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Hungary 2013 Impressions

The great thing about living in Vienna is nothing is really far away and you are abroad quickly. Especially close is Central Eastern Europe and Southern Eastern Europe (the Balkans in other words). Though strangely Austrians seldom go East (except for plastic surgeries and dentists), there is still a mental barrier which I personally never fully understood. In the Austrian mindset the Czech Republic is still in the East and Krakow, Poland seems indefinitely far away, though in reality being much closer to Vienna than the Western most city in Austria Bregenz. Naturally this snooty attitude is viewed with suspicion by our neighbors. Though much is changing and the younger generation begins to embrace the charm of the East.

Especially close to Vienna both in geographic and cultural terms is the capital of Hungary Budapest. Like Vienna it had its heydays around 1900 in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and you still see it. In architectural terms the two cities are closely related, there are a lot baroque churches, large areas of residential buildings from the founding period and some beautiful Jugendstil façades. If you look on the map and see the districts (in both cases 23.) and names of bridges and boroughs you feel like you have landed in a mirror universe. Though there are some differences. Budapest still has maintained its old Railway stations (pictures 1, 3, 5 in the background and 7) which disappeared from Vienna being replaced by shopping-service hybrids in vain of the consumerism society. Also the city is much closer to the Danube than Vienna, having a nice city hill on the Buda site making it very similar to Prague in structure. Hungarians are very patriotic, you see a lot of monuments everywhere. A very important role in their self-view plays the role of a nomad heritage and the culture of horse riding. This heritage is linking closely to the geographic conditions of the country being basically a vast lowland (pictures 2 and 5). Hungary is definitely worth a visit especially for young travellers, being also very affordable at the moment.

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Austrian Alps Pt. I

Travelling trough Austria consists in large parts of wandering trough valleys and lakes framed by endless mountains. And occasionally also of climbing one. That’s exactly what we did two weeks ago when we went up Mt. Schoberstein (something over 1,000 Meters). Not the tallest one by far but one with a marvelous view on the lakes of the Salzkammergut (in particular Lake Attersee and Lake Mondsee). Afterwards I continued by journey to another famous lake, the Traunsee, where I had the opportunity to take part in a boat ride across the lake passing by the equally famous Mt. Traunstein.

The pictures shot these days I want to present you in two posts. No particular order. Hope to sparkle some enthusiasm for the Alps! 🙂

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Road Trip trough Southern Styria

On a rainy day like today when water droplets are smashing against the window I like to sort pictures and take a look back. I was very fortunate to come around a lot this summer due to my work in travel management. My first vacations though I enjoyed a week ago in my home country. Southern Styria is a beautiful piece of land in the far south of Austria close to the Slovene border. It is well known for agriculture and wine production especially. The smooth green hills are perfectly fitted for vinyards, the wines tend to be mild and sweet. Due to the beautiful landscape and the great cuisine Southern Styria became a major tourist destination In the last couple of years. Today you see the growing wealth in a region which was one of the poorest in Austria a few decades ago. I very much recommend a visit.

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Graz: Light and Distance

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These shots are from my visit to the Styrian capital of Graz last week. I played around with light and perspective in analogue as well in digital “postproduction”. The first shot is showcasing the so called love chains on the main bridge above the river Mur. On the right side you see the green city hill “Schlossberg”. The second picture shows the city hall in B&W.

These were taken in the “Rüstkammer”, the largest depot of medieval armory world wide. As I have not planned the visit I was not sure what to expect. But the museums turned out to be pretty interesting and great as subject for photography.

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