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Hello there!

Last night a good friend of ours invited us to join her and a colleague at the opening party for the Wiener Festwochen, Vienna’s music and performing arts festival that’s got something going on everyday for the next month!

Situated directly in front of Rathaus (or City Hall), the opening ceremony for the event included a special emphasis on the human voice, particularly collective singing, and included a range of styles from gospel or opera to classical symphony and choral arrangements. And, in each piece, the celebration of the human voice seemed heightened, and had we been sitting, would have left us on the edge of our seats.

As tradition has it, and perfectly so, the concert closed with the Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor: Choral, Op. 125.

Afterward, the party moved inside to the main festivities hall inside the Rathaus, where invitees met the musicians, singers and others who are part of the festival performances. The architecture inside the building is as ornately gothic as the outside of the building, but when decorated with modern lighting, the hall became a dreamy hallucination between the past and present.

We feel honored to have been invited, and are looking forward to checking out some of the performances.

● Also check out full coverage of the Opening of Vienna’s festival (in German).

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Hi everyone. It is raining outside on this Easter Monday. A soft summer rain, turning the nature very green now.

I was walking to the trainstation on Argentinierstrasse in Vienna, admiring the nature around me, looking at large trees hanging over me when I turned and saw this:

On the other side of the street; these eyes watching. A series of art, one oil painting and two other collages.

I was fascinated by the messages: “Poverty and opulence” and “Self control.” Thoughts to consider on an Easter Monday.

Yesterday, I spent a great day in the city of Linz. After walking around for most of day in very cold April weather (one of those days), I tagged along with my friend to the OK Kulturhaus in the city center for the opening of the six-day long film festival Crossing Europe.

Press accreditation and information room for guests

Most Austrians are familiar with the annual film festival Viennale. It draws a public from all around the world and goes on for one month. A smaller version of the Viennale, and perhaps a bit less known, is Crossing Europe.

(sponsored by Silhouette)

This year is the festival’s eighth year, but the genre stays the same, devoted to idiosyncratic, contemporary and socio-political auteur cinema from Europe.

Guests of the film industry (nearly 600 accredited festival participants) and the local cinema audience are able to choose from a program with 130 hand-picked films, documentaries and short films.

Linz views

The opening night was filled to the brim with the press, photographers and other guests, being welcomed to the program, the jury and the guest of honor, Austrian film producer gone Hollywood, Eric Pleskow. He is the former president of United Artists and Orion Pictures, and during the hight of his career the film One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest (1976) under the ownership of United Artists, won an Oscar.

Eric Pleskow (sitting) is greeted by a very (and I mean very) excited event organizer

Before the first screening of the festival, the co-organizer OK Kulturhaus invited guests to enjoy the traditional Austrian meal knödel and sauerkraut and a cold beer to splash it down.

The Royal Palace, Slottet, is a magnificent building overlooking the waterfront in Stockholm. Starting in spring, the square comes alive with a major attraction: the changing of the guard. The guard, complete with a military band, goes through its ritual everyday.

For some strange reason, I got in the middle of the new group of soldiers marching to their post.

It turns out, there are many Royal Guards who are women.

I was told that there was a huge party at the Royal Palace for the millennium, and apparently the organizers were concerned that the floor wouldn’t hold out for all of the dancing, so they had all the palace guards come in and jump up and down on the floor to make sure that it would hold. I guess that would be the boring part of the job…

As I continued walking from the palace toward the waterfront, I noticed the good, old Volvo driving off.

I visited Stockholm over the weekend and stayed with an old friend who recently bought a beautiful loft apartment in Gamla Stan, which is the medieval center of Stockholm. It is located on the original small islands of the city’s earliest settlements. Most of the buildings in this area date from the 16th century and are legally protected from renovation.

Although situated on a very northern latitude, Sweden supposedly has a rather moderate climate. Growing up in Sweden, I am not so sure about that, and coming from the warmth of spring in Vienna, I was shivering cold at times. But it is April after all, and some were sure to enjoy the customary fika, or coffee break, by the water.

In the narrow alleys and small squares of Gamla Stan you can find old and cozy cafés, restaurants and shops. During earlier days the inns around the old marketplace, Stortorget (below), were places where people came together and drank beer like we drink water today. I hear, in one of these inns the Swedish troubadour Carl Mikael Bellman entertained the drunken regulars. Today you enjoy a cup of coffee or lunch here.

At Stortorget the Stockholms Blodbad took place in 1520 when many noblemen were decapitated by the Danish king.

I was told by the owner of a small grocery store named Gamla Stan Livs, that one problem with keeping Gamla Stan intact is the constantly sinking ground level, a surprising couple of centimeters each year. The instability of the ground makes the houses and streets sink and it is noticed in the store,which has been there for many years.

As I was making my way towards the Royal Castle, Slottet, I dove into small stores and second-hand shops with stairs leading down into cellars and cave like spaces.

Hello friends, and good Thursday afternoon!

We took a short hiatus (or long weekend, depending on how you want to look at it) to Ireland on Friday night. We landed in Dublin, and from there, scoured the country for several days. Here are some teaser images.

Land and sea below

At Dublin International Airport, miniature

We’ll have a travel recap over the weekend with lots of stunning photographs! Hope everybody is getting through the week alright! See you soon!

I am loving the Sunday morning feeling of having gotten up early, and having that first cup of joe.

Yesterday afternoon I had coffee with a dear friend at Naschmarkt, who pointed out this political statement hanging over our heads, literally. It must so often go unnoticed, perhaps a lot like the continuing movements in Northern Africa. Or are they?

from Naschmarkt, Vienna, Austria

I like the composition of this photograph, the depth and story, with the two men standing in the foreground – illuminated by the sun – in discussion with statement overhead.

Always interested in your thoughts. Hope everybody is having a nice weekend!

Hello friends! I have to say, it took some time for my eye to catch onto this detail. Here’s how my thoughts unraveled:

Oh look, they added a new symbol for the disabled… Strange how it overlaps the surveillance sign – what poor design.

They’re usually so good about design, why would they do that?

It must be an important sign.

What is it?

Oh, I see…!

This is apparently done by a street artist here in Vienna after a young couple were caught copulating on the subway. Crude. You can google the video yourself if you’re interested.

Hope you’re all having a lovely week so far! See you soon!

Welcome back to a new week!

Early Saturday morning, I went walking in a small Slovak town, where I was visiting my parents. I was not planning to photograph anything in particular, but in the end, ended up taking shots of storefronts and signs. All of what you will see below is from the main strip in town, which is about 200 meters long.

What occurred to me was that there was an amazing array of typography.  I do not know what typefaces they are, but take a look at the variety of these wonderful specimens. There are a lot of alternatives and flourishes, ranging from fat and curvy serif, to thin, modern and relevant sans-serif. Or how about character and personality, loud and expressive, or the quality in well chosen proportions and a well balanced ensemble — timeless.

A while ago we were wandering around Vienna and came across some other interesting typefaces.

I just love letterforms, and when thinking about using various types I would usually want to attempt to express that. I appreciate a type design where there is an element of something that demonstrates a passion and flair for the subject, versatility and craftsmanship.

Do you have a favorite here?