Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Boats

The positive side of coronavirus

Thought for the day…”Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.”

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Despite all the doom and gloom at the moment, there are some positive sides to coronavirus.   Staff in shops and cafes have become noticeably better recently, and are happy to serve you now.   Not only that but they have time to help and, with the lack of customers, are actually trying to help out.   Shops and cafes have become more polite, with people waiting patiently in spaced-out queues.    Cafes have started putting most items in plastic to prevent contamination, hand disinfectant is now common and for the time being, people are being very good at using disinfectants.  And another bonus, the enforced free time is giving some of us some a great opportunity to catch up on things that previously we never had time for.   So it is not all negative at the moment !!   Stay safe.

The southbound Oslo to Kiel ferry passing the coast of Norway at Drobak.

and another photo from the archives….sunrise captured with the Fuji X-T30

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Joys of travelling

Thought for the day…”Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus”

It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

The joys of travelling….exciting new places and destinations.  But it is not always fun.   One of my pet hates (one of many) is that hotels often do not have a list of TV channels.   Given that some hotels can have upwards of 100 channels, why can they not put a list in the room to save endless channel surfing trying to find the 5 or 6 interesting channels??    A simple card or print out listing the channels would be so good.   And linked to this pet hate are hotel TVs that as soon as start them are at maximum volume, hardly ideal for a hotel when guests are trying to sleep.

Next pet hate……Many hotels are no longer giving the small bottles of shampoo and conditioner or individual soap, preferring to have dispensers on the walls instead.   All very well IF the hotel refills them but so often just when you are in the shower you discover that the dispensers are empty.

And staying with hotels and pet hates…..the annoying habit that more and more hotels are only putting in one rubbish bin/trash can in the whole room and bathroom.  Saves them a little money, but is hardly good for the guest experience.

Another hate….modern hotels whose managers have decided that THEY know the temperature that guests want the rooms to be at, and have removed individual temperature controls in the rooms….I am seeing this more and more and it is also not good for the guest experience.

Topping the list of pet hates for hotels…..any hotel that has slow internet or has a poor internet signal in the room deserves to go out of business….no excuse for this in the 21st century.    Excuses such as “it is the number of guests in the hotel” or “it is the rainy weather” just get me irritated.  It is not rocket science to get fast, reliable internet in a hotel, but it seems to be a major problem for some hotels.

The list goes on….to be continued………

Today’s photo is of the lakefront in Pembroke, South Island, New Zealand, on a perfect Summer’s evening.  One man and his dog admire the view….

and another photo from the archives…..driving hazards on the roads of Scandinavia….these are a much bigger problem at night when they tend to freeze in the car headlights.   A male elk can be over 300 kg, so can cause a lot of damage to a car.

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Oslo to Copenhagen ferry

Thought for the day..”Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”

“It is not the strongest of the species which survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin

Oslo harbour and the ferry which goes between Norway and the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Prices onboard this boat have gone up a lot, and the journey time has also been increased, making the trip now more expensive and also slower. This boat was previously owned by Viking Line, and sailed from Sweden to Finland.   Whilst the ferry was previously a good option, with the high prices onboard and also with the improved road connections to Denmark, it is no longer a good option.  Quite why the company thought that slowing the trip down was a good idea is a mystery, as is the logic of increasing the prices onboard.  Just like the airlines, DFDS have started to charge for things (eg. internet onboard and the bus connections to/from the boat)  that used to be included in the ticket price.   It appears that nearly all the public seating onboard has also been removed, presumably to try and force people into the bars and restaurants onboard to spend more money.   Sad to see the decline in standards on these ferries now, and the need to pay extra for so many things.     The kayakkers had a great view of the ferry though……

and another photo…A dramatic sunrise over the hills of Pembroke, New Zealand.  Great cloud formations are not unusual on the South Island of New Zealand due to the prevailing winds crossing the Southern Alps, which often leads to banding and wave clouds.   Add that to the first sun of the day and the result is a great photo.

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An aviation classic – the Hawker Hurricane

Thought for the day…”I haven’t failed. I just found 10 000 ways that won’t work” Thomas Edison.

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadow falls behind you”.

