Sicily

Sicily

If you want to go to Catania, Sicily, you book a flight. Or if you live in Calabria you can take a train to Reggio Calabria, then a train to Villa San Giovanni, then change to a ferry to arrive to Messina, where you take another train. The whole journey lasts about 7 hours from Soverato but the train goes along the coast, with a view of the sea from your window. What else can one wish for?

The ferry crossing takes about 20 minutes. We find ourselves in a different world with blooming cherry trees in Messina, the train views of fruit gardens and the beautiful Taormina, and the history in the buzzing streets of Catania. We hitchhike to the Etna on the next day; an Italian couple takes us first, being amused that I live in Calabria – “that must be exotic”, they say. A French family takes us to the top. This is my first Vulcano; it’s otherwordly and the views are stunning – and so are the clouds. The weather is changing and it starts to rain.

Ak chce ísť človek na do Katánie, na Sicíliu, kúpi si letenku. Alebo, ak žiješ v Kalábrii, nasadneš na vlak do Reggio Calabrie, potom na vlak do Villa San Giovanni, následne na trajekt ktorý ťa odvezie do Messiny, kde prestúpiš na ďalší vlak. Cesta zo Soverata trvá približne 7 hodín, no vlaková trať vedie popri pobreží, s výhľadom na more po celý čas. Čo viac si môže človek priať?

Cesta trajektom trvá približne 20 minút. Ocitáme sa v celkom inom svete s kvitnúcimi čerešňami v Mesine, vlakovými výhľadmi na ovocné záhrady a na krásnu Taorminu a na živé ulice Catania plné dejín. V nasledujúci deň stopujeme k Etne. Najprv nás berie taliansky pár, čudujúc sa, že žijem v Kalábrii – “to musí byť exotické”, povedia napokon. Francúzska rodina nás berie na vrch. Toto je prvá sopka, ktorú vidím naživo; je ako z inej planéty, výhľady sú úžasné tak, ako aj okolité oblaky. Počasie sa rýchlo mení a začína pršať. 

Dia Takacsova

Dia Takacsova

A photographer and traveller seeking lesser told stories while usually heading east or north. Based between Slovakia and Germany.

Life in the South

Life in the South

My small “new year” resolution was to live on an island – and it is almost fulfilled: I moved to Calabria, to the very end of the Italian boot. The curvy roads took me from one side of the shoe to another, to my new home in Soverato Marina.

It’s been two months of living by the sea and the mountains at the same time, it’s been two months of looking at the changing colours of the Ionian Sea from our terrace, each time changing from grey to turquoise throughout the day. Two months of shopping at the local market each Friday and stopping for espresso at the same bar that opened 20 years ago. Familiar faces, challenges, sometimes frustration, sometimes happiness, cold March wind, unpredictable April weather, too much trash everywhere, breathtaking landscapes from sandy beaches to deep forests, the first oranges and lemons just some of the realities of living in this land of contrasts – just some parts of the reality of living in Calabria.

Mojim malým “novoročným” predsavzatím bolo, že chcem žiť na ostrove – a takmer som ho naplnila: presťahovala som sa do Kalábrie, do takmer úplného konca talianskej čižmy. Kľukaté cesty ma viedli z jedného konca čižmy až na druhý, do môjho nového domova, Soverato Mariny.

Sú to dva mesiace, čo žijem pri mori a súčasne v horách, sú to dva mesiace, kedy sa z našej terasy pozerám na meniace sa farby Iónskeho mora, zakaždým meniaceho sa počas dňa zo sivej až po tyrkysovú. Dva mesiace nakupovania na miestnom trhu každý piatok a zastavovania sa na espresso v rovnakom bare, ktorý existuje už 20 rokov. Známe tváre, výzvy, občas frustrácia, občas radosť, studený marcový vietor, nevyspytateľné aprílové počasie, priveľa odpadu naokolo, dychberúca krajina od piesočnatých pláží až po husté lesy, prvé pomaranče a citróny – len niekoľko častí reality života v Kalábrii.

