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Two from Helsinki

Thought for the day…” The future Depends on what we do in the present” (Gandhi)

” Life is the art of drawing without an Eraser”.

Two photos from Helsinki, Capital of Finland.   One thing that you will NOT see a lot of in Helsinki (nor in Finland in general) are European Union flags.   The EU is not popular in Finland, and even on public buildings such as the Finnish Parliament and Helsinki Town Hall, you are unlikely to see an EU flag, just the white and blue flag of Finland.   There is even a cafe in Helsinki which has the prices in the previous Finnish currency (maarka), as even the Euro money is not popular.   Often the only EU flags that you will see are on the ferry terminals, some of the larger hotels and also on the EU Office in the city centre.  Car number plates have to have the EU flag on them by law, but basically you will not see many EU flags in Finland.

The first photo below is from the central Senate Square.  This square, just below the Lutheran cathedral is used for pop concerts, Christmas markets and events (the Eurovision Song contest has even been held here).   The buildings around the square resemble those in St. Peterburg, Russia, and parts of Helsinki were used in the 1960s and 70s for movies based on Russia, until the city council decided that it was not a good idea.

Whilst the architecture and design of Helsinki makes it a great city-break destination, the best thing is the strong Finnish coffee.  Finland is number one in the world for coffee consumption per capita, and the coffee there is excellent (try the ‘Roastery’ on Aleksanderkatu).  Many places around the city sell great coffee from 1 euro a cup, and if you are visiting Helsinki in Winter when the temperature is -25 degrees and it is dark nearly all the day, then the coffee will be especially welcome.

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Last light of the day – not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell

Thought for the day….” Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day.  Teach a man how to fish, you ruin a good business opportunity”.

” An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”.

Off to southern Oman for the photo today, and to a town bordering the Persian Gulf.   Oman, officially called the Sultanate of Oman, has a population of around 4 million people.  The largest city and capital is Muscat.   Oman is often hot and dry and suffers water shortages, resulting in little agriculture.   Oil is the main export (around 98 % of the total) but this does mean that petrol/gas is VERY cheap if you rent a car there.   Best of all for local workers is that Oman has no income tax and also that healthcare and education are free.   And unlike some other areas in this region, it is a safe country, even when driving.   At the moment, it is not on the tourist radar, so is worth a visit before it becomes a mainstream destination.   Last light of the day in the photo, just before the sun disappeared below the horizon.   Another day over.

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and another from the archives…a close up of a woman’s face in Cape Verde.

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Bath time in Thailand – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.   The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty”. (Winston Churchill).

” Do not limit you challenges.   Challenge your limits”.

Bath time for elephants in Thailand for today’s photo.  There are 2 sorts of elephants, African and Asian.  The elephants from Asia have smaller ears and also smaller tusks, and is also smaller than the African elephant.   Elephants also have the largest brain in the animal kingdom.  Interestingly, they have only 4 teeth which can be replaced 6 times during their life.  After the last tooth has come through, they cannot feed properly and die.    They can also run at up to 40 km/h and drink up to 80 litres of water a day.   They can also swim and are seen here in northern Thailand during their daily bath.

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And another photo from the archives…..carnival time in El Salvador……

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Deep thought in the market – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” A goal is a dream with a deadline”.

” Whether you think you can, or you think that you cannot, you are right”.

Another photo from the market in Apia, Samoa for the picture today, but this time from the taro section.  Taro is a starchy root vegetable, popular in South East Asia and the Pacific Islands.  It is one of the few crops which can be grown in flooded conditions, and thrives in damp or wet soils.  Interestingly, it is inedible when raw and has to be cooked or soaked in water overnight before being eaten.  The leaves are also used in cooking, as well as the main part of the plant.    Fantastic even light for this photo, and an easy shot for the camera.

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And one from the archives…..a Swiss chalet in Kandersteg….

Web-version-hayloft

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Smiling Samoa – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell

Thought for the day….” The man who asks a question is a fool for only a minute.  The man who does not ask a question is a fool forever.”

“If you want to feel rich then just count all the things that you have that money cannot buy.”

