Why I freely share some images on @Unsplash

“Beauty has always been free. It came in the box with sunlight and eyeballs. It was granted to us upon birth as we first laid eyes upon our beautiful mothers and then mother earth. For those of us with extreme empathy and a wide-eyed approach to seeing the world, finding the beautiful all around us and capturing it is a deep and glorious honor. Yes, you can have that image at the top for free — perhaps not because it has no value, but because I simply want you to see what I can see. "

    
The above sentence by Swiss photographer  Samuel Zeller reassumes  in few short sentences the main reason why I do love making some of my images free on @Unsplash.

I have a very limited number of free images probably less than 30 but is something that I feel very passionate about it I love to give something back, share what i see for free plus there are few other practical reasons:

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1) I am constantly inspired by the contents and images of @unsplash.  Here the spotlight being on the pictures, they have the space they need. Between a fraction of a mobile screen, and a full screen, it’s obvious which is going to better display and enhance the content.

If  you have ever visited Unsplash, you’ll agree  with me that the feeds are filled with amazing pictures. Pictures that you can take inspiration and learn from. 

I am also learning a lot on what people and companies are looking for. Here is not  a matter of clicking to give a Like but is what they download and use. So it is good to perfect my craft and develop my skills as far as possible.

2) I started to receive small monetary donations from users showing their appreciation for letting them use my work. They didn’t have to do that.  At the same way I do not need to give my photos away for free. But we both did. I also started to receive bookings and made partnerships that I would have not found in normal and traditional way or with my  regular contacts, agents and channels. Due to some of the images I have on Unsplash, I got commercial jobs, to take pictures with my drone, work for hotels, touristic resorts, not to mention I got bookings for workshops and photo walks. In other words, I made much more money giving free these images than if I would have ever sold them, and that is for sure!

3) The culture of the new is the major problem with photography online on social media as curator and photographer Andy Adams explain « It’s always about the new which inevitably means the not new drops off our radars way sooner that it should »

Social network like Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram are for sure a problem for photographers due to this particular reason. They are good for commercial brands because they can afford to hire social media managers and post regularly.

The images I share for free  on Unsplash don’t lose value, there is no difference at all between a year old shot and a week old shot. Their value are not based on time. When I do not post new images on Unsplash, even for  a month or more I still get a lot of downloads, likes and views.....EVERY day. So I get promoted and is  a free advertising.  Try not posting on Instagram for a month… ;-)

 

How to See the 2018 Shooting starts or Perseid Meteor Shower

Anticipation is quite high for this year’s shooting stars, which peaks over a moonless weekend with projected rates of 90 to 120 meteors an hour.

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Sky-watchers around the world are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Perseid meteor shower, which will be at its best from August 12 to 13. Often one of the most impressive spectacles of its kind, the Perseid shower should be especially vivid this year because the sky will be moonless and dark during the peak.

The Perseids are actually visible from July 17 to August 24, although you’ll see only a few meteors an hour throughout most of that time period. The sky show spikes on the peak dates, with an expected average of 90 shooting stars an hour.

If you have clear skies, this deep darkness should deliver a great performance on the evening of August 12, with rates of up to 120 shootings stars an hour visible from countryside locales. Observers in eastern North America, Europe, and the Middle East should get the best seats for this meteor bonanza since the exact peak is expected to occur at 9 p.m. ET (01:00 UT).

While you can start hunting for Perseids as soon as it gets dark, the best viewing may be after local midnight and into the predawn hours of the 13th, when the skies will be at their darkest and your part of the globe will face the incoming meteor cloud. (See pictures of the Perseid meteor shower.)

Meteors will be visible even under bright suburban skies, but you can expect to see only a quarter to half as many shooting stars. No matter where you are, allow about half an hour for your eyes to adjust to the darkness before you start sky-watching in earnest.

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The Perseids grace our skies when Earth ploughs through a cloud of fragments left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, which last flew near the sun back in 1992. As the comet zooms in from the outer reaches of the solar system, its ices vaporize, and it releases debris ranging in size from sand grains to boulders. The particles get spread along the comet’s orbital path in such a way that Earth crosses the debris field around mid-August every year.


When that happens, the comet pieces slam into our atmosphere at speeds of around a hundred thousand miles an hour, causing the meteors to burn up and produce the brilliant streaks across the sky that we affectionately call shooting stars. (Here’s how scientists think we can create artificial meteor showers.)

Meteors will appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, the mythical hero, which will rise after local midnight in the northeastern sky.

Despite their Greek namesake, the earliest known record of the Perseids appears in ancient Chinese texts, which mention awe-inspiring views of over a hundred meteors an hour as far back as A.D. 36.

Reported sightings continued throughout the centuries in many other cultures. In medieval Europe, devout Catholics referred to the phenomenon as the “tears of St. Lawrence,” since the yearly display coincided with the anniversary of the death of Lawrence the martyr. But astronomers didn’t recognize the link between the sky show and comets until the late 1800s.


Souvenir Snapshot1.  

What do you need.....

•    DSLR body
•    All of your batteries (and spares batteries; if you have an extended grip that holds AAs, bring it)
•    Fast wide-angle prime or zoom lens (f2.8 or faster) with UV or skylight filter attached
•    Heavy duty tripod
•    Cable release or intervalometer (see below)
•    A really comfortable outdoor reclining chair
•    A good flashlight
•    Lens-cleaning supplies

Why do I suggest a wide-angle lens and not a telephoto lens? Probability. The more sky you cover, the greater the likelihood of capturing a shooting star.  You can cover twice as much sky with a 24 or 28mm lens than you can with a 50mm lens and the difference gets more dramatic the longer the lens gets. You may get lucky and pick just the right spot with a telephoto lens, but your odds of getting your perfect shot increase tremendously as you cover a greater area of sky.

The intervalometer is one item on the equipment list that you might not be familiar with. Think of it as a cable release on steroids. With a cable release, you’re shooting one frame at a time. With the intervalometer, you can program the length of the exposure, and the delay between shots. And you can program the number of frames you want to shoot. If you look on Ebay you can get a nice intervalometer for $30 or less.

1.  Open and level the tripod.
2.    Mount your camera and estimate where the best position and angle is for shooting.
3.    An app for your smartphone called “Starglobe” is invaluable at finding the location of constellations in the night sky.
4.    Set the shutter speed on “B” or Bulb.
5.    Set your lenses focus control switch to “MANUAL” this will keep it from searching for infinity in the dark.
6.    Set the aperture to wide open.
7.    Attach your cable release or Intervalometer.
8.    Set the focus to INFINITY by manually aligning the infinity mark on the lens with the focal length point on the barrel you are using.
9.    Set the ISO to either 800 or 1600 to start (experiment from there).
10.    If your camera has mirror lock-up, use it (this will reduce vibration caused by the mirror).
11.    Verify your exposure settings (I shoot at 30 seconds to avoid star movement and spiraling).
12.    Press the start or release button.
13.    Check your first frame for focus by zooming in on the LCD display screen and adjust if necessary.

The Captive Stork (A Rab Gólya)

Since living in the Hungarian countryside I grew very passionate of storks.

Storks do return to their carefully built nests year after year, They bring life to any village!

 BRODSKI VAROS, CROATIA - JUNE 20:  Malena keeps an eye on her  stork chicks on June 20, 2016 in Brodski Varos, Croatia. Stjepan Voki� has been taking care of Malena for 22 years, after an Italian hunter broke her wing and she hasn't flown since. Storks Malena and Klepetan have remained a couple for over 20 years, each spring Klepetan migrates 13,000 kilometers alone to be with Malena.  (Photo by Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

 

I recently discovered a great ballad by Hungarian author János Arany titled A Rab Gólya "The Captive Stork,” written in 1847.

By the way  he was a Hungarian journalist, writer, poet, and translator. He is often said to be the "Shakespeare of ballads" – he wrote more than 102 ballads been translated into over 50 languages, as well as the Toldi trilogy, to mention his most famous works. 

The poem or ballad describes a lonely captive stork standing in the middle of a small plot who would love to be free and  fly, all the way to the seas, but can’t because its wings have been chopped.

