Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the category “architecture”

The Cabaret of shopping at Zurich Airport


On a recent short trip to Zurich my two main reflections were that so many people still smoked in Switzerland and how expensive airport shopping is at Zurich Airport.

Lets start with the airport. The shops are fairly good except if you want to buy anything at normal prices. Let me suggest a few items that one could have bought there. A nice side of salmon for £132. A nice bottle of champagne £192. A nice selection of cheese £35. And  I will not begin to tell you about the cost of Mont Blanc watches and pens. My main grouse is not that these were for sale, clearly people can and will afford to buy these, but that there were no normal priced items available. Bottle of wine for a mere £197. If you want Mont Blanc, Lindtt, Porsche, etc and so on, you are fine. Try looking for the Swiss equivalent of Poundland, and goodness that will take a while!

Switzerland reeks not only of cigarette smoke but also money. Nothing looks average and no-one I saw looked poor. The streets were clean and the bars looked nice. But one has to have the money to compete in living there. The streets looked however also relatively empty and certainly no evidence of traffic problems nor traffic jams.

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Switzerland Pedestrian Crossing

But normality is seen also in Switzerland with the type of graffiti normally seen in most European countries. Especially on the sides of trains or as here wagons. But a kind of functional graffiti and not in my top ten graffiti images for 2016.

Graphic Designers Who Are In The Wrong job


IMG_0729IMG_0757Whoever designed these toilet signs maybe needs to take a long hard look at their chosen career. These signs were found in Bergen Norway.

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Reflections on Hamburg


Spending a day in a city never allows a comprehensive opinion on what it is really like, but first impressions here are good and a potential place for a short weekend break. A couple of things are sticking immediately:

  1. There are many people clustered together like peas in a pod smoking outside of their workplaces. This was analogous to what I saw and was surprised by in Switzerland before xmas. Their expressions all mirrored extreme furtiveness and even guilt. IMG_1637
  2. Outside of hotels one cannot expect, nor should one really, people to speak English. This is actually quite refreshing as so many from the UK do expect it to be their right that everyone speaks their English, and that our abysmal failure to learn foreign languages should be acceptable. The taxi drivers for example cobble a few words together and was able to convey to me with a mixture of curious phrases and even more curious facial expressions that although potentially he could take his fare from credit cards, it was difficult and he really did not want to. He conveyed this nicely with more than a little humour.
  3. The city has many parallels with Amsterdam. Canals and cobblestone streets and inclement weather to start with.IMG_1621

    Hamburg Rain

    Hamburg Rain

The city has a nice relaxed feel to it, the restaurants were all full at lunchtime and maybe because they had limited menus of nice food at more than reasonable prices.  Rialto restaurant was my feeding trough and a nice place too. An excellent Wiener Schnitzel. A lot of building is going on and wherever one looks there are steepled buildings and impressive looking buildings, such as the Rathaus.

Rathaus Hamburg

Rathaus Hamburg

Rialto Restaurant Hamburg

Rialto Restaurant Hamburg

The downside to the city was the huge number of people begging . Many did not look German and some of the begging, although not aggressive as such was certainly beyond what one might want to see when passing by. A large number of Germans were also selling what I presumed to be the equivalent of the Big Issue, in a far more mellow way and indeed interacting nicely with people passing by. The pavements outside shops were littered with evidence of the homeless with their sleeping garments, duvets, sleeping bags and sometimes maybe their entire possessions on public display.

Hamburg Beggar

Hamburg Beggar

In every European capital and city one sees graffiti which in fact is often so artistic in nature that it is better to refer to it as Graffiti Art. Should this be encouraged? My impressions are that it rarely detracts from where it is painted and often adds something to a grey nondescript wall. Technically though I imagine it is illegal, but why not encourage it in the same way that legal busking works on UK railway stations.

hamburg Graffiti

Hamburg Graffiti

hamburg Graffiti

Hamburg Graffiti

There are a plethora of high quality shops, and although I cannot pretend to be an expert in these types of shops, they kind of stand out as shops that have no-one shopping in them and no price tags on the clothes. Prada was one such example where two young women dressed seemingly in doctor’s white coats, maybe they were doctors from the UK and taking part in the UK doctors strike, were avidly cleaning a clean window outside Prada and at times hoovering the pavement or sidewalk. All the time being watched by a woman dressed in black. The beggars and those sleeping rough did have their “beds” on the pavement outside these shops and to the credit of German society I saw no attempt to move these people on.

