Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Finland

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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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION, FAIRNESS


Queen of the Skies – the Boeing 747 400

Thought for the day….”Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

A photo that is history now….a Singapore Airlines 747-400 taking off from Zurich airport in Switzerland.  Known as the Queen of the Skies, almost 400 tons lifting off for the 11 hour flight to Singapore.    Zurich (code ZRH) is a great place to take aircraft photos, as the authorities there actually encourage people to take photos, and even organize special photo tours.    Great that the managers there have seen the value of photographers, and make it easy to take photos, rather than trying to prevent it like so many airports do today.  Not only that, but Zurich is actually a good airport to fly into or transit, run with the usual Swiss efficiency.     The photo below was taken during one of the organized photo tours, although even from the normal viewing decks, it is easy to get some great photos.

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and some faces from the harbour market in Helsinki, Finland……

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Coffee time in Finland

Thought for the day…”Value is more expensive than price”

“You may not know what is going to happen when you try, but if you do not try, nothing will happen”.

Two photos from opposite sides of the globe next, one from the Finnish capital of Helsinki and the second from the Central Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand.   Interestingly, the building in the first photo is now the City Hall for Helsinki, but was originally a hotel where the first moving pictures were shown in Finland by the Lumiere brothers in 1896.   Even in winter (when temperatures are frequently below -20 degrees centigrade) people will sit outside in the area around the harbour to drink excellent, strong Finnish coffee (kahvi in Finnish language).   Finland is number one in the world for coffee consumption per capita, something to do with the long, dark Artic nights.  But the coffee is excellent !!!   It works out to about 12kg of coffee for each person in Finland.   A survey in 2014 reported that 14% of men and 6% of women in Finland drank MORE than 10 cups of coffee a day.  They like their coffee !!

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And another photo from the archives….Lake Hawea, Otago, New Zealand

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Scandinavian duo – Stockholm & Helsinki

Thought for the day…” A star needs darkness to shine ”          ” Beauty might bring happiness, but happiness always brings beauty”.

It you take around 51 000 steps, and run them in around 2 hours and 2 minutes, and cover a distance of 42.195 km then you will have run the famous marathon, and in a record time too !!   It is said to have started when a Greek messenger called Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens with news of the Greek victory over the Persians.  The sad fact is that having run the marathon with the exciting news, that he collapsed and died.    An extra 182 m was added to the distance in 1908 during the Olympics in London, so that the finish line would be in front of the royal box, and since then the marathon has remained at 42.195 km.   Annette Fredskov from Denmark holds the dubious honour of having run 366 marathons in a single year.   In Canada the 101 year old  Fauja Singh completed a marathon in Toronto during 2011 in a time of 8 hours 11 minutes.    Around 21 000 runners compete in the annual Stockholm marathon, from where today’s photo comes.   Judging by the number of runners in the photo, then it was certainly crowded over the first few kilometres.

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And another photo from the archives……snowmobile jumping in the Finnish capital of Helsinki….

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The trend is spreading……more extras from the airlines…

Thought for the day…” Common sense ain’t common”

” If you do not fight for what you want, then do not cry for what you lost”

I have had many good flights with Lufthansa.   Sometimes they have problems, but they are usually very good at trying to sort alternatives out.   Same thing with Swiss Airlines (now also part of the Lufthansa group).    So I had been loyal to them for a long time, and generally very happy with the service and fares.  But it appears that they have now gone the same way as airlines in the USA and also the European budget airlines.   Sad to see that they are now charging for seat reservations (up to 25 euros each flight for long haul for a basic seat).   Not only that, but Swiss airlines are now offering a bag-only fare (to Geneva), ie. if you want to travel with a check-in bag then you must pay more.    And Austrian Airlines are offering Economy passengers the chance to enjoy a better meal on payment of an extra 15 euros.  And KLM (part of Air France), who I refuse to fly with on the grounds of previous bad flights and bad customer service, add in extra charges for paying by credit cards, and also an extra fee of 25 euros if you book by telephone, as well as an extra 15 euros if you check in a bag.   And if you want an economy ‘Comfort’ seat, (are the other seats called discomfort seats on KLM?) with UP TO 10 cm more space, then KLM give you the chance to pay between 5 and 160 euros EXTRA for the UP TO 10cm extra.   And the final straw…..Wizzair airline is also charging for carry-on baggage.