Árva gólya áll magában
Egy teleknek a lábjában,
Felrepűlne, messze szállna,
Messze messze,
Tengerekre,
Csakhogy el van metszve szárnya.

Tűnődik, féllábon állván,
El-elúnja egyik lábán,
Váltogatja, cserélgeti,
Abban áll a
Múlatsága,
Ha beléun, újrakezdi.

The stork at one point tucks its head under its wing because it is too painful to look at other “free storks flying to a better homeland.” But the stork waits. Perhaps one day “it will fly into the sky where the blue of freedom reigns.” and "Waiting, waiting, always waiting", the end, however, the “lonely stork" realizes that even if its wings grow out, wicked people will cut them once again.

The original Hungarian can be found online. I was unable to find a proper English version I only found this one

There is a great song from Arany ballad and is  by Margaret Island the Budapest band and the great voice of singer Lábas Viki create a magic atmosphere 

Clearly, the stork has a special meaning for Hungarians.

Klepetan Returns Home as Croatia’s Famous Love Story Continues

 

Klepetan and Malena’s story has touched many hearts around the world 

The remarkable love story of two long-legged birds from eastern Croatia, which has gone on for the last 16 years, continues as Klepetan arrived back home on Thursday at around 10:30 am.

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The two storks made their nest on a chimney in Brodski Varos in eastern Croatia more than two decades ago. The pair would fly together until Italian poachers injured Malena’s wing which left her flying capabilities restricted.

With storks being a migrating bird, this caused a problem. Every winter for the last 16 years Klepetan would leave Croatia and make his way more than 13,000 km to the warmer climates of Africa.

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Without fail, however, Klepetan has always managed somehow to negotiate his return to Croatia in the spring when the weather warms up to be reunited with Malena.

However when Klepetan failed to turn up by the end of March last year the nation began to worry. He did return though two weeks late keeping the love story alive.

“It is true, Klepetan has been late 3-4 days than when he was younger. The journey is long, more than 13,000 km. Last year he was 2-3 weeks late but nobody is happier than Malena and I when he arrives,” Stjepan Vokic, who has taken care of the birds in Brodski Varos for over a decade, told 24sata.

The famous love story continues.

Vero the new app, why and how to use it

Vero, a photo-sharing app that launched in 2015, is the latest app to benefit from ongoing frustration with Facebook and Instagram's hated algorithm not to mention recent uselessness of Twitter .

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A week ago, Vero was ranked so low it didn't even appear in the App Store's top 1,00 apps; today it's the most popular app both on the App Store and Google Play Store. It's gotten so popular that the app's servers have been overloaded, with many users unable to post or even sign up for an account. 

The creators and owner of the app are very clear and upfront it will be a pay as you go app. I like the idea and I never believed in freebies and if is free is too good to be true.

I like as well the concept no algorithms no advertising. In exchange of a fee?? Why not!

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Here is a summary of the manifesto: Vero is unhappy with the way social media has become about algorithms and ads, and they’re trying to create a more “natural” way of sharing things. In practice, that means no ads, ever (the service will be funded in part by an annual subscription model they’ll introduce soon, and in part by Vero receiving a commission on sales made through the platform).

It also means users have more control over who sees their posts: the news feed is chronological rather than thrown together by an algorithm, and users decide whether each post they make will be broadcast to close friends only, friends only, friends and acquaintances, or anyone who chooses to follow them.

In its manifesto, Vero said it does not incorporate advertising into its revenue model, but will instead begin charging users for a subscription after 1 million free users have joined the service.

“As a subscription-based service, our users are our customers, not the product we sell to advertisers.”

Vero’s been variously described as “the new Facebook” and “the new Instagram”, but in reality, it’s actually more like a combination of both

It’s similar to Facebook in that you can have friends as well as followers, divided into acquaintances, friends and close friends.  You can use it to chat with people, and you can post a range of content like links, text posts, photos, film recommendations etc.  It’s similar to Instagram in that you can post nice looking photos. There are no stories, it is good for me...I never used them anyway.

Arguably, its biggest selling point is that it has a chronological feed, allowing users to see everything. Companies can’t pay to boost posts because there is no algorithm that highlights certain posts over others, meaning – provided you scroll far enough down – you won’t miss any of your friends’ images.

Another interesting feature is the fact that, unlike Instagram, users aren’t required to crop their images: full-sized photos can be uploaded and displayed in their original ratio.

This business model stands in stark contrast to other apps like Facebook, which has become very advertising heavy. Without money from advertising, Vero has admitted it will eventually charge users to sign up for the app, however, the first million users will receive free access for life.

I like very much the modern design the easiness in creating an account and in how to use it.

Of course, at the moment it is a bit of an empty place...but was exactly the same on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! I do not mind to try a new medium in the hope it will work

 

I am on vero as marco secchi

I am on vero as marco secchi

How to use Vero:

Like most social media apps, you first have to sign up with your phone number and email address after you get Vero. By entering your phone number, you can let Vero access your contacts to see which friends are also on the app. You can also invite your contacts to make a Vero account. This step is also skippable, and you can connect with friends later.

Once you’re all signed up, you officially have a Vero account. Now you can add a bio and avatar to your profile page.


Vero will then show you its “Featured Content” page. Similar to Instagram’s Explore page, it’s where you can check out posts from verified Vero users.


When you tap “Done” in the upper right-hand corner, you’re brought to the main page — your Vero feed. The app will then direct you to share your first post.


Here is where the world opens up. You can post a myriad of different things to your Vero feed. Search for music (they literally have it all), movies (seriously, they have every movie ever), books (yeah, all the books), places, links, and finally photos and videos.

Still kind of afraid of the great beyond, we decided to keep things simple with a photo post.


The Vero photo editing process is almost identical to Instagram’s. Your filters and simple editing tools are cleanly displayed below your photo. You’ll still be able to pre-edit in another app and then upload from your library, too, if you like to have a bit more variety in your editing options.


Tap “Done,” add a caption, tag a location if you like, and then choose who’s able to see your post. When adding friends and followers in Vero, you’re able to categorize them into “close friends,” “friends,” and “acquaintances,” thus letting you control how far you want each post to reach.

 

 

My Fav Settings for Fujifilm XT2

I love my Fujifilm XT2 and these are the settings I tend to use most

I Shoot RAW + Fine JPG - set to M (12Mp) size so I get a full 24Mp RAW plus a super clean super sharp 12Mp JPG which is good enough a lot of the time for event work

To avoid Haloing in the JPGs I have sharpness to Minus 2 .... Noise reduction to Minus 3 seems to be a good balance between detail and leathery low NR artifacts - using the 12Mp size on these settings is superb and reminds me of the old Bayer 12Mp X100 and its almost Perfect ultrasharp JPG engine , if I need to crop or more rez, I`ve got the RAW..

I set boost to ON

Smallest single AF point with the full number of points available set in the menus

Choose Film sim depending on shoot / subject ..

For portraits I love the look of Astia with DR200 and +1EV.  It brings up the mid tones and preserves the highlights.

Venice Carnival: is it really necessary?

The circus performances, under the theme ‘Lights, Camera, Action’, are inspired by the work of Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini.  

The flotilla featured tightrope walkers, fire eaters, boats and animal floats to the backdrop of music from Fellini’s films.  Circus performers hold up barbells and breathe fire as part of Venice Carnivale celebrations

However, celebrations were marred by reports of thousands stranded outside the gates along the banks of the canal.

According to local paper 'La Nuova Venezia', police restricted entry to the Cannaregio Canal. It is part of a push by authorities to restrict the crowd size to 6,000 people, citing public safety concerns.

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More tourists are expected to arrive in the city as festivities ramp up. The celebration of the Angel’s Flight in Saint Mark’s Square, a major festival event that takes place next Sunday, has in recent years drawn crowds of over 100,000 people. This year there will be a restriction of 20,000 in Saint Mark's Square so expect more chaos.

The Venice Carnival should return to its "original" roots of 1980, lose most of the commercial aspects to return to be a celebration for the Venetians and tourist who like to take part, with activities all over the city and in most of the Campi and stop being monothematic in Saint Mark's Square.

