Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Archive for July, 2013

New Zealand, Wanaka lakefront – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Life is an action, not an idea”.         ” The only way out of difficulties is through them”.

Amazing what some people will pay for photographs.  Take a look at this photo….

Worlds most expensive photo USD 4.3 million

Sadly this is not one of my photos.  This photo is actually the world’s most expensive photo.  It sold for USD 4.3 million at an auction in the USA in 2011.   The photo, by Andreas Gursky, is of the Rhein River in Germany.    Just look at this photo and see if you can work out why it was sold for USD 4.3 million.  If I had taken this photo, I would have hit the ‘delete’ button very quickly.  But some people obviously like different things, although what it is in this photo, I have no idea.

One of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand for the photo today, and the lakefront in Wanaka.  In the background is the 1578m peak of Mount Roy, and below that next to the lakeshore is the Rippon Vineyard.  Wanaka is situated at 44 degrees 42 minutes south, so enjoys an excellent climate, and being east of the Southern Alp mountains, is in a rain shadow.  It receives only half the national average for rain.   Long, hot summers, beautiful scenery and the large lake have made it a popular tourist town.  Tourism started here in 1867 when the first hotel opened.

Sadly, nobody has offered me USD 4.3 million for this photo of Wanaka Lakefront.

LOW-RES-Wanaka-lakefront

The good thing is that Wanaka is 17 823km from the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

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Tranquility – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Success is not measured by money, awards or medals.  It is measured by the difference between what you CAN achieve and what you actually achieve”.

“You only live once, so do not hesitate. you will miss your chance”.

Amusing story in the news at the moment about the Indian army, who thought that they had been subject to 329 spy missions by Chinese drones.   It was found that the sightings were not actually Chinese drones on spy missions, but were in fact the planets Jupiter and Venus.   Whilst I would like to visit India, the crazy procedure for obtaining a TOURIST visa has put me off, along with the time and cost to obtain it.  The Indian government should realize that tourists bring money and foreign exchange to the country, so they should make it EASY for tourists to travel there, not make it an expensive hassle.   Easy decision for me though, until it is quick and easy to get a visa then I will not go there.

An early morning photo of the hills of Norway for the photo today, and a peaceful scene.   Norway has 3 languages, Bokmal Norwegian (the main language), Nynorsk (mainly in the west parts of Norway) and Sami (mainly in the far north of Norway).  There are more Norwegian descendants living in the USA than people living in Norway (6 million descendants in the USA and around 5 million people in Norway).  As in Sweden and Finland, you can only buy alcohol (above 3.5%) in the government operated shops, called Vinmonopolet in Norway.    That said, when you see the prices for alcohol in Norway, then you may well decide not to buy.  Norway is also home to the largest glacier in Europe (Josteldalsbreen)

LOW-RES-NOR-Haglebu-24-July-2013

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Environmentally UNfriendly, no common sense – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Taxes could be worse.   Suppose we had to pay what we think we are worth”

” The greater the struggle, the greater the victory”.      ” It does not have to glitter to be gold”

An amazingly stupid story on the TV news last night about Fjordline, which runs ferries between Hirtshals (Denmark) and Stavanger and Bergen (Norway).    They have recently taken delivery of a new LNG (gas) powered ferry.   The new ferry had already won a prize for energy efficiency and with stricter controls on ferry emissions, then LNG was seen as the way to go.   BUT having just started, Fjordline now have a big problem.  Norwegian law does not allow them to refuel the gas with passengers onboard, and the ship is only in port for a short time.    So, after all the hype about saving the environment and energy efficiency, they are now sending 10 trucks by road each week, from Stavanger, Norway, via Sweden, then across to Denmark, to refuel there.   The distance that the trucks have to drive is around 1600km, leaving from almost the same place as the ferry (Stavanger) and then driving 1600km to meet it in Denmark, where the ships refuels with LNG and sails back to Norway, where the gas came from in the first place.   Very environmnentally UNfriendly.     And also rather stupid.

So, staying on the subject of boats, here is a colourful photo of some fishing boats in Africa.    Good light and bright colours make this photo.

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LOW-RES-Fishing-boats

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African boy alone – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” If you have no dreeams, then your life will only be a nightmare”.       ” In the concert of life, nobody holds a programme”.

Did you know that OPHIDIOPHOBIA is the fear of snakes?

