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Archive for September, 2014

Chocoholics of the world unite.

Thought for the day…” The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything”.

” TEAM –  Together Everyone Achieves More ”  or said another way…” Teamwork divides the task, but multiplies the success”

Chocoholics in the world will no doubt be sending in their applications in their thousands for the ‘job’ as a Doctor Of Chocolate at Cambridge University in the UK.     The job description says that the ‘job’ is mainly experimental.   Hopefully the successful applicant will fare better than Angus Kenndy who became a chocolate taster in the UK in 2010.   After gaining more than 15 kg in weight due to tasting around 1 kg of chocolate a day, he was forced to resign after his doctors warned of a  heart attack if he continued.    As the famous actress Mae West said….”too much of a bad thing can be wonderful”.

And for the photo today, another timeless scene from the hills of Nepal.   The photo is a scanned 35mm film negative, so sadly the quality is lower.

LOW-RES-Nepal-man

and another photo from the archives…..an iguana keeping watch……

Wordpress-Iguana

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Two Heads Are Better Than One

Thought for the day…” The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it”

” The secret of getting ahead is getting started”   (Mark Twain).

Excuse the low technical quality of today’s photo, because it is from a 35mm film photo which has been scanned.    It was taken in a market near  Cuenca, Ecuador, which lies at about 2500m altitude.   Ecuador has a population of over 15 million, and lies on both sides of the Equator.   Oil and bananas are the main export, with Ecuador being the number 1 producer of bananas worldwide.   Surprisingly, the currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.  The famous Panama hat was not invented in Panama, but in Ecuador.   And for the photo…two heads are better than one…..

LOW-RES-South-America

and another photo out of the archives….early morning balloon flight in Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey….

WORDPRESS-Turkey-balloon

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Heading to the Fjords, more blue skies

Thought for the day…” If at first you do not succeed then skydiving is not for you”.

” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance”.

Staying in Norway for the photo again today, and a shot of the famous Oslo to Bergen train.   The train still has over 400m vertical to climb at this point, but the views will be fantastic as it reaches the summit at over 1237m.   It has just passed the half way point of its 493 km journey from Oslo to Bergen.   The opening of the line in 1907 was delayed due to snow (often a problem on this route due to the altitude and exposed nature of much of the route), but the full route opened in 1908.   Despite several new tunnels, the route is still one of the great railway journeys, and is highly scenic.  About 5 trains cover the full route each day, including a night sleeper service.   Soon the passengers on the train will get their first views of the glaciers, as the train will shortly be above the tree line before it starts its long descent towards the fjords and Bergen at seal level.   Highly recommended if you are in Norway !!

LOW-RES-train

and another photo out of the archives….a timeless scene from rural Ethiopia…..

Wordpress-Ethiopia-Awra-Amb

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Blue skies, blue skies, nothing but blue skies

Thought for the day…”  It is better to be looked over than overlooked”  (Mae West).        ” Never test the depth of the water with both feet”.

Never understood why some countries make it difficult and expensive for TOURISTS to visit.  Tourists bring in money, create jobs and also help to develop a country.   Tourism, within reason, is not a bad thing, and countries like New Zealand depend upon it.   New Zealand makes it easy for tourists, and gets lots of them.    But the bottom line is that tourists bring money into a country.    I had details of some good offers on Swiss Airlines (great airline too, so no hesitation in flying with them), including to India.  India is another one of those countries which likes to make things difficult for people just wanting to visit as a TOURIST.   Not only is there all the hassle of forms, possible interviews and questions which go far beyond reasonable (is it really important what my mother’s maiden name was?), but you also have to pay a large amount of money for the privilege as well.   Compare that to many countries where all you need is a valid passport when you arrive.  Guess where I am NOT going??

And another photo of Norway in beautiful weather again (of which there has been lots this year).  Warm temperatures, no wind and cloudless days…can this be Norway??

LOW-RES-NOR-Geilo-lake-(3)-14-Sept-2014

and another photo out of the archives…a traditional house bus in New Zealand……

LOW-RES-housebus

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Clear air and beautiful reflections, Autumn splendour.

Thought for the day….”  Some people are alive only because it is illegal to kill them”.

” The Earth is the insane asylum for the universe”

Another beautiful morning in the hills of Norway for the photo today….clear air and almost no wind…… Did you know that Norway is home to Europe’s highest waterfall (Vinnufosen which falls some 860 m), and also the World’s longest road tunnel (Laerdal Tunnel, at 24.5 km long), and also the deepest road tunnel in the World (Eiksund Tunnel which goes down to 287m below sea level).    It is also home to Europe’s deepest lake (Horninsdalsvatnet which goes down to 514m depth) and has the longest coastline in Europe ( 53, 199 km of coast).     Norway has also won more winter Olympic medals than any other country in the world.    And around 98% of all electricity comes from hydro-electric sources, the highest ratio of any country in the world.   There is a fair amount of water visible in this photo of the lake at Geilo……..

LOW-RES-Geilo-lake-wordpress

and a photo out of the archives…..the old pub in Cardrona, South Island, New Zealand.

LOW RES NZ Wanaka Cardrona hotel & car 2

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23.13 Night train to Oslo, Norway

Thought for the day….” Do coffins have lifetime guarantees?”                         ” If heat rises then shouldn’t Hell be cold?”

