Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Ships

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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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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Two from the opposite ends of Norway

Thought for the day…..”If you cannot do great things then do small things in a great way”

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”.

So the crazy ‘security’ people in the good old USA have now decided that the humble Kindle e-book reader cannot be taken onboard flights from certain countries, nor a laptop, digital camera or tablet.   Yet people flying from some other countries CAN take the exact same items.    Just another sign of how stupid the USA has become.    And I am even more surprised that the travelling public in the USA is putting up with more and more of this nonsense.  Nothing to do with security, just a way for the Department of Homeland ‘Security’  to exercise even more control over people, without making flying any safer.    Even Australia is now making the use of the naked body scanners compulsory, with no opt-out option,  yet another intrusion into personal privacy and personal rights.     Based on these stupid, groundless ‘security’ procedures ( security scam would be another way to describe it)  then I will continue to avoid the USA, UK and Australia.    Airport procedures now are beyond reasonable.

A photo of the west Norwegian city of Bergen, taken from Mt. Floyen in perfect light.  Again great colours from the Fuji camera, taken as a jpeg.

and another photo….the fishing town of Vardo, Norway.    This is the easternmost town in Norway, and actually lies further East then Istanbul or Kiev !!  One of the town’s slogans is ‘Eternal light, Eternal Night’,  which is a reference to the 24 hours of constant daylight during summer, and the 24 hours of constant darkness during Winter.    The Russian border is only a few km away across the bay.

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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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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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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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Where are the ‘experts’????

Thought for the day…”Don’t live the same year 90 times and call it a life”

“When life gives you a rainy day, play in the puddles”.

Computers have been around for a long time now, since the last century indeed.  Some of us grew up with them, starting with the famous Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the says of loading programs with tapes.   But despite computers having been around for decades, they still do not work as they should.  Why is it that there are still so many problems with things that by now should be simple, like logging into wifi??    Why do computers seem to have endless problems and need endless updates?   And where are the ‘experts’??   Surely by now they could have sorted out all the teething problems and have produced computers that do work without needing constant attention.     I would love to sit next to Bill Gates on a long flight and pass him my laptop and ask him to make it work properly.    It seems that the so-called ‘experts’ are not so expert.  How often have you heard the advice to restart the computer (ie. pull the plug out)??    And why have these ‘experts’ not managed to sort out the problems after all these years.  I just want a computer that works as it should and does not need constant attention.   Is that too much to ask???

Off to Norway for the photo today…and to the harbour port of Kristiansund, seen here on a beautiful summer’s day.

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and another photo from the archives…..fishermen returning home in Croatia….

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Early one morning……71 degrees north

Thought for the day…” The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”

For some reason, I have few photos of sunrise.    Not that sunrise is the correct term, because the sun does not rise at all, just that the Earth is turning.   Those who are into sundials will know about the equation of time, and the effects of refraction on the actual time of  ‘sunrise’.   Today’s photo was taken on 29th September at 71 degrees north in North Norway, just ahead of a storm.  Suprisingly, about 30 minutes after the photo was taken, the scene had changed to wind and rain, but for a few minutes around ‘sunrise’ the colours and clouds were great.  As usual, the Fuji X-E1 was the camera.

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and another photo from the archives…..the island of Madeira and the fishing village of Camara de Lobos..

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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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Colour at the top of Europe (almost).

Thought for the day…” A fool and his money are soon elected”   (Will Rogers)

“It is better to regret something you did, rather than something that you did NOT do”.

Work has taken me up to the top of Norway and the top of Europe, but I took some time off to get out and about with the camera.      Despite several very grey and dull days, a burst of sunshine made all the difference for a photo of these houses at Honningsvag, Norway.   Officially, to be classed as a city in Norway, a place has to have over 5000 people, but Honningsvag, poplulation about 2500, was exempted from this rule.   Fishing and tourism are the many industries here, with cruise ships visiting in summer to allow passengers to travel to the nearby Nordkapp.   The mean average temperature here is just +2 degrees, as it is at almost 71 degrees north.      Taken with the Fuji X-E1 camera and 18-55mm standard kit lens.