 

Dia Takacsova

Dia Takacsova

A photographer and visual storyteller seeking lesser told stories around the world. Originally from Slovakia but currently living in Calabria, Italy, I love the freedom of the open road and the smell of sea. Read more about me here.

A return to Porto

A return to Porto

We saw Porto in a different light: in the morning sunshine, in sunsets, in grey cloudy views and spring colours. A day starts with a sweet breakfast and espresso in one of the small bakeries of our neighbourhood of ordinary people, a place where locals know each other and you order in a mixture of English and Portuguese. It’s noon and the tiny shops are opening in those narrow streets. You keep looking at the storefronts while walking to the old town, heading to the Dom Luis Bridge to enjoy the spectacular view before arriving to the Ribeira Square.

The surroundings change on our way to Matosinhos where it feels like wandering in a quiet village. It’s a ten minute walk to the ocean. The wawes are hitting the rocks, the smell of sea is in the air.

A Sunday train with sceneries of orange trees, horses and lakes takes us to Aveiro. The train station is covered with Azulejos. The streets are crowded and boats are floating on the famous canals of the ‘Portuguese Venice’. The city is charming but somehow too busy.
“How far is it to the ocean?”
“Ten minutes”
“By foot?”
“No, by car”.
We are hopping on a train to get off anywhere where we see the ocean from the window and to just catch the last moments of the sunset. Watching the waves washing the stairs on the shores, the dusk creates an unforgettable, almost surreal scene. This return was different, it had the taste of Port wine and fresh fish, endless walks and shells in my pockets.

Our trip to Porto was in partnership with Visit Porto and North.

 

Tentoraz sme videli Porto v inom svetle: v rannom slnečnom svite, v západoch slnka, v sivých, zamračených výhľadoch a jarných farbách. Deň začína espressom v jednej z malých pekární v štvrti bežných ľudí, na mieste, kde sa miestni navzájom poznajú a kde si objednávame v zmesi angličtiny a portugalčiny. Je doobedie a malé obchody zašité v úzkych uličkách práve otvárajú. Kráčame smerom k starému mestu a popri neustálom sledovaní výkladov smerujeme k mostu Ľudovíta I. a jeho úžasnému výhľadu, aby sme sa následne mohli ocitnúť na námestí Ribeira.

Okolie sa zmení na našej ceste do Matosinhosu, kde máme pocit, ako keby sme túlali tichou dedinou. Cesta k oceánu trvá desať minút. Vlny narážajú do skál, vo vzduchu je vôňa mora.

Nedeľný vlak nás so scenériami pomarančovníkov, koní a jazier vedie do Aveira. Vlaková stanica je pokrytá množstvom azulejos. Uličky sú preplnené a na kanáloch slávnych “Portugalských Benátok” sa vzášajú člny. Mesto má šarm, ale má akosi priveľa ruchov.
“Ako ďaleko je to k oceánu?”

“Desať minút.”
“Pešo?”
“Nie, autom.”
Sadáme na vlak aby sme vystúpili kdekoľvek, kde z okna uvidíme oceán, aby sme zachytili posledné lúče zapadajúceho slnka. Pri sledovaní vĺn omývajúcich schody vytvára súmrak nezabudnuteľnú, priam surreálnu scénu. Návrat bol iný, mal chuť portského vína a čerstvých rýb, nekonečných prechádzok a mušlí v mojich vreckách.

Našu cestu podporili Visit Porto and North.

Dia Takacsova

Dia Takacsova

A photographer and visual storyteller seeking lesser told stories around the world. Originally from Slovakia but currently living in Calabria, Italy, I love the freedom of the open road and the smell of sea. Read more about me here.

