A secret in Bergamo, Italy

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I have posted a few travel blogs about Bergamo, Italy – a gorgeous city in Northern Italy with a charming historical city center that sits above the city on a hill. Bergamo is certainly one of those places you can visit multiple times.

On my last two visits to the city of Bergamo, the citta alta, to be exact, I found a secret. Keep reading to find out what it is!

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When you visit Bergamo, you will inevitably see the Basilica S. Maria Maggiore which lies just behind the main piazza (or square). The Basilica also sits next to the Baptistry which is a must-see. On visiting the Basilica, you will admire the elaborate décor, marvel at the ceilings and sit to study the tapestries. Then, there is the secret which is actually the treasure of the Basilica. To the right of the apse there is a doorway to a spiral stairway that passes below 14th century frescoes and up to a small room filled with treasures of the Basilica from statues to tapestries to an ornate cross and more. The treasures are considered a mini museum of religious artifacts; however, I consider the stairway the secret treasure. I always admire frescoes, and seeing 14thcentury frescoes in good condition, is a bonus for art history buffs.

So how do you gain access the secret passage? There is a small visitor desk when you enter the Basilica which also acts as a mini store. Ask the attendant if you can buy a ticket (3 euros as of summer 2019) to see the treasure! After paying, the visitor guide will take you over to the door and allow you to ascend the secret stairway in the hidden apse. Enjoy the frescoes and admire the treasures.

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Now in case you missed the previous posts about Bergamo, see below for links.

Also you can see more photos of the city on my photography website here: Travel Photography of Bergamo, Italy by Monica Goslin

Enjoy!

 

Print Shop on Etsy

Monica Store Blog Photos

I am excited to share that I have new a newly designed and refreshed Etsy shop for my travel prints!

My Etsy store now features digital downloads! What does this mean?

–      You can purchase the fabulous travel print
–      Download the files

–      and print the same day! 

Check out my Etsy store here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PrintShopByMonica

And keep an eye on the store as I add new travel prints every week.

The Salzburg Card

Salzburg Austria

The Salzburg Card

With the Salzburg Card you can enter museums, ride cable cars, visit the fortress and more. Prices vary by season (May through October prices are a few Euros more). Cards can be purchased for 24, 48 or 72 hours use (three price points).

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Is the card worth the price?

Yes! The Salzburg card gets you into museums and attractions for free AND includes the use of public transportation. If you visit the main sights in 24 hours which would include the Catacombs, Cathedrals, Palace, Fortress (Castle) via the Cable Car, Modern Art Museum and Cable Car (another one), Salzburg Museum, Domquartier – that would all add up to over 80 Euros! With the 24 hour card, at 24 Euros you can see all of the main sights and use the public transportation to quickly add some more sights to your list!

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Where to buy: cards can be purchased at most hotels (just inquire at the front desk), the tourist office, or on-line.

Prices: Vary by season:

24 hour card is 24 Euros (12 for children)
48 hour card is 32 Euros (16 for children)
72 hour card is 37 Euros (18.50 for children)
*Children are 6-15 yrs old

Click here for the most up to date prices on the official website.

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** For photographs of Salzburg click here and find photos, prints, and canvas prints of Salzburg.

In the next blog post – read about which top sights to see while in Salzburg.

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Using the Innsbruck Card

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Museums and the Innsbruck Card

Innsbruck is full of museums and churches that deserve a visit. If you get the Innsbruck Card you can see all museums for free, a cable car ride, use public transportation and more. You can purchase a card for 24, 48, or 72 hours. With the Innsbruck card you can visit the art museums, Alpine Zoo, Golden Roof Museum, City Museum, City Tower, Imperial Palace, and the Railway Museum just to name a few! So if you plan your visit well you can really get the most out of your Innsbruck Card. Visit www.innsbruck.info for more information.

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A few notes on a couple of museums/locations:

The Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art has an extensive collection that will truly delight those who appreciate arts and crafts. There are historical rooms and traditional costumes as well.

The Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art connects to the Court Church (Hofkirche) which houses Andreas Hofer’s tomb, the national hero of Tirol (the region) and Maximilian’s cenotaph. The cenotaph, a monumental empty tomb, is impressive in itself. The cenotaph is made up of 24 stone reliefs that depict events in Maximilian’s life, done with exquisite detail. But you won’t notice the tomb right away for it is surrounded by life size bronze statues, again executed with minute detail. The statues range from King Arthur of England to Leopold III Duke of Austria to Ferdinand II King of Aragon. Walk around and notice all of the statues details, the swords, the shields, a small dragon on a shoulder, the rings on fingers, the armor and more. It’s an impressive sight!

Visit www.innsbruck.info for more information, events, festivals, what to see and more.

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For more travel photography of Innsbruck, Austria click here for Monica Goslin Photography – photos available as framed photos, canvas prints, and more.

