Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

train

Decluttering and moving on.

Thought for the day…”If you count all your assets you always show a profit.”

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

Over the years it is easy to accumulate more and more stuff.   It is very easy to end up with boxes and boxes of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and a host of other possessions which were stored in the hope that they would be needed again in the future.    I am currently having a major decluttering session, so all the CDs and DVDs are being scanned, old photos sorted out and boxes of books thrown out.    It is surprising that so much of what was stored turns out to be just junk or things that are no longer important.   Whilst it might have been important years ago, now that I look back I find box loads of things that are not relevant or no longer mean anything.

There is a very easy solution to this….decluttering.    And declutter have I done….getting rid of so much stuff and am moving on.    A sort of mega Spring-cleaning exercise.

Here is a photo from the collection, originally a 35mm negative taken about 1990 in England.   The negative was scanned then destroyed, so now it is just a digital copy (but reduced here for the internet).   A British Rail HST125 at Penzance train station waiting to depart back to London Paddington.   A very unusual clear blue sky too !

and another photo from the archives – a steam train on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn BRB in Switzerland.

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Two from the photo collection

Thought for the day….”Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow”

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

Winter is a great time to sort out the photo collection, and also get rid of the duplicates and not-so-good photos.    Far too many photos in the collection, so some serious pruning is needed, although it is a lot of fun going back through the old photos and reliving the moments.    A couple of photos here taken not long back, trains around Brienz, Switzerland.   Brienz is a Swiss town very much in the shadow of its famous nearby neighbour Interlaken, which receives nearly all the tourists.   But Brienz has its own charms, such as the steam train up the Rothorn mountain.   Add to this a superb lakeside location, some great bakery cafes and it makes a great alternative to Interlaken.    Both photos were taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera.

and another photo from the archives….

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RESPECT,  CONSIDERATION  & FAIRNESS


Houston – we have a problem

Thought for the day…”Happiness is good health and a bad memory.”

“Prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great.”   (Rose Kennedy).

You just have to feel sorry for the NASA astronaut who discovered recently whilst on a space walk that he had forgotten to put a memory card in his GoPro camera.    We have all done that, or have forgotten to recharge the camera batteries, but to be out in space on space walk and discover that you have no memory card in the camera must feel very bad, very bad.     And to make it even worse, the omission was even broadcast, the link for the video from NASA is here –

Back down on Earth, here is a photo from a religious even held in the Swiss town of Brig recently –

The Interlaken (Switzerland) to Lucern express train of the Zentralebahn arrives in Meiringen.

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The worm has turned (at least for today)

Thought for the day….”When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

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

I recently flew with Lufthansa from Oslo via Frankfurt to Zurich.    Apart from the usual rush to get onboard and the usual problem to get space in the overhead luggage bins, the seats on the A320 seemed even closer than before.   But the real insult was the ‘meal’ that was served onboard.  This is what Lufthansa, one of the legacy airlines, served as the ‘meal’….

And not only that insult, but the coffee was served in micro size cups too (the watch is in the photos to give an idea of the small size) –

and the ‘dinner’ on the leg to Zurich was 20g, yes 20g of dry crackers.   Again, no refills of coffee offered, despite the small size.   I had paid an ADULT fare, yet was given these micro sized portions.   Can you believe 20g ??  Lufthansa have also been devaluing the air miles on flights too, so I wonder what is the point in paying extra to fly with the legacy carriers when the service has fallen this much???

BUT fast forward to my next trip to Zurich 3 weeks later.   I am lucky to be able to choose a lot of the time, so due to Lufthansa becoming less good, I chose the German Railways train instead.   What a breath of fresh air. No check in 1 hour before departure.   I could get onto the train carrying tubes of toothpaste, a Swiss army knife and liquids without anybody worrying.   The seats had lots of space.  I could take my own baggage (and be sure that it was going to travel with me on the same train).    The staff on the train were excellent, the coffee in the restaurant car good and in normal sized cups.    I had space to walk around, I had comfortable seats and there were films and TV programmes to watch on the DB entertainment channels.    Despite a much longer journey time, it seemed much faster than flying.  I arrived feeling good, relaxed and that I had enjoyed the journey.    We tend to forget that the train can be a great way to travel.    Just because air travel is fast does not mean that it is good, or that it is the only option.   The train down through Germany was so good that I am not considering using the train for many more future trips.    To quote a great British railwayman (Peter Parker) ..”this is the age of the train”.    Perhaps if airlines continue to pack people in and treat passengers as an inconvenience, then more and more people may discover the train.

No prizes for guessing where the photo below was taken…..yes, a souvenir shop !!   Typically Swiss.  Taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera together with the excellent 35mm F2 prime lens.

and another photo from the archives…..bright colours in Cape Verde Islands….

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KFC goes into space

Thought for the day…” Do not watch the clock, do what it does…keep going”

“You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine.”