Wanaka, New Zealand hosts the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow every two years, and was at one time, also home to a number of Warbirds, such as this Hawker Hurricane.  This particular aircraft had an interesting history, having flown in 1940 and crashed in Preswick, Scotland, then after a rebuild was damaged several more times before being transferred to the Soviet Air Force in 1941.  It crashed again near Murmansk, Russia in 1943 and was recovered around 1990 and partly rebuilt in the UK from 1992 to 1995.  It was fully restored in Wanaka and flew again from Christchurch, NZ in January 2000.    It was later sold to a French owner based in Cannes.   The photo was taken in Wanaka about 2010 prior to the sale to the new owner.

And a photo from Oslo harbour in Norway.   The DFDS ferry travels overnight down to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Unfortunately, journey times have been increased now and prices onboard are very high, making it much less attractive than previously, especially when the highway down through Sweden is a fast alternative.  Why management wanted to slow the trip down is a mystery, as the boat is now much slower and leaves both cities too early to be much use to business travellers or people wanting a full day trip.

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Boats and planes, Morocco and Madeira

Thought for the day…” Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus”.

” Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.”

A photo of an Airbus A320 about to land at Funchal, Madeira for the photo today.  This aircraft was involved in an emergency descent on 8th July 2014 when on a flight from Lisbon to Amsterdam.  The aircraft declared an emergency and descended rapidly from FL380 (38 000 feet) down to 10 000 feet.   The passenger oxygen masks were deployed, but the aircraft landed without further problems.   This aircraft regularly does 5 flights during a single day, and is seen here at one of it’s regular airports, Funchal.     It was flying at around 130 knots (240 km/h) when the photo was taken. LOW-RES-TAPAnd another photo out of the archives…fishing boats in Essouria, Morocco.   Spot the figure on one of the boats….

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Video or not. That is the question

Thought for the day…”One fails forward toward success.”

“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

One of the big decisions that I am wrestling with at the moment is whether to concentrate on taking still photos, or take videos as well.    Taking videos is a whole different ball game, needing more equipment (including a much heavier tripod)  and a host of other bits and pieces.   Not only that, taking videos takes more time to set up and then even longer to edit.

Not only that, but I am beginning to question just how much photographic equipment I am sometimes carrying….a Fuji still camera, extra Fuji lenses (including a zoom lens that weighs 1.4kg), battery charger, spare batteries and trip.   Add to that 2 action cameras (Garmin & Go Pro), their battery chargers, their cables and all the special fittings that both need then the camera bag starts to get very big.     And on top of this, there is the quadcopter, again with its own battery charger, extra batteries and controller.   Of course, the leads and plugs for each are different.

So the camera bag is getting fuller and fuller, heavier and heavier.   Sometimes I think that going out to take photos is becoming a bit like a National Geographic photo trip.    So once again, I am trying to decide whether or not to concentrate on still photos, or to continue with videos as well.   Not an easy decision.   The quality of videos on sites like YouTube and Vimeo is SO high now….what was acceptable 10 years ago is not not, so videos have to made much better than before.

Not an easy decision, and one that needs a lot more thought.

Two still photos today, the first from the Brienzersee lake in central Switzerland, with one of the BLS lake boats, the second photo from the military air base at Meiringen, and a photo of an F-18 Hornet taking off for a practice flight prior to the recent airshow.

and another photo from the archives…

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Road rage, air rage and now airport rage

Thought for the day…”The hardest thing is to take less when you can get more.”                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

Road rage has now spread to airports as well.   The security checks, long queues and long waits and hassles over baggage mean that people are more stressed than ever.    Airlines have shot themselves in the foot by charging for baggage, as now you see people trying to drag on as much as they can…not uncommon to see them with 3 and sometimes 4 bags.    Airline policies may be wrong, and a lot of the things that airlines are now doing ARE unreasonable, but what is not fair is when you see people’s anger at airports directed at the wrong people – the people working on the check-in desks or at the gate.  These are not the people who have made the rules, they are the ones who are given the unfortunate task to enforce them though.   So it is sad to see passengers at airports getting angry with the wrong people, especially as many of them work for ground companies who are only contracted by the airlines.   By all means get angry with the airlines and the people who have made the mistakes, but make sure that the anger is directed at the correct people.   The person in front of you at the desk or gate may not be the right one.

