Pictures are for your wall, not for the screen!

Those, who follow me on Instagram and Facebook, most likely know already that I dedicate so much personal time to take new pictures and spending many many hours in Photoshop to refine them. Sometimes I really think "why in the world do you retouch so excessively, removing any small part of dust or dirt, conducting high-end retouching if all of it anyway is most likely to be viewed on a smartphone?! Or even worse on Instagram only. In the size of stamp." 

But the very simple answer is: I want to do my retouching once! So not just something quick for the Internet. If I have a vision, I want that vision to come to live. If that means spending three hours in Photoshop, it's fine. And I know for myself that I am always aiming higher and want to produce the best picture I can and get the best possible quality, so that my pictures could be printed big! Then, everyone sees bad masking mistakes, dust spots and anything else that hasn't been done flawlessly. So basically those small pictures would have to be re-retouched in order to make them look good when viewed bigger than on a smartphone screen.

Actually, I love big prints, but unfortunately I rarely take the step to order big prints, because as you know, I like to keep my flexibility and don't clutter myself with heavy big things which you cannot transport easily in suitcases. So I decided two years ago, to decorate my room with small prints, which are still way bigger than instagram pictures and to cover my wall piece by piece with my photographs. That way, I do not have to decide which exact picture I want to hang on my wall. There are just too many pictures that are important to me. And if it comes to printing digital pictures, I always chose and still choose Saal Digital, a German printing company with fair and transparent pricing. And Saal Digital became my number one printing company, since it has been the first service that accurately matched my colours, even if my picture had been edited in ProPhoto RGB, which is not even printable. Nowadays, I edit my pictures directly in Adobe RGB.
Even big publishers like NatGeo didn't manage my colour profile online.

So then, when Saal Digital recently offered to me, to try out their printing service for wall prints I could not deny this offer. I got a 50€ voucher, which I fully used ordering a Alu-Dibond Butlerfinish® 40 x 60 of the following picture:

Amman Citadel.

I decided for this picture, as it symbolises my biggest solo travel adventure so far. 14 days through the Middle East, visiting Israel and Jordan. It was also my first trip outside of Europe and it taught me so many things that no university or tv program could have ever taught me. It opened my mind to different cultures, and although we made different experiences, we are all the same. 

Anyway, now I am really happy to have this print decorating my last wall in this flat I live in currently. It is super light weight, durable and the finish is beyond what I had imagined, so I will be able to also carry it with me if I decide to move abroad again one day. I hung it onto the wall - using Pattafix rubbers - facing one of my windows. Depending on the time of the day the picture looks always a bit different as the aluminium surface bounces off the light. Hence, this picture with the harsh sun and harsh shadows was a fantastic choice for the aluminium print, as it plays with the lights and shadows of the image.

I am even more surprised how detailed this print is. I remember myself pushing this image to its limits and sharpening it into the last details. And now I see that all my dedication to high quality pays off. If you are like me and prefer quality over a quick print in a nearby supermarket, Saal Digital should be your choice! Hands down! They operate as well in Poland and many other European countries.   

Every year, I print A3 calendars for my close friends and family, which look absolutely fantastic! 
Ordering a big wall print will not disappoint you! 

Thanks, Saal Digital for doing a great job!

PS: Yes, it is advertisement. This article is sponsored by Saal Digital. To pay back for my voucher I was supposed to write an article about my experiences. BUT I would not never lie or cooperate with company's that I do not fully support. So this is an honest feedback and recommendation.

#saaldigital

 

Hospitality - The other way of travelling - Vilnius Lithuania.

Lots of my friends see me travelling many times. Many times I hear, "I wish I could travel that much, too. But, I don't have the money." Sure, all inclusive hotel stays cost a lot of money, with a cozy bed, hot meals 24/7, warm whirlpools and a pool, idyllically located near the beach. To be honest, sometimes I wished I could afford that too. Actually, I could, but then I'd do one trip for the price of 10 trips. Another problem I see with this type of travelling: You mostly bump into other tourists, probably even from your home country. Hence, you get caught up hanging out with them instead of meeting locals. Sure, it is one way of travelling, calming down and relaxing. In my opinion, I do not have to fly to another country in order to experience that. I could simply book a stay at a local spa and do the same things, without having to pay for flights, visas, etc. 

26466671628_62337bc48f_o.jpg

Instead, I use the platform Couchsurfing, an online portal where travellers offer each other to stay at their place. That way, when travelling you have the chance to spend time with a local, get maybe a personal tour through the city with spots you would not find by yourself. This time, when I decided to go to Vilnius, I browsed Couchsurfing for a host that seemed warm-hearted, open-minded, talkative and kind. Also having similar hobbies and interests are recommended. That way, you can easily break the ice and start a conversation. After sending out a few requests, happily Emilija accepted my request. She replied:

"I'd like to host you if you haven't found a host yet :) 
Our interest are similar and I think we'd have a lot to talk about. 
I'd just like to confirm that I live with my family and my house is a bit farther from the city and the closest bus stop is a kilometer away. 
If that's fine with you please come :)
"

After I confirmed her invitation again, she shared her address with me and I looked it up. Realising it is far away from the tourist sites, most people probably get scared or think it is not convenient for them.She told me actually that already quite a few Couchsurfers declined their request again, due to her distance from the city centre. I instead was very happy about that, as there is no better way of travelling than be accommodated in areas, locals live in. It brings your travel experience to the next level, as you have the unique chance to see the real life. That way you get a much more representative picture of a place and their people. Actually, her place was only a 30 min bus ride and 15min walk by foot from the city centre. And come on, having demands even being accommodated for free would be really a shame.

The moment I arrived there, she warmly welcomed me and showed me that her whole family made space for me, giving up their entire living room for me for 3 nights. That was so generous! I will never forget that. over the next mornings, her father even made me coffee, tea and prepared a double breakfast for me. He offered me everything his fridge had to offer. I was really overwhelmed by his generosity.

IMG_3495.JPG

To show my appreciation, I brought some Polish chocolate as a gift with me and invited her for dinner and drinks. That way, I can spend money on restaurant food instead of accommodation that I anyway only need for sleeping and showering and she has the chance to pick whatever she wants and enjoy a meal as well.

Over the course of the next days, she was mostly busy which is totally fine. That way, I could explore the city by myself. But of course, when it is freezing cold outside you want to warm up from time to time. Travelling solo also makes you want to talk to people once in a while. Hence, I was tired and a bit bored after a few hours of walking, so when I was stumbling upon a small cafe, the Storytellers Cafe, I decided to enter it, as it was looking very cozy and only one guy was inside. So I was hoping to maybe start a dialogue with him. In fact, the cafe's owner started the dialogue with me which I was very happy about. We talked for more than two hours and he also introduced me to his friend. After a while, we really had a gregarious round of people talking about life, society and travelling. It really cheered me up! In addition, I would like to outline that I probably drunk the best cup of black coffee for several years at his cafe, which made me return the next day again.

Pete_MTD.jpg

 

That way, you can always find company by travelling alone, save money, meet locals and experience life on a different level. Of course, it is also nice to not always travel alone and to have your companion, but if that person is not available, you know now a way of social solo travelling.

Overall a four-days stay costed me estimated around 80€:
Gdansk -> Vilnius 10€
Vilnius -> Gdansk 10€
Taxi 5€
Busses 15€
Restaurant dinner for 2 people 20€
Restraurant dinner alone
Small snacks + Entrance fees 20€

Isn't that the amount people pay to refuel their car? ;)

Below, you are going to find a gallery of images I took in many different places I just found by walking to my host, randomly through the city and through the countryside of Trakai, a city next to Vilnius.