Saw an interesting story in the news recently about KFC, who are going to send one of their ‘Zinger Burger’ chicken sandwiches into space, through a company called World View.    The project is partly being finance by KFC.   So it will be interesting to see the effects of zero gravity and no oxygen on the burger.   Of course, KFC will be posting the details on their webpages live.  Not that KFC are first with their idea,  previously a pie company has sent one of its meat pies into space to space to study the effects of space on it.   Interesting, that ‘launch’ took place from outside a pub in northern England !!

Today’s photo comes from 70 degrees north, in Finnmark province at the top of Norway.   The reindeer are easy to spot at this time of year, especially as they come near the towns lower down to feed on spring grass.   The photo was taken hand-held using the Fuji X-T20 and Fuji 100-400mm lens.

and another photo….a cross country train starts it trip from Penzance, Cornwall, England

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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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How lucky is lucky ??

Thought for the day…”Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.”

Did you see the story in the news about a survivor of the recent air crash in Dubai?    Mohammed Khadar was returning to Dubai from India when the Emirates 777 aircraft crashed on landing.  All 300 passengers got off the aircraft, which later burnt out.  Mr. Khadar, who works in Dubai, purchased a lottery ticket in the duty free shop in airport, and won a USD 1 million cash prize.   Commenting on his win, he said that his escape from the crashed aircraft was a miracle, but that the money would make enemies.   Lucky !!

The photo today comes from the famous dye pots in Fez, Morocco.

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and another photo from the archives…..the night sleeper train from Trondheim, Norway to Oslo.

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Does Size Matter?? Men with big……………..camera lenses !!!

Thought for the day….” Winners never quit, and quitters never win”.

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes”   (Winston Churchill).

Time for an upgrade of my camera.  The Fuji X-E1 had been producing some fantastic pictures, so I was in no hurry to upgrade, especially as the gains and improvements with a new camera would be small.  But upgrade I did and now have the Fuji XT-10.     Apart from having a tilting screen (something that I thought was a gimmick before I actually got to find out that sometimes it is very useful), it has a few other new features that I am also finding useful too.   Features that I had not had previously such as wifi, remote control and geo-tagging are now available, as well as faster focussing and a viewfinder that is perhaps the clearest that I have ever used.  So although I was sad to part with the X-E1,  the new camera is already proving to be just as much fun as the older one.   It is said that Fujifilm cameras are made by photographers who are also engineers, whereas another famous brand (=brand X) is made by engineers, full stop.  Guess which cameras are more fun to use?    Having real dials and also menus that you can customize, and a fantastic viewfinder makes all the difference.   Photography is fun again !!!

Even if I enjoy taking photos,  I will probably (hopefully) not go to this extreme…..an aircraft spotter or very keen photographer seen at an airshow recently…..He was carrying not one but two BIG cameras.   The lens on the second camera must have weighed several kilos….

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and another photo from the archives…the lake at Haglebu, Norway…….

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Breakfast morning sunrise – Pembroke New Zealand

Thought for the day…” We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it”   (Dwight Eisenhower).

“Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often    (Mae West).

Nice photo of the sunrise on 20th Februrary for today’s photo.  One of those occasions when it was so lucky to have the camera ready AND be in the right place at the right time.     I took a series of shots as the clouds and light changed, but the aim was to get the clouds to appear to come out of the electricity pylon and a frame around the best of the clouds.  See what you think.  As the light was changing so fast (and the clouds were also moving fast due to the strong winds aloft) then there was not time to set things up properly, but the results were fine.  Hopefully the time-lapse of the moving clouds will be equally dramatic.    So much fun with a camera !!!

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and another photo out of the archives….night train from Trondheim, Norway to Oslo……This was one of my first night shots with the Fuji X-E1….

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Fast and Slow, Albania to China

Thought for the day…” Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving”  (Einstein).

” If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there”.

Around 3.2 million people live in Albania, which borders Greece in the south and Montenegro in the north.  Italy is just 72km away across the sea, yet Albania remains one of the poorest parts of Europe.   One strange difference in Albania is that shaking your head means ‘yes’ whilst nodding your head means ‘no’.  Today’s photo shows the train from the Albanian capital, Tirana arriving at the second largest city of Durres.    At the time the photo was taken, trains ran all the way from the capital, however now the main train has been demolished to make way for new roads !  Even when it was operating all the way, average speeds were extremely poor, with the 38km journey taking around 90 minutes.   Compare that to the world record for a conventional train, held by the French TGV which reached a top speed of 574.8 km/h in April 2007.    Up to July 2011 (when its top speed was limited to save energy) the Chinese CRH2 Harmony train covered the 922km from Wuhan to Guangzhou at an average of 313 km/h.

LOW-RES-Albania-Durresand another photo from the archives….boats in Essiouria, Morocco.  Spot the man on the boats….

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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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Crossing to Tibet – A portrait in colour

Thought for the day….” Never ask a barber if you need a haircut”

”  If past history was all there was to the game, then the richest people would all be librarians”.