Late afternoon low sunlight lights up the main street of Brienz, Switzerland for the photo today.  Many of the houses in this area date from the 1700s.

and another photo from the archives – a boat waits at Brienz, Switzerland for the return trip to Interlaken.

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Walking and texting, driving & texting, should be banned – moan for today.

Thought for the day…”Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Are you one of those people who walk down the street with their head permanently fixed on their mobile phone??   I have given up moving out of the way for these people who walk with no regard for anybody else who is walking towards them.    Numerous videos on Youtube of people who have walked into fountains and off piers whilst they used their mobile phone.   Even worse are those people who you see cycling and driving whilst texting at the same time.   Asking for trouble.       The trend seems to be getting worse in cafes and restaurants too, where the mobile phone is THE centre of attention.     Full marks to the cafes and restaurants who are now trying to restrict the use of mobile phones.    One bar in Pembroke, New Zealand has a sign up saying “we do not have internet, TALK to each other “.   Let us hope that more cafes and bars follow suit.

And the photo today is from Sydney, Australia, where there used to be an ex-Russian MiG 15 fighter that you could go flying in.  Not much space in the cockpit !!   Despite being an early jet fighter, it could fly at over 1000 km/h and it could fly up to 2500km.  It could also climb to over 50 000 feet/15500m.

and another photo from the archives….sailing boats line up to start a race…..

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The Worm Has Turned.

Thought for the day…”If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.”

“Power is like being a lady… if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” (Margaret Thatcher).

When I was 16 years old, I would always shop around for the cheapest (as students do), with little thought for quality or service.   But now it is the opposite.    I cannot understand why Ryanair (which is so often on the internet or newspapers for cancelling flights or upsetting passengers) is still in business.   There are so many people who will automatically go for the cheapest airline ticket, with no thought about quality or service.   Ryanair can upset thousands of passengers, yet still makes large profits.  When an airline upsets me (and many have) then they lose my business for good.  I vote with my feet.   Plenty of airlines out there, and those that mistreat passengers do not deserve business.  But why do people keep flying with Ryanair?    Cheap is not always good.    Service costs money to provide, but by paying more, you can often avoid problems.    Airlines such as Singapore Airlines are not the cheapest, but the service levels and reliability (and inflight experience) are FAR better.  If more people voted with their feet then average service levels would go up, as airlines such as Ryanair and Air Asia would be out of business.  Same thing with the airlines who are now putting 10 across seats into their Boeing 777 aircraft.  If more people refused to fly on these cramped aircraft then the airlines would be forced to go back to 9 across.  But too many people want the CHEAPEST.   But some of us are saying no, and are voting with our feet/money.

A photo from Aruba, in the Southern Caribbean for the photo today..

and another photo from the archives…beautiful coastline around Antigua, Caribbean……

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Think before you install……that app may not be so innocent

Thought for the day…”What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.”

“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”

It is amazing that so many people install apps on their mobile phones without any regard for just how much information those apps may collect. I recently wanted to install an app to control the flashlight on my mobile phone, but refused to install it when I discovered that it wanted access to my camera, email contacts and microphone. Absolutely no need for a glorified light switch to need access to my emails or the microphone on my telephone. And a second flashlight program proved just as bad.

Now there is the news on the internet about Amazon, and their plans to open physical stores in the USA. Apparently, they are going to monitor shoppers mobile phones, and will block their internet access if they attempt to check prices at other stores or online. So not only will Amazon be able to see what you are interested in, they will also be able to stop you comparing prices, and presumably, will also be able to see other sites on the internet that you are interested in. No doubt many people will quickly install a new Amazon app, without thinking about the loss of privacy. 50 years ago, people would have demonstrated against the idea of carrying something that gave authorities the power to see where they were within a few metres, and also what they were reading/eating/shopping/listening to. Even installing a flashlight app may now mean that somebody is listening to your conversations. Privacy is important, yet many people are now readily giving it up.

A photo from Spitsbergen of the Artic poppy flower, braving the cold weather…

and another photo….early morning in Riverton, in the far south of New Zealand.  At one time, this port received freight boats from Australia before the estuary silted up.  Now the railway and the larger boats have long since gone, leaving just the small fishing boats and a few tourists who pass through Riverton whilst driving the Southern Scenic Route.