I picked up a couple of interesting stories on the news today.   In China, some companies are using star signs to choose job applicants.   They are using the star signs to judge if applicants will be successful and if they will get along well in the companies.    Due to the lack of discrimination laws in China, then they can use these methods.   So by being born under the wrong star sign could cost you a job.     The other interesting story in the news is that in Moldova, some surgeons have been using building tools for operations.    According to the BBC, construction drills, rusty pliers and hammers were used in operations.   Perhaps now wise to get sick in Moldova!!!

Another one of the lucky photos today.  It was actually taken from a moving bus, and despite only having a cheap camera, the photo turned out so well.  The expression on the boy’s face, the light and the simplicity of the photo all come together so well.    Judging by the look on his face, he is certainly not very happy.

LOW-RES-Moz-boy

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Lake Wanaka sunset – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Generosity is giving more than you can, whereas pride is taking less than you need.”

“Walking forwards or backwards makes no difference as long as you are moving ahead”.           ” You always get lucky,  sometimes”.

Did you know that Japan’s Okinawa island has more than 450 people aged 100 years or more?   It is said to be the healthiest place on Earth.

Last light of the day over Lake Wanaka New Zealand for the photo today.    The different colours of sunsets are caused by the amount of dust and particles in the air.   The sunlight has to refract through hazy layers, and this splits the white light into the various colours during a sunset.   When the times for sunset are calculated, they are based on a sea level horizon, and do not take into account height or mountain ranges.    The Earth’s atmosphere also bends light rays, so the actualy time of sunset can be 3 minutes later than the ‘official’ time of sunset.  People making sundials will use the ‘Equation of Time’   to correct for the difference between solar time (sun time) and solar mean time (the solar time based on 24 hour days).   The difference can be over 15 minutes, which is why sundials need to be corrected.    Did you know that on Spitsbergen, not far from the North Pole, that there is a sundial (the world’s most northerly sundial)  which shows the time 24 hours a day, due to the continous daylight during the summer months.   The pole or stick on a sundial (which casts the shadow) is known as the gnom0n, and has to be at the same angle as the latitude of the sundial.

LOW RES NZ Wanaka lakefront sunset 3 April 2012 (1)

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Happy not to be working at the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.


Old and new in Helsinki, Finland – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”Life is an echo.  Whatever you give, you get back.  Love others and they will love you.  Abuse others, and you will be abused.  So behave yourself according to you”

” Time is like money.  You should not spend it all in one place”.

A little work photo editing today to give a new photo an old look.   The photo is of the main harbour in Helsinki, Finland, with the Uspenski Cathedral visible in the background (the black building visible behind the front of the ship).   It is said that Finland has 1.8 million saunas, for a population of around 5.4 million people.   Finland was the first country in the world to allow women to vote.   Helsinki is also unusual in that it has more women than men, around 53% woman and 47% men.  Another unusual fact is that the tap water is so good in Helsinki that it is bottled and sold to Saudi Arabia.   The water reaches the city through the world’s longest rock tunnel.  Finland also has the honour of being the biggest coffee drinkers per capita in the world, perhaps due to the long, dark and cold winter nights.

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LOW-RES-FIN-Sailing-ship

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Lift off, Queen of the Skies – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Life is a gift.  Are you going to unwrap it or leave it in the box”

”  Beauty only gets attention but personality captures the heart”.

An estimated 6 million parts go into the making of the 747 jumbo jet, half of them being fasteners.  It has around 274 km of wiring and about 8km of tubing.   The tail of a 747 is about the same height as a 6 storey building.  When it was first built, around 75 000 engineering drawings were used.    The 747 series has been extremely sucessful, and has logged around 78 billion kilometres in flight, equivalent to about 102 000 return trips to the Moon, and is said to have carried around 5.6 billion passengers in total.    Newer models of the 747 can carry over 240 000 litres of fuel.   Interesting that the Wright brothers first flight  could have been performed within the 45m length of the economy cabin of a 747.   The 747 400 seen in this photo is departing from Curacao in the Caribbean for the flight back to Amsterdam.  My experience of KLM is that they are no longer a good airline,  with poor service, poor aircraft interiors and poor customer service.  Whilst they may have been good at one time, I stopped using them a long time ago.  They have been overtaken by other airlines, and I do not recommend them.

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LOW-RES-747

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Keeping watch – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Your dreams are only temporary until they become reality”

” Life may not always be as good as it should be,  but it is never as bad as it could be”

I read that a new tourist attraction has opened in Dachstein, Austria.   Skywalk, a new 400m high viewing platform will give those brave enough to walk across it views of the mountains and glaciers.    Steps lead down to a glass floored platform looking down 400m, even the walk to the platform will be exciting!!    The height would probably not worry Otis the dog, who has just completed his 64th tandem skydive.   According to the British ‘Telegraph’ newspaper, the dog and his owner have been jumping in Acampo, Los Angeles for the last 9 years.    The dog wears a special set of doggles to protect his eyes.

