Author: Sebastian Holmer

Sunrise at the Bavarian Caribbean: Eibsee, Germany

At the base of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain and close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen lies the world famous Eibsee with its eight smaller islands.

Eibsee. The Caribbean in the Alps.

The crystal clear water makes it stunning to look at. The background with the overwhelming Wettersteingebirge in the South and the beautiful but smaller Ammergauer Alps in the North creates an amazing natural habitat and a pretty popular destination among the people.

One of the hardest moments to do in landscape photography is getting up early to capture the best light possible. The light around sunrise demands getting up in the middle of the night. But that’s also one of the most important things – and when it is achieved, it also becomes the most satisfying thing. Even regardless the outcome. Experiencing the mood and light situations at those spots makes it worth the fight at night, the driving through darkness and the strange feeling wandering around in utter silence at dawn. I’d suggest to do it.


Sunrise over Bled, Slovenia

The Landscapes of Slovenia (II) - Returning to Bled and Triglav National Park

I have not had enough of Slovenia. I need to return to Bled and Triglav National Park. Come back to drive Vršič. One more hike around Bled. Discover those gorges.

You need to come back to Slovenia one day.

Walk through the gorges of Vintgar and Tolmin. Listen to the water. Be amazed by those countless waterfalls hidden in the National Park (and funny enough, somehow easily accessible via the roads 102 / 203 / 206). Wander through the mountains, be magically dragged towards the hidden village of Planina Zajamniki. Hide in the forest and listen to the fog.


Sunrise over Bled, Slovenia

The Landscapes of Slovenia (I) - Bled and the Julian Alps

Recently, the streets led us to Slovenia and the landscape around Bled and the Julian Alps. A country I have never really thought about. How foolish of me.

In the heart of Europe: Start feeling Slovenia.

Indeed you can feel Slovenia. After a couple of days and endless hikes, you finally do understand why the country’s marketing department chose that slogan. Countless ways to discover such a beautiful country. Especially the famous sights around Lake Bled with its church on the island Blejski otok. Every single step offers stunning sceneries. Leave the more crowded area and discover stunning waterfalls in valleys like Vintgar Gorge or Tolmin Gorge. Drive winding roads towards the overwhelming Lake Bohinj. Curse the clouds to allow a peak and the stunningly pittoresque chappel of St.Primoz near Jamník. Explore the mountains around the summit of Mount Triglav in the National Park. Drive Vršič Pass. Fall in love.
Slovenia, I do get it now. I will return.

While we are here: Lago di Fusine.

On your way to Slovenia, be sure to visit the Italian part of the Julian Alps. Some miles before the border, there are two beautiful lakes hiding in front of the majestic mountains of Mt. Mangart. It perfectly prepares yourself about what lies behind the summit. (Or in the Carribean. Depens on where to go.)

To see a more detailed route of the trip around Slovenia, feel free to visit my trips description over at polarsteps.com


Keizersgracht, Amsterdam

Staring at Amsterdam, Netherlands

The quirky punch of Amsterdam. With canals and thousands of builings from the Dutch Golden Age, the Netherland’s capital city is one of the most popular cities of Europe.

Charming and colorful. Amsterdam’s very own fuzziness.

Although many people may visit the city due to its liberal drug laws, the city is teeming with architectural and cultural beauty. It’s a modern city that offers anything you could look for. Wandering those miles of canals, discovering stunning views throughout the city. Visiting the world-class museums like Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. Observing people strolling around the buzzing quarters of Jordaan and De Pijp.
Whatever you’re planning to do: Turn Amsterdam into yours. It’s worth the hype.

Zaanse Schans. A unique piece of Dutch history.

Be sure not to ignore this part of the River Zaan. The Zaanse Schans is a unique part of the Netherlands. An open-air museum full of wooden houses, famous windmills and long-forgotten industries. The residential area is a perfect example of life of the 18th/19th century.


Sunrise at Charles Bridge, Prague

Exploring winter in Prague, Czech Republic

You want to get lost in Prague, the capital of Czech Republic. Explore the maze of its endless alleys of the old town around the bends of River Vlatava/Moldau.