Gladys Knight and the Pips had a big hit with the song “Midnight Train to Georgia”, but the photo today is of the 23.13 night train to Oslo, which is a long way from either Georgia the country or Georgia, USA.   Not much sleep ahead for the drivers of the night train from Trondheim, Norway south towards the capital, Oslo.     They still have about 495 km to drive through the mountains at night.   I had forgotten that travelling by train could be so pleasant, especially when compared to air travel.   Boarding the train is completely fuss free, no security goon worries if I am carrying a tube of toothpaste (which apparently, is dangerous now) and nobody at the station had a panic attack because I was carrying a Swiss army knife.   I also did not have to stand in a line anywhere, nor did I have to undress to get onto the train.    Once onboard the train, the coffee came in normal sized cups, and actually tasted like good coffee, unlike airline economy-class coffee.   And was the train any worse off because the passengers had not been through security checks???  No.  It even arrived in Oslo early.  Almost forgot to mention that they were serving hot, fresh cinnamon rolls from the oven in the cafe onboard.   Well done NSB !  Already sent an email to NSB to congratulate them, as it is good to give positive feedback when it is due.

LOW-RES-NOR-Trondheim-night-train-1

And another photo out of the archives, and from the other side of the world……coral reefs surrounding the islands of Fiji.

WORDPRESS-FIJI

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Helsinki duo – Two from Helsinki, Finland

Thought for the day…” The difference between genius and stupidity is…..genius has limits”

” The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain).

Two photos today  from Helsinki, capital of Finland.   Helsinki is one of those cities that you have to discover, for there is a lot that is not obvious on arrival.   For one thing, Finland is number one on the world for coffee consumption per capita, and the coffee is good, strong and available everywhere. (Try ‘The Roastery’ on Alexanderkatu for some really good coffee). And to go with the great coffee….some Fazer chocolate (although Karl Fazer was actually originally from Germany).   It is also the only city in Finland to have trams and a subway (metro) and is said to have the world’s most northerly metro station.     The language is horribly difficult for a foreigner, in winter is is very cold (-25 is not uncommon) and also dark for most of the day, but to make up for this there are some excellent sports facilities, wonderful architecture, good eating places, and the feeling that you have left Europe behind and have crossed into Russia (like when you see the Russian Orthodox churches in Helsinki, with their onion domes).  Indeed, parts of Helsinki look so much like Russia that Helsinki used to be used instead of Russia when making films (such as ‘Gorky Park’) until the city council decided that it was not a good idea and stopped promoting it.    And if you explore the indoor markets, then you may find things like bear meat for sale as well as the more common reindeer and moose meat.  But perhaps give another tradional (but popular) Finnish sweet, salty liquorice, a miss.   The city has about 53% women (versus 47% men), and after Reykjavik, Iceland, is the world’s most northerly capital city.  More trivia….it was the first country in the world to give women the vote and also the first country to make broadband a legal right for citizens.

LOW-RES-faces

and another photo out of the archives….taken just a couple of hundred metres from the previous photo, but months apart….a new photo converted into Black & White, then converted into Sepia to give it the old-fashioned look.

WORDPRESS FINLAND-Helsinki-Sepia-10-J

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Sunshine in Stockholm, Sweden

Thought for the day…” Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”    (Einstein)

” Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts”.

Although not very tall, the City Hall Tower in the centre of Stockholm does give great views of the Gamla Stan (Old Town) in the Swedish captal of Stockholm.   Stockholm is home to about 900 000 people, and lies at 59 degrees north and has daily ferry links to Finland, Estonia and Latvia.  Visible in the photo is the island of Riddarholmen (which means Knights Island) with its pointed church, and behind that, the Gamla Stan (Old Town), and in the harbour behind, the ferries to Finland (and a couple of visiting cruise ships too).  Despite its image as a modern, Scandinavian centre, areas of the city such as Tensta and Rinkeby in the suburbs suffer from high crime and racial problems (including some riots not long back).    Stockholm, in a similar way to London, suffered a great plague.    It has over 100 museums, including the ABBA museum.  The photo shows Stockholm on a summers day, but summer here is very short, and for much of the year it is cold and dark, which the sea freezing during the winter months.    Not a place for a winter holiday !!

LOW-RES-Stockholm

 

And another photo out of the archives….a hard day in Tallinn, Estonia…..

LOW-RES-Tallinn

Feel free to leave a comment !!

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Pinot Noir wine from New Zealand

Thought for the day…” They talk about the speed of light, but what is the speed of darkness”

“If a mime artist is arrested, does the policeman tell him that he has the right to remain silent? ”

Off to New Zealand for the photo today and to the very scenic Lake Hayes near Queenstown.    Apart from being very scenic, Lake Hayes is also home to some good wineries, such as the famous Amisfield (which also includes a restaurant).   This area (Central Otago) has now become famous for quality pinot noir wines, although in the 1860s it was the scene of the Central Otago Gold Rush.  Until the 1970s, there were few vineyards, but since then they have expanded rapidly, helped by the perfect climate, being protected by high mountains and having hot, dry summers and a short, cold winter.   Pinot Noir grapes originated in the Burgundy region of France, but are a difficult grape to cultivate and also to convert into wine.   Pinot noir is also used in the production of champagne.   Looking at the photo below, it is hard to believe that Queenstown Airport, which is just a few kilometres away (in the back left of the photo) handles over 1.2 million passengers a year, many of them heading for Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of New Zealand.

LOW-RES-Lake-Hayes

and a photo out of the archives…..a new photo made to look old.    The outdoor museum in Ballarat, Australia.

LOW-RES-Ballarat

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