Smiling Samoa for the photo today and a woman from the Samoan capital, Apia.  Great light for this photo, and despite being taken by a cheap Panasonic camera, the results were impressive.   Great place for a holiday, with wonderful sandy beaches, lots of local culture and some interesting Pacific Island scenery, including active volcanoes.  The people from Samoa (of which there are around 190 000) are known as happy people.  Until 1962, it was under the control of New Zealand.  It is made up of 7 main islands, and, interestingly, recently changed sides on the International Dateline so that it is now on the same day as Australia and New Zealand.LOW-RES-Samoan-woman and a photo from the archives…..summer reflections in Norway. Web-version-panorama ALL PHOTOS ON THIS SITE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE. http://www.qualitysparesort.com                          www.qualityresortnorefjell.com                   http://www.norefjellspa.com

Chinese face – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at somebody else.    You are the one who gets burned”

” If you think that your boss is stupid, remember that you would not have a job if he was any smarter”.

A face from China for the photo today, and from high in the hills between the border between China and Tibet.  China has a population of  over 1.35 billion people, increasing by around 12 million people a year.   Due to the one child policy the actual rate of population growth is around 0.5%, and the population density is about the same as in Switzerland or the Czech Republic.    Around 9% of the population are ethnic minorities, such as Tibetans.  The official language is Mandarin Chinese, and a knowledge of about 2000 characters is needed to be literate.      Interestingly, all Chinese share the same written language, even if some simplified characters are sometimes used.

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And another from the archives…..a housebus in New Zealand…..

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Faces 4 + 1, Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail”

A photo from the harbourside market in Helsinki for the photo today.     Nice comparison between the real face and the plastic models.    Even in the depths of winter (when temperatures can easily fall to below minus 20 degrees C) and when the nearby sea is frozen, the harbourside market is still there.   Finland is number one in the world for coffee consumption per capita, perhaps helped by the long, cold winters.    Around the harbour in winter, people sit for coffee in heated tents,  and occasionally fish through the ice using a saw.     In the depths of winter, daylight is scarce (around 5 hours, although it remains gloomy all day) but around the middle of June, it is light almost 24 hours a day.

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And one from the archive……sunset over the Baltic Sea.

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Edge of the Sahara – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Do not limit your challenges, challenge your limits”.

”  Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow”   (Albert Einstein).

Did you read the news story that the Bolivian president, Evo Morales gave the UN president (Ban Ki-moon) a cake for his birthday made with coca leaves?     The Bolivian president was earlier a coca farmer, and is an advocate of coca for its use in medicines and teas.     He even pulled out a bag of coca leaves and began chewing on them during a meeting of the UN Anti Drug group in Vienna in 2012.  Coca leaves are used in the production of cocaine, with Bolivia being the world’s largest producer of the drug.

The Sahara is the world’s hottest desert, and after Antartica, is the world’s second largest desert.  The name actually comes from the Arabic (plural) word for desert.  It has sand dunes up to 180m high, and its highest point is over 3414m high.  In summers, temperatures can rise to over 50 degrees.  Today’s photo was taken near sunset in Morocco, in a town on the edge of the Sahara.

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and a photo from the archives…..Mt. Aspiring (3033m), South Island, New Zealand.

WORDPRESS-Mt-Aspiring

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Splash of colour – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity”.

“Be nice to nerds.  Chances are that you will end up working for one”.   (Bill Gates).

Sometimes a simple photo works very well.   Today’s photo is a simple flower shot, but the plain background and good lighting make this photo work.    If you have not already discovered it, then the website http://www.dpreview.com     is a great site to keep up to date with the latest developments in photography, as well as a being a good source of reviews and user reports on cameras and equipment.   The photo below was taken with a Panasonic FZ-150, although this camera will shortly be replaced.  After purchasing 4 Panasonic cameras in a row, I think that they are now slipping behind the competition (especially in regard to sensor size and resolution), so perhaps it is time to try another brand.

Wordpress-flowerAnd a photo from the archives…..the Turning Torso tower in Malmo, Southern Sweden.

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When I’m Cleaning Windows – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Hate is like drinking poison and hoping that the other man dies”.

The photo today comes from the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, and captures 5 window cleaners at work on an office building.   Slovenia became part of the European Union in 2004, and changed to the euro in 2007.     Around 280 000 people live in Ljubljana, although the whole country only has around 2 million residents.   The first car on the streets of Ljubljana, a Benz Comfortable, in 1898, became known as the ‘Red Bull’ because of the car’s high speed (up to 19 km/h !!).  Slovenia has around 28 000 vineyards, or 1 vineyard for every 70 residents.  According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the record for cleaning 3 standard office sized windows is held by Terry Burrows (UK), who cleaned them in 9.14 seconds during the National Window Cleaning competition in Blackpool, UK in 2009.

No sign of any records in this photo though…..

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And another photo out of the archives….a priest in Ethiopia….

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