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and another photo from the archives….a serene scene from the Seychelles.

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An unusual online dating site……..

Thought for the day…” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single cash advance”.

” You miss 100% of the shots that you never take”.

If you are bored at this time of year then you may like to join an online dating site.  But not any old online dating site.  How about ” Dead-meet.com”??   This is THE site for people working with death, such as embalmers, morticians, coroners etc. to meet like-minded partners who will understand the stress and trials of working with death.    So at the end of a long day, you can return home and discuss all the decomposition of the day with a partner who will likely be able to describe their day of death as well.    http://www.dead-meet.com    if you want to check it out.

Less boring, and showing plenty of signs of life is the photo today of a ferry passenger.  The white paint on the ferry acted as a natural reflector, illuminating her face perfectly.

LOW-RES-passengerand another photo from the archives –  speed and action in this cycle race in Portugal, taken a few years ago….

LOW RES COPY PORT Madeira Funchal 23 May 2010 (78)

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Would you turn off your mobile phone for a discount ?

Thought for the day…” Just because nobody complains does not mean that all parachutes are perfect”  (Benny Hill).

Spotted an interesting story in the news about an Italian priest who had installed electronics in his church to jam the signals to mobile telephones.    Signs in the church asking people to switch off their telephones had not worked, so the priest took things a stage further and installed the jamming device.   Local shopkeepers have been complaining that the phone-jammer is so powerful that it is affecting electronics in their shops as well.   That story reminds me of the story about the Israeli restaurant owner near Jerusalem who offered diners a 50% discount off their bills if they would switch off their mobile phones during their meal.    His idea was to encourage people to be social with each other again, rather than being glued to the screens of their mobile telephones.   Other restaurants in the USA have followed the idea, some even offering discounts to diners who give up ALL electronics for the duration of their meal.

No signs of any mobile phones in today’s photo, which comes from southern Oman.  Both photos taken with the Panasonic camera.

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And another photo from the archives… market colour in Mozambique.

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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 !!

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

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Second smallest country in the world – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Your mind will push your thoughts, your thoughts will push your actions, and your actions will push your life”.

” One rotten apple will spoil the whole bunch, even if it does not know that it is rotten.   Treat your thoughts the same way”.

A photo of the second smallest country in the world today, Monaco.  Vatican state is regarded as the smallest country in the world.   At only 1.95 square kilometres in size (about the same size as Central Park in New York), it has one of the largest population densities in the world (16 477 people per square km).  An odd trivial fact is that the flag is almost identical to the flag of Indonesia.   The name Monaco comes from Greek, and means ‘solo house’.   An average person can walk across the country in under an hour, and will enjoy a country free of income tax.   Strangely enough, despite being famous for the casino in Monte Carlo, citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble, and are also not allowed to enter the famous casino.  And you will be unable to land your private jet there, as it does not have an airport (but it does have a heliport).

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And here is a photo from the archives, already on the wordpress site a long time ago…..

LOW RES COPY CH Interlaken 10 Sept 2011 (26) CROP 1.500 f 7.1

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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.

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Wonderful Copenhagen – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Happiness is not getting everything that you want.  It is enjoying what you have”.

”  The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet” (Aristotle).

Why is there a ‘fashion’ at the moment to make most running shoes in bright colours, or even white?   How long do white running shoes stay white?  Not long.    But it seems that nearly all the current offerings in the shops are just in bright, light colours, which if you are running off road (or even on road) are not going to stay looking good for very long.  Bring back darker running shoes!