So the quality airlines are copying the budget airlines, and the lines between them become less clear.     But the trend does not stop with airlines.   Swebuss, the Swedish long-distance bus company is offering passengers who pay extra the chance to board the bus first.  Viking Line, the Finnish ferry company that operates around the Baltic is giving passengers even more chances to pay extra…..extra charge to reserve a window seat in the restaurant, extra charge for late check in with a car, extra charge for priority disembarkation with a car etc.

People used to mock Ryanair because although the basic fare was cheap, everything else was extra.    That was the standing joke.  Now it seems, that bus companies, ferry companies and even quality airlines are all going the same way.  You pays your money and you takes your choice, as they say….

Today’s photo comes from Interlaken, near the centre of Switzerland.  A paraglider frames the 4158m Jungfrau mountain in the Bernese Oberland in  Switzerland.  If you are feeling energetic, then you can enter for the annual Jungfrau Marathon, which is run uphill.  One nice touch is that they have Swiss chocolate at the refreshment points during the race.    No doubt that the runners will need a lot of chocolate to run the 42 km uphill.

LOW-RES-Jungfrau

and another photo from the archives…capturing the moment in Korea…

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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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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.

LOW-RES-Helsinki-Senate LOW-RES-Helsinki--harbour

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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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Busy doing nothing – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Never let perfect be the enemy of better”     ”  It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success”

A photo from a few years back, taken on the main railway station in Tallinn, Estonia.  Estonia has been independent from the Soviet Union since 1991, although there is still a lot of Russian influence there, with around 45% of the population speaking Russian.  It still shares a border with Russia, and another with Latvia.   Around 430 000 people live in the capital, Tallinn.   It has become known as the Silicon Valley of the Baltic due to the large IT industry there, with Skype being its most famous development.    More than 1.5 million tourists visit the city each year, with about 1/3 of them arriving by ship.   Plans to link Tallinn to Helsinki (Finland), some 80km away by an undersea tunnel have been put on hold, although they were part of the European Union plans to improve links to the area.

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And one from the archives, taken a few years ago, the rare Rothschild giraffe.

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New, looking old – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…’ Life was much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits”.

“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day”.

The world gets more crazy.    Apparently, the Brightwater Wastewater Treatment centre (which is called a sewage works to you and me), near Seattle, USA is now promoting itself as the perfect place for weddings.  Advertising on its Facebook page, it lists the things that it can offer for your perfect wedding….lots of parking, dance floor and  full catering.   Renting the sewage works costs USD 2000 for 8 hours.   Apparently, there is no smell.

A photo from the Finnish capital of Helsinki for the photo today.   It started as a colour photo, but was then converted to black and white and then finally to Sepia, to give it an old look.  On the skyline is the Lutheran cathedaral, and below that on the left is the Helsinki town hall.   Much of the centre of Helsinki Iincluding the Lutheran Cathedral) was designed by the German architect, Engel and has a Russian style.   Indeed, parts of Helsinki look so much like Russia that in the 1970s and 1980s it was used as a copy of Russia when making films.   With faster trains to Russia now, then there are many more Russian visitors, as well as day trippers from Sweden who arrive on the overnight ferries.

Low-res-Helsinki

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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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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.

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Photo of the day Wednesday 26th June 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” A pat on the back is only a few centimetres from a kick in the butt.”

” If it was not for the last minute, then nothing would get done”.

”  Change is inevitable, except from vending machines”.

One of the complaints that you hear from foreign tourists in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, is about the cost of public toilets.  Not only are there not enough of them, but when you do find one, then you can pay up to 10 SEK (=1.15 euros) for the priviledge.      It is a similar story in Oslo, Norway and Helsinki, Finland, the public toilets are not so common and are expensive.   But in Japan at least some of the public toilets now have Sega Toylet, a urine controlled computer game which is affected by the users aim and the flow of liquid.   The world’s largest public toilet is reported to be in Chonquing, China, which can relieve 1000 people simultaneously.   This building has an Egyptian theme (even though it is in China) and also music and TV screens to entertain users.

Almost back in its home port of Stockholm, Viking Line ‘Cinderella’  is just a few kilometres from the terminal in this recent shot from Stockholm, Sweden.    The ship carries 2500 passengers, mainly on short 22 trips to Finland for dancing and drinking.

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Photo of the Day Tuesday 18th June 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure”‘.

” Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success”.

