Category Archives: Photography

Photos capturing pictures and images

Taking on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

It was a crisp Sunday morning at Tongariro National Park.  I was up early to catch my transfer bus to the carpark at the start of the one day tramp across the Tongariro Pass.

Before I hopped on the bus I started a conversation with a fellow countryman from Cork.   Continue reading Taking on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Albania: Day 11 of 17 Time to put an end to these bus trips

I need to get to Tirana and I have missed the direct bus on purpose.  I work out that it will be faster and more relaxing to split the journey by going back through Kosovo.  I find a bus at 11am going to Prizren.  Perfect I think.  I can ask at City Hostel if I can leave my luggage there while I go for a late lunch and then catch a 4pm bus directly to Tirana on the much faster highway route.  So total bus journey time should be no more than 6 hours. Continue reading Albania: Day 11 of 17 Time to put an end to these bus trips

Macedonia: Day 9 of 17 The road from Kosovo to Macedonia

I’m ready to get on another bus or two to get to Macedonia where I’ll meet up with Ryan.  My friend Ciaran’s nephew.  I am very glad of this as I haven’t got a clue what to expect in Skopje.  But first it’s time for some pictures again.  Myself, Uly and Florian have breakfast together in the hostel.  We then grab our cameras and head for the castle on the hill.  It’s a steep trek up there, but well worth it for the amazing views across Prizren.  I am in a bit of a rush as my bus to Pristina leaves at 1pm.  I take my pictures and say goodbye to my German friends. Continue reading Macedonia: Day 9 of 17 The road from Kosovo to Macedonia

Croatia: Dropping in on an old friend

I was up early.  This was my first chance to take a look at the old town in the daylight.  So armed with my camera I headed to town to see if I could get something for breakfast.  On the narrow streets heading to the main square I found a cafe which had some good breakfast deals.  Unfortunately there was no chance of getting a seat in here.  A few metres further down I spotted a tiny bakery and went in.  I got a plain crossaint and one with marmilade.  They had no coffee so I had tea instead.  The funny thing was that the lady in here didn’t mention that she only had lemon tea until she was handing me the cup.  It was a good job I liked the stuff.

I walked in to the square an noticed the unusual bridge which went over the river.  It was busy now with lots of people going to the markets including a fairly big flower market.

This was a nice city.  With a nice mix of old and new buildings.  I walked along a road on the other side of the river and suspect I must have reached the university as there were a lot of students around smoking and having coffee outside cafes.

My Boar and Deer stew with DumplingsI had already checked out and left my things at the hostel hotel whatever it was.  On my way back I decided to try yet more traditional food for lunch.  I went to a place called Pomf where they sold meals in small kettles.  I though the woman said that I was having bear and deer stew, but it turned out that this was her just getting the word bear mixed up with boar.

It was a nice lunch washed down with a glass of local red wine.

It was time to catch the train so I made the short journey to the station on foot and went to the platform to catch my afternoon train to Croatia.

The train journey to Zagreb doesn’t take long.  We have a strange start though when they ditch a carriage just as we leave and then add another one.  We leave a few minutes late, but arrive exactly on time in Zagreb.   I can’t see an exit sign so I walk around that station building to the front.  I don’t see Biba, but she sees me as I’m just about to go inside the station again.  She’s arrived by car and parked right at the front of the station.  It’s a short drive back to her place.  I offload my things and we make some plans for the evening.

Caffe Cica in ZagrebWe make our way into town by bus at around 8pm to get some food.  This will prove to be a big mistake later.  I eat my meal of what looks like a piece of long burger pate with some cheese in it.  It is very greasy.  The desert is much better thankfully.  We leave and head to a bar called ‘Cica’ which in Croatian means titty or boob.  As you can see perhaps from the picture of their logo.  We try a few of the Croatian brandies or rakijas there.

It’s a really interesting place.  Both quirky and relaxed.  After a few hours sitting on a padded window ledge I hop down and we head towards the bus terminus to catch the last bus back.

In the middle of the night the food has it’s way and sends me to the bog for a while.  This is not a good way to end my trip.  I take some of the life saving pepto bismol tablets my friend Kirsten had delivered to me in London from the US a few weeks earlier.  I suspect I will need more than this if I am going to have any chance of enjoying my last day in Zagreb.

Slovakia: Through the mountains to Bratislava

I get up early because I don’t want to miss my chance to get some nice photos of the city.  Kosice looked pretty nice last night, but in the sunshine it looks amazing. I first head off to the train station which isn’t far away to grab a ticket for the 1333 train to the capital of Slovakia, Bratisalava.

Centre of KosiceAn easy transaction at the station and I’m heading back to town to get some great pictures. I feel really happy to have made it here. The place is possibly one of the most beautiful cities I have been to. It helps that the weather is perfect and the architecture is really varied and nice here. It’s buzzing here today, and there seems to be a lot going on.

Kosice in 2012It’s getting close to 1230 so I decide to grab some lunch from a restaurant close to the hostel. I get a nice homemade lasagne and pay before I eat it just to get away quickly. After I eat it’s a few minutes stroll back to Bar Madrid to collect my things. I really wish I had more time in Kosice, but I will have to see this place on another trip again/

The train leaves on time, but I have stupidly got into carriage 2 instead of 5, so I have to move my things. The views on this rail journey are pretty good as we cut through the mountains. I am amazed at how little I knew about Slovakia. I am really starting to like this place.

Slovakian CountrysideAt around 1830 the train pulls into the main rail station in Bratislava. Now all I have to do is find the x13 but to my hostel. This proves more difficult than I expect, and even worse I can’t really see the ticket values on the machine where you must purchase your ticket before boarding the bus.

I watch a few other people press the third button down and find a machine no one is using and take a closer look. It’s the €0.70 ticket which is what I need. I then see an x13 pass and stop so run and jump on. The instructions get me to the hostel fairly promptly. Check-in is a bit slow because some Austrians have arrived without any ID. I get checked into my room which is the Barcelona apartment on the 5th floor. I am sharing the room with 2 Aussie guys and a lad from Brazil who happens to be living in Dublin.

After a chat we all agree to go for dinner together at a traditional Slovakian restaurant called Flagship.  The food here is delicious and the service is great.  I have the Pe?ené koleno s prílohou which is Knuckles of pork, slices of bread and horseradish.

My three roommates are keen to get back for the pub crawl.  I am keen to get my washing done again that didn’t quite dry overnight in Krakow.  We head back and they head out.  I go to reception and buy some powder and get the key to the laundry room in the basement.  Washing on I settle at the small bar in reception with a nice cold beer.

I meet and chat to a nice girl called Simona who does cinematography in Romania.  We chat about the work I have done and my recent interest in photography.  It’s interesting to talk to someone who has such a strong passion for what they do.  After a few more beers my washing is finally done.

Simona has gone to see friends so I get chatting to Eva who is working on reception and serving at the bar.  She is studying journalism so I try to share some advice with her.  I’ve met some nice and interesting people at Hostel Blues.   It’s a short train ride to Austria in the morning so I decide to go and pack and get a bit of sleep.