Improve your long exposure with photo stacking

Are you planning on shooting soft, silky waves? Do you wish to create dreamy, daytime landscapes with smooth, stretched clouds?

This post will help you improve your long-exposure skills and overcome the most common challenges that occur in daytime long-exposure photography.

Photo Stacking for Daytime Long-Exposures

When doing long-exposure photography–photography that requires light to hit your camera sensor for more than 2 minutes a lot of problems can arise and those can easily ruin your shot: false light, camera shake, accidentally tripping over your tripod, etc. 

With exposure time around 4 minutes, you can easily waste a lot of time trying to capture the perfect shot of soft clouds or silky waves.

But by dividing the shot into several shorter exposures of the same subject and stacking them together in Photoshop, you can overcome most of the issues, spend less time on wasted shots, and come away with better images.

Photo stacking is not a technique for every situation, but sometimes stacking your long-exposures is the only way to get a good shot. However, it is important to recognise when you need it during shooting.

When to Use Photo Stacking

False Light

During the day, you’ll often have too much light available for long-exposure photography. Long-exposure photography in daytime light using a 10 stop ND-filter might still result in an overexposed shot. 

At night or during the blue hour, when the light is limited, you can adjust your camera settings to give you a 2 or 4 minutes exposure even without using neutral density filters.

This long-exposure image consists of 4 shots of 40 seconds each. I was standing on a metal bridge and there is often passage of heavy trolleys and people

This long-exposure image consists of 4 shots of 40 seconds each. I was standing on a metal bridge and there is often passage of heavy trolleys and people

 

Photo stacking your daytime long-exposure photos will ensure that you get correctly exposed shots. Furthermore, if you don’t own a 10 stop neutral density filter, using a less strong ND-filter and taking multiple images to combine later will give you similar results.

Camera Shake

Next to false light, shaking is the most common reason for failed shots in long-exposure photography.

At night, factors that can cause your tripod and camera to shake are usually lessened: lighter wind, fewer waves, and less traffic, for example.

But during the day, these factors are stronger, heavier, and more problematic for daytime long-exposure photography; strong wind or heavy traffic can make your tripod shake or vibrate, resulting in blurred or unsharp shots. 

While we’re at it, remember to take the camera strap off your camera while shooting long-exposure. It acts as a sail in the wind and causes shaking to the tripod and camera.

And make sure the ground is sturdy enough to support your tripod and keep the camera steady for a long-exposure shot.

 

User Error

And then there are those unforeseen hiccups that can ruin a great long-exposure shot.

Regardless of whether its daytime or night, another common mistake is simply forgetting your remote. Without a remote, you are stuck with the longest exposure time your camera allows excluding bulb mode.

Bulb-mode without a remote requires that you press the shutter all the time, which is a no-go to avoid camera shake. My camera, like most, has a max of 30 seconds exposure.

How to Photo Stack Long-Exposure Photos

Factors like too much light, too much wind, or the risk of camera shake make it worthwhile to use photo stacking for your daytime long-exposure photos instead of doing a 2- or 4-minute exposure.

You now know when to use photo stacking; below you will learn how to use photo stacking–how to do it in the field and how to blend the exposures afterwards in Photoshop.

Equipment

This is the equipment I tend to use for Long Exposure shots

 

Setting Up Your Camera

At the location, set up your gear as normal, but make sure your camera settings and ND-filters gives a good exposure with a histogram peaking just over the middle to the right when using an exposure time of 30 seconds. To get the effect of a 4-minute shot, aim for 8 good shots, each at 30 seconds (8 x 30 seconds = 4 minutes).

Get some extra exposures just in case some of them get blurred due to camera shake from a sudden wind gust or bypassing bus. You can leave out a particular shot from your sequence in the photo stacking process.

Processing in Photoshop

In  Photoshop, go to File → Scripts → Load Files into Stack. In the appearing dialogue, choose Add Open Files to make the set of images appear under files to use for stacking.

Remember to check the boxes Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images and Create Smart Object after Loading Layers.

Click OK to begin the blending process. It usually takes some time for Photoshop to create a single Smart Object from all of the exposures.

Next, go to the menu Layer → Smart Objects → Stack Mode → Mean. This makes Photoshop automatically blend the images in the stack into a smooth long-exposure, to look like it was a single very long exposure.

At this point, you don’t need the layer to be a Smart Object anymore, and keeping it this way would prevent you from using a brush tool, for example, so you should convert it by right-clicking on the layer and choose to Rasterize Layer.

After this, you need to process the image as you would for a normal daytime long-exposure or any other image. To get the best results when you process your daytime long-exposure photos, be sure to only use selective sharpening of the areas in your photo that are not moving.

Long-exposures taken during daytime often have a lot of large white areas with clouds or silky soft water. If you apply sharpening to the areas that are supposed to be soft, you’ll cause an unwanted grainy look to your photo.

 

Venice Photo Walk and Tour

During your Photo Tour of Venice, I will point out details invisible to the untrained eye and reveal the best vantage-points on your chosen route. Learn to tell a story through images, take great shots of iconic monuments and capture atmospheric images off the beaten track.

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So bring your walking shoes and be prepared to discover the mysteries of the city. Bring your camera and learn how to have more fun with your camera.

• Discover parts of Venice less travelled by tourists. • Hear interesting tales and stories • Take better photos • Turn your photos into exciting stories. • Have fun!

Let a Creative Italian Photographer walk you through the city of Venice in an unforgettable Photo Walk capturing real candid moments of your stay in beautiful pictures. Enjoy a relaxing vacation and bring home remarkable pictures of your visit.

Touring Venice can be a very exciting experience, but it can also be quite an adventure if you are unsure of which places to visit and how. The language barrier may also represent a curious obstacle but it can also be frustrating. We offer innovative and unforgettable Photographic Tours to welcome you to the most fascinating and romantic place in the world. Experience Venice through the eyes of a native Italian Professional Photographer. He will guide you in an exclusive tour through the most interesting Venice landmarks and monuments.

All city excursions are exclusively custom-made to fit your needs. You can explore the sites whichever way you like and at your own pace.

Walking around Venice together with a professional photographer is an enlightening experience. He will show you all the tricks of the game but it is also a fun and new way to visit a city like Venice. You will be able to visit, see, experience and tour places, situations, people that would be otherwise difficult to come across. The Photo Tours will take you through off-the-beaten tracks to the most important monuments and landmarks. You will avoid the tourist pedestrian highways and will take more secluded, intimate and truly Italian passageways. Let it be romantic, creative, fun and friendly, the astounding imagery will do the rest. We will show you the right places to eat, where true Italian dwell and the hidden beauties of the wonderful city.

"Carnivaland" new photozines

It is that time of the year .....and Carnival is approaching super fast!

"Carnivaland" the Photozine published by Awakening

"Carnivaland" the Photozine published by Awakening

Created with friend, colleague and Awakening Collective member Simone Padovani our aim is to celebrate this world renowned Venetian event and showcase some of our work.

We have also a II Photozine about some of the Excellent Artisans behind the work to create the magic world of Carnival.

The Photozine are 40 pages in Full Colours and the price is an exceptional 7 Euro each!

GET your copy quickly  https://www.msecchi.com/photo-zines/carnivaland

Available from the 22nd of January 2018

What to do in Ljubljana

Donec id justo non metus auctor commodo ut quis enim. Mauris fringilla dolor vel condimentum imperdiet.
— Hope K.

Ljubljana is the vibrant capital city of Slovenia, with rich history and culture. The architecture is astonishing, and Ljubljana’s cobblestone streets and river banks are made for long walks. The city and its surroundings offer many ways to spend the time when visiting.

Ljubljana is young, very hip and green as can be: In 2016 it was the European Green Capital, in a part of Europe not always known for environmental friendliness. The city centre is now mostly car-free, public transport is low-emissions and there’s a new cycling network. The squat-turned-cultural zone Metelkova is the go-to for hipsters and live music, and has nightspots, bars and public art installations in an old barracks.