I read an interesting story in the news about the  ‘T-Rex Burger’ that Wendy’s in the USA was offering.  They were offering the burger which contained 9 (!!) quarter pound beef patties (that makes over 1kg in the new money), 9 slices of cheese, tomatoes,, onion, lettuce and pickles, although it has now been removed after adverse publicity.    A truck stop in the USA is also offering ‘The Heart Attack Burger’ whilst in Las Vegas (of course) the “Heart Attack Grill” served the infamouns “Triple Bypass Burger’ which contained 6000 calories.    One man is reported as suffering a possible heart attack after eating one of these burgers in one sitting.  If you are still hungry after that, then you can try Sonic’s 1200 calorie ‘Bacon Shake’, which contains 82 grams of sugar,  and 79 grams of fat.   Fancy Japanese instead?  Then how about Burger King’s Kuro Burger, which comes with a bamboo charcoal bun and squid ink ketchup.  But what actually goes into a fast food burger??

A photo from Finland today, and icebreakers laid up for the summer, with nothing to do until the winter ice returns.

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LOW RES Icebreakers

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Photo of the Day Tuesday 28th May 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant”         ” Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.

The shortest regular scheduled flight in the world is the 2 minute flight from Westray to Papa Westray.   In the news is the story that the 59 year old pilot, Stuart Linklater who has done this flight some 12 000 times, is to retire.   The fastest that the flight has ever been done is 53 seconds.   Singapore Airlines currently holds the record for the world’s longest flight, the 18.5 hour flight from Singapore to Newark, although this service will end this year.  The distance covered on this flight is over 15 296 km.

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LOW-RES-Baltic-Sunset-6-May-2013

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Very happy not to be working at the Quality Spa Resort Hotel in Norefjell.


Photo of the Day Saturday 25th May 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Life is the most difficult exam. Many people fail because they copy others, not realising that everyone has a different question paper”.                                                ” Happiness is the ultimate DIY project.”

I picked up a wonderful story in the news about the toilet paper shortage in Venezuela.   Apparently, the Venezuelan government is planning to import 39 million rolls to help with the serious shortage in Venezuela.   Reports say that people have been queuing to buy toilet paper, and in some places, people have had their hands ink stamped to prevent them buying more than their quota.  That got me to have a look at the Toilet Paper Encyclopedia (yes, there is one) where I discovered that in 1996 in the USA, that President Clinton imposed a 6 cent tax on each roll of toilet paper.   The USA is the world’s largest producer of toilet paper.   And did you know that toilegami is the art of folding toilet paper into elaborate shapes?

And for the photo today, a picture of a snowmobile jumping in the city centre, Helsinki, Finland.

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WORDPRESS-Helsinki-snowmobile

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Very happy not to be working at the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell, Norway.


Photo of the Day Thursday 16th May 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards”

” Experience is not a skill, it is an attitude’      “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser”

I read on the news today that the European Union is going to give 520 MILLION euros to Mali to help rebuilding there.  Is that not crazy when the European Union is suffering from huge financial problems, with several EU countries bankrupt?    Why give away money that they do not have?   That money should be spent IN Europe, not given away.   The EU has huge debt problems, so giving away over 1/2 billion euros is wrong.  I hope that the voters do something about it.

Another photo from Helsinki today and an unusual photo of the seats in the famous Church in the Rock, which is called  Temppelliaukio in Finnish.  It is a very popular tourist attraction, receiving over 1 million tourists a year, as well as hosting weddings and also music concerts.

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LOW-RES-Helsinki-church-seats

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Photo of the Day Sunday 12th May 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” You do not know where you are going if you are always looking back”.

” You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving”.

Off to Helsinki for the photo today and to the harbour market.  The market is around the South Harbour, which handles 5.4 million passengers a year, mainly on the ferries to/from Sweden and Estonia.   The market is year round, so even during the coldest and darkest days of winter, there is a market here.  Temperatures can fall to -30 degrees in winter and the sea is often frozen.  Add to that the darkness and it is not a very pleasant place to be in winter.

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WORDPRESS-Helsinki

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Photo of the Day Sunday 5th May 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life”.

A photo from the Baltic Sea today and the Tallink Galaxy boat, which travels between Turku, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.   Although originally owned by Silja Line, the company was taken over by the Estonian Tallink Line.   Although once it was a pleasant way to cross the Baltic, now prices are higher, and customer service lower.    And if you are onboard with a lot of drunk Swedish or Finnish passengers (they go mad on buying the tax-free onboard) then the crossing can be far from pleasant. The boat is seen here heading towards Stockholm, near Oxdjupet,.

