Budapest – Vienna – Alps – Heading West

Vienna opera house

Photo: Vienna Opera House.  October 2012

Sometimes I think I have bad timing in life.  Leaving Lofoten on Oct 8th, I was sailing across the Vestfjorden while watching the best northern lights I’ve seen in my life.  6 weeks above the Arctic Circle and the lights finally show up when I’m on a boat and can’t take any photos! I could have cried.

Though upon arriving in Budapest, I was happy to hear the news that a few friends I had met last year while traveling through the Baltic would be in town.  A couple more late nights were to result.  Budapest as a whole was better that I remembered from 6 years ago.  I look forward to returning again.  And though I thought that the city had been cleaned up quite a bit, it was good to know that you might still need to bribe some people to help you out:

I show up at the train station in Budapest about 30 minutes before my train to Vienna is supposed to depart. I walk into the office for ‘international’ tickets and take my number to be served; 408, currently serving 379. After 10 minutes they had gotten to 381. The 2 old ladies selling the tickets made the DMV look like a model of efficiency. It wasn’t looking good…

I begin to chat with an Aussie couple also in the same bind as me when a security guard comes up and asks where we’re going. After telling him he states the he might be able to help us as walks away. A minute later he comes back and offers that if he were perhaps to receive a little ‘tip,’ he could help us get on the train. with only 10 minutes to the train, or facing a 2 hour wait until the next, we figure why not.

So he points us to another office that also sells international tickets, but isn’t marked at all and had no line. We quickly head over and get the tickets as a few minutes before departure. Split 3 ways, it cost about $2 each for the help of the guard and at least we all got on the train…

The last few days I’ve been in Vienna, my 3rd (or well really 2nd) time in the city.  I like it here, but as last time, I haven’t really been out shooting much.  Perhaps the streets are just a bit too crowded for my liking.

Tomorrow (Friday) I’m on the train to Munich and then renting at car and heading down to the Alps.  Mostly I’ll just stay in the foothills around the German – Austrian border and try to find some nice light and color.  I’ve been wanting to take a trip like this for some years, so it’s nice to finally sort-of be able to afford it.  Though I’ll pretty much have to sleep in the car the whole time as I can’t yet afford both a car and a roof over my head, so hopefully I can avoid any grumpy German police who don’t like me sleeping in some parking lot on the side of the road.  I might try and make it up to a mountain hut or two though…

After a week in the Alps I’ll be heading to Regensburg for a few nights.  My favorite city in Germany, I haven’t been there since 2009; long overdue for a return…

Vienna opera house

Photo: Vienna Opera House.  October 2012

budapest chain bridge

Photo: Chain bridge, Budapest, Hungary.  October 2012

Austria Ski Weekend

Learning how to ski has been my goal for several years now (I’m normally a snowboarder). I gave it a shot over the weekend down in Austria in the Brixen in Thale area. Wasn’t too pretty to watch, but I managed to get down a red run (American blue) by the middle of my second day. Only had one crash where I lost both skis. There’s a couple small hills in the area here where one can ski, so hopefully I’ll get out a few more times before the winter ends.

Only took a couple photos as my skiing wasn’t too safe for the camera.


Panoramic photo: Brixen in Thale in winter, Tyrol, Austria


Midsummer: Austrian Style

While the Germans like to build one big ass fire, the Austrians seem to prefer hundreds of small fires, which they take up into the mountains. I’m not quite sure how they coordinate it, and if every fire is a person, or one person has several fires which they maintain, but it is truly a marvelous sight. At about ten o’clock someone shot off a flair from one of the mountain peaks, and then moments later the hundreds of little fires lit up on all the surrounding mountains.

2008 Midsummer mountain fires at Maria Alm, Austria. © Cody Duncan Photography

2008 Midsummer mountain fires at Maria Alm, Austria. © Cody Duncan Photography

Our cabin was one of the buildings near the cow’s butt. Up at about 5,000 feet with a pretty good view.

Cow in meadow in Austrian Alps. © Cody Duncan Photography

Female hiker crossing mountain meadow with Austrian alps in background, Maria Alm, Austria. © Cody Duncan photography