Merry Christmas

To all the readers of this blog – thanks for following, and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
travel italy outdoors rudolf abraham photography Christmas-card-2017-©-Rudolf-Abraham-ITsty_1354
Dolomiti di Sesto, South Tyrol, Italy © Rudolf Abraham. All rights reserved. This image may not be copied, stored, distributed or published in any form without prior written permission from Rudolf Abraham.

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Europe by Rail

I was recently sent a copy of the latest (15th) edition of the book Europe by Rail – The Definitive Guide, by its Berlin-based authors Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries (who are also the lovely people behind hidden europe magazine, to which I have been a regular contributor since 2007).

european rail travel ebr-15-cover-web It’s a wonderful book – I love the idea of arranging a travel guide around rail journeys, rather than rail journeys merely being included as a means of getting from A to B (or as the authors put it, it’s a guidebook with an emphasis on journeys rather than destinations). Over its 512 pages, it includes some 50 rail routes, which between them do an impressive job of covering the wealth of landscapes, cities, cultures and languages this continent has to offer, from the Bay of Biscay to the Baltic, and from the Balkans to the Arctic Circle. The routes are preceded by a 48 page introduction which carries sections on night trains, rail passes, how to get the best deals on tickets and other useful information, along with plenty of inspiring colour photos. As you’d expect from the people behind hidden europe, it’s very readable, with a more literary style than you’d generally expect from most guidebooks, and an emphasis on slow travel. And it’s not too large, fitting easily within my camera bag (a fairly standard indication of whether something is likely to accompany me on my travels). That’s not to say the routes are short on facts either – along with tips on what to see along the route, each is accompanied by journey times, distances, train frequencies (cross-referenced to the relevant sections of the European Rail Timetable), suggested stop-overs, connections and other details (including some suggestions for hotels, and the locations of tourist offices), together with a handy sketch map.

Europe by Rail began life around 20 years (and more than 100,000 copies) ago, and over successive editions has been transformed from a book about 60 European cities (presented with a healthy serving of information on rail travel), into a book about the rail journeys themselves, a form it first took with the 14th edition. This new, 15th edition builds further on this, with more routes added, improved sketch maps, and thoroughly updated timetable information.

Within the card covers are maps of Europe showing the location of the routes. With one of these open, I closed my eyes and took a blind prod at the map with my right index finger. It landed somewhere near Prague, on Route 22 – a rail journey stretching from Hamburg to Budapest. Having been on at least one leg of that journey earlier this year – taking the S-Bahn east from Dresden along the Elbe to Kurort Rathen, followed by a short ferry crossing and a hike up into the other-worldly rock formations of Saxon Switzerland National Park – this brought a smile to my face. Turning to the corresponding page of Route 22, I found the sensible advice to 1) sit on the left when travelling south (the views of the sandstone formations are on that side) and 2) take the slow train, allowing for a stop-off to visit the national park, and mentioning the ferry.

The information given on a suggested stop-over is always interesting and goes well beyond the standard blurb of tourist brochures. Looking up another journey (45, from Zagreb to Thessaloniki) for example, I turned to the pages on Zagreb, a city I know rather well having lived there. Sure enough, what greeted me was not a paragraph with its number of inhabitants or a dose of hyperbole, but a paragraph about Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža and one of his essays on Zagreb. More familiar and practical information on the city is cross-referenced to another journey (44).

As the authors state in the introduction (I paraphrase a little), it is the job of a decent guidebook to inform and inspire. Europe by Rail does both in spades.

You can find information about where you can order a copy of Europe by Rail – The Definitive Guide here.

#BGTWawards (2)

…and shortly after receiving the award for Best UK Feature last night at the British Guild of Travel Writers Awards, I won the BGTW Photographer of the Year award as well – which, obviously, I was also rather pleased about.

The award, which was generously sponsored by FujiFilm UK, was for a portfolio of four images, published within the past two years – in OE magazine, Mountain Pro magazine, Bradt guides and the British Life Photography Awards Portfolio 2.

BGTW awards 2016 © Rudolf Abraham

British Guild of Travel Writers Photographer of the Year Award 2016 © Rudolf Abraham

The individual images can be viewed here:
Lofoten islands, Norway: http://rudolfabraham.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/NORWAY/G0000IbmVcFWqNlk/I0000gZSe_PHQhN0
Messner Mountain Museum, South Tyrol, Italy: http://rudolfabraham.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/ITALY-Sudtirol/G00003Il5aBSOlKg/I0000iLY4vAoIRgg
Brodsko kolo, Croatia: http://rudolfabraham.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/CROATIA-Brodsko-kolo/G00006Vo3Bow6xjM/I0000ZKGzP31EPI8
Lord Mayor’s Show, London: http://rudolfabraham.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/BRITAIN-Lord-Mayors-Show-London/G0000BZH5ITtZNk4/I00001UIE2rVH2ao
To license any of these images, please visit www.rudolfabraham.co.uk.

Photos copyright © Rudolf Abraham. All rights reserved. Images may not be copied, stored, distributed or published in any form without prior written permission from Rudolf Abraham.

#BGTWawards (1)

I was very pleased to win an award for Best UK Feature, at the British Guild of Travel Writers Awards last night at the Savoy in London, for my article Mountain Playground – Cairngorms for Kids published in BBC Countryfile magazine earlier this year.