Today’s photo comes from the waterfront area in central Copenhagen, Denmark.   Nyhavn, which means ‘new harbour’ in Danish.   The famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen lived in Nyhavn for many years.   Copenhagen claims to have the world’s longest shopping street (Stroget).   With a population of around 1.2 million people the area has prosepered, especially after the opening in 2000 of the bridge joining it to nearby Malmo in Sweden.   It is said that  Walt Disney, after visitng the amusement park (Tivoli) in Copenhagen, was inspired to build his own version back in the USA.   Denmark is also the home of LEGO, and it is estimated that over the last 60 years, that more than 320 billion bits of Lego have been sold.   That works out at an average of 56 LEGO bits per person worldwide.    LEGO is an abbreviation of the Danish words “leg got’, which means ‘play good’.

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Icelandic Fishing Village – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience” (Mark Twain).         ” A fool and his money are soon partying’.

Saw a couple of interesting stories in the news.  In Britain, Barclays bank is planning to cut 12000 jobs yet at the same time, is raising bonuses for investment bankers.   According the British Guardian newspaper, the average bonus paid last year to investment bankers was over GBP 60 000 each.   That will not be happy reading to the 12 000 Barclays staff who will lose their jobs.   Also interesting in the news, again from Britain, is that the police there will be able to access people’s private medical records online.  So much for privacy and for the doctor-patient relationship.    There is a good website on the internet which often reveals stories like these, usually very good reading,   http://www.infowars.com         Many of the articles are about things that they would probably prefer that you do not know.

Spring sunshine over an Icelandic fishing village for today’s photo.     Iceland has a small population, around 300 000 people and averages around 3 people per square kilometre.   Its flag, a red and white cross on a blue background is said to represent the sea (blue), snow (white) and volcanoes (red).  Iceland flagThere are around 130 volcanic mountains on Iceland, several of them still active.  The capital, Reykjavik is the world’s most northerly capital.  Interestingly, beer was banned in Iceland until 1989, prostitution became illegal in 2009 and strip clubs were banned in 2010.   Another interesting fact is that Icelanders drink more Coca-Cola per person than any other nation.

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An excellent idea to encourage politeness – Not the Quality Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day..” Motivation is like food for the brain.  You cannot get enough in one sitting.  It needs continual and regular top-ups”.

I saw an interesting story in the news about a cafe owner in  Nice,Cote D’Azur, France who is offering cheaper prices customers who are polite when ordering.  A cup of coffee is 7 euros, but if customers say “good morning”  and also “please” then the price is only 1.40 euros.  The idea is to make customers more polite and considerate.   An excellent idea!   Just look around the next time you are in a shop or cafe and see just how rude and unpleasant many customers can be.     And even worse is when the continue to talk to somebody else on a mobile phone whilst making a purchase.   Charge them more I say !!!   Great idea by the French cafe owner, and one which I hope catches on.

A summer’s day in Croatia and the fishing village of Cavtat (southern Croatia) for the photo today.  Croatia is also known as Hrvatska, and has a population of around 4.2 million.  Tourism accounts for about 20% of the GDP, but unemployment is over 20% as well.     It was formerly part of Yugoslavia, but became independent in 1991.  It is now a member of the European Union.  Interestingly, the money, called ‘Kuna’ was named after a small rodent!!    The town in the photo today got its name from the latin language, Cavtat, or old city (civitas vetus).   It is now a popular day trip destination for tourists.

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Color Magic inside – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Today is tomorrow’s yesterday, so make it count !”

” Time is the longest distance between two places”.

Some magic for the photo today, and the interior of the Colorline ‘Color Magic’ ferry, which sails between Oslo (Norway) and Kiel (Germany) in around 20 hours.  The ferry is Norwegian registered, and is the largest ferry in the world,  weighing in at 75 156 tons and carrying 2700 passengers.  It has 15 decks, and a long promenade, as pictured below.   The 223m long ferry was built in Finland (as many of them are) and has a top speed of about 41kmh/25mph.  It can carry about 550 cars.   Although it is the world’s largest ferry, it is still small when compared to the world’s largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas, which weighs in at 225 000 tons, and is capable of carrying over 6290 passengers.

Not easy to get the white balance correct in this photo, as there were so many different lighting sources, but the Panasonic camera has done a good job to balance them all out.   The photo was handheld and without flash.

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