Another photo of an iguana today, on the lookour for intruders.   Iguanas are members of the lizard family, and are cold blooded.   In the wild they can live up to 20 years, and they are also good swimmers, some are able to stay under water for over 20 minutes.     An unusual fact about iguanas is that after the females have laid their eggs, they leave them, so the newborn iguanas have to survive on their own from the beginning.    They have long tails, which make up over 50% of their body weight. If captured, they can release their tails to escape, and later grow a new one.   They also have a third eye in their head, although this is not used for vision.

LOW-RES-Iguana

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Waiting for the Bus – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day.. ”  Coincidence is fate breaking a lock so that you can open a door”

” Dwelling on the past will only change you in the future”.     ” Doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment”

Another company has joined the list of companies that I will never use again, Booking.com         What some companies are not realizing is that poor service will actually cost them money.   To make matters worse, the managers at Booking.com   just will not admit their mistakes, and nobody at that particular company will do anything about the problems.    So they will lose out, and if you want good service, then I cannot recommend this company.   No problem when a company makes a mistake (we all do that) but when nobody will do anything about the mistakes, then that shows that a company is not good.

Off to the capital of Mozambique today, Maputo, and a typical photo of a bus queue there.   Situated just 120 km north of the South African border, and on the Indian Ocean, this ugly, neglected city is home for about 1.7 million people.    Originally ruled by the Portuguese, it became independent in 1975, although Portuguese is still the main language in this part of Mozambique.    Until 1992 the country had a long civil war,  with an estimated 1 million people killed due to the war and famine between 1977 and 1992.    Mozambique has a high fertility rate, with around 5.3 children born per woman.  Transport in Mozambique is often a problem, with irregular and unreliable buses, so the queues seen in the photo today are very typical.

WORDPRESS-Maputo

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Tropical Paradise, warm water & soft sand – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Sometimes you have to take a leap at life and build your wings on the way down”.          ” When in doubt, do without”

” There is no use in running fast when you are on the wrong road”.

In my inbox today was an email from an airline (a good one too) advertising some special offers on their new Dreamliner aircraft.  Given that the very same aircraft is in the international news again today (after another fire), it was perhaps unfortunate timing to send out these emails !!.  Confidence in the safety of that aircraft must be at an all time low now, and I am in no hurry to fly onboard it.   And a Thomson Dreamliner flying from the UK to the USA has also diverted and returned to the UK as well.  Bring back the 747 I say, until Boeing can sort the Dreamliner out and get rid of all the problems.

Off to the Caribbean for the photo today and to the island of Curacao.   Little Knep beach is the place in the photo and another busy day by the look of it.    Water and air temperature were near perfect here.  Curacao is now an independent country, after being part of the Netherlands Antilles up to 2010, and is home to around 162 000 people.    Tourism, financial services, oil and international trade are the main industries here.  Venezuela is only about 60km away from Curacao.

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WORDPRESS-Curacao-beach

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Before The Storm – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Yesterday is history, learn from it.  Today is the present, act on it.  Tomorrow is the future, plan for it”.

“When the wind changes, pessimists will complain, optimists will hope for the wind to change, and leaders will adjust the sails”.

A photo today taken just before a storm, and just before the last bit of sunshine disappeared.  Taken in the settlement of Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen in the far north.   Originally a whaling station, it was the mining of coal that later became important.   Spitsbergen is shared between Norway and Russia, and both companies still have coal mines there.    There is even a branch of a Norwegian university there, to study Artic sciences.   Spitsbergen has a population of around 2700 people. although they are far outnumbered by the number of polar bears.   Due to the large number of polar bears, trekkers and hikers are required to carry a gun when outside of settlements.    There is also a Seed Vault here, a sort of domesday project to store seeds from every country in the world.  From Spitsbergen is is not far to the North Pole.

LOW-RES-NOR-Spitsbergen-Longyearbyen-2

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Train Driver – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….”Good management consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people”
“Goals are like underwear, you have to change them once in a while to feel better about yourself”.