According to the Quality of Living survey released by Mercer, a well-known international consultancy firm, the Slovene capital Ljubljana is the third best Eastern European city to live in, trailing only Pargue and Budapest by the slimmest of margins. Despite the fact the Slovenia is geographically located squarely in Central (if not Western) Europe, and has always been culturally and politically closer to Vienna and Paris than Moscow, this is still quite an accomplishment. 

Here is a list of my favourite best things to do, that will make your stay in Ljubljana unforgettable.

 

Obviously and so is out of the way.... I can only recommend one of my Photo walk and workshop and are HERE



 

Ljubljana Castle

Ljubljana Castle and Congree Square

Ljubljana Castle and Congree Square

When you’re looking up from one of the Ljubljana’s squares or the river, the castle seems dauntingly high. If you’ve got the stamina you can try to get up there on foot, but there’s also a tourist train and a funicular railway.The castle has changed a lot since it first came together 900 years ago.The early stone wood and stone fortress was succeeded by more practical military buildings, becoming an Arsenal in the 16th century as a regional bulwark against an Ottoman invasion.The main courtyard is free to enter, and has a cafe, nightclub, galleries and a restaurant.

 

Prešeren Square

Right by the Ljubljanica, Prešeren Square is the place where the city meets up and celebrate.

If there’s an event going on in Ljubljana there’s a good chance it will happen in this space.

With a rough triangular outline, the square is at the convergence of a number of major arteries, and gained its current opulent appearance after the earthquake in 1895. This was when regal halls replaced the medieval houses that had been here before, joining the Baroque Church of the Annunciation, which dates to 1795. The square takes its name from the 19th-century poet France Prešeren whose work “Zdravljica”, “A Toast”, became Slovenia’s national anthem.

You can find his statue next to the Central Pharmacy, across the square from his unrequited love and muse Julija Primic.

Triple Bridge

Ushering you off Prešeren Square is a group of three bridges decorated with stone balustrades and lanterns.

The central bridge of the three is much older than the two that flank it, and dates to 1842. This was intended for road traffic, while the two alongside were added for pedestrians at the start of the 1930 and were the work of Jože Plečnik, Ljubljana’s most revered architect.

Also dating from this project are the riverside terraces lined with poplars, and the temple-like flower shop that connects with the colonnade of the Central Market on the right bank.

Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most)

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Dating back to 1901, the bridge was built for the 40th anniversary of Emperor Franc Jožef I’s rule and it symbolizes the history, beauty and architectural style of Ljubljana. Those dragons have been integrated into the city’s coat of arms, and as a result, they are found all around Ljubljana.

Tivoli Park

Tivoli Park is the green heart of Ljubljana the its biggest. Located on the northern outskirts of the Center District, it offers facilities such as playgrounds, fountains, ponds, exhibitions, mansions and sports facilities. 

Tivoli Park also hosts a tropical greenhouse managed by the city’s Botanical Gardens and sits beside a pond. But if there’s one reason to come it’s to walk the Jakopič Promenade, an arrow-straight avenue that runs from the eastern entrance up to the Neoclassical Tivoli Castle.

Central Market

Jože Plečnik also designed this market in the early 1930s as part of his beautiful set piece that included the Triple Bridge.

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It hugs the riverside between this bridge and the Dragon Bridge and is on the site of an old diocesan college for girls that collapsed during the earthquake in 1895. That handsome colonnade on the fringe of Prešeren Square shelters stalls selling herbs, spices and handicrafts, while further along are bakery stalls, cured meat, dried fruit and nuts, dairy products, fresh fruit and veg and fish.

The market is open every day except Sunday, while the covered sections have slightly shorter opening times to the open-air stalls.

Congress Square

This cultured central square has played host to some momentous occasions in Slovenian history.

Independence from Austria-Hungary was announced here in 1918, while Josip Broz Tito addressed the crowds from the balcony of the university building in 1945. Later, the first free protest took place here in 1988, in a movement that would end with Slovene independence in 1991. Finally in 1999 Bill Clinton read the first line of the Slovenian National Anthem to a crowd on this square.

Dating to1821, it’s a formidable space that has civic buildings and palaces on all sides and the Zvezda park at the centre.

A couple of sights to note are the resplendent Slovenian Philharmonic and the copy of a Roman gilded bronze statue excavated on this site in 1836.

Metelkova Mesto

Soon after independence, a disused army barracks from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was occupied by squatters to stop it from being torn down. This large space in the centre of Ljubljana has gone on to become an autonomous urban enclave, not unlike the famous Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen.

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It’s an alternative haven where almost every wall is covered in graffiti and imaginative murals. Come for photos during the day, and return at night when it’s full of life. After dark, the bars and clubs book live bands and DJs, and there are outdoor concerts in summer.

Nebotičnik

Get High in Ljubljana and take the lift to the top of Nebotičnik, the 70 meters high skyscraper with the torch – like top. The views from Ljubljana's Empire State Building are stunning, day and night, and guess what? A glass of red will only set you back 2 euros! One of the cool things to do in Ljubljana at night. 

 

Šmarna Gora

If you need to break out into the countryside, this park is only ten kilometres north of Ljubljana and brings the wilderness to the suburbs. Unmistakable for its twin humps, Šmarna Gora is more than 660 metres above sea level, but has been made hospitable by 15 well-tended hiking trails, all serving the summits.When you make it to the top of the eastern peak you’ll be met by a restaurant and a Baroque church from the early 1700s. There’s also a Marian column up here from the same century to mark an outbreak of plague that took place in the 1600s.But the greatest sight is Ljubljana in the distance scattered around at the bottom of Rožnik and Castle hill.

 

Ljubljanica River 

The Ljubljanica River is the main river that runs through the old town of Ljubljana and divides the medieval centre with the rest of the city. There are a lot of cafes & restaurants lining the Ljubljanica river which makes it the perfect spot for sitting and watching how the world goes by. A walk along the river is a good way to discover the beautiful Ljubljana decorated by many bridges throughout the river.

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Have lunch at Open Kitchen Market

Every Friday from early spring to the late autumn, Open Kitchen Market is the best option for lunch in Ljubljana. The Open Kitchen presents the best foods from Slovenia and around the world and wineries and breweries from all over the country offer their best drinks to compliment the food.  Hugely popular among locals, visiting this market is a great place to get good food and make new friends.

Leave Ljubljana

It will be tough, but there are lots of lovely day trips from the capital, including the majestic Lake Bled (the town with the church in the middle of the lake) and to the Slovenian/Croatian border where you can go glamping if you are in Slovenia for longer.

Let someone else do the driving! Take a tour of Bled, a short hike to Bled Castle and ride the Pletna boats in Lake Bled. Next, explore the Vintgar Gorge then dine at a local Alpine restaurant. It’s not over yet! See the less touristy Lake Bohinj and wander through the medieval town of Skofja Loka.

Highlights

  • Bled castle + boat trip

  • Vintgar Gorge

  • Lake Bohinj

 

Visit a Bookstore in Ljubljana

Azil Bookshop Café 

What used to be a tiny bookstore called Azil (Asylum) is now a bookshop café that combines two bookstores and a café. Azil has a bookstore sister called Beletrina next door and a café inside and outside this place. Novi trg or New Square is surrounded by beautiful baroque palaces, so visiting this place will also give you the possibility to see one of the palaces from the inside.

Azil is run by the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, so what you can mostly get there is academic literature on humanistic and sociological sciences in Slovene, English, French and Russian. The atmosphere here is truly cosy and you can almost smell all the knowledge that the shelves store.

There’s a really good English language selection on philosophy. You can also find books on cultural studies and anthropology, arts, history, gender studies and even comic books. Check out for books by Slavoj Žižek, the most prominent and notorious Slovenian philosopher of all times! Azil is also a bookcrossing zone, so you might even find some free books or leave your own behind. My favourite here, the excellent selection of comics!

Knjigarna AZIL 

Website  Novi trg 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

Konzorcij Bookstore and Stationery  Mladinska knjiga založba d.d. 