Prague whispers its melancholic memories

As a result, you need to listen to those stories on every corner. Roam around its roads, enter those hidden courtyards, waste time in those bars and restaurants. And while wandering, listening and living, your journey will lead you to the crowded and popular Charles Bridge, the beginning and end of every exploration. Only during sunrise you’ll most likely be alone. Those rare moments are priceless. Here, the entire European Tradition emerges. Beautiful baroque churches. The sound of music and literature. Crowned by one of the most beautiful cathedrals of the continent: St Vitus Cathedral located within the walls of Prague Castle (Pražský hrad).

 

The architecture continues to blow you away. Therefore, open the heavy door of the barque churches such as St Nicholas and the famous Libraries of Strahov Monastery. Continue your journey and appreciate one of the most pittoresque cities of Europe with its breathtaking urban life.

 

But wandering makes little tiger tired.

 


Reine, Lofoten, Norway

The Landscapes of Lofoten, Norway

You have to return to those winter landscapes of Lofoten, Norway.

The best advice on Lofoten? Turn around.

If you ever think of leaving Reine, this picturesque fishing village at the end of Lofoten Islands, you will start driving the magical E10. Drive carefully, because your eyes will be in trouble watching the road itself. The scenery will constantly distract and surprise. Check your mirrors. Turn around and drive back where you’ve come from. And enjoy the beaches of Flakstadoya like Skagsanden near Flakstad.

 


Pura Tanah Lot, Bali

The Landscapes of Bali, Indonesia (II)

You might easily get overwhelmed during the first sunset at Bali. During rainy season, just before the storm reaches the island, the light changes. It paints a different world.

Bali. I wish I could listen to those colors.

Instead, I try to capture them. Let them paint a landscape some might never see again. The beaches and landscape around Candidasa. The temples of Tanah Lot with the stunning rock formations. The famous temple of Ulun Danu Bratan, built in the Lake of Bratan, surrounded by mountains. Wait patiently for the people to walk by, let the light and clouds do the magic.
Continue your journey. Open your mind and follow countless paths. Explore, adore, repeat.

 

 


Sunset at Tegalalang, Bali

The Landscapes of Bali, Indonesia

Turn around and start leaving the crowded beaches of Bali. Head towards the back country of the island and discover a totally different landscape.

Explore the rice terraces of Bali, Indonesia. Reimagine the color palatte.

Among the most popular destinations of Bali are the rice terraces of Tegalalang and Jatiluwih. Both are perfect examples of a more rural, more authentic Bali. This cultural landscape belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage. The cooperative water management and farming system known as subaks reflect the omnipresent philosophy of Tri Hita Karana. It draws together the idea of the spiritual mind, the human world and nature. You might want to rest for a while, enjoy the constantly changing light of the scenery and enjoy the aura of the landscape. Its richness of colors, the complexity of the arrangements and the connection to the area are simply overwhelming.

 

Next to the popular rice terrages of Jatiluwih and Tegalalang, you’ll find hundreds of terraces in the other parts of the Island – you might not want to miss the landscape around the village of Pupuan or Karangasem. All of them have a beautiful tiny little detail in common: little shrines of the Goddess Dewi Sri, constantly filled with lovely (and sometimes surprisingly weird) offerings.

 


Sekumpul Waterfall, Bali

Welcome to the Jungle of Bali, Indonesia

“Mark my trail.” – Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book.

The thicket of Bali.

Head towards Ubud, a tiny village in the center of the island. Explore the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, an area to achieve a harmonious relationship between humans and its (spiritual) enviroment. The site is pretty popular, so is the city itself. Keep going though, you’ll soon discover mostly silent and confusing corners. A natural mess, only textured by light and shadow. Kept alive by the sound of nature. Ruled by hundreds of monkeys. Just like the city itself.

 

Leave the people behind, follow the roads northbound and discover the waterfalls of Sekumpul. The hike will make you swear at hundreds of stairs, along dirty roads and crossing rivers. However, it is worth all the effort and sweat. You’ll explore a mostly lonely natural habitat with seven stunning waterfalls, rivers and natural pools. And endless silence.

 


People being people - Laugh and Life of Bali

Travelling Bali. Exploring a country. Discovering a soul.

Every now and then, someone opens a door. It’s up to yourself to realize and walk through it. People being themselves in Candidasa, Ubut, Karangasem, Padangbai, Bedoegoel. Anywhere.