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The Far North of Norway

Thought for the day…”Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.”

“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.”

Two more photos from the far north of Norway (70 degrees north).    At this time of year, there is 24 hours of daylight, as the sun never goes below the horizon.   Whilst the Norwegians may get excited about having 24 hours of daylight, it is not in fact very useful, because you still have to sleep.  And the other side of the coin is that in winter it has 24 hours of darkness (the so-called ‘eternal night’)  so it must be extremely depressing then.  Seen here in the photo is one of the many cruise ships which visit at this time of year, this one the ‘Mein Schiff’ from TUI Cruises.  Built in Finland at a cost of some 360 million euros, it carries around 2500 passengers, so is much smaller than the 6000+ passenger ships that cruise the Caribbean.   Seen here in Honningsvag, Finnmark, Norway.

and another photo….Mehamn in the far north of Norway

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Buying local – the advantages

Thought for the day….”It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

There was a time in my younger days when I would spend hours looking for the cheapest price. Getting something for the cheapest price was the target, and an important one.  But gradually I have come around to looking at VALUE, rather than price.    I have just had delivery of my new camera.  I know that I could have ordered it online cheaper, but because my local photo shop (Photo & Video International, Christchurch, New Zealand) has given me such great service, then it was an automatic and easy decision to order from them.  True, I may have paid more for the camera, but when I need help or advice, the dealer will be there, and will be only too happy to help, even if there is no direct profit in it for him.   Not only that, but it makes trading much more friendly.    And it is good to know that when I need some extra bits, that he will supply them, even if there is little or no profit in it for the shop.    Previously I would have gone for the cheapest, but the value of personal customer service from a shop cannot be measured in money terms.     The best part is that at the end of the transaction, that both the buyer and the seller come away feeling satisfied and happy.   Too many negative experiences with online ‘shops’ located in far off places, who once they have sold you something, do not want to hear from you again.  Long live the friendly local shop !!!

And a couple more photos from the old camera…….

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and another photo from the archives….the Finnish capital of Helsinki

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Squeeze more in – more cuts in standards at the airlines.

Thought for the day…”The secret of getting ahead is getting started”

“Some people are like clouds.  When they go away, it is a brighter day”.

Back on one of my favourite topics..airlines.  I see in the news that British Airways (BA) have become the latest airline to increase the number of seats in its aircraft.  The Boeing 777 will go to 10-across seating (currently 9) and the total number of seats will go up from 280 to 332.  The Airbus A320 will have more seats, up from 168 today to 180, and the Airbus A321 will go from 205 today to a new high of 218 seats.    So BA has also chosen 10 across seating for the 777.  And to make matters even worse, they are removing 2 or 3 toilets from economy class as well.  More passengers but fewer toilets.   Since SWISS airlines also introduced 10-across seating on the 777s, then I have avoided them, as the reports online about airlines who use 10 across seating have been far from positive.    Not only are passengers being squeezed width-wise, but also leg-wise as well.   Lufthansa’s new Airbus aircraft will actually have LESS leg room than Ryanair, and again the intial reports from passengers have been negative. And more of the legacy airlines are introducing charges for food onboard (eg. BA from January) as well as charges for checked-in baggage.    All this begs the question, why pay more to fly with the legacy airlines when the service levels are less?

Today’s photo comes from northern Norway.  Honningsvag in wonderful autumn light…..

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and another photo from the archives….landing at Funchal, Madeira……

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Autumn in Norway – sunset in Bronnoysund

Thought for the day….”Life is the flower for which love is the honey”

“Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live”

Bronnoysund (Brønnøysund in Norwegian) is known as the coastal town in the middle of Norway.  About 5000 people live here, at around 65 degrees north.    As well as a local airport, it is also visited by the daily Hurtigruten coastal boat service, both northbound and southbound.   Three photos, taken in lovely evening light on 13th October.   Camera was the Fuji X-T10 with the 18-55mm kit lens.   Soon this lens will be joined by the new Fuji 100-400mm lens, which has just been ordered.  Not an easy decision to buy a lens that costs about 3 times as much as the camera, but quality costs, and the quality of the Fuji lenses is superb, so the ‘buy’ button was pressed.   Just have to collect it now……

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and another photo from the same town….