Mountain Playground - Cairngorms for Kids. BBC Countryfile magazine. © Rudolf Abraham

You can read an online version of the feature here here.

The Best UK Feature award was generously sponsored by a Eden Hotel Collection.

To view images from Cairngorms National Park in Scotland click here.

Photo copyright © Rudolf Abraham. All rights reserved. Images may not be copied, stored, distributed or published in any form without prior written permission from Rudolf Abraham.

Peaks of the Balkans (2): Man on a donkey

Man on a donkey, near the Pejë Pass (Qafa e Pejës) leading to Theth. Peaks of the Balkans trail, Albania. © Rudolf Abraham

Peaks of the Balkans Trail, Albania © Rudolf Abraham

Peaks of the Balkans trail, Albania © Rudolf Abraham

The Peaks of the Balkans is a recently developed 192km cross-border hiking route through mountainous borderlands of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. I’ve just finished writing the first English-language guidebook to the whole route, for Cicerone.

Nikon D700 & 14-24/2.8

Photo copyright © Rudolf Abraham. All rights reserved. Images may not be copied, stored, distributed or published in any form without prior written permission from Rudolf Abraham.

To license this image or view more images of the Peaks of the Balkans click here.

Alpe Adria Trail (9): Nockberge National Park

Two more shots from the beautiful Nockberge mountains in Carinthia, Austria, on the Alpe Adria Trail © Rudolf Abraham

Nockberge National Park, Alpe Adria Trail, photo, photography, Carinthia, Austria copyright Rudolf Abraham

Nockberge National Park, Alpe Adria Trail, Carinthia, Austria © Rudolf Abraham

Nockberge National Park, Alpe Adria Trail, photo, photography, Carinthia, Austria copyright Rudolf Abraham

Nockberge National Park, Alpe Adria Trail, Carinthia, Austria © Rudolf Abraham

Both of these shots are from Stage 15 of the Alpe Adria Trail, in Nockberge National Park (a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) – one of my favourite sections of the whole route – photographed here after a light dusting of October snow

The Alpe Adria Trail is a 750km hiking route through Austria/Slovenia/Italy, which I’ve just finished writing the first English-language guidebook to, for Bradt.

Nikon D700 & 24/3.5 PC-E

Photos copyright © Rudolf Abraham. All rights reserved. Images may not be copied, stored, distributed or published in any form without prior written permission from Rudolf Abraham.

To license these images or view more images of the Alpe Adria Trail click here.

Évora

Two more images from Évora, Alentejo, Portugal.

Évora, Alentejo, Portugal © Rudolf Abraham

Évora, Alentejo, Portugal © Rudolf Abraham

Évora, Alentejo, Portugal © Rudolf Abraham

Évora, Alentejo, Portugal © Rudolf Abraham

Shot on a recent visit to the Évora region to photograph traditional craftsmen.

Nikon D700 & 105/2 DC & 24/3.5 PC-E

Photos copyright © Rudolf Abraham. All rights reserved. Images may not be copied, stored, distributed or published in any form without prior written permission from Rudolf Abraham.

To license these images or view more images of Évora in Portugal click here.

BGTW Awards – Islands of Croatia wins Best Guidebook

I was chuffed to win the British Guild of Travel Writers award for Best Guidebook – for my Cicerone guide, Islands of Croatia – at the British Guild of Travel Writers Members Awards Dinner on Sunday evening at the Savoy in London. It was the first time, apparently, that a hiking guidebook has won the award.

Islands of Croatia, by Rudolf Abraham. Published by Cicerone Press 2014.

Islands of Croatia, a guide to 30 walking routes on 14 Adriatic islands by Rudolf Abraham. Published by Cicerone Press, 2014.


You can see some of the images from Islands of Croatia, which includes walks on the islands of Rab, Krk, Vis, Hvar, Lastovo, Korčula, Lošinj and Mljet, among others, here.
Thanks to the Oman Tourism Office who generously sponsored the award, the Louisiana Office of Tourism who sponsored this year’s BGTW Awards Dinner at the Savoy, and to my hosts the lovely people from the Belgian Tourist Office – Brussels & Wallonia. There’s a press release here.

New website

A few days ago I updated my main (Photoshelter) website to one of their new Beam templates – you can see the results here:
Rudolf Abraham Travel and Documentary Photographer and Writer - Croatia, Eastern Europe and Beyond
The image shown here on the rotating front page is from the wonderful Procession of the Ljelje in Gorjani, near Đakovo, Croatia, which I photographed earlier this year.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Deep inside the truly amazing Wieliczka Salt Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Krakow, Poland. Salt has been mined at Wieliczka since the 13th century, and it was one of the first twelve sites in the world to be inscribed on the UNESCO list, back in 1978.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, near Krakow, Poland  - Photo (c) Rudolf Abraham. All Rights Reserved.
D700 + 14-24/2.8
Photo copyright © Rudolf Abraham. All rights reserved. Images may not be copied, stored, distributed or published in any form without prior written permission from Rudolf Abraham.
To license this image or view more photos from Poland click here.
For more information on Wieliczka visit the website of the Polish National Tourist Office www.poland.travel.