most awe-inspiring cities of the world, sacrificing pawns, knights and queens alike, bantering and laughing with complete strangers, I was reminded once again: it’s a sad thing if you can’t share your passions with likeminded people.

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