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Review of Sleeklense – Landscape Collection

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Photographer review of: Sleeklense – Landscape Adventure Collection

As a travel photographer, you get to explore cities, chase light, and hunt for the perfect angle to capture a sense of that place; you hope your photos will inspire others to travel and discover new places. It sounds a bit glamorous, and it certainly can be. However, there is always a practical side to everything and with the art form of photography comes a business side.

Processing photos is one of the most time-consuming aspect of the photography business. No matter the care and perfect planning one puts into taking a photo, there is still post-production: image processing, color correction and enhancement.

A photograph of that perfect golden sunlight on a colorful town on Lake Como, Italy can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to one hour to process post production. Gently pump up the color, warm that golden glow, remove any unsightly debris or cigarette butts, and lighten the grey in the clouds while making it look natural and not overly processed all takes time. Add that time to 24 other photos you are preparing for a website of 9 photos for a magazine story and that time adds up quickly!

Not to mention when all of that planning disappears and you get that perfect shot but everything is wrong: the sun went behind a cloud, shadows are dull, but the frame is perfect and someone on a bike just rode through your frame at the right time. That perfect shot, with less-than-perfect light, needs even more post-production time.

What if the photoshop tricks, the layers, the curve adjustments and filters were collected into a few easy clicks? Sleeklens provides a multitude of Photoshop (and lightroom) actions that you can download for various genres. Sleeklens kindly contacted me and asked if I would be interested in a trying out their “Landscape Adventure Collection” of 56 Photoshop actions. I said Yes! Of course!

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Sleeklens has reasonably divided up the landscape Photoshop actions into 8 categories, all in order of how a photographer would process a photo: Exposure, Base, Tone, All in One, Enhance, Specialty, Temperature, and even Web File Prep. Each category then has clever names for each action so you know what that action will do. For example, select ‘Base Morning Light’ and see the morning glow enriched and you can decide how much warmth by adjusting the opacity/fill. Other clever names include: ‘Tone Dark and Stormy’ or ‘Tone This is Hot’. Use the “All In One” category and select ‘Calm Sunset’ when that is what you are working with, or ‘Dawn Rising’ or ‘Soft Golden Hour.’ One of my favorites “All in One” action is the ‘Shine into the Sunset,’ when you take that tricky photo directly into the sun to create silhouettes, and use this action to add the warmth that is there but hard to capture.

For photos that need touches here and there, use the “Enhance” category. Select Enhance ‘Deep Blue Sky’ or ‘Dramatic Sky,’ and the action is set with a pop-up box to remind you: ‘Warning! The action is not effecting the image yet. Paint the layer mask white in the areas you want to apply the effect on.’ Take the paint brush and see the sky subtly enhance in highlights, shadows and saturation. These two actions which can normally be time consuming, are now available in seconds!

If you are looking to create a mood, use the “Specialty” category for a soft focus ‘Dreamy Landscape’ or ‘Film Grain’ for a vintage look. Warm or cool the overall temperature with the “Temperature” category and as the self-explanatory title “Web File Preparation” for web use.

I am still having fun playing around with the Sleeklens photoshop actions. And as with everything, practice makes perfect. After I figure out which actions are my favorite and master how to fiddle with them, it will cut down on processing time, surely by half! The “Enhance” actions alone will significantly save time when I want to tweak small and specific areas of a photo. Another advantage of Sleeklens Photoshop actions, are that I can study the actions and learn how different combinations of adjustments affect an image, combinations I might not have thought to use before.

I have always been wary of Photoshop actions, worrying if it would make photos look over processed. However, Sleeklens has created these Photoshop actions with designers and professional photographers, and the quality shows! Overall the Sleeklens Photoshop actions will improve your post production skills, enhance your photos, and save you time!

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See more travel photography by Monica Goslin by clicking here.

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Visiting Milan, Italy – canal district – Part 2

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Milan, Italy – canal district part 2 – go off the beaten path!

When visiting Milan, Italy you can still visit a portion of the city where there are two canals; the area is called Navigli and is host to an interesting bohemian vibe. From the canal area you can walk over a few blocks to see an old city gate, Porta Ticinese, the original gate was built in the 16th century and replaced in the 19th century.

From the old city gate, make your way through the intersection and up Corso di Porta Ticinese, a busy street full of shops. You will quickly come to a small park and plaza with the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio which is an interesting building and a must-see location for those who love art and architecture

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Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio is a major pilgrimage site as it is said to hold the tomb of the Three Kings. The church dates back to the 4th century but with reconstruction over the centuries, for example it has a 19th century façade. After walking through the church, admiring the frescos, paintings, chapels, and the famous tomb make sure you go behind the apse and visit the Portinari Chapel (there is a small entrance fee for this chapel).

The Portinari Chapel is gorgeous, with 14th century frescos, an unusual rainbow colored dome, and a striking marble sepulcher (tomb). The Portinari Chapel was commissioned by a nobleman as a family chapel and mortuary for the relics of Saint Peter of Verona. The Dominican of Sant’Eustorgio and their convent held the Milan inquisition since 1230, and therefore the patron saint of inquisitors, Saint Peter of Verona, was important to them. The frescos along the walls depict scenes from the saint’s life. The elaborately carved marble tomb in the center of the chapel was made by a pupil of Giovanni Pisano, the famous Italian sculptor who is mostly known for his work on the façade of the Siena Cathedral and the pulpit of Pisa Cathedral.