Did you know that the North Pole and South Pole have only 1 sunrise and 1 sunset each year?   And because the speed that the Earth rotates at is slowing down, the years are also getting shorter, around 400 million years ago a year was about 410 days, although the days were then only 21 hours long.   Even on the Equator, the days are not exactly 12 hours long, due to changes in the size of the sun and atmospheric conditions, and daylight can up to 7 minutes longer.   And due to the unusual orbit of the Earth, then the Northern Hemisphere has longer days than the Southern Hemisphere, with the sun being north of the Equator for 4 more days than in the Southern Hemisphere.  People who build sundials will also know about the Equation of Time, which is used to make corrections for the uneven spinning of the Earth.

Another steam train photo today, but this time the engine driver.   The photo was taken recently in Uppsala, Sweden during one of the weekend steam train specials, and is a timeless photo.  All aboard please!!

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LOW-RES-engine-driver

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Artic Poppy – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell

Thought for the day….” Patience is the companion of wisdom ”                      ”  Freedom is the oxygen of the soul”r

A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain top

A photo of an Artic Poppy today, and a nice close up.   Again, this shows what you can do with a normal, cheap consumer camera.   The most famous product from poppies is opium, but poppies are also used in the production of other drugs and also in food.  Poppies are rich in oil, carbohydrates, calcium and protein.  Poppy oil can be used in cooking, as a salad dressing oil, or for making margarine.    Poppies are also used in paints, varnishes, and cosmetics.  Due to their connection with strong drugs, the red poppy has become known as a  symbol of sleep, and due to the colour (red) of the most common poppy, they have become connected with blood and death.   The poppy also forms part of the flag of the Republic of Macedonia.  Very interesting that the Artic Poppy uses its petals to warm the air inside its centre, rather like a solar reflector, and also turns to follow the sun around the sky, in the same manner as sunflowers do.   The plant is classified as vulnerable due to its sensitivity to rises in temperature caused by global warming.

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WORDPRESS poppy

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Finals to land Thomson 757 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Never allow your mind to be a garden for negative thoughts.  If you do, then you will only harvest tears”.

” Without bad days, who would know what a good one way?”

A sad story in the news today from London, UK.  The police there have seized a Lamborghini  Aventador (the latest model) worth USD 450 000 for having no insurance (!!) and may end up being crushed shortly.  The car was seized near the famous Harrods department store in London, UK, and is owned by one of the Qatari ruling family.   The same fate has also happened to Ferrari and Porsche cars previously, but it is thought that it will be the first Lamborghini that has been seized and scrapped in this way.     I wonder why they do not try and sell it, instead of just crushing it???

I was watching passengers in a busy train/bus terminal recently and was struck by the huge number of people online, even when they were walking or waiting.    This made me think that we are never properly ‘away’, as we are now always connected and receive almost instant news from friends even when we are thousands of km away.   Previously (say 20 years ago) you got mail once every few months when you were travelling (how exciting to go to a main post office and collect a bundle of mail, which you read over and over again).    Apart from those occasional letters, you were out of touch for months at a time, save for the occasional (expensive) telephone call.   Now people are never really away, as there is almost always a constant connection to home.   Even on aircraft now there is wifi, ships have sea have wifi via satellite and trains and buses now also have the connection.    So we do not get ‘away’ anymore.

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LOW-RES-Thomson-757

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Age of Steam – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Pull the string and it will go wherever you wish.  Push the string, and it will go nowhere at all”.

“Success finds a way, failure finds an excuse”

Many people outside of Scandinavia have an idea that Sweden is modern, clean and efficient, with a well-developed social system.   Once you spend a little time there, and start to read the newspapers and watch TV, then you soon realize that Sweden is far from that image.   Immigration is a problem (there were riots again recently in the suburbs of the Swedish capital, Stockholm), with discrimination against immigrants increasing.  Swedes tolerate foreigners, but they do not accept them.   That is one reason that many immigrants are confined to certain areas of the larger cities.   You can see people sleeping on the streets, and even in the very centre of the Swedish capital, there are large numbers of beggars on the streets.  The number of people going through the rubbish bins in the cities shows that things are getting much worse.    The newspapers reveal stories of people sleeping in hospital corridors due to shortages of beds, waiting lists for operations and pensioners not receiving sufficient money for a good standard of living.    As for technology, Sweden is far behind some countries.   Some shops will not even accept credit cards, and the Swedes still demand paper forms and photocopies for almost everything official.   As for cleanliness, tourists are now surprised to see just how dirty parts of Sweden are.  The city centre in Stockholm is dirty, with rubbish, graffiti and general grime.  Public works seem to have been cut back far too much, and you keep noticing areas of decay and neglect.  Whereas Sweden might once have been something of a model to the rest of the world, it has changed, and it has changed a lot.   Some things have remained good, like maternity and paternity leave and benefits, but overall, Sweden has slipped a long way. Stories of Swedish trains halted due to snow and ice, recent bus strikes and increased bankruptcies also show things things have gone wrong in Sweden.  It is no longer a model society.