The best bookshop between Vienna and Milan. If you like traditional bookstores you will love this spot. There is a small paper shop in the basement, and kingdom of books in the first floor. There is a great selection of books for kids as well. It has a great selection of English books (as well as Slovenian of course) also had quite a large Slovenian language learning book section which is impossible to find elsewhere! The bookstore is littered with cute gifts and souvenirs at reasonable prices

Website    Slovenska cesta 29, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

Coffee in Ljubljana

Pavin Caffe

This is my local! Cosy, warm, friendly helpful staff and a great choice of cakes! Super pet-friendly, my Westie favourite place, dogs get free snacks! They have amazing ice creams,

Lovely place with outdoor seatings.

Stari trg 30, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Kavarna Union

This is probably the best café that i have been in years. The location could not be better, it has the historic ambient, the service is friendly and fast, and the cake was just superb. Would recommend it to anyone seeking a good coffee and cake in centre of Ljubljana.

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The recent restoration of this 1905 cafe is very welcome It feels right for a traditional Austro-Hungarian cafe - which were civilised institutions but also relaxed and democratic

 

Ziferblat Ljubljana

Very close to home and a place I miss when not in Ljubljana. The coffee here is free. Ziferblat follows the trend of cafes opening around Europe that wish to work as extensions of people’s homes. This is a place to have coffee with a friend, come to create, read a book, or meet new people. The only thing Ziferblat charges for is time. After finishing coffee or tea, guests pay for the time spent there instead of the drinks they had.

Vegova ulica 8, Ljubljana, 1000, Slovenia

Café Čokl

Conveniently located next to Ljubljana’s public market, Café Čokl is a perfect place to rest tired feet after browsing the market shops. The staff of this small and cosy café is knowledgeable and always prepared to help the guest select a perfect cup of coffee.

 

Krekov trg 8, Ljubljana, 1000, Slovenia

Nebotičnik Café

After being shut for nearly a decade, the best views in the city are once again open to the public. Occupying the top floor of Ljubljana’s famed Neboticnik building, the highest residential structure in Europe when it opened in 1933, the terrace’s 360° views from the Alps to the castle to the mountains in the south are truly breathtaking, and the coffee, cocktails and homemade cakes are worth trying as well. This is an absolute must for all visitors to the city.

 Štefanova 1       

 

 

Where to eat in Ljubljana

 

Druga Violina

 is a great restaurant to enjoy a traditional Slovenian brunch. Located in the old part of Ljubljana’s city centre, it offers delicious food on its terrace or its cosy inside area. Most of Druga Violina’s employees are people with special needs and the restaurant is helping with their inclusion into society. Ordering the traditional Slovenian dish štruklji, made from buckwheat and filled with cottage cheese or walnuts, will make for a brunch like nowhere else in the world.

Stari trg 21, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Gostilnica Pri Škofu

Located in a tiny eclectic neighbourhood, this temple for foodies serves dishes that emphasise traditional Slovenian cooking, but not the sort that makes it onto many standard menus. It's located in  Trnovo, and will immediately make you feel at home with its welcoming service.. The food is absolutely delicious! Home-made but creative food, where the ingredients' taste is highlighted.
Can't be missed in Ljubljana!! Is a welcome get-away from the busy/noisy town center and offers an experience that is far from the traditional restaurant-food meals.

At lunch time they offer a fixed price menu for less than 10 Euro!

Rečna 8, Ljubljana, N/A Slovenia, 1000, Slovenia   tel 01-426–4508

Klobasarna

Klobasarna, located on the premises of a once famous watchmaker's shop, is a fast food restaurant offering the best known traditional Slovenian dish, the Carniolan sausage.

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The restaurant's menu is simple: it includes the original, high quality Carniolan sausage, recognized as a product with Protected Geographical Indication, served with a fresh Kaiser roll, fine mustard, and fresh horseradish.

Ciril-Metodov trg 15, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Gostilna Čad (Balkan)

When you ask locals to name their favourite Balkan restaurant in Ljubljana, Čad is one of the most frequently heard answers. Situated by Rožnik Hill around the corner from Tivoli Park, it's also the longest-running restaurant of its kind in town, and guests can dine in the shady garden surrounded by nature or in the rustic homey interior. Specialising in spit and grilled dishes, the beefsteaks, grilled peppers and ražnjići skewers all come highly recommended.

 

 Cesta Na Rožnik 18       

Namasté (Indian)

Set along the beautifully redeveloped Breg riverside walk in the Old Town, Namasté is the oldest surviving Indian restaurant in all of Slovenia and offers one of Ljubljana’s most romantic dining experiences of any flavour. With its soft, yellow-hued lighting, hand-painted walls and a relaxed atmosphere, the house specialities on offer here are from the Rajasthan and Punjab regions, are prepared individually with spices directly imported from the subcontinent and can be ordered from mild to extra hot. Sometimes we like to stop by just to savour a cup of spicy masala chai.

 Breg 8       

I like and go more often to their other plave the Namaste Indian Express
in Trubarjeva Cesta 31, Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

Burek Olimpija

This tiny takeaway at Bavarski Dvor is a true Ljubljana institution, and has been serving up piping hot Serbian-style burek almost literally non-stop, around the clock since the 1970s. It was the runaway winner of a Battle of the Burek competition way back in 2010, and consistently ranks as a local favourite year in and year out. No night out on the town is complete without a pre- or post-club stop here, so don't be surprised to see a queue at four in the morning. And while they renovated not too long ago, the menu and prices have thankfully stayed the same.

 Slovenska 58   

 

Shambala

Not only does Shambala's kitchen turn out some of the best (and spiciest) Asian cuisine in Slovenia, but the tranquil, almost meditative, ambience of the place allows you to enjoy your meal in a state of perfect relaxation - with some of the best service in town thrown in as an added benefit. During the warmer months, diners can also take advantage of the pleasant little garden that is tucked away in one of the buildings inner courtyards. Situated down a narrow alleyway off Breg, this hidden gem is definitely worth finding.

Križevniška 12   

 

Balkan Express (Balkan)

What better way to deal with an exhausting day of shopping than hoeing into a big plate of juicy čevapčiči. Thankfully Balkan Express at the first-floor dining area in City Park BTC has us covered with a solid range of Balkan favourites from smoky grills meats to burek and make sure to leave room for baklava. And if you don’t want to go to BTC but have a craving for pleskavica, Balkan Express also delivers throughout Ljubljana seven days a week.

 Šmartinska 152g       

Gostilnica Rio-Momo (Balkan)

Situated between the central post office and Kongresni Trg on the city's main thoroughfare, we've never found the exterior to be the most inviting but once you get inside it's actually quite warm and cosy. The thick leather covers on the menus portend the ample selection of grilled meat dishes within, although vegetarians have a handful of a pasta and salads to choose from as well. On your way in don't forget to check the table outside for flyers entitling you to a free glass of wine.

 Slovenska 28   

Učilna Okusov

An interesting new model for a cafe and deli, Učilna Okusov (it translates to ‘classroom of flavours') is a joint venture by three Slovenian vocational schools. Located beside Dragon Bridge at the Ljubljana Central Market, it is an outlet for quality regional products - much of it organic and some produced by students themselves. Učilna Okusov teaches students hospitality and retail skills, whilst giving market goers and tourists alike a taste of traditional Slovene foods either to take away or stay for a tasty great value daily lunch with a glass of wine, or else drop by for a Turkish coffee and delicious sweet treat.

 Adamič-Lundrovo nabrežje 1-7      

Shops

Pekarna Osem

A must stop and an absolute gem in Ljubljana. Whilst this small and unassuming doorway at the very end of the 'high street' does not look like much the bread and the raw produce sold packs a punch.

If you enjoy simple things done well then you should come here

Gornji trg 10, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia

+386 40 562 699

What to do in Budapest!

Probably due to the fact I part time live in Hungary, I am often asked about Budapest. So here are my takes and suggestions!

I mention it first so it is out of the way... Do not forget my Budapest Photo Walk and Photography Workshop.... is HERE

Budapest is a big city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings.
Budapest (Hungarian pronunciation approximates to "boo-dah-pesht") is the capital city of Hungary. With a unique, youthful atmosphere, a world-class classical music scene as well as a pulsating night life increasingly appreciated among European youth and, last but not least, an exceptionally rich offering of natural thermal baths, Budapest is one of Europe's most delightful and enjoyable cities. Due to its scenic setting and its architecture it is nicknamed "Paris of the East".