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For information on visiting Milan’s famous Duomo, how to walk on the rooftop, and how to get to the Duomo click here for a past post with all that information!

*To see more photographs of Milan, Italy click here for Monica Goslin Photography

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How to get to Milan’s canal district by metro:

From Milan Central train station hop on the metro and take Green line towards Abbiategrasso and get off at “P.TA Genova FS” (7 stops from the main train station). The Porta Genova FS metro stop is by another train station, but from there you walk down Via Casale to the canal or walk down the main street of Via Vigevano.

If you choose to walk from the Duomo to the canal district you can, it might take about 45 minutes without stopping along the way. From the end of the Piazza del Duomo (with the large monument with all the lions on it) walk down Via Torino and then turn down Corso di Porta Ticinese (when you see Hotel Ariston on the corner).  This road will lead you down to an old city gate which is just blocks away from the canals.

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What to see and do in Stockholm – Museums Part TWO

Folk Art Museum in Stockholm, Sweden

What to see and do in Stockholm – Museums Part TWO

These are museums you shouldn’t miss while in Stockholm. The key is to pay attention to opening hours. I was surprised to find that even though summer days are longer in Stockholm (light until about 10 or 10:30pm) that museum hours were still short, typically 10 or 11am to 5pm. I did find it a bit difficult to get to everything in a few days, but if you have 3 days, make sure you get to see these museums:

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1 – Skansen – This is an open-air museum with examples of houses and farmsteads from all over Sweden, similar concept to Williamsburg in the U.S. This is a great child friendly activity as the park has a zoo, is out doors so kids can run all over the place, and offers a lot of entertainment.

Tips for visiting Skansen:

–       The park is full of different houses that you can visit and enter to view traditional home and décor or see craftsmen at work in the glass studio, bakery (stop there for excellent taste samplings of Swedish breads), pottery, furniture making and more. To see the houses you have to get to the houses before 5pm.

–       The park itself does not close until 8pm (the main entrance is still open until 8pm, other entrances close at 4pm).

–       After 5pm when the houses close go visit the zoo and eat at one of the restaurants.

–       Check the list of activities and performances – I recommend seeing the folk dancers who wear beautiful traditional costumes.

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2 – Nationalmuseum – The National Museum hold Sweden’s largest collection of art. The museum has a collection of work by Carl Larsson and the main entrance hall is decorated with murals by the artist, as well as the upper floor murals by the staircase. (Read more about Carl Larsson in another blog post coming soon!). The museum also has an excellent museum store.

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3 – Nordiska Museum – If you are interested in traditional crafts, furniture, and costumes, this is a must see museum. Allow for a couple of hours to visit the museum which has a great collection and I highly recommend the museum café as well! Pop into the museum shop for a souvenir – great books on fashion and a nice collection of children’s toys and books.

* TipRecommended day itinerary for Stockholm –  The Nordiska museum is close to Skansen and the Vasa Museum. In order to economize your time I recommend going to the Vasa Museum just when it opens, then going to the Nordiska Museum (including lunch in the museum cafe) and then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at Skansen. This is a feasible itinerary for a day in Stockholm but you do have to watch the clock to make sure you get it all in.

Read about the Vasa Museum in “Stockholm – Museums Part One”

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4 – City Hall of Stockholm – This building is supposed to be spectacular, and I say supposed to be because I unfortunately did not make it to City Hall on my visit. The City Hall has a red tower that has lent to it becoming a distinctive landmark, built in the early1900’s. You can only visit the City Hall with a guided tour.

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** To see more photos of Stockholm and the outdoor park of Skansen, click here for Monica Goslin Photography for my stock photography website where you can buy prints, canvas photos, and more!

How to make it a stress-free holiday trip!

Tourist in Salamanca, Spain by Monica GoslinTravel tips are always useful and with the holidays coming up there will be more traveling, more flights, and more packing to prepare for and which is always stressful. But with the right advice you can have an easier holiday. Allen Delper has an incredible list of “50 stress-free tips for the clever holiday traveler.”

Two tips that I find particularly useful in the list:

Tip #6 – Go with a color palette – This is certainly a good idea as it limits how much you pack and guarantees that you will wear everything you pack; there is nothing worse then packing items that you just bring along for the holiday but that you don’t actually wear.

Tip #7 – Limit your shoes – Always true but hard to follow! And to add to this tip, never bring a new pair of shoes on a long holiday unless you pack band-aids as well!

There are also great pointers for traveling during the holidays and what to do with gifts and how to pack them. Also see the tips for traveling with kids.

Overall this is a useful check list for preparing for holiday travel. Click here for the entire list by Allen Delper on “50 stress-free tips for the clever holiday traveler” and make your next trip stress-free!