2016

2016

2016 was exciting. I am usually not the one that stops and reflects but I am starting to recognize the importance of looking back. These 366 days weren’t a continuous year for me, it was rather a period of time cut into separate parts – especially as 2016 meant time split between school, work and then time spent only on the road. I kept in mind that I would like to dedicate my free time only to things that matter to me and I thought even more before I said “yes” to a cooperation, decided to apply to any project or made a travel plan.

The first flight of the year took me to Porto, thanks to a changed flight schedule it was via Katowice and Frankfurt Hahn. I finally escaped the winter and for a few days joined my friend Natasa in her Erasmus life in an old, mysterious house. We spent those days walking along the promenade, visiting tiny shops or simply doing whatever we decided to do at that moment. Porto was magic and I am excited to return there.

In February I attended Solidarity Academy 2016, an event that brought together young journalists from the V4 countries. As I love Gdansk I took some extra days, stayed in a charming Airbnb of a German medicine student, Camilla, picked random places on the map and tried to find the way to reach them. I travelled to Hel, I travelled to all the shores I could reach and I haven’t been to before. An intense week full of lectures, meetings and Polish cuisine followed.

I stopped in London and then continued working on my diploma thesis, studied for my exams and frequently travelled between Slovakia and Germany. Our indecisive talks about the summer trip resulted in choosing Spitsbergen. When we found the flight tickets we didn’t know anything about this isolated place but we virtually fell in love with it. It required a lot of planning to get ready for an arctic summer with polar bears, wilderness and a rifle, but it was worth it all. I passed my final exams, graduated from university, and it was June when we landed in Longyearbyen after a day spent in Oslo. The time we spent in the Arctic was a very unique experience that influenced me in many ways. One of the things I learned was that one doesn’t need many things, it’s just about finding the right ones.

In august I revisited Odessa and worked on a photography series during the edition of Shift.Shape.Mobilize.The stay was inspiring and seeing Odessa’s seaside in summer was a very different experience. In October I attended a project in Izmir, Turkey, making the summer last longer while discovering the Turqouise coast.

The end of November marked our return to Georgia to continue my exploration and long term project documenting the country. We rent a car and drove to Mestia to experience the first snow, and once again enjoyed Georgian food and hospitality. It was also a new, unknown face of the country and we were really challenged by the weather – especially by the unstoppable rain in Batumi and the surroundings.

I welcomed 2017 in Germany where the trees were frozen and countryside life was slow in the best possible meaning of the word. It’s already clear that the upcoming year will bring changes. And I am looking forward to them.

Dia Takacsova

Dia Takacsova

A photographer and visual storyteller seeking lesser told stories around the world. Originally from Slovakia but currently living in Calabria, Italy, I love the freedom of the open road and the smell of sea. Read more about me here.

Summer’s end

Summer’s end

We joined Auf in den Osten for a short trip in the heart of Bavaria, finding our way to the first signs of autumn, muddy roads and pouring rain.

Počas krátkeho výletu v srdci Bavorska sme sa pridali k Auf in den Osten aby sme našli prvé znaky jesene, zablatené cesty a hustý dážď.

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Dia Takacsova

Dia Takacsova

A photographer and traveller seeking lesser told stories while usually heading east or north. Based between Slovakia and Germany.

78 degrees north, part II.

78 degrees north, part II.

We are gearing up for the next part: it’s Friday evening and we are entering the first boat to visit the Wahlenbergbreen glacier. Being picked up by a bus seem to be an amazing luxury after the about week of living in a tent and walking or biking everywhere – and we are lucky enough to join the first trip of the season to this glacier. It takes about three hours to find ourselves in front of one of the most impressive scenery I have ever seen surrounded by arctic silence, cold wind, masses of ice and a seal resting nearby the glacier. Another boat takes us to the Russian ghost town of Pyramiden, a former mining town with majestic buildings and soil imported especially to make it possible to grow grass on the main square. The town was left empty in 1998 and is currently inhabited by 7 people – all of them staff members who run the local hotel. Most visitors stop for a short sightseeing tour but we decided to stay three days in order to discover the surroundings and find places where we can be really alone in the arctic wilderness. We are leaving the town behind after the guide’s recommendation of a cabin where we could stay legally, a place set in a postcard-like scenery with hazy mountains and canyons around. Looking at the map and finding out that it is one of the last ones in Dickson Land, with just with the wilderness ahead is an amazing feeling.