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Autumn in Norway – fantastic autumn colours

Thought for the day…” A smile is a curve that sets everything straight”.

“Silence is not always golden”.

Norway has been experiencing some fantastic autumn weather recently, with days of clear blue skies and very clear air.    With conditions like these then the camera has been very busy….lots of photos and lots of videos.  So expect to see more photos of the autumn colours over the next few days.    The first 2 photos today were both taken today (7th October) near the village of Ornes in Norway.   Yet another day of perfect clear autumn air.    An absolute joy to be out with the camera…….

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and another photo from the archives….Haglebu, also in Norway.

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Buying decisions….to buy or not to buy, that is the question

Thought for the day…”A goal without a plan is just a wish”

“Success with a negative attitude is called Luck.  Success with a positive attitude is called Achievement”.

To buy, or not to buy.   That is the question.   Having recently upgraded the camera to the newer Fuji X-T10 (great camera, and highly recommended), the finger is now poised over the ‘BUY’ button.  This time it is the new Fuji XF 100-400mm lens.   All the reviews have been great, and the people that have posted their comments praise the lens, so it is undoubtedly a wonderful lens.   I gave the lens a try in the camera shop, and it felt very good, and the extra zoom would be very welcome BUT here is the problem….the lens costs about 3 times as much as the camera did, and with the teleconverter, will cost around 2000 euros.    So the finger is hesitating on the ‘BUY’ button.    Quality always costs more, and the Fuji products are great, but the thought of almost 2000 euros on a lens is difficult to accept.  To buy, or not to buy, that is the question…..

A couple of photos from the north of Norway, taken with the standard 18-55mm Fuji lens on the X-T10.  The first photo is from the small town of Vardo, at the top of Norway.

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and another photo from north Norway…Hammerfest

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Up to the top of Norway – Finnmark

Thought for the day….”You will never win if you never begin”.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose”

Today’s photo is from the fishing village of Vardo, in north Norway at 70 degrees north in the province of Finnmark.   Vardo has three names, one in Norwegian, one in Finnish (Vuoreija ) and one in Sami (Várggát).  Russia is also just a few kilometres across the bay, and the island is now connected to mainland Norway by a 2.8km subsea road tunnel.  Vardo is also the name of the gypsy caravan used by romany gypsies in Britain.  Vardo has a history of witchcraft, including trials of witches and also a witchcraft museum.   Curiously, it also lies further east than either Istanbul or Kiev.  It also hosts the yukigassen, a snowball fighting competition.  The average annual temperature here is only 1.3 degrees, not helped by the long, dark artic winter in this part of Norway.

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and a couple of photos from Oksfjord, near the top of Norway at 70 degrees north.  About 500 people live in this fishing village, although the fish processing factories have all closed.  As there are few roads in this part of Norway then ferries are an important way of getting around, including the daily Hurtigruten boats.  Hammerfest is the nearest major town.

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and another photo from the archives….a beach in the Seychelles islands…..

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Great colours from the Fuji camera

Thought for the day….”Too many people overvalue what they are NOT, and undervalue what they ARE”

“It is not the load that breaks you down, it is the way that you carry it”.

Norway has been enjoying some fantastic summer weather…with unbelievable temperatures, even in the far north.   Not only have there been many long, sunny days, but some days with wonderful clear air too.  Today’s photo comes from Svolvaer, the ‘capital’ of the Lofoten Islands, about half way up the long coast of Norway.   The photo was taken in the main harbour, and shows the traditional cottage that was previously used by fishermen, called a rorbu.  These cabins were traditionally built out over the water, so that boats could moor directly alongside.  Many of these have been converted into holiday homes, although the ones in this photo are actually part of a hotel.   At this time of year, there is 24 hour sunshine in this part of Norway, so even late evening it is possible to get photos like this.  Expect to pay around 200 euros a night for a typical cabin during summer.   Taken with the Fuji X-T10 camera and standard 18-55mm kit lens, with almost no editing of the photo.   Once again, great colours from Fuji.

