Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

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Ultimate Swiss army knife !!! – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement”.

”  Happiness is a road to travel, not a goal to reach”.

Did you know that the original Swiss army knife was grey, not red?  And in the beginning, when the knives were made for the Swiss army, they did not feature a corkscrew because soldiers were forbidden to drink whilst on duty.  Apparently, on modern Swiss army knives, the corkscrew is the one part that is not made in Switzerland (it is manufactured in Japan instead).  The Swiss army knife started life in 1897 after being developed by Carl Elsener.   His idea was to manufacture something to stop emigration due to unemployment.  The design has been so successful that it has even been used in the Space Shuttle.  It is now possible to buy a Swiss army knife WITHOUT the knife part, so that it can be carried on flights (a knife-less Swiss army knife!) .   Wenger, one of the two main companies producing the knives (the other is Victorinox)  produces a knife known as ‘The Giant’, with some 87 tools included on it.    And here is a photo of one…which was on offer in Switzerland for CHF 1200……

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One strange or odd fact about the Swiss army is that they accidentally invaded the neighboring country of Lichtenstein in 2007 after getting lost in a rainstorm !!

And a photo from the archives, this time from Cuba….4 modes of transport in this shot…..

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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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Breaking records SPEED – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….”Out on the edge, you see all sorts of things that you cannot see from the centre”.

” Losers make promises that they often break, winners make commitments that they always keep”

A photo today of the world record holder for conventional trains, the French TGV.  The train, seen here in Lausanne station (Switzerland) carries a special paint scheme, and includes details of the world record which it broke on 3rd April 2007, when it achieved a top speed of 574.8 km/h.   Although this is the world record for conventional trains (that is, those running on normal rails) the Japanese MAGLEV train set an overall train speed record of 581 km/h.   At the other end of the scale, the world’s slowest train is said to be the last running train in Cambodia, which has a top speed of only 17 km/h.   The normal top speed of the TGV (as in today’s photo) is 320 km/h, although there are plans to raise this in time.

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Swiss Bells – 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”.

” A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are for”.

I had forgotten just how good travel by train could be.  I recently travelled down through Europe on long-distance night train, and it was very interesting to compare this trip with the return trip, which was by air.   No early check in at an airport, no expensive airport ‘box’ hotel, and no long queues to endure.  No silly security checks, and nobody on the train was worried that I was carrying toothpaste or liquids which at an airport would be taboo.   No need to check in at all, just board the train and find the sleeping compartment.   Pleasant evening on the way down through Europe, good snacks in the cafe, and coffee that was far better than airline coffee.    And add to that a good nights sleep and it makes a very pleasant journey.   Then next morning breakfast in the train cafe and voila, it was time to arrive (and on time too).   Compare that to the hassle and frustration at airports and being squashed in economy class for the flight back.  Flight back was late, on an old aircraft and delayed even further due to passengers travelling with far too many carry on bags.  Perhaps one day the train will be THE way to travel again…….The recent trip was a very interesting comparison.

Today’s photo is from the central part of Switzerland, with a photo of Swiss cow bells on a woodland hotel.  Very Swiss !

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Scenic railway journey – Bergen to Oslo Norway – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” If money does not grow on trees, then why do banks have branches? “.

” Why do round pizzas come in square boxes?  “

When we travel now, we are never really out of touch, because with internet and mobile phones, then there is always a link, even in surprisingly ‘remote’ places.   In the news from Japan is a story that they are launching internet ‘fasting camps’  so that the estimated 1/2 million children in Japan who are addicted to the internet can receive help.    California in the USA already has a digital detoxing resort for adults but the Japanese Education authority is now targeting children in an attempt to get them to do more activities WITHOUT internet.

Today’s photo shows one of the great railway journeys in the world, the Oslo-Bergen line in Norway.   Seen here on an early autumn day, is the train heading for Oslo, not far from the town of Nesbyen.   The 493km journey crosses the Hardangervidda plateau, and reaches a height of 1222m at Finse before descending to sea level near Bergen.  The newer tilting trains that were introduced on this line in 2000 are gradually being replaced by locomotive hauled trains (as in the photo) which handle the snow and conditions on the line better.

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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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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.

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