Prada Hamburg

Prada Hamburg

Prada Hamburg

Prada Hamburg

Walking around Hamburg is a pleasurable and easy thing and my Fitbit told me that I had easily done my 10,000 steps before early afternoon. The canals are pleasant on the eye, and not unlike Amsterdam in many regards. Travelling around seems simple, with the exception that the Underground runs overground looking like the Docklands Light Railway in the UK.

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An Overground Underground

Everywhere one looked there were interesting things ranging from a sluice in the centre of the city, locks adorning railings and numerous coloured flags.

One monument that in fact was a memorial to lives lost through war, looked uncannily like the “monument” in 2001 A Space Odyssey. If anyone remembers that curious start to the film.

IMG_1588The Rathaus and the surrounding area were busy with tourists and a nice walking area, with shops nearby. Hamburg is a city well worth visiting and this view is shared by people far more eminent than myself, Karl Lagerfeld and John Lennon.

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This is a Birmingham Day


Just a selection of photographs from recent visits to educate ourselves that preconceptions are not always correct. We need to open our eyes and see maybe what else is around that we missed.

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Birmingham Street Food

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Pond at the NEC Birmingham

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Birmingham Graffiti. The Best

New Zealand Food Photos


Quinoa

Quinoa

Lebanese Flatbread Beirut Restaurant Auckland

Lebanese Flatbread Beirut Restaurant Auckland

Mango Slice

Mango Slice

Hot ChipsIMG_0393

Fattoush

Fattoush

The Hersham Caterpillar


There is only one real car park in Hersham and this is where this caterpillar decided to try and cross, luckily saved from a squashing demise by the good eyesight of a 15 year old. Rescued and placed on a leaf. These humble I Phone photos try and capture the brave if impulsive caterpillar.

Hersham Caterpillar

Hersham Caterpillar

Hersham Caterpillar

Hersham Caterpillar

Favourite Football Photos of this weekend


Carshalton AFC Juggling

Carshalton AFC Juggling

Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows

Leighton Town FC  Two headed monster

Leighton Town FC
Two headed monster

Almost a goal but not quite. Carshalton v leighton

Almost a goal but not quite. Carshalton v leighton

Sam Muzarek

Sam Muzarek

Hand ball

Hand ball

The Last Redcurrants of 2015 from UK


One single plant has produced around £100 worth of redcurrants this year. I was somewhat amazed to find a few more the other day at the tail end of September. Tasted amazing. Thoroughly recommend a redcurrant plant for 2016.

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Redcurrants from surrey

Electric Airplanes – A reality soon


In July 2015 an electric plane flew from  Lydd airport in Kent UK over the channel to Calais.The two-seat E-Fan demonstrator plane powered exclusively by lithium batteries took 36 minutes to do the crossing. The flight copied the  flight by Louis Blériot in his fragile wood and fabric plane—the first aviator to cross the Channel in  July 1909. The idea is an obvious one to make flying more environmentally friendly and efficient and potentially cheaper too.The European Union already has started charging some airlines for carbon-dioxide emissions. The kind of size being aimed at is around 100 seater planes.

Electric motors weigh the same as turbine engines, but are 2½ times more efficient at converting stored energy into mechanical power and up to six times better compared with piston engines used in general aviation, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. But the key thing is that the lithium batteries have become vastly more efficient in only the last year increasing flight time from around 25 minutes up to 55 minutes. Airbus are investing around 22 million $, so this is a serious investment.Over the long term, Airbus is counting on  hybrid technology to fly even longer and provide a springboard to build regional planes carrying 100 passengers. The hybrid plane would take off and land using electric engines. In flight, when the battery has drained, a biofuel-powered motor would recharge power cells.

Nice Airplane Wing

Nice Airplane Wing

How to make Birmingham look nice. A fairly comprehensive challenge


Anyone who has travelled to Birmingham will understand that it is as far from idyllic sandy beaches as is humanly possible. The road systems are enough to induce any kind of serious mental disorder, the many industries create novel pollutants and car parking is nigh on impossible. A little bit cruel but you get the picture. So in the few hours that I had there my challenge was to take photographs to make Birmingham look nice. To make it look a place that the tourist industry might promote, in the same way that this was attempted (?achieved) with cities like Bradford.

An hour walking around the car parks of the Hilton Metropole hotel at NEC and the car parks of the NEC found these photos below, well maybe the fruit and the Raspberry Bakewell came from inside the hotel. But this proves that niceness can exist in Birmingham after all.

Birmingham with Pylons

Birmingham with Pylons

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

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