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and another photo from the archives…some great colours in Mindelo, Cape Verde islands….

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More depressing news from New Zealand

Thought for the day…”If things do not go right, go left”

“Success – keeping your mind awake and your desire asleep”

More depressing news from New Zealand….even more flights and even bigger aircraft.   As well as increased numbers of flights from the USA and also from China, Emirates airline has announced that it is putting a 4th Airbus A380 on the route to Auckland.    This will mean that there will be 4 A380s at Auckland at the same time in addition to another A380 from Singapore Airlines.  Whilst the tourist board in NZ may be congratulating themselves on record numbers of visitors, the country just cannot cope with ever-increasing numbers.   The country has a population of just over 4.6 million people, but now receives over 3.3 million tourists, many of whom want to see the same few places.   The last 2 summers have seen accommodation fully booked, and tourists having to sleep in cars due to the lack of accommodation.  Buses and flights have been fully booked, and it has even become necessary to reserve some mountain huts ahead.    Queenstown (known as the adventure capital of the world), with a population of around 22 000 people, is now receiving over 2 MILLION tourists a year.  You can imagine what the town centre is like there in high summer.   But the tourist board keeps encouraging more and more flights, thinking that more and more tourists are good for the economy.  Yet the very nature and beauty that these tourists are attracted to is fast becoming destroyed (there have been attempts to build a monorail in one of the national parks already).

Some of the popular walking tracks (such as the Abel Tasman coastal track and the Tongariro Crossing) are now so crowded that they are considering giving people starting times for the walks, in an attempt to spread the crowds out.    Clean and green New Zealand it once was.  Now it is crowded and busy NZ.   So the news that the airlines are putting on even more flights to cope with this demand is hardly surprising, yet nobody in government has had the courage to stand up and say that there is a limit to how many tourists that NZ can accept.   It seems that every month that a new record for tourist arrivals is being reached (China is the big growth area for incoming tourists), with no sign of it easing up.    So when those millions of tourists do finally arrive in NZ, then the fun and games trying to find accommodation, rental cars and domestic flights begins.    Those politicians who think that unlimited numbers of tourists are good for the NZ economy should take a trip (assuming that they can get a seat on a flight or bus) to Queenstown or Milford Sound in summer and see just what sort of effect the millions of tourists are having.    Start queueing now !!!

Early morning in Geilo, Norway for the photo today….great colours from the Fuji camera together with clear air helped make this such a good photo.  The early morning mist had almost burnt off when the photo was taken.

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and another photo from the archives…two tourists admire Lake Wanaka, Pembroke Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. Two tourists managed to creep into this photo even !!

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Unbelievable Norway – summer comes early to the north

Thought for the day…”If you obey all the rules, you miss all of the fun”  (Katharine Hepburn)

North Norway has been enjoying some unusually warm temperatures recently, not to mention some fantastic summer weather.    Temperatures in the far north of Norway have reached over 18 degrees in April (plus degrees that is), along with clear blue skies, windless days and warm sunshine.    At times it has been hard to believe that it is Norway, especially when the sea has been incredibly clear and such a wonderful blue colour.  If this is all due to global warming, then I vote for more of it !!!  The first photo is of the Hurtigruten ship “Kong Harald” in Alesund harbour.

Every day of the year, one of the Hurtigruten ships leaves from Bergen to sail all the way up to the coast of Norway to Kirkenes, just a few kilometres from the Russian border.     Officially, the radar domes in the second photo from Vardo, are part of the European Space Junk monitoring programe, however, a few years ago the covers blew off the radar domes, and a Norwegian newspaper revealed that the radars were not pointing upwards towards space, but were actually pointing across the bay towards Russia.   No doubt there are also radars on the Russian side of the bay pointing towards Norway !!!   Curiously, Vardo, in the second photo, actually lies further east than Istanbul or Kiev, even though it is Norway.

All photos were taken with the Fuji X-T10 camera, which is proving to be a joy to use, and with the 18-55mm standard kit lens (also a joy to use).

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More cutbacks at the airlines…Lufthansa squeezes more people in

Thought for the day…” A dame that knows the ropes isn’t  likely to get tied up”   (Mae West)

” I generally avoid temptation, unless I can’t resist it”.  (Mae West).