The hut of the Czech scientists coming here every summer is facing the glacier in the Petunia Bay. We discover the surroundings, feeling very small and always looking for polar bears. Several hikes and one night near the glacier later the same boat takes us back to the Longyearbyen campsite where we reunite with our friends and drive for our first and only dinner in the restaurant before it’s time to say goodbye. The Longyearbyen airport welcomes us only with a small shop with fresh waffles and a familiar polar bear warning. A few hours later we find ourselves at a busy Airport in Oslo. There are all those unusual things we already forgot about: roads, trees, crowds, rush. We are catching our flight to Berlin but we already know that Svalbard changed us – and that it wasn’t our last visit.

Pripravujeme sa na ďalšiu časť: je piatkový večer a my sa vydávame na prvú cestu loďou k ľadovcu Wahlenbergbreen. Byť vyzdvihnutý autobusom sa nám po približne týždni prežitom v stane a chodením pešo alebo na bicykli zdá ako neuveriteľný luxus – a máme tiež šťastie na prvú cestu sezóny k tomuto ľadovcu. Po troch hodinách na mori sa ocitáme pri jednej z najpôsobivejších scenérií, akú som kedy videla: obklopuje nás arktické ticho, chladný vietor, masy ľadu a tuleň odpočívajúci v blízkosti ľadovca. Druhá loď sa nás vezie do ruského mesta duchov Pyramiden, pôvodného baníckeho mesta s majestátnymi budovami a pôdou ktorá bola privezená len preto, aby na hlavnom námestí mohla rásť tráva. Mesto bolo vyľudnené v roku 1998, a v súčasnosti v ňom žije len 7 obyvateľov – všetci sa starajú o miestny hotel. Väčšina návštevníkov prichádza na krátku prehliadku mesta, no my sme sa rozhodli zostať tri dni aby sme objavili okolie a našli miesta, kde je človek v arktickej divočine naozaj sám. Mesto nechávame za sebou po tom, čo nám miestny sprievodca odporučí chatku, v ktorej môžeme prespať legálne – miesto zasadené do scenérie ako z pohľadnice, obklopené hmlistými vrchmi a kaňonmi. Zistenie, že je jednou z posledných chatiek v tomto kúte Dickson Landu, a pred nami je len divočina je úžasný pocit.  Chata českých vedcov, ktorí sem prichádzajú každé leto sa nachádza v zálive Petunia. Objavujeme okolie a zároveň sa s pocitom vlastnej zanedbateľnosti neustále obzeráme po ľadových medveďoch. Po ďalších túrach a jednej noci poblíž ľadovca nasadáme na rovnakú loď smerujúcu do Longyearbyenu, kde sa v kempe opäť stretávame s našimi priateľmi a pred odchodom si v meste si dávame prvú – a jedinú večeru v reštaurácii. Longyearbyenské letisko nás víta malým obchodom s čerstvými vaflami a dobre známym plagátom upozorňujúci na ľadové medvede. O niekoľko hodín sa nachádzame na preplnenom letisku v Osle so všetkým tým, na čo sme už stihli zabudnúť: cestami, stromami, množstvom ľudí a zhonom. Predierame sa davom aby sme nasadli na náš let do Berlína no už vieme, že nás Svalbard zmenil – a že to nebola naša posledná návšteva.
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Dia Takacsova

Dia Takacsova

A photographer and traveller seeking lesser told stories while usually heading east or north. Based between Slovakia and Germany.