In 1987 Budapest was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for the cultural and architectural significance of the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue.

10 Facts about Budapest you may now know

  1. Budapest is home to the third largest Parliament building in the world

  2. Budapest has the oldest subway-line in mainland Europe

  3. The northernmost holy place of Islam is in Budapest, It’s the burial place of a Turkish dervish, named Gül Baba

  4. Budapest is home to one of the largest music festivals in the world: Sziget Festival takes place every August. 

  5. Budapest is the biggest city in Hungary (1.7M) 20% of Hungary’s population lives in Budapest.

  6. Budapest is hot' since Budapest has more thermal springs than any other capital city in the world. An amazing 70 million litres of thermal water rises to the surface daily.

  7. Budapest is home to the second largest synagogue in the world

  8. The Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world

  9. Budapest is big on art and culture There are more than 40 theatres and over 100 museums and galleries in the city.

  10. Budapest was not always the capital of Hungary, Until the 13th century, Esztergom was.

 

Fisherman's Bastion

I am obsessed by the Fisherman Bastion ...in a photographic sort of way. The proximity with one of my favourite patisserie does the rest!

I know they are new, I know they do not mean or serve much I still love them!

Located in the historic district of Castle Hill, the Fisherman's Bastion (or Halászbástya) is a neo-Gothic terrace that looks like a structure taken straight out of a fairytale. Designed and built between 1895 and 1902, next door – Fisherman's Bastion is named after the medieval guild of fishermen who protected Budapest from invasion.

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The gleaming white structure provides panoramic views of the city: From here, you can snap some breathtaking pictures of the Danube, Margaret Island and Pest. You may choose to take some time to explore the bastion's seven ornate turrets, which symbolize the tents of the seven Magyar tribe leaders who settled the Carpathian Basin, ultimately leading to the existence of modern-day Hungary. 

Andrassy Utca

Andrassy Utca is one of the most beautiful avenues in Budapest. The big green trees and the high end fashion stores give it an elegant vibe. Very nice to walk along it.It is a lovely wide avenue for a stroll. There are lots of restaurants and international clothing chains, high end on the street. The Opera is here and on the day I was walking they were making a period movie. It was nice to watch. Several places for coffee and of course, the clothing chain COS is here. If you walk to the end you will pass the Terror House and wind up at the big city park with the zoo.

 

Soak in the Széchenyi Baths

A soak in a thermal bath is a quintessential Budapest experience (it hasn't cultivated a reputation as the "City of Spas" for nothing). These baths, or fürdok in Hungarian, are heated by natural thermal springs and usually include on-site massage services, as well as steam rooms. There is no other bath as the Széchenyi Baths!!!  The Geller are pretty do not get me wrong but you can find similar or better anywere in the world!

Széchenyi Baths

Széchenyi Baths

One of the last remnants of the Turkish influence in Hungary, a visit to the thermal baths is a quintessential Budapest experience. I haven't visited all of the baths in Budapest, but I have been to several of the most famous Budapest baths and the grandiose Széchenyi Baths are by far my favourite. Early morning or just before sunset is my favourite times for a soak in the thermal, healing waters of Széchenyi’s outdoor pools.

Walk Across the Chain Bridge

...and discover why Budapest is called the Pearl of the Danube!

Sinead O'Connor

Ah, the Chain Bridge – one of my very favourite bridges in the world. It was the first bridge to permanently connect Buda and Pest and was completed in 1849. At the time, the Chain Bridge was considered to be one of the wonders of the world and the architect was so immensely proud of his work that he challenged anyone to find fault with the bridge. It is said that when it was discovered that the lions that stand guard at either end are missing their tongues, the architect committed suicide. 

Shop at the Central Market Hall

The Great Market Hall in central Budapest is Budapest’s most famous marketplace.

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Whilst many locals still use the market hall as a place to buy their groceries, the market is incredibly popular with the tourists too.

Locally grown fruits and veg, and locally sourced meats are found on the lower floors, and souvenirs including lace, chess sets and leather goods are available in the upper floors.

As well as individual ingredients, it is possible to pick up homemade local delicacies like goulash and langos from the food stall upstairs.

 

Indulge in Pastries From Budapest’s Oldest Confectioner

Budapest is full of cafes to have a delicious cuppa joe and try one of the sweets Budapest is famous for. Cafe Ruszwurm, on the Castle Hill, is one of Budapest’s oldest traditional confectioners still operating as a cafe.

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it is very cosy and small,  has just about a dozen seats,  There is a wide selection of the day’s fresh pastries, truffles, and coffee concoctions to choose from. The decor is charming too with antique furniture and tools of the old confectionery trade in the glass curio cabinets.

Cafe Ruszwurm is located at Szentháromság u. 7 and is open 9am – 8pm Spring through Fall and 10am – 7pm in Winter.

Parliament Building

Completed in 1904, the Hungarian Parliament Building is one of Budapest's most famous landmarks. The National Assembly of Hungary still meets there to this day. Travelers come mainly to take in the building's architecture (primarily Gothic Revival style), beautiful statues and paintings, and national significance. According to many, there is no structure in Hungary that serves as a better symbol of the country's independence and commitment to democracy. 

Sinead O'Connor

 

Heroes' Square (or Hosök tere) is one of Budapest's grandest landmarks as well as the largest public square in the city. Swing by this area to take a picture of the Millenium Monument which was erected in 1896 to celebrate Hungary's 1000th anniversary.

The square and the monument are dedicated to "the memory of those heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence." At the base of the famous column (topped with the archangel Gabriel) are statues representing seven Magyar chieftains – considered to be the founders of the Hungarian nation. Behind the column are matching colonnades with 14 statues of royalty and other important figures in Hungarian history.

Buda Castle Hill Funicular

This funicular, which first opened in 1870, is the second oldest funicular of its kind in the world. A system of weights and counterweights is used to help to raise the carriages up and down the hill. The funicular is the fastest way to get to the top of Castle Hill, and is exceedingly popular because of its panoramic views out across the Danube. (You can also get there with this Segway tour)

The speed of ascent was actually slowed down as of 1988, to give passengers more time to enjoy their ride. The track is open daily until 10pm, so it is also a great way to enjoy views of Pest at night.

Danube Promenade

This stretch of the Danube walkway goes from the Elizabeth Bridge to the Chain Bridge, and is perfect for those who want a short, but interesting walk. Promenading along the Danube is a great way to see many of the most famous sights in the capital.

Looking over towards to Buda side of the river, you will see the Buda Castle, the Liberty Statue on Gellert Hill and the Fisherman’s Bastion. On the Promenade side of the river, you can enjoy restaurants, cafes, Szechenyi Istvan Square and a range of different sculptures, including the Little Princess

Gerbaud House

Located on Vörösmarty Square and dating back to 1858, Gerbeaud is one of Budapest’s most famous spots to get delicious desserts. Unlike at the other spots, here I have three recommendations. Firstly, the Dobos Torte as they bake it is the very best...secondly because it’s Emil Gerbeaud that gave the world the Gerbeaud slice (also written as ‘Zserbó szelet’), we suggest the rethought/reworked version of this Hungarian favourite: the Gerbeaud Sundae. While it’s quite pricey (2550 HUF + service fee), it’s a huge dessert that’s practically a meal. Two scoops of walnut sponge, one scoop of chocolate ice-cream, two scoops of walnut ice-cream, chocolate sauce, apricot sauce, crispy walnut linzer, whipped cream and apricot foam, topped with a small Gerbeaud slice. It’s super sweet, yet the perfect mix of old and new, cake and cream, warm and cold. Secondly, we recommend the classic cake  served with vanilla ice-cream and the legendary ‘cat’s tongue.’

Sissy, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph and Queen of Hungary always dropped in the Gerbeaud cafe when she was in Budapest.

My super favourite remains the Dobos torte!!!

My super favourite remains the Dobos torte!!!

Bookstore and Cafe in bookstores

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 I like very much the idea and feeling of sipping a cafe while surrounded by books and magazines. 