Back on one of my favourite topics…airlines.    I have now seen the seatmaps for the new Airbus A320 NEOs that Lufthansa will be introducing.  Not only are they squeezing in even more seats (12 more seats as compared to the A320s that they currently operate), but passengers in economy class will end up with LESS leg room than on Ryanair (the new Ryanair 737s will give 76cm of space whereas Lufthansa will be offering only 71cm).   Not only that, but those passengers sitting in the rear of the aircraft will be looking at a blank wall, as the rear area (previously the toilet area) does not have windows.  But wait, there is more….the 2 rear toilets that are left are also being reduced in size (said to be the equivalent of a Greyhound bus toilet for size) and the galley is being reduced in size to a small corner unit.   So more passengers but less food options, more passengers but smaller toilets, more passengers and less leg room.    Is this progress?    And Ryanair, once seen as the king of cutbacks and no-frills, is actually going to offer passengers MORE space than Lufthansa.

So that begs the question…why pay extra to fly with Lufthansa??  If you are going to pay more but get LESS legroom, and if Lufthansa are now charging you to choose your seat in advance, then why bother to fly with them??  Do you remember those adverts showing Airbus aircraft with SPACIOUS interiors?    Forget that now…economy class on Lufthansa is going to be a squeeze…just 71cm.    You pay your money and you take your choice, as they say.

Early morning sunshine in the small town of Picton, South Island New Zealand for the photo today…quiet before the arrival of the ferry from the North Island.

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and another photo from the archives…thinking time in Cuba…..

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Frequent Flyer schemes – waste of time ?

Thought for the day..” Life is like photography.  You use the negatives to develop”

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”

Are airline frequent flyer schemes a waste of time now?   Perhaps.   I have just flown from Frankfurt, Germany to Auckland, New Zealand, a distance of some 18 162 km.   Most companies see the value in recognizing regular customers and in looking after them, as they are an important source of profit.    But now it seems that frequent flyers are losing their attraction.    Rather annoying that for the flight from Germany to New Zealand, that I will not get a single air point.    I then go on to read that for my domestic flights in New Zealand, I will also not get ANY air points.   Two additional trips to the Pacific Islands, again not a single air mile for the return trips.    So for 12 or more of my flights, I will not get a single air point.   Not one.   And to make matters worse, when I do actually get some air points, the airline is now often only giving me 25% of the air miles, because I am flying on cheap tickets.     And when I come to try and use my air miles, they are asking for even higher amounts of miles than previously, and then are asking me to pay the taxes and charges on top.     So it begs the question, are the airline frequent flyer schemes now a waste of time.??

Fishing nets in New Zealand for the photo today……

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and another photo from the archives…..about to arrive in Funchal, Madeira.

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Lofoten Islands & Hurtigruten boats.

Thought for the day….” When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not with your brain”   (Mark Twain).

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”  (Thomas Edison).

Two photos from the Lofoten Islands in artic Norway…both with the Hurtigruten ships in them.  One of these boats leaves Bergen every day of the year for the 5.5 day journey up the coast all the way to Kirkenes, near the Russian border.    Lofoten Islands are about half way up Norway, at about 67 degrees north (so north of the Artic circle).  Fishing has been important here for over 1000 years, now tourism is also important during the very short summer season.   The islands have the midnight sun from 25th May until 17th July.    In the photos, the Hurtigruten boat ms Trollfjord passes another Hurtigruten boat,  ms Finnmarken.  Fuji X-E1 camera again, and the 18-55mm kit lens, a great combination.    As others have said, the Fuji X-E1 camera makes you want to take photos again.

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Hurtigruten sunset

Thought for the day…”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

“You do not stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing”.

A couple of sunset photos from the deck of the Hurtigruten coastal steamer boats.    These boats travel between Bergen on the west coast of Norway and Kirkenes at the top of Norway, next to the Russian border, a journey of 5.5 days each way.   11 ships travel the route, and call at 34 ports along the way, including a trip up the famous Geirangerfjord in summer.    Interestingly, Norwegian Television did a live TV sending of the whole 134 hour trip.   The photos today were taken near the middle of the trip, just north of the Lofoten islands, again with the Fuji X-E1.

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