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WORDPRESS-Galaxy

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Photo of the Day Sunday 21st April 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”  Your time is limited but your imagination is not”

” If you do not fight for what you want then do not cry for what you lost”.

Did you know that, with an average height of 1.8m above sea level, that the Maldives are the nation most likely to disappear when sea levels rise?   And did you know that the Falkland Islands have around 350 sheep for every person, or that Canada is the country in the world with the most lakes?   The least densely populated country in the world is Mongolia, whereas Hong Kong is the most densely populated.   And did you know that Saudi Arabia has no rivers?  Or that the country Monaco is actually smaller than Central Park in New York.    And in Papua New Guinea, an estimated 820 different languages are spoken.   And finally, did you know that the world’s fastest train ride is from Shanghai city to Pudong airport, where the magnetic train travels at 430km/h.

The photo today shows the Lutheran Cathedral in the centre of Helsinki, Finland, with some spring sunshine.

LOW-RES-Cathedral

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Photo of the Day Saturday 23 March 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can see from the top of a mountain”.

“You are only young once, you can be immature forever”.   “Everyday is a gift, that is why they call it the present”.

An interesting photo from inside the Church in the Rock, Helsinki (Temppeliaukio Church).   Opened in 1969 this Lutheran church is set in rock, although is only 1/4 of the size that was originally planned.   The rough rock surfaces give excellent accoustics, so it is often used for concerts, and is visited by around 1/2 million tourists annually.

WORDPRESS-church-in-rock

Also today it is a video of a scenic helicopter flight from Zermatt, Switzerland.   Taking off from Zermatt, then heading down the valley before turning left and climbing up over the glaciers, then around the Matterhorn before heading south to Italy, and finally a rapid descent back down to Zermatt.   One of the most scenic helicopter flights that I have done, highly recommended if you are in the area. (The video is also available as a HD option on Youtube )

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Photo of the Day Tuesday 19th March 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”  (Benjamin Franklin)

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired”                             “Sanity is madness put to good use”

CHOICE.   Not something that Microsoft seems to offer a lot of.   Just been trying to get their new Outlook mail to work properly.   For some reason, Microsoft decided that everybody using Hotmail would like to use Outlook instead (=wrong).   No choice given, it was just changed automatically.  Benefits…none that I can see.  Disadvantages…..lots experienced so far.  So why did Microsoft not think to give people the CHOICE to stick with Hotmail?    What was wrong with Hotmail as it was?  If so many people were using it, then it could not have been too bad.   But the ‘experts’ at Microsoft decided otherwise.  No choice offered.  How is that for customer ‘service’?

A wintry scene from the Finnish capital of Helsinki, with the President’s Palace on the right, and the Hotel Torni visible at the end of the Esplanaden.

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LOW-RES-Helsinki-ice

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Photo of the Day Tuesday 26th February 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” If they develop a supersonic train, will they give it a whistle?”

“If ignorance is bliss then why aren’t more people happy?”

Did you know that light from the sun takes approximately 8 minutes to reach the Earth?  And did you know that the famous line in the film ‘Casablanca’ was not “Play it again, Sam” but was in fact “play it once, Sam, for old times sake”.   And did you know that the country of Kiribati is the only country that falls in all four hemispheres?

An icy scene from Helsinki, Finland here, mid winter.

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WORDPRESS-Helsinki-ice

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Photo of the day Thursday 7th February 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

”Don’t be pushed by your problems.  Be led by your dreams.”

Yesterday, 6th February was Waitangi Day in New Zealand.  It is a public holiday held each year to celebrate the signing of the famous Waitangi treaty, which made New Zealand part of the British Empire.  There is still a lot of argument over the true translation of the treaty, and the celebrations at Waitangi have often been accompanied with minor troubles and protests.  Waitangi Day is also the same date as Bob Marley’s birthday.  As Waitangi Day falls in the hottest part of summer in New Zealand, then many people use the extra public holiday to visit the beach.

Some winter sunshine in the photo today of the Silja Symphony boat arriving in Helsinki Finland.  The temperature was around -15 degrees at the time.

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Helsinki-Silja-Symphony-arr