Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Switzerland

Good Customer Service – Fujifilm

Thought for the day…”Prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great.”

“When one burns one’s bridges, what a very nice fire it makes.” (Dylan Thomas)

For the last 5 weeks, I have been without the camera, which suffered a cracked screen after being dropped onto the floor.    Sent it back to Fuji, but Norwegian Post (and there is a company who deserves to go out of business if ever there was one)  took 9 days to get it to an address near Oslo.   Then, after that delay, the camera got delayed for weeks due to the virus in the TNT Courier computer systems.   TNT seemed unable to get the camera delivered, and it just sat there for weeks, getting nowhere near the repair shop.   But here is the happy ending….Fuji (who are normally very good with customer service and backup) have offered to send me a new camera.  That was something that I did not expect, but it is good to know that there is good customer service around.   The feedback online is also good for Fuji, as other users have also written about similar good treatment.    So I am happy to continue using Fuji, just have to wait a little longer (now over 5 weeks) for the replacement to arrive.   Then back to photographing again.

Back in 2008, Singapore Airlines (one of the World’s great airlines) were still using 747s on the route from Zurich to Singapore.  The ‘Queen of the Skies’, weighing almost 400 tonnes,  is seen here taking off on 23rd May 2008 for the 10 294km journey back to its’ home base.  Flight time was around 12 hours and 10 minutes.

and another photo, an art gallery in Honningsvag, in the Artic north of Norway.

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS

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Swiss mountain town bans photography

Thought for the day..”Public opinion is no more than this: what people think that other people think.”

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.”  (George Patton)

What is the world coming to?    News on the internet is that the Swiss town of  Bergun in the Graubunden area has voted to ban photography in it’s area.    People taking photos will be fined CHF4 under the new bylaw.     Apparently, the local council has already taken down publicity photos from the internet.    So many places in the world are restricting photography, you have only to think of the USA where photographing public buildings is now likely to lead to trouble with the authorities,  and in many places in the world, taking photos near an airport is also likely to lead to problems.     It is amazing that the central government in Switzerland has allowed the town of Bergun to introduce the new photography ban.   It would certainly change my decision to visit any town if it had a photography ban.  What has happened to freedom?   And what is the town of Bergun so afraid of???    Surely any town should be please that people want to visit and take photographs.    And because Switzerland is usually a civilised country, then the photography ban is even more surprising.     Recently Sweden introduced a complete ban on filming from drones/quadcopters without special permission, and other countries are gradually introducing more restrictions as well.

Today’s photo is a scan of a slide taken many years ago, a local train from St. Ives passes the beach at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, England.

and another photo…..a scanned slide photo from the 1990s.   A Penzance to London train in the Glynn Valley near Bodmin Road in Cornwall, England.

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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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Some red faces somewhere…..a big error.

Thought for the day….”What the mind can concieve, it can achieve”

“You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind”

No doubt that there were some red faces at the Nabors Demolition company in Texas, USA.   They recently demolished the WRONG house, and have blamed Google maps for the error.   The house that they demolished was one block from the house that they should have knocked down.   Needless to say, the owners of the now-demolished house were none too happy, although the Nabors Demolition company  described it as ‘no big deal’.    The demolition company’s motto is ” We Could Wreck The World” certainly had a good try.   Apparently, Google maps has now amended the map to show the correct location of the house that should have been knocked down.   Some red faces somwhere??

People photos are always fascinating, so here is another one…fisherman in the park…Fuji X-E1 camera together with the Fuji 55-230mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives…Kandersteg in Switzerland….

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Peaceful Swiss Alps – Gstaad

Thought for the day…”Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it”

“We learn the ropes of life by untying the knots”.

Did you know that there are 4 official languages in Switzerland (Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh)?  Swiss German is the main language, with about 64% of the population using it.   And did you know that the abbreviation for Switzerland, CH comes from Confoederatio Helvetica, which is latin, and was chosen as a neutral alternative to using one of the 4 official languages.  It has the second highest life expectancy in the world (Japan is first), and also a high divorce rate (around 43%).  The wrist watch was invented here in 1868 (Patek Philippe).  The photo today is of the Swiss town of Gstaad, in the southwest of the country.  About 9200 people live in this expensive resort, home to the famous such as Julie Andrews, Bernie Ecclestone and previously Roger Moore, Elisabeth Taylor and Roman Polanski.  It looks very quiet in the photo though……

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and another photo from the archives….fireworks over Bergen, NorwayWordpress-Bergen

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Travelling in style….the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

Thought for the day…” Minds are like parachutes, they only function when open”.

