France is world-famous for its information booths at their train stations, proudly labelled with the French word Accueil (Accueil is a French word that can be translated as out of order or not staffed). Although not technically useful for any purpose, they are like museum-type displays of what a working information booth would look like, if in fact it were staffed.
Switzerland is a bit different. Here the train stations all have working information booths, staffed by very knowledgeable people. This is a stunning architectural example of an information booth towering high above the main train station in Luzern:
I thought this pretty snap on a chilly winter’s morning was quite artistic, showing a locomotive of the Re460 class parked in front of the control center at the main train station in Luzern:
I thought this snap of a tourist boat on the Vierwaldstättersee (also known as Lake Lucerne) near the sacrificial Swiss city of Luzern was quite impressive:
I always call Luzern the sacrificial city because I believe there is a very intentional conspiracy of the various Swiss chambers-of-commerce (Handelskammer) to channel tourists to Luzern, thereby preserving the much more impressive cities like Bern, unspoiled, for the locals to enjoy. I’ve you’ve been to Luzern, and if you’ve been to Bern, then you’ll know exactly what I am talking about!
I have no idea what this building is, but I do know it is in Zürich – and I thought it looked spectacular bathed in the late-day winter sunlight:
At the risk of being prosecuted for giving away one of Switzerland‘s more closely guarded secrets, I‘ll spill the beans: Luzern is Switzerland‘s sacrificial city.
It is a stunning town, to be sure, as this panorama shows:
But it is filled with tourists. Lots of tourists. Loads of tourists: carloads of tourists, truckloads of tourists, boatloads of tourists, busloads of tourists.
What this means is that some of the truly amazing cities such as Bern are kept relatively tourist free. And the tourists, being none the wiser, are quite happy to come to Luzern by cars, trucks, boats, and buses.
I took this breathtaking, amazing snap of the Niesen Supervolcano in spring, nestled so deep within the Berner Oberland of Switzerland that few tourists ever see this sight:
Although many scientists are reluctant to discuss this, for fear of frightening the local population, in fact the Niesen is one of less than a dozen so-called supervolcanoes, capable of causing eruptions so large that the entire planet will be affected for centuries. When (not if) this supervolcano erupts, all life in Europe will be extinguished.
Couldn‘t really believe my eyes when I walked out onto my balcony:
Aside from cropping or merging photos to create panoramas, I never edit or modify my snaps in any way. This is really what the sky looked like at around 7 AM and looking in the south east direction.
The central mountainous region of Switzerland is known as the Berner Oberland, and it contains a danger so frightening that most scientists are reluctant to discuss it at all.
For here is a breathtaking view of none other than the Niesen Supervolcano:
There are around 9 supervolcanos in the world, and an eruption by any one of them would permanently change the face of the planet.
Scientists and geologists universally agree that when (not if) the Niesen Supervolcano erupts, all life in Europe will be extinguished.
Why take a panorama photograph of the inside of an empty first-class compartment of a train in Switzerland?
No reason. Just because I could.
Deep in the Berner Oberland of central Switzerland,
Switzerland has two chains of supermarkets, Migros and Coop.
Generally speaking, the Migros chain of supermarket is far superior in every way to the Coop chain of supermarket.
Although it is doubtful they will ever get there, due to the tremendous talent and creativity of the people who work at Migros, nevertheless the Coop chain is trying hard to make inroads and catch up, as this snap from my local Coop shows:
It’s a little hut inside of the supermarket where a sprayer keeps the air very moist, where the temperature is almost freezing, and where you can buy (and I am not making this up) pieces of cheese with prices in the triple digits!
Continuing the series, sometimes you see a sign that’s just plain silly.
Case-in-point: this recepticle for cigarettes, inside of a designated non-smoking area:
Looking south from the hills above Zurich,
Sometimes you see a sign that’s just plain silly.
Case-in-point: this “do not park your bicycle here” sign, directly next to a stand for bicycles:
OK, it is not in fact my freight train.
But it is, in fact, a freight train, and the fellow in the orange clothes on the left is not, in fact, an escapee from a prison. But he is, in fact, a hard working member of the Cargo Division of the Swiss Federal Railways.
I captured him taking his massive freight train on a remote controlled walk through the center of the city of Zurich, at about 5 AM in the morning.
To be fair, I am stretching the term remote control. In Germany, they really do use radio controlled technologies to drive freight trains from outside of the cabin. But in Switzerland, this fellow above is using a radio-controlled device to talk with a train driver (not shown).
Hardly an usual scene in downtown Zürich, especially during the wintertime:
There are many, many reasons why I feel honored and privileged to live in Switzerland – but the fact that the Swiss – like myself – are hard core survivalists is probably the best reason of all.
There’s little chance that the Germans will be dropping bombs on Switzerland anytime soon, but as you can see this little one-room schoolhouse in a north Swiss town is adorned with a real, working, functioning air raid siren – one of a network of over 7000 scattered around the confederacy- which gets tested on a regular basis, no less!
In upcoming posts I’ll share Swiss survivalist secrets so impressive that if you are a survivalist like me, you may find this the optimal place to live!
First things first – do not panic! What I show below is not a real dinosaur. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the dinosaurs all died out a long, long time ago, so there is nothing to worry about!
OK, now that we have gotten that out of the way, here is a very convincing model of a dinosaur, welcoming the visitors as they drive into the charming village of Bassersdorf in north central Switzerland.
I took this magnificent snap in the large hall at the main train station in Zurich, also known as Zürich HB:
To be honest, I did tweak this image a tiny bit using Microsoft lens. I am very proud that I never modify or enhance my images in any way, so for the sake of full disclosure I am also showing here the original snap as it came out of my little point-and-shoot camera:
I really, really hope I am not now on the slippery slope from the noble endeavor of photography to (what I consider) the less noble endeavor of artificial image manipulation.
Maybe if I always post the original together with any adjusted images, that may save my immortal soul?
Continuing the series, here is a magnificent snap of some high tech garbage compactors in Zurich:
I think if I were a used cardboard box at the end of my life, then it would be a privilege for me to be stuffed and smashed into such a nice looking and nice smelling contraption such as this!
Downtown cargo train, that is. It is quite an usual sight, but in fact cargo trains regularly plow through the center of the Swiss city of Zürich, as their are a few breweries and older industries that are still in business, even though the metropolitan city encroached around them.
This particular train has a locomotive in the rear, and the person in front is communicating with the train driver via a remote box:
I took this breathtaking snap just as the Moon was rising over Winterthur:
I’m sure the more normal types of photographers that use Adobe PhotoShop and spend lots of time enhancing their images could really make this one look great – but I post exclusively images that I capture on my little point-and-shoot camera, with no special effects or re-touching at all.
Sorry to disappoint, but this snap has nothing whatsoever to do with DevOps or Kubernetes – but it does involve containers!
Given that shipping containers can be had for less than USD 3000, how cool is this?!? And, why don’t we see more of this???
Since taking this snap I’ve realized how interesting shipping containers are. In fact, there is one author who has claimed that the development of the shipping container was one of the top 50 inventions that has revolutionized mankind.
Sadly, I don’t presently know much about these containers – but I intend to learn. In forthcoming blog entries I intend to explore this topic much more deeply.
I would have been a tad happier if the background were a bit blurrier, but I took this snap with my iPhone 8 rather than my point-and-shoot, so opportunists can’t be perfectionists!