New made to look old for the photo today.   The photo is of a preserved steam train at Uppsala, Sweden on one of its weekend runs.   The original photo was taken in RAW, then converted to black & white, then changed to sepia.  Quite an impressive piece of machinery and nothing in the photo gives a clue that it was taken in 2013 instead of 1930.

LOW-RES-steam-train-1

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Stairs from below – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….’ Heaven on earth is a choice you  must make, not a place that you must find”

” Just because you are not sick does not mean that you are healthy”.               ” Follow your heart, but take your brain with you”.

I was very happy NOT to be at Scott Amundsen base in Antartica on 2nd July.   According to the weather site, Wunderground, the warmest that it reached (and warmest is probably not the word to use, rather the least cold) was -61 degrees Centigrade.  It did go down as low as -67 degrees during the day, so probably NOT the place to be.  Apparently, Americans have occupied the geographic South Pole since 1956.   The research base there is at 2835m on an ice sheet that is around 2700m thick at that point.  As the ice sheet is moving, then the station moves by about 10m a year.   The temperature there has gone as low as -82 degrees centigrade.  Due to the low humitidy in the air, it only receives around 20cm of snow a year.  It is currently so cold there that the webcam is disabled!!

And a photo of a staircase today, just to show the interesting curves.   Converted from colour to BW for the best results.

LOW-RES-stairs

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New Zealand housebus – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Some people dream of success, whilst others wake up and work hard at it.”           ”  The eyes are useless when the mind is blind”

In the news today I read that ‘Go Airline’ of India will in future, only be employing female cabin staff, in order to save money.  As the average weight of females is less than for males, then ‘Go’ has decided that, in order to save money (less weight onboard means less fuel burnt in flight), that they will  only employ female cabin crew.  I would not be surprised if a certain Irish Airline also copies this idea.    And from Philadelphia, USA comes news that technology has now got to the cemeteries and graveyards.   There, in the Sunset Memorial Park, people can scan QR codes on tombstones with their mobile phones and then read full details of the deceased person.  Not only that, but you can also read a guest book, leave remembrances and see pictures and details of the deceased person.    Digital Legacies offer this service for USD 150.

The photo today is of a New Zealand housebus.   At one time, these were a very common sight on the roads around New Zealand, but gradually, they are getting less and less common.  In the 1960s and 1970s new cars were often shipped to New Zealand in plywood boxes, many of which later found their way into bus conversions, party due to their strong floors.    An average sized housetruck took 5 or 6 boxes on average, which then cost about NZD 25 each.  Often a wood-fired potbelly stove was included in the conversion to provide heating, cooking and sometimes hot water as well.    A housebus similar to the one in the photo can sometimes be bought from one of the online auction sites in New Zealand for around NZD 50 000, or about 30 000 euros.

LOW-RES-housebus

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New Zealand, Lake Hawea – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”           ” Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day”

CUSTOMER SERVICE .  Two very different experiences recently.  The first company failed to deliver an item which I had ordered, but when I sent an email to them to ask what had happened, I received a very open and honest email from the person responsible, in which she said that it was Friday afternoon and that she forgot.  No excuses, no trying to avoid the problem, but she admitted that it was her mistake, and only her mistake, and that she was truly sorry for what had gone wrong.   We all make mistakes, and honesty is usually a good policy.   Compare this to Booking.com    the online hotel reservation service.    After several problems, I emailed them, but Booking.com will not admit their mistakes.   Booking.com sends out several standard emails, and even after these, will not admit their faults.   So guess which company I will use again, and guess which company I will never use again???  Not the first time that I have had problems with Booking.com      and after my experiences with them recently, then no way will I use them again.

Today’s photo shows the beautiful Lake Hawea in New Zealand, on a beautiful summers day.   The lake is up to 392m deep and is about 35m long.   It is 20m higher now than previously, as it was raised to allow for hydro electric power systems.  It lies in a long valley formed by glaciers, similar to the nearby Lake Wanaka.  At the closest point, Lake Wanaka is only 1000m away from Lake Hawea.  Fishing and boating are popular on the lake, and there are several campsites around the lakeshore.  The cafe and restaurant (Sailz) in Hawea village does excellent coffee and food as well!!

LOW-RES-Hawea

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