Alexandra Könyvesház - Párizsi Nagyáruház

The building shows some wonderful neo-renaissance characteristics, especially when we're drinking a hot black coffee in the room decorated with Lotz Károly's murals. Used to be my favourite with a superb coffee place, sadly the coffee has closed, Bookshop is great

39 Andrássy út ·Website

Magyar Fotográfusok Háza - Mai Manó Ház

Once the residence of Manó Mai (1855-1917), photographer ro the imperial court, this 120-year- old listed building houses an exhibition hall, the Sunlight Atelier, bookshop and library.

20 Nagymező Street Website

Bestsellers Kft.

This is the main English language bookstore of Budapest. They offer decent prices and a large selection of travel books, both for Hungary and the other countries. You can find unique gifts for the book lovers in your life at Bestsellers. Street & River loves this place!

11 Október 6. St Website

MassolitBudapest Books and Café

It's a little quiet island in the heart of the city with great coffee and tasty, homemade cakes, cute service and a wide range of foreign language books.

30 Nagy Diófa ut. Website

Libri

They seem to have everything.....except a coffee place!

1072 Budapest Rákóczi út 12. 

 

Cheap Food in Downtown Budapest

I strongly believe in Budapest like in most of Mittel/Eastern Europe you can eat well and genuinely with 4/7 Euro. The places below reflect this feeling and are my favourites. You can have  a meal with 900-1600 HUF

 

Csarnok Vendéglő

Our favourite restaurant during the stays in Budapest. The portions are huge at a decent price (and you can always ask for a smaller portion for 70% of the price!). The lovely home-made lemonade is a mix of lemon, orange and basil which is super refreshing and you can order a half a litre of it. Their goulash is superb as well as the

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The service is always really nice too, answering all the questions we had about the dishes. Family and friendly staff. This is where you can find us in the evening when we are in the Capital!

Budapest, Hold u. 11, 1054 Hungary

Kicsi Mama konyhája

This place is a cheap place to eat traditional, and not only. It;s a buffet type, and not a traditional restaurant, and I think it's a bit underrated, compared to the very overrated and expensive "City Market" restaurant choices - this place is just around the corner from the City Market, and has the same nice dishes, for less money - and you always have a place to sit and eat, unlike the market. We live very close when in Budapest so it is our fav lunch place

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Lonyay utca 7, Budapest 1093, Hungary

Kaltenberg Kantin

A new find, next  to the beer owned  Kaltenberg Restaurant. It is very nice and modern, Staff is attentive and the food is good!

Kinizsi utca 30-36 1092 Budapest, Hungary

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Kisharang Étkezde

Address: Október 6. utca 14., v. district, M3 blue metro, Arany János utca station
Open: 11.30 – 20.00 daily
Tel: (+36 1) 269 3861

A simple, inexpensive cash-only eatery with only 5-6 tables (prepare to share the table with other guests). If you want to try hearty Hungarian food this the place to go. Menu in English is available.

Daily menu (soup + main dish or főzelék + meat or sausage) from around HUF 800 -1 200. Try mushroom paprikash with galuska, or máglyarakás (a typical local sweet treat: layers of sliced crescents, apples, apricot jam, with meringue on top and baked in oven. 

Karcsi Vendéglő

Address: Jókai utca 20., VI. district, M3 blue metro, Nyugati pályaudvar station
Open: Mon-Fri: 11.30 – 22.00, Sat: 11.30 – 16.00, Sun: Closed
Tel (+36 1) 312 0557, website

A pretty good-value, cheap restaurant in Budapest’s downtown, close to the Opera, with a daily menu of two options (a couple of soups, mains, and desserts): for 890 HUF (two courses), or 990 HUF (three courses).
Soups: Újházy chicken broth – 530 HUF, bean soup with pork knuckle: 960 HUF,
Mains to try: pork rib gipsy style with fries (Cigánypecsenye): 1555 HUF, Hagymás rostélyos ( rump steak with fried onions and fries): 1795 HUF,
Desserts: pancakes (túrós=sweet cottage cheese, walnuts and chocolate sauce, jam): 420-515 HUF (two pieces), Chestnut puree with whipped cream (gesztenyepüré): 685 HUF.

Lugas Étterem- behind the Basilica

Address: Bajcsy-Zsilinszky E. út 15. , district V.

Despite the touristy location, Lugas is a fairly good place right behind St. Stephen Basilica. You can sit at the terrace if the weather allows. They serve mostly typical Hungarian meals:

  • goulash (650 HUF), creamed potato soup-brugonya-krémleves with mushrooms(620 HUF),

  • Wiener schnitzel with potato salad (1890 HUF from chicken breast fillet, or 2080 HUF from pork tenderloin),

 

Transport in Budapest

Check here



 

 

Leica CL

Here's a new Leica camera!! 

 Leica has now revived the old "CL" that use to stand for Compact Leica and was in my view an amazing camera.

I miraculously managed to try one for less than an hour, while a colleague passed in Venice... and no thanks to Laica Italy or UK that despite my vast collection of Leica never, even by mistake invites me for a try. I am now more than used and it gives me freedom of opinion. I decided not to publish any images because will be unfair. 20min are not enough to properly try a camera. Mine are simple considerations and feelings.

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I have quite a few Leica (see mygear) and love them to bits, I used them every day and I am really passionate. I do Leica workshops so I do tend to usually like them...but I have one tiny problem with the CL. And that is: why in the world would anyone ever buy one?

It makes no rational sense at all if you compare it, for instance, the CL with the Sony A6000 or Fuji X70 or XE3. The CL is a  pretty, small and handy little digital camera with a 24-MP sensor. The Sony A6000 is a perfectly small and handy little digital camera with a 24-MP sensor too  and IS MADE by the company that makes the sensor as well. The tiny difference is that the Sony is currently on sale for EUR 434 on Amazon (without a lens, but a lens will add just a bit more ) and the Leica CL with 18mm is going to sell for...EURO 3,600. We are talking about EIGHT Sony!!!

The 18 f/2.8 does not in any way feel, look, or perform like Leica glass that I have come to love. It’s a few ounces in weight, feels empty.

Using M lenses on the CL comes at a price! The “Adapter” is mega expensive. and I really mean Expensive aprox Euro 450

The CL camera in my quick test does not offer the richness of a full frame file like the M10

I wish Leica would just give us what many of us want…a full frame M type body with a built-in EVF.

Like the Leica TL2, the CL is not technically weather or dust sealed ( My Fuji are! )

The reconfigurable top dials look and feel cheap.

So who is going to buy this camera?

  • You do not mind about the cost of the camera. You have so much money in your bank that it makes no difference to you.
  • You are mainly  after the status and the exclusivity, not to mention the  prestige
  • You WANT IT and in less than 30 days is Christmas

 

 

Fujifilm X-E3 my review

Fujifilm designed the new X-E3 to be an ultra compact rangefinder-style mirrorless camera you can slip in a pocket and get professional-quality results with. The idea seems to have been to craft a super-portable point-and-shoot that even casual users can carry anywhere, without sacrificing the image quality X-series users are accustomed to. If that was the intent, then Fujifilm has hung the moon.

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Fujifilm X-E3: Specifications

  • 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor
  • X-Processor Pro engine
  • Fujifilm X mount
  • ISO 200-12,800 (ISO 100-51,200 extended)
  • 4K UHD video recording, 30/25/24p
  • 325 AF points, upgraded tracking capabilities
  • 0.39in OLED viewfinder, 2,360,000 dots
  • 3in fixed touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
  • Focus lever
  • Film Simulation modes
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy
  • SDHC/SDXC card slot (inc. UHS-I)
  • 350-frame battery life
  • 121.3x73.9×42.7mm
  • Approx. 337g (without lens, inc. battery and card)

Look and Feel

As a physical object, the Fujifilm X-E3 is a thing of beauty. Measuring just 4.8 x 2.9 x 1.7 inches, it's significantly cut down in size from the other X-E series cameras, and running your hand over it gives you nothing but flat planes and smooth curves. There's almost nothing on the surface of this camera to snag on your pocket if you're grabbing it in a hurry, and at just a whisper less than 12 ounces, it's clear Fujifilm was thinking more about pockets than gear bags when they designed it.