” When it is time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived”

News on the net is that over 1700 private jets are expected in connection with the World Economic Forum, which is being held in Davos, Switzerland.    Zurich airport has already exhausted its private jet parking spaces, and a nearby military base is being opened up to cope with the overflow.    And demand for helicopters is also breaking records.    So what will the 2500 world leaders and business managers actually achieve at Davos???    No doubt lots of talk and lots of very expensive dining, but to what end?     To me, it seems like just another excuse for an expensive luxury trip to wine and dine in Switzerland.     Try telling that to the millions in Greece who have been without jobs for a long time, and where youth unemployment (ages between 15 and 24) is now over 60%.   And whilst some people in Greece and Portugal have to queue for food handouts from charities, the 2500 world leaders and business managers will be dining in style in Davos in 5 star luxury.

Today’s photo is not from a private jet, but is a nice photo of clouds.   This photo works much better in black & white, as then it concentrates attention on the shape of the clouds themselves.

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Battle of the Paddle – Stand up paddleboarding

Thought for the day…” Success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone.”

” The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

The Swiss have a wonderful system of democracy whereby if 100 000 people sign a petition, then a national referendum can be held on any subject.  There have been 9 during 2014, ranging from more funding for the railways to limits on immigration.  More will be held today, including one on gold reserves by the national bank and another on immigration.    But it is the story in the international news at the moment that is catching the attention…..that a group in Switzerland is trying to get enough signatures to hold a petition to ban the eating of dogs and cats.    Hard to believe that in Switzerland that dogs and cats are eaten in some areas, especially the Rhine Valley.     The cats and dogs are eaten as a form of ‘mostbröckli‘.  Dogs are more commonly eaten in Korea, Vietnam and China, but it is surprising to learn of the practice in Switzerland.

Florianapolis, Brazil was the host recently for the ‘Battle of the Paddle’ stand up paddleboard competition.    A couple of photos capturing the action during the final…….

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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.

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

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Swiss beauty – early autumn, blue skies

Thought for the day…” What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end”.

”  You never know who is swimming naked until the tide goes out”.

Off to Switzerland today and to the beautiful valley at Kandersteg.    Around 7.5 million people live in Switzerland, and interestingly, it is said that there are more banks than dentists there.  Also, it is said that the original Swiss army knives were red in colour so that they could be seen in the snow.    Switzerland is also home to the longest stairway in the world, where the Niesenbahn cable car-funicular has a stairway of 11 674 steps next to it.   Monte Rosa is the highest mountain, at 4634m, whilst Lake Maggiore at 195m is the lowest point.   Kandersteg, in the photo below, is on one of the main north-south routes through the Alps, but is a summer and also a winter resort.   Well worth a stop if you are in Switzerland…

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and another photo from the archives….life in the hills of Nepal…..

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Blue skies and green meadows – Switzerland at it’s best.

Thought for the day….” When you fish for love, bait with your heart”.     ” You cannot cross the sea by merely standing and gazing at the water”.

A classic photo from Switzerland for the photo today.  The photo was taken in the village of Kandersteg, near the centre of Switzerland.   Located at about 1200m altitude, it is surrounded by the Bernese Alps which rise to over 3600m.    Tourism is highly important here, and it is both a winter (skiing) and summer (hiking & climbing) destination.  It is also the home of the international Scout centre, with over 11 000 Scouts visiting each year.    Despite having 4 official languages, Swiss-German is the most prevalent, with around 65% of the 7.3 million residents speaking it.  One piece of trivia….there are now more Starbucks coffee houses in Switzerland than banks.   And Switzzerland has the highest consumption of chocolate per capita in the world…..11.6 kg/capita a year.    As the saying goes…9 out of 10 people like chocolate, the 10th person was lying.

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And a photo out of the archives….soldiers on parade in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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