Sometimes it is open, and sometimes it is closed, so getting into Tibet is a bit of a lottery.   Around 3 million people live in Tibet, which is officially regarded as a Chinese autonomous region.    And to complicate matters even further, the ‘borders’ of the Tibetan kingdom are much larger than the official Chinese autonomous region’s borders.   It contains the world’s highest plateau (at over 4000m), and includes the Himalayas.  Tourism is controlled by the Chinese government, and a special permit is needed to visit, even if a Chinese visa is held.  Trains to Lhasa started in 2006, with the trip from Bejing taking around 48 hours.   Interestingly, the train is said to be the highest railway route in the world, and due to the altitude on the trip (up to 5231m altitude) then the trains are provided with an oxygen supply.  They also have windows with special protection against the strong ultra-violet rays at the high altitudes.    And having enjoyed the train trip, then travellers can look forward to yak meat and the (salty) butter tea, and perhaps a photo like the one below……

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And another photo from the archives…..a black and white photo from the old town in the centre of Tallinn, Estonia.

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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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Heading to the Fjords, more blue skies

Thought for the day…” If at first you do not succeed then skydiving is not for you”.

” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance”.

Staying in Norway for the photo again today, and a shot of the famous Oslo to Bergen train.   The train still has over 400m vertical to climb at this point, but the views will be fantastic as it reaches the summit at over 1237m.   It has just passed the half way point of its 493 km journey from Oslo to Bergen.   The opening of the line in 1907 was delayed due to snow (often a problem on this route due to the altitude and exposed nature of much of the route), but the full route opened in 1908.   Despite several new tunnels, the route is still one of the great railway journeys, and is highly scenic.  About 5 trains cover the full route each day, including a night sleeper service.   Soon the passengers on the train will get their first views of the glaciers, as the train will shortly be above the tree line before it starts its long descent towards the fjords and Bergen at seal level.   Highly recommended if you are in Norway !!

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and another photo out of the archives….a timeless scene from rural Ethiopia…..

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23.13 Night train to Oslo, Norway

Thought for the day….” Do coffins have lifetime guarantees?”                         ” If heat rises then shouldn’t Hell be cold?”

Gladys Knight and the Pips had a big hit with the song “Midnight Train to Georgia”, but the photo today is of the 23.13 night train to Oslo, which is a long way from either Georgia the country or Georgia, USA.   Not much sleep ahead for the drivers of the night train from Trondheim, Norway south towards the capital, Oslo.     They still have about 495 km to drive through the mountains at night.   I had forgotten that travelling by train could be so pleasant, especially when compared to air travel.   Boarding the train is completely fuss free, no security goon worries if I am carrying a tube of toothpaste (which apparently, is dangerous now) and nobody at the station had a panic attack because I was carrying a Swiss army knife.   I also did not have to stand in a line anywhere, nor did I have to undress to get onto the train.    Once onboard the train, the coffee came in normal sized cups, and actually tasted like good coffee, unlike airline economy-class coffee.   And was the train any worse off because the passengers had not been through security checks???  No.  It even arrived in Oslo early.  Almost forgot to mention that they were serving hot, fresh cinnamon rolls from the oven in the cafe onboard.   Well done NSB !  Already sent an email to NSB to congratulate them, as it is good to give positive feedback when it is due.

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And another photo out of the archives, and from the other side of the world……coral reefs surrounding the islands of Fiji.

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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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Norwegian nature reflections – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” If you want light to come into your life, then you need to be standing where it is shining”.

Early morning (and a perfect morning) in Voss, Norway in the photo today.   It is hard not to get wonderful photos on days like these, especially in Norway where there is so much scenery like this.    Voss, population about 13 500 people,  is a summer and also a winter (ski) resort, and is on the route of the famous ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ Tour.  It is on the main Oslo to Bergen rail line, which is in itself a great tourist attraction.   Voss also hosts an annual extreme sports week at the end of June each year, including skydiving, and para-bungy.    If you take the letters N.O.R.W.A.Y then, according to the tourist board, it stands for No Other Region Will Amaze You.  Amazing !

Do not forget to click the ‘like’ button if you like the photo, if not then comments are welcome !

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Face with a story – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moment that take our breath away”

“Don’ t tell me sky is the limit when there are foot-prints on the Moon”

Did you see the story from Switzerland that Starbucks are going to open an outlet on a Swiss train?     Starbucks is growing very fast (over 3000 new outlets planned in the US alone), and already has over 18000 shops.   There are even 255 in New York alone.   The coffee served onboard Swiss trains from the mobile trolleys is good already, so I wonder how well Starbucks will go down.

Another China photo today, but this time from Yunnan province and a shot from the weekly market in Shaping.   Very easy to get photos like these at these markets, as there are so many people in different tribal costumes, and it does not take long to get a shot like this.   The background was deliberately made out of focus to concentrate interest on the face.   A cloudy day produced bright, even light, and a bit of cropping has removed distractions from the edge of the photo.   How long will it be before it becomes impossible to get photos like this?

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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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LOW-RES-engine-driver

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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.

LOW-RES-steam-train-1

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