User Interface

One of the ways Fujifilm got this economy of size was by getting rid of the pop-up flash and eliminating the bulky EVR hump over the sensor aperture. The design team also made the radical (for Fujifilm) decision to eliminate the D-pad control switch in favor of a surprisingly intuitive touchscreen swipe control with all the same functions. This works surprisingly well, and after a little practice thumb-swiping while peering through the viewfinder it feels as natural as the D-pad ever did.

Ease of Use

The X-E3 is almost embarrassingly easy to use. Basically, this camera has two modes: automatic and manual. All the custom settings a professional photographer could want are there in manual operation, which lets you control every detail of the shutter speed, depth of field, and other factors that affect an image. Or, you can switch it over to automatic and the X-E3 will handle all of that for you, remembering to restore your settings when you switch back out of automatic mode.

Accessories

The Fujifilm X-E3 retains the X-mount front of the other models in its line, so it works seamlessly with around two-dozen official Fuji lenses that are already on the market. If you happen to have a lens already, you can order the X-E3 as-is, without the two available kit lenses. Lacking a built-in flash, your only option for lighting up a scene is to mount the included EF-X8 flash on the X-E3's flat top, though its hot shoe works just fine with whatever aftermarket lighting rig you feel like putting up there.

Image Quality

Image quality doesn't seem to suffer at all with the X-E3. It uses the same sensor as the other X-E-series Fujifilm cameras, and nothing has changed about its broad dynamic range and super-sharp resolution. Colors are vibrant and rich straight out of the camera, whether you're working with jpegs or RAW files, and relatively little touch-up is needed, even for professional-quality images.

Walking the dog...early morning...in Venice (Fujifilm XE3)

Walking the dog...early morning...in Venice (Fujifilm XE3)

Fujifilm clearly intended the X-E3 to be a lightweight, versatile lifestyle and travel camera that anybody could use to get great results, even if they know next to nothing about digital photography when they pick it up. By cutting away most of the distractions from the already-slim X-line of cameras, and by combining a sleek, intuitive user interface with an automatic mode that does the much of the thinking for you, they have made something close to the ideal casual carry camera for professional and amateur photographers alike.

Fujifilm XE3 final verdict

The Fujifilm XE3 is a very satisfying mid-range mirrorless camera it will suit anyone entering the World of interchangeable lens photography. For the seripus amater or professional I would suggest to stick to the XT-2. For sure the XE3  feels responsive, handles well, and delivers great-looking 24 Megapixel photos and 4k video with minimal effort. It features a built-in viewfinder, touchscreen with clever gesture controls, an AF joystick for those who prefer a more conventional touch, and Bluetooth to aid with Wifi connections to your phone. 

 

Leica M10 - My impressions

I have owned and used a Leica M10 for about 2 months and these are my impressions

Leica has listened to their users and addressed many of their concerns. The highly anticipated Leica M10 is slimmer which makes it easier to handle and more comfortable to hold. A slew of other features that were upgraded with this camera include:

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  • Thinner and lighter body
  • Bigger and brighter rangefinder
  • Configurable Favorites menu replaces the Set menu
  • Higher resolution rear LCD with a changed aspect ratio
  • Simplified button layout
  • Redesigned and dedicated ISO dial
  • Improved weather sealing
  • Faster buffering, processing and writing to disk
  • Continuous shooting is lightning fast
  • Superior high ISO capability
  • Shoot wide aperture in good light with ease with the 100 ISO base
  • Equipped with the Visoflex EVF for higher resolution and bright and clear images
  • Less shutter lag and blackout with the live view feature
  • Ability to move the exposure and zoom focus point while in live view

You get all these great features that the other cameras do not have and the only sacrifices you'll have to make are reduced battery life and no video.

This great little camera is about 50 grams lighter than the previous camera with dimensions being identical to the M6ttl and the M7. The thumb grip is a little deeper for a better grip and adds to the comfort level.

The redesigned rangefinder is about 30 percent larger and has a magnification of .72 versus the .68 found on previous cameras. This subtle improvement means you can see the 28 mm frame lines more easily and focusing is much easier with the high magnification.

Weather sealing makes shooting in bad weather easier. You still have to protect the camera when shooting in the rain because the M10 cannot be entirely weatherproof. But, the camera will be fine even in the rain if handled with care.

When you press the Menu button, it brings up the Favorites menu which replaces the Set menu in previous cameras. The Favorites menu is a handy option since you can add any options you choose to this menu. Even better, you can configure a Favorites menu for each of your User Pre-Sets.

The ISO dial has a nice look and feel. And, with all three principle variables for exposure - shutter speed, aperture and ISO - intelligently made visible on the outside of the camera, using the camera has never been more convenient. The dial has options for 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 and 6400 ISO. The auto option is marked by a red A while an M marks the option for Menu. The figures on the dial always override what is set in the Menu.

Although battery life is shorter than in previous cameras, Leica has improved battery life reporting. You start getting warnings from about 5 percent that you are low on battery life. The battery life remaining reduces evenly and the camera works until the battery dies. The INFO screen shows the battery life remaining as a long bar and as a percentage. The bar will be coloured green at 100 percent and will gradually go through yellow to red once you reach 5 percent.

One thing I must say puzzels me

Leica Partnered up with Huawei Android phone. For the M10 there is an iPhone app not compatible with Android. Selling in same-store Android phones AND a camera that cannot use the android app!  This questions logic big time!  And will there be one? In order at least  to restore logic? My Fuji has no problem in connecting with Andorids or IOS ;-)

I have sold my trusted M240 that I will occasionally miss, sold my Leica Q (I never liked, preferred one of my Fujifilm) and kept my Monochrom!

If you're looking for a great camera that has made some drastic improvements, then the Leica M10 is for you. It is designed for easy handling and the upgrades ensure you'll get the best shots.

Luminar 2018 by Macphurn

Editing a photo can be as easy as applying a one-tap filter in Instagram or as complex as creating a multilayered piece of artwork in Adobe Photoshop. Macphun Luminar 2018 is the in-between, covering the gamut from easy to advanced

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Luminar 2018 offers everything a modern photographer needs for photo editing, including new filters powered by artificial intelligence, major speed improvements, a dedicated RAW develop module and a forthcoming in 2018; digital asset management platform.

Users will also benefit from the new intelligent Sun Rays filterLUT support, and real-time noise removal. With workspaces that match different styles of editing, Luminar adapts to deliver a complete experience that avoids clutter and complexity.

Luminar 2018 has been re-built from the ground up for dramatic performance boosts. Existing filters deliver richer colors and depth in less time. A brand new streamlined user interface speeds up working with presets, filters, and masks. With full support of pro options like layers, masks, and blending modes, complex repairs and photo composites can be easily accomplished.

Offer Availability:

You can buy Luminar 2018 here

The Luminar 2018 Black Friday offer will be available from November 21-29 click here

Pricing:

  • Current users of Luminar may upgrade at a Black Friday price of $49 ($39 with your coupon code)
  • New users can purchase Luminar 2018 for $69 ($59 with your coupon code)
  • A collection of bonuses will also be included with every purchase.

Bonuses:

  • A Pack of Urban presets from Contrastly
  • Creative Look LUTs Collection for use in Luminar 2018
  • The Ultra-Wide Landscape Ebook by Ian Plant
  • Lights&Shadows Photo Training Video by Matt Granger

Luminar is a sort of mix between Lightroom and Photoshop. Sure, the image management feature isn’t here yet, and it’s not the graphic design powerhouse that Photoshop is, but it mixes the broad strokes of RAW processor with the fine tuning abilities of a powerful image editor, including support for adjustment layers. For the unfamiliar, layers allow users to choose different blending modes — similar to Photoshop — as well as adjust the opacity. With layers, you also have options for masking and copying entire sets of adjustments. These layers can be removed, and you don’t “damage” the original image, and it’s why photo-editing experts rely on layers in their workflow.

Luminar 2018 adds a number of unique filters and adjustments. One favorite of ours is the sunrays filter, which lets you add artificial light rays and adjust the glow of the surrounding area. When done right, the effect looks realistic.

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