East Switzerland – 3. Clever Swiss made things

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DSCF0850 1024It’s not just Swiss army knives that show you an example of efficient Swiss design.

There are a few clever things I saw I think are worth sharing.

A street bicycle pump.   This one is large, heavy duty and fixed to the ground and free for public use.

Now the UK 13 amp type sockets are different from the rest of Europe, feel chunky and robust.

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This is a Swiss electrical wall socket, these are close-ish to the rest of Europe also, but only slightly different.   The two pins for live and neutral are the same so a phone charger I bought in a hurry in Hungary will work as it doesn’t have a grounding pin. Devices with three pins will have the middle pin closer to the middle ones.

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Meat slicer.  These are stylish and different as a probably intended for commercial catering.  They are painted with this high gloss paint, which I think means cleaning easy.

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This Swiss horn is an interesting instrument, I am not sure of this is taken apart in pieces or if it collapses like a telescope.

All these things I saw on the streets of Zurich.

 

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Its not hard to find more familiar Swiss craft like watches and chocolate in Zurich as well.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation –

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Liechtenstein 2. Getting into this tiny nation

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This is actually Buchs.   This is a medium-sized town in Switzerland.   I got the train from Grusch the town I was staying to get into Liechtenstein.   There is also a railway into Liechtenstein that goes from a different line from Switzerland or Austria.   It’s on a few kilometres away, so I walked in.

I was excited about doing my final (for now) little European country, as it was my goal to visit as many of these (in fact I’ve been to Liechtenstein, Andorra and Luxembourg) before Brexit happens, as I wanted to compare all of the non-EU countries to the EU nations.

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This is the border.   There are flags of the two countries on this bridge over the river.   It wasn’t very windy, and the flags not really visible on the other photo I had.   This one you can see this brass plaque as well.

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DSCF0770 1024The other side of the bridge and past the post office depot is the very pleasant town of Schaan, which is the second largest town here.   Vaduz being the capital.

This country very closely resembles Switzerland from terrain and cultural perspective.  If you get the bus, there’s a place to put your skis.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things –

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation –

 

 

 

 

Revival is often happening even if is not always obvious like Southall’s Indian Christians

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This is Southall, a vibrant town I used to drive through often when I had a 1 1/2 – 2 hour drive to the south-west part of London where I was working back in 2016.

Southall has people of predominantly Indian descent.   When I drove through here, as well as Asian supermarkets and takeaways, I saw this funeral business with the religious logos which makes me think partially of multiculturalism in a good way, offering the right choice of care for the deceased.   Sometimes multiple religious symbols are put together like the popular and well-intentioned ‘Coexist’ campaign a few years ago.   I wrote this a while back to explain why Islam, Christianity and Judaism differ.

I drove past this church that intrigued me.

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After spending ages in with Google Streetmap view to find the place I was thinking of, I found it!!    The Kings Hall is a Methodist church that’s aimed at this particular community with services in Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi.   But sadly, it is clear that this church from the boarded-up doors that this building is closed permanently.

Often when driving down here, I felt a need to pray for Jesus to be revealed to Indian people in this particular community.   I think the Lord hears and actions our prayers, but we don’t always get to see a result.

I looked up a bit about this church, and found this: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/31352 it was originally designed as a cinema and shutdown as a church in 2013.

Looks like someone stuck this label on to continue the gospel to this precious community.

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Last week, I went to a small home group of a friend’s church which meets not far from this area.   To my joy, I was told by two Indian Punjabi former Sikh now-Christian couples that there has been a revival in the last ten years in both North Indian in the Punjabi region but here amongst Indians in Southall finding Christ!!

It’s such a blessing to see the Lord’s faithfulness in the gospel happen often in the background scenes.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“مانگو،تب خدا تمہیں دیگا۔تلاش کرو ،تب کہیں تم پاؤگے۔دروازہ کھٹکھٹاؤتب کہیں وہ تمہارے لئے کھلے گا۔ ہاں ہمیشہ پوچھتے رہنے والے ہی کو ملتا ہے اور لگاتار ڈھونڈنے والا پا ہی لیتا ہے اور لگاتار کھٹکھٹا نے وا لے کے لئے دروازہ کھل ہی جاتا ہے۔

“परमेश्वर से माँगते रहो, तुम्हें दिया जायेगा। खोजते रहो तुम्हें प्राप्त होगा खटखटाते रहो तुम्हारे लिए द्वार खोल दिया जायेगा। क्योंकि हर कोई जो माँगता ही रहता है, प्राप्त करता है। जो खोजता है पा जाता है और जो खटखटाता ही रहता है उसके लिए द्वार खोल दिया जाएगा।

