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Posts tagged “Quality Spa

Birds of a Feather – photo together

Thought for the day…” I used to have a handle on life, but it broke”.

”  I am not a complete idiot…some parts are missing”.

Over the years, I have experienced lots of airlines, and lots of airports.     I recently go to fly with the Brazilian budget airline GOL, who promote themselves as Gol Intelligent Airlines.   Actually a pleasant experience, as they had clean aircraft, good customer service and sensible check in procedures.    Nice to find a budget airline that is cheap but good, and also one that seems to be trying.    The same cannot be said for Berlin airports.

I had the misfortune to have my first experiences of the 2 Berlin airports, Schonefeld and Tegel.   It is very clear why Berlin needs the new airport, although in the news this week is seems that it will not open until 2018 at the earliest.   Would you believe that at Berlin Tegel TXL airport, that they are using a tent as a departure hall for flights heading to places like Belgrade and Minsk??   Admittedly, it is the sort of tent that they use for exhibitions and functions, but a tent it is.   Hard to believe that the capital city of Germany, an advanced nation, is forced to resort to using tents at its main airport.   And the fiasko of the new Berlin airport, greatly overbudget, extremely late and seemingly, not near to ever opening……not very German at all.   The good people down the autobahn in Munchen, Bayern, know how to run a good airport, as do  the Swiss with Zurich airport.

But still at the top of the list must be Singapore Shanghi Airport SIN.   Normally top in all the surveys of the world’s best airports (and for good reason t00), it is a real pleasure to use.    It is one airport that I am happy to have a long stopover in.    I cannot say the same about the tents in Berlin Tegel !!!

Two photos of Brazilian birds for the pictures today, and both taken with the Fuji X-E1 camera.

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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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The Power of the Internet

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”   (Warren Buffett).

Having just written about the problems with Cyberphoto and the difficulties in getting money back from them, suddenly, after writing on the internet, the money was repaid.    Once again, the internet has shown that it is a powerful tool.

Today’s photos were both taken with the Panasonic FZ-150 camera.  The first photo is of leaf cutter ants in Colombia, and the second photo (out of the archives) shows a lake and mountain scene from Norway.   You have to look very closely at these photos to see that they were not taken with an expensive DSLR, just a normal ‘bridge’ camera.   Leaf-cutter ants form very complex societies and live in underground nests that be up to 30m wide and can go as deep as 6m.   The colony is divided into different castes based on size, with different castes carrying out different tasks.   The largest ants can be up to 16mm long.  They cultivate fungi in their nests, and collect leaves to feed the fungi.  Adult ants feed on the leaf sap, and also use the fungus to feed ant larvae.  Apart from humans, it is very unusual for any other creatures to cultivate their own food.   The ants also operate an efficient waste management system from their nests.

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and a photo from the archives…..early morning reflections in Haglebu, Norway………

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Canterbury hills in evening light – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….’ When one door closes, another door opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully at the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us”   Alexander Graham Bell.

I used to fly a lot with Norwegian Airline.   In the beginning they were reliable and good, but recently have decided to outsource their cabin crews.  Just before Christmas they made their Swedish-based staff redundant but the staff were able to continue to work via an employment agency (albeit with worse working conditions).     Redundancy must have been a lovely Christmas present from the company to its staff.   Not only that, but the airline is crewing its new long-haul flights with Thai staff, presumably because it is a lot cheaper.    The same thing happened onboard ships earlier, the end result being that jobs are lost in many countries when the workers are replaced by cheaper foreign crews.    So now Norwegian Airline is at it too.  So from now on I will try and avoid flying with Norwegian Airlines.   Companies that treat staff like this do not deserve support.

Looking almost like a painting in the soft light of evening, the photo today is from Spotswood in the Canterbury region of New Zealand.  This area is a big sheep farming area, although vineyards are also becoming popular as well.   Just crossing the lower part of the picture is the main north-south railway line which nowadays only sees one passenger train a day during the summer months, as well as regular freight trains.

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The fun stops now – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” You cannot have what you do not want”.

“Take time to recharge your batteries.  It is hard to see where you are going when the lights are dim”.

The fun stops now !    Just imagine being out in your Ferrari on a Sunday afternoon.  You just HAVE to drive a Ferrari fast.   Today’s photo was taken Stockholm, Sweden.   The driver of the Ferrari had been driving up and down Strandvagen (an expensive waterfront street in the Swedish capital), a street where a Ferrari does not look out of place.   Clearly he was enjoying the drive UNTIL the flashing blue lights came on behind him.   The famous prancing horse on the badge of Ferraris was originally a symbol of Count Francesco Baracca, who was a pilot in the Italian Air Force.  A Swiss motorist who was caught in 2010 driving his Ferrari near St. Gallen at 137 km/h in a 50 km/h zone received a speeding ticket of USD 290 000.  The fine had been increased because he was a repeat offender.

