Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Posts tagged “ferries

Censorship by Booking.com

Thought for the day…”Chocolate is ground from the beans of happiness.”

“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.”

Free Speech.   Something that is very important, but something that is disappearing fast in Europe.   Political correctness has already gone far to far, but now the online travel agency (OTA)  Booking.com   is also at it.

I recently stayed in some accommodation in Zurich which I booked online via Booking.com         The property was not good (badly run, dirty and with poor facilities) with poor security.   Not only was the property not clean, but it appeared to have many problems, one of which was what appeared to be asylum seekers in the accommodation.   So after my stay, I wrote a TRUTHFUL review to help other people in deciding whether or not to book.    One of the things that I wrote in the review was that the property appeared to house asylum seekers.    I did not make any statements about the rights or wrongs of this, nor did I mention nationalities, skin colour or race.    No references were made to immigration policies or criminality, just a statement that there appeared to be asylum seekers housed in the property.

But Booking.com   refused to publish my review because I had used the words ‘asylum seekers’  which they said could cause offense to some some people.   I would argue that the words described (truthfully) a situation, and were just reporting what I had seen and experienced.   Despite emails to Booking.com   the review did not get published.     So it seems that Booking.com   also want to be politically correct, even if this means distorting the truth.

The result of this….I cancelled a lot of future bookings with Booking.com     and now try to book direct with hotels etc. where this is possible.  I am not going to have Booking.com   tell me what I can and cannot say in a review.   It also makes me think that the other reviews on their website may also have been edited too.    So if you are reading reviews there then be aware that the reviews may have been edited for suitability.    George Orwell’s   1984 is here, just a bit late.   Booking.com    is in the same group as Priceline.com    and Agoda.com

Today’s photo comes from Glendhu Bay on the South Island of New Zealand.    The valley in the photo was until recently one of the homes of the Canadian country-pop singer, Shania Twain.  Nearby is Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

and another photo from the archives….a SRN-4 hovercraft seen here in Boulogne in France.  These hovercraft had a top speed of 154 km/h and crossed the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The record is held by the hovercraft in this photo, the Princess Anne.

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Oslo airport OSL does it again

Thought for the day…”If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.”

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

Oslo airport does it again…makes it unpleasant for passengers.   On Saturday I had the misfortune to use Oslo OSL airport again.   Even with their big, new extension, it is still the same unpleasant place as before.    Despite have a big new space, there are still almost no seats for passengers waiting to check in (WHY??) and even though they have put in a big new duty free shop (which they conveniently funnel passengers through whether or not you want to buy), they still have not got it right for passengers.  Why do their departure gates have seats for about 30 people when the aircraft using them take 170 passengers or more?   And can the managers at OSL not count?   Why on Saturday were most of the security check-points CLOSED ?, resulting in a long queue of people trying to get through security.    The managers at OSL must know how many flights are scheduled to depart, yet they seem unable or unwilling to put enough staff on the security checkpoints.  Bad management?   Of course, if you pay money then you can go ‘Fast Track’ through security, but this is merely an admission that the normal waiting times at security are too long.    And whilst the airport managers may be happy to see more and more (expensive) shops at Oslo airport, they still have not put in enough facilities for passengers.   Try finding a water fountain or a working electrical socket.   Try finding something to do whilst you are waiting at OSL.   And the worst thing……we passengers are actually paying a lot of money to use OSL airport.   Because it has a monopoly position then it can take our money without providing good services.   Flying from Oslo is not something to look forward to, especially if you have to wait there.   Perhaps the train from Oslo is the answer…….

A photo of the SR.N4 hovercraft taken in 1997 in Dover, England, from a scanned slide in my collection.   At that time, the SRN4 was the largest hovercraft in the World.  Top speed was 154 km/h and they could cross the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The noise and vibration inside them was unforgettable, and if you crossed the English Channel on a rough day, then the ride inside them was ‘interesting’ !!  But they were a thrilling way to travel over the waves.

and another photo from the archives…by the sea in Cuba.

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Uncovered…what lies beneath.

Thought for the day…”Hope is but the dream of those who wake.”

“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”

Ever wondered what the inside of a jet engine looks like?   Here is a CFM56 engine uncovered.  More than 30 000 of these have been built, but it will set you back around USD 10 million for one. This one is an example from Air New Zealand, and was used in its 737 fleet.  At one time, AirNZ was a quality, full service airline (it even had the advertising slogan ‘Pride of the Pacific’  but nowadays it has changed into a budget airline which charges extra for add-ons, and also service levels onboard have fallen.   Sad to see a once great airline change so much.

But we customers are lucky to have a choice……I now avoid any flights on airlines that use 10 across seating on their 777s, and I am also checking the seating before making reservations…things like not booking on the newer Lufthansa A320NEO aircraft where they have put seats closer together (with even less legroom than Ryanair) and have removed one galley and toilet to squeeze in even more seats.    There is a limit, and some airlines have passed that limit for what is acceptable.  And if the airlines think that by making economy class uncomfortable that they will force me to upgrade to premium economy, then that is just not going to work….the answer is to choose another airline.    Their loss.

and another photo…Honningsvag in north Norway, high above the Artic Circle.

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Always connected – the digital overload

Thought for the day….”It is not the years in your life that count.  It is the life in your years”

“Knowledge comes from learning.  Wisdom comes from living”

One of the big challenges now is that we are never disconnected.   People are now suffering an onslaught of information at all hours of the day, and with tables and mobile phones, this continues even when they are not at work.    Internet is available almost everywhere, and the mobile phone means that people are still connected even when they are on the beach or walking in the park.    Not only are people able to be online continuously, but there is also an overload of information now.     Some scientists are now saying that this constant stream of data is making it hard to concentrate, and is also causing increasing levels of stress.  There is also the problem of trying to juggle all the different forms of technology, and to cope with all that information that is now bombarding us.     So rather than making life easier for us, this technology is actually making life MORE difficult and stressful.     People now believe that they have to answer a mobile phone call immediately, and that the email that has just arrived must be read instantly, whilst at the same time they are still bombarded by information from the internet.  Some hotels are now advertising that they do NOT have internet, and also are advertising digital detox breaks.   Always connected, and not a good thing.

Today’s photo comes from the lakefront in Pembroke, New Zealand, where there is also internet.  Who needs it though with a view like this?

and another photo, the waterfront at Picton, South Island, New Zealand.    From here ferries depart for the 3.5 hour trip to the North Island.

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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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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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Airline etiquette or bad behavior.

Thought for the day….” Follow your heart, but take your brain with you”.

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines”.

There cannot be many people in the western world who have not flown, so I assume that most people know the etiquette of flying.    Even if they do not, then common sense and good manners is enough.  But recently I experienced the worst passengers that I have ever had the misfortune to sit next to (and misfortune was the word.).  Bad enough that there were 300+ passengers on the aircraft, but what are the odds of ending up sitting next to the worst passengers possible???   These two passengers had a screaming baby, bad enough on any flight but on an 11 hour night flight then obviously VERY unpopular with a lot of passengers.  Not only that, but the parents wanted to get up out of their seats.   Not just a few times, but an excessive number of times.    Even when the meal was served, they decided that they wanted to get out (same thing at breakfast too, trays down and the food there, but they still wanted to get out immediately).    The man on my left seemed to be unaware that he did not have a god-given right to put his legs and feet into my leg rest.   When I was not fast enough at moving to let them out, they simply climbed over me, regardless of whether I was getting up to let them out or not.   11 hours sitting next to the worst ever passengers.     I wish that I had taken a photo of them, not just to shame them but to warn others that this couple had a gold medal in inconsideration.   And even on arrival, the man decided that he wanted to be first off the aircraft and was going to try to push past everybody else like a rugby scrum.    I hope that these two particular passengers end up on a no-fly list due to their total lack of consideration.

On a happier note….a photo of the Interislander ferry sailing up the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand.    The route through the sounds, which takes about 1 hour, is extremely scenic.   During the winter months, the 3 hour crossing between the North and South Islands of New Zealand can be extremely rough in the middle section, so passengers will be relieved once they enter the sheltered waters of the Sounds.   The ferry is seen near its final destination of Picton, top of the South Island, New Zealand

wordpress-ferryand another photo from the archives….a Malawian boy……WORDPRES-Malawi-boy-2

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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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Feel free to leave a comment !!

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Facing forward – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Follow your heart, but take your brain with you”.

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

Did you know that the human face has 43 muscles in it?  Or that it takes 17 muscles to smile whereas it needs 43 to frown?  The face also contains the hardest part of our bodies (the teeth), the hardest bone in our bodies (the jawbone).    The strongest muscle in our bodies (in relation to its size) is the human tongue.  Humans are also the only animals to produce emotional tears.   And also amazing is that the human brain is consuming about 20% of the total oxygen used in the human body.   And on average, the skin is replaced every 27 days.

So here is a photo of a human face, a passenger in evening sunlight onboard a ferry.  Bright sunlight and also light reflecting from the surrounding white surfaces gave great conditions for this photo.   The wind from the moving ferry has produced an interesting hair style though !!

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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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