After travelling to rather uncommon holiday places like Ukraine, Russia, China and Iran in the last few years we wanted to get a little bit more laid back and we decided to do a small roadtrip through the baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in our two weeks of summer holidays in 2018. To most people these countries still are very uncommon compared to the super popular travel places in southern Europe so I’d like to share some impressions here.
During the Easter holidays we took – once again – a little trip by train. This time we drove to Genoa on the Italian Mediterranean coast in only six hours.
While Zurich was still a cold and dark place and after six months of winter became increasingly unpleasant we managed to get a week off and escaped to Portugal.
I recently found the time to visit Florence, Italy. The main goal for this trip was to take some photos of the lovely Tuscany city and escape the cold weather in Zurich for a few days.
The next logical step
I had been thinking about trying a medium format camera for years and recently I finally made my mind up and give it a try. After some research I found a good deal on an internet auction platform here in Switzerland and I bought a lovely Rolleiflex MX-EVS with a Tessar f 1/3.5 75mm without knowing too much about it. The camera arrived within a few days and I was lucky to still have a few sunny autumn days to try the camera in the wild. Originally it was my idea to take mostly landscape shots with this new toy so it was great to have some sunshine.
As medium format was a completely new chapter for me I went through a lot of questions like where to develop the films, how to scan the negatives etc. I will share my experiences and thought process below and maybe you can avoid some mistakes that I made.
1. Distances in Russia are huge
An obvious fact: Russia is a large country and so are the distances between train stations. If you plan your trip on a map you will probably end up underestimating the distances between Siberian cities. The classic transsiberian railway starting in Moscow to Vladivostok is over 8.000km. Our trips were Zürich to Budapest 1.036km, Budapest to Kiev 1.116km, Kiev to Moskva 862km, Moskva to Kazan 796km, Kazan to Yekaterinburg 876km, Yekaterinburg to Novosibirsk 1.523km, Novosibirsk to Tomsk 317km, Tomsk to Irkutsk 1.883km, Irkutsk to Ulan-Ude 462km, Ulan-Ude to Ulaanbaatar 578km, Ulaanbaatar to Peking 1.172km totaling over 10.000km
For the last 5 weeks we have been on a big adventure through 8 countries from Switzerland, through Austria and Liechtenstein to Hungary, the Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia all the way to China. Our goal was to reach Beijing, China without using any plane only by traveling on land.
Some weeks ago I was planning a short trip which should take me not too far away from Zürich as I had only one week off. The trip should take place in early March and I felt like having some warm and sunny days after the cold winter we had in Switzerland so Italy promised to be a great choice. I finally decided to go to Palermo, Sicily.
I imagined Palermo as a very traditional Italian town full of history, busy streets, lively people and – of course – the great mediterranean food, so this all sounded very holiday-like to me.