“ਜੇਕਰ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਮੰਗਦੇ ਰਹੋਂਗੇ ਤਾਂ, ਤੁਸੀਂ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਕਰ ਲਵੋਂਗੇ। ਲੱਭੋ, ਤਾਂ ਲੱਭੇਗਾ। ਖੜਕਾਓ, ਤਾਂ ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਲਈ ਦਰਵਾਜ਼ਾ ਖੋਲ੍ਹਿਆ ਜਵੇਗਾ। ਕਿਉਂਕਿ ਹਰੇਕ ਮੰਗਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਪਾ ਲੈਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਢੂੰਢਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਲੱਭਦਾ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਖੜਕਾਉਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਲਈ ਦਰਵਾਜ਼ਾ ਖੋਲ੍ਹਿਆ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ।

 

 

 

East Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch

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Switzerland seems to integrate housing estates, farms and factories very well.  Ordinarily, there is always worry about noise or smell when you have a combination of places in the UK maybe.

Grusch is a postcard-perfect small Swiss town with around just 2,000 people.   Its part of the Canton of Graubunden, and has been around since 1340.   This area of the country is German speaking.

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A lot of the houses are these distinct nice wooden chalets with balconies and shutters.   Someone put a mannequin out on the porch with a costume.   I think the Swiss have their own unique sense of humour.

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Where else do people have an outside shed/workshop and not worry about someone taking stuff.

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This herd of Jersey cows were friendly and licked my hand.   These types of cattle are prized also in Britain for making better quality and quantity of milk, they would suit the Swiss well for making cheese and chocolate.

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This railway siding is right by another old factory, where the track has been laid from the beginning to help raw materials or finished goods from industries to get sent around by train, rather than clog up roads.   So, so, so far ahead of Britain in this regard.

Grusch looks even better at night with the snow with the 30cm or so (ie; standard school ruler) of snow glinting in the moonlight, and a lot of stars visible without any light pollution.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches museum – 8. Business in UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch

East Switzerland – 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland

After leaving Friedrichshafen in Germany, once leaving the lake, I got on a train and went directly to Grusch, a small town on the east side of Switzerland.  I chose this town as it was close-ish to the tiny nation of Liechtenstein and all other places I looked into staying were not open during the winter.

Switzerland is probably the most famous non-EU European country.  I’ve been to this lovely country before but the other side going from Basel to Interlaken to Geneva.  Flights are cheap because cities like Basel, Zurich and Geneva are kind of dead centre in the middle of Europe, thus being a great hub for transferring to somewhere else.

Everything else is definitely not though.  The Franc, seen often as “CHF” the local currency is almost identical to a US$ but everything seems to be 2 – 3 times what would cost in the UK.

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This hostel cost me CHF62.60 for two nights, £24 a night.  That’s absolutely unheard of for Switzerland.   But actually, the Sporti Grusch is a restaurant for skiers and snowboarders, with three rooms in the basement.

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This is my room.   The bunk is built into the wall.    I didn’t have to share with anyone. There is a shared bathroom which you have to go outside to use.    This is a great place for a scouts or youth group I think.   I’m used to simple places to sleep so this is quite adequate for me.   There is no lounge to sit and read.    So during evenings I sat in the restaurant with usual Swiss prices and drink tea.   Beer is about £9/pint, food is also very high so I visited a local shop.

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This was parked next to my hostel.   It seems Swiss landowners can’t rely on local municipality services to clear snow and have the means to clear it themselves.  This 1990s Toyota truck has been adapted for this purpose.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things –

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation –

Sunshine over Westminster

I’m walking around after work with a lot of worries with decisions with work and personal issues.

Rather take the two-stop only Waterloo underground line that goes from Bank to Waterloo I decided to walk it.

Many people in London are weary with Brexit confusion, worrying crime level increasing and the general frenetic sense of life in the capital city.    Although actually when I look at around there is construction and people recruiting new staff.

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This might be just a weather formation, but I like this glow in the distance.

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The sun shines brightly through the clouds in the direction towards Westminster.  Sometimes I’m seeing groups of Christians praying over the UK for the Lord to bring a fresh revival over our city.

I often like to head to the Emmanuel Centre which is 100 yards away from Westminster in London when there are events on.   I’ve seen a worship musician from Malta who decided to leave a homosexual lifestyle, my old congregation King of Kings from Jerusalem Israel do music and teaching, Barry and Batya Segal who are also Messianic Jewish musicians and ministry couple from Israel, and Christ for all Nations worship event many other things.

I think the Lord is going to do more special things in the UK.

 

Germany 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

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A pleasant walk along here, but the coast is misty enough in the morning to not see the Swiss neighbours.

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The Zeppelin museum here is great!  This has part of the body of an airship, videos and exhibits of these mammoth flying machines.

This cast iron tower at the end of the pier is a nice centre point in the middle of the coast of Friedrichshafen.

The youth hostel here is about 2km from the town centre and clean and pleasant but extremely quiet at this time (beginning of March 2019)

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This boat takes you to Switzerland for 10 Euros or 12 Swiss Francs.