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Another Autumn morning in Norway – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell

Thought for the day…..”  Do not talk, unless you can improve the silence”.

“Every day is a gift.  That is why they call it the present”.

Two nice stories in the news at the moment to bring a smile.   Firstly, the man in the UK who has set up a premium rate telephone line at home so that when he gets cold-callers and advertisers ringing him, then it costs the companies a lot of money and he also gets 70% of the proceeds of the premium rate telephone call.  Apparently he is now trying to keep advertisers on the phone as long as possible so that he gets even more money from them whilst they rack up a large bill on the premium rate number.     Then there is the other story about Hasan Syed, again in the UK, who paid to have his twitter tweet promoted, advising people not to fly with British Airways because their customer service is horrendous.   Normally it is advertisers who pay for promoted tweets, but Mr. Syed was able to use this system to give his complaint against BA huge publicity.

Autumn is well under way in Norway, and there have been some fantastic mornings recently.   Out with the camera again, to yet another lake, and more reflections and lake views in the photo today.   On the ground are many blueberries and wild mushrooms, and the some of the trees are now yellow and red (not the everygreens of course!).   About the only sound when I took the photo were the fish (trout) jumping in the lake.   The hunting season is underway now, mainly for elk, although also for deer, reindeer,mink and red foxes.   Being Norway, you have to have a license to hunt, and new hunters must undergo a 30 hour training course and then take a test.   Luckily, no test and license is needed to take photos like these.   I am looking at getting a new camera now (perhaps my 5th Panasonic in a row) but seeing results like these, then there is still a lot of life in the current camera.

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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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Summer in Croatia – Not the Quality Spa Resort, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies”.

” If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them”.

There is a strange story in the news at the moment about Brent Council in London, England.  They have installed a hologram ‘receptionist’, a moving human image who ‘answers’ questions from visitors.  Brent Council says that the hologram will save GBP 17000 a year.    This is after they spent GBP 90 million on a new civic centre, which opened this year.   And perhaps they forget, that one less (real) person will now not have a job, and will presumably have to be supported by the government there.    False economy??   And in these hard economic times, should any local government be spending GBP 90 million on a new civic centre??   Surely hospitals and schools come first, well before any civic centres.   Perhaps we should ask the hologram receptionist for the answers?     Stop the world, I want to get off……………………………………

Off to Split, Croatia for the photo today, and the harbourside in the city centre.   Situated on the Adriatic Sea, Croatia was the home of the famous traveller Marco Polo..   It was formed in 1991 when it became independent from the former Yugoslavia, and it has recently become a member of the European Union.    It has more than 1000 islands along its coast.   An interesting fact is that the White House (Washington, USA) is built of Croatian stone, as is the Austrian Pariliament building in Wien, Austria.   Croatia was also the site of the world’s first hydro electric power station in 1895 (Sibenik).  The town of Hum in Istria is said to be the world’s smallest town, with just 23 citizens.

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Early morning Norway – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Belief is a wish with an action plan”.        ”  Every day is a good day, as long as you are alive to enjoy it”.

Early morning in the hills of Norway for today’s photo.  Despite a poor weather forecast, for a few hours it was nearly perfect to take photos, so the camera was very busy.   The clear air, sunshine and lack of wind made for great conditions for taking photos.   Home to around 5 million people, and with a coastline of around 20 000km,  Norway has one of the highest per capita GDP figures in the world.     That also makes it one of the most expensive countries to visit, with alcohol and food being especially expensive.  ‘Helgefylla’, which means ‘weekend binge drinking’  is common in the larger cities, despite the high alcohol prices and despite strong alcohol only being sold in the government-run shops.

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Carnival in El Salvador, carnival dancer – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Life is like a good book.   The more that you get into it, the more that it makes sense”.

” If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, then what does an empty desk mean?”     ” Minds are like parachutes, they only function when they are open”

Did you know that because the speed that the Earth is turning, that the days are getting longer, but 55 billionths of a second each day?   And did you know that at the North and South Poles, that there is no time (as all the time zones coincide there)?   And did you know that Nepal and also the Chatham Islands have time zones that include a 15 minute difference (UTC plus 5.45 hours and UTC plus 12.45 hours).    And in each day there are  86 400 seconds.

Another colourful photo today, of a woman preparing for a carnival in El Salvador.   El Salvador (population 7 million) is the smallest country in Central America, and also the only one not to have an Atlantic coastline.   It has some very active volcanoes, and also gets many earthquakes each year, over 12 000 people were killed in one earthquake in 2001.   It also went to war with Honduras after a soccer match.   Carnivals in El Salvador go on into the night, with dancing, floats, street food and lots of music, together with firecrackers and fireworks, and of course, lots of colour.   A tradition is the throwing of sweets/candy to the spectators from the passing floats, and also the crowning of the carnival ‘queen’.

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