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Among cranes and equipment on the dock of the coast of the Lake.   Look closely at this bench, it has the German and Swiss flags.

I smiled and said hi to security guards before boarding the boat, expecting that they would want to see my passport and ticket.  They didn’t.    I’m curious to know how many instances of travelling from one country to another where no one really cares about your credentials.   Looking behind me is an EU sign for people coming from the Swiss side as Switzerland has never been in the EU bloc.

The boat journey reminds me of going from my home city of Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight, its short and simple, there is a decent cafe on there.    I chatted for about 30 mins to a Nigerian IT guy who was going for an interview for a job in Switzerland.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things –

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation –

 

Germany 8. Business in UK, Germany and Israel

Back in 2007, I got a job as an IT contractor for NICE Systems, an Israeli based software developer and worked in their Southampton UK office.   I didn’t plan on doing this, even though being interested in Israel and technology they do, I was just looking for work, and happy to work for any employer that has a pleasant working environment.   A recruiter called me up and offered me this back then.

I supported their staff in UK and Europe by phone and email and sometimes chatted to the teams in the headquarters in Israel.

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Bus from Munich to Friedrichshafen, which goes all the way to Zurich.

It was while working there I felt I should do some volunteering in Israel which lead to me leaving a normal career and flying out to the Holy Land in 2009 and started blogging about some of my favourite things, bible places and travel.

Israeli hi-tech business NICE Systems has two offices in Germany, in Frankfurt and Friedrichshafen and also in Switzerland close to Zurich.  I believe they bought out several companies based in Europe.   I’m not in contact with them now, but I chose to visit Friedrichshafen on this trip before I got to Switzerland as its an ideal place on my onward journey to Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

With all the big mess with Brexit right now, I thought it is interesting how companies operate in different countries to get the chance to fish for talented people in different places, which can be done spanned over multiple countries and continents, not limited to the EU either.

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Rolls Royce the British luxury motorcar maker, and still is British with vehicles built in Chichester UK, but owned by BMW group (see part 2.)  but also Rolls Royce who make engines for planes and aircraft who are a different company altogether, I was surprised to see has a research and development place here in Friedrichshafen, and are doing a big recruitment drive (March 2018) now.

DSCF0654I’d like to think that modern Germany no longer has antisemitism and hostility to Israel and has learned lessons from dreadful mistakes from the Nazis getting in power.  But this sticker I saw on a sign says otherwise sadly.  On the upside, this may be instrumental for Jewish people in Germany and the rest of Europe to encourage them to move to Israel as per the Bible’s promises.

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Here’s another surprise I saw in Munich.   This is an electric Jaguar, yes a British car, being used as a taxi.  In Germany!  I’ve only seen one of those up close back in the UK as I think this is a very new model vehicle, being a credible competitor to Telsa.   Despite Germany’s formidable reputation as a maker of premium automobiles, I don’t think BMW, Mercedes or Audi have an equivalent vehicle in a SUV type form factor yet.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches museum – 8. Business in UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

 

Germany 7. Deutsches Museum

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The Deutch museum has yes even more cars.   This is a general purpose museum of all things historical achievements in Germany.  Also trains, trucks, tracks, signalling and many other things.

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Self-driving cars.  We know this technology is getting close to be ready for highways in the western world.  This self-driving Mercedes Benz S class from back in 2000, and has three desktop clone PCs in place of the back seats.   I guess if it were running software from back then like Windows NT its highly dubious if it should be safe to go out on its own!

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Porsche with stainless steel body, think this was built as a one off.

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All things engineering.

Get there early.   I didn’t – so I saw only half of it, looked at my watch (which was set to UK time) as 4pm, and a message over a tannoy system said the museum was closing so I missed a lot of it.   This is a truly superb collection of German engineering.  https://www.deutsches-museum.de 

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches museum – 8. Business in UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen

Germany 6. Tourism and going out in Munich

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When you think of holidays in Germany, you normally think of Munich and beer.   I was here in March, so the wrong time of year for this big famous event.

The pubs here like these big beer halls, are pretty huge, with waitresses with lacy blouses and aprons who serve you at very long tables.    These pretzels are great too.

I think there is live music offered, and relatively easy to chat to other people here.

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Yes, it seems people want to buy these kinds of costumes to get into the spirit of the Oktoberfest!!

IMG_20190224_113043945My Youth hosel was around the corner from here and the main station along with many other hostels.   Most of the folks seem to be very young, often American teenagers on their first trip to Europe, who go a little crazy finding that they can finally drink without needing to be 21 as in the US.

The food here, is well, nothing special.   I like sausages, and these frankfurters were ok, but it seems a bit small portions.

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Right by this grand looking archway in the centre of the city was a couple with a table full of Christian literature.   I’m really glad the local churches here are reaching out to the public with the gospel with teaching in not only German, but also Chinese and Arabic and other languages.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches museum – 8. Business in UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen