Liechtenstein 1. Plans

Liechtenstein is the next small country I am going.

I don’t know much about this little country yet.

  • Its not part of the EU, its between Switzerland and Austria.
  • Its really hard to spell.
  • It has a prince that runs it with his own castle and winery.
  • Its biggest industry is making false teeth.
  • Its double landlocked.
  • The capital is Vaduz
  • It uses the Swiss Franc as money, almost the same as a US Dollar, as 1 CHF = $0.99 as of February 2019.
  • Cars have stickers/plates marked (FL) which is Federation of Liechtenstein, and web sites and email addresses instead of .li
  • Its flipping expensive like Switzerland.
  • There is only one Youth Hostel and its shut in the winter, so I will have to stay 15 kms away in a town in Switzerland.

I bought two one one tickets, one into Germany and one out of Switzerland.   I have friends in Munich in Germany who is originally from my home town of Portsmouth UK, and another friend from Basel Switzerland who is going to rendezvous with me in Zurich before I fly home.

Plus I thought it would be fun to get all the non-EU countries done before the media tells me the world ends (29/3/2019 = Brexit)   haha.

 

Advertisements

Borders on European nations chart

Whilst I have been travelling to different parts of Europe I’ve noticed something.   Some places have very formal looking borders with a checkpoint with police or army and some places you can go on a bus across and blink and not see a tiny sign that marks another nation.

I don’t see borders and checkpoints as a bad thing, even if you are friends with a neighbouring nation its necessary to check who comes through and get information about the movements of criminals from another jurisdiction.   Often its necessary to keep a watch on tobacco and alcohol or illicit drugs.   It could also be that you need to pay a toll on certain roads.

This isn’t an EU/not EU thing, as while I write this my government of the UK right now (16/1/2019) is a bit of a mess with a future outside of the European Union not quite planned.

I decided to try an experiment because I am a nerd and work with data, I decided to use Google Streetmap view and a big chart to show information of what it looks like to cross from one country to another.

Here are some examples of some oddities;

TOP This is what happens when you from Spain to Gibraltar, a tiny piece of Britain.  I visited there in 2015, a year before Brexit vote so I was surprised to see such a military connection between modern two European places, but it seems the Gib government and Spain have fraught relations for years.

This is Moldova and Romania, not been to either of these places.    Both countries are poor, and this is as close as Google cars will take me.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rU0iAvXX6TuS5flRfQnvq1WnmChaml3tXvLPJSI4Ezw/edit#gid=0 

If you want to use this on your web site, I rather you just link to this if you could thanks, rather copy the whole thing.

I’ve not included UK, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus or Iceland as I was only interested in seeing land borders.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rU0iAvXX6TuS5flRfQnvq1WnmChaml3tXvLPJSI4Ezw/edit#gid=0 

Some caveats.  1. Roads that go from one nation to another chosen at random.  2. Germany doesn’t have any Google street map view data as their government had a falling out with Google.  3.  Russia shown is the “little” Russia which has the city of Kalingrad.  4. The Pink values that show two different gov borders are a bit experimental as don’t get a good look from GSMV.  4. No confidential information exposed, only what Google tells me.  5. There is probably some mistakes and improvements that could be made.  

Feel free to comment.

Richard’s Watch blog and prophetic plans for Britain

Do you like learning about biblical prophecy?  Want to see revival over the UK, and Christian support for Israel, as we enter the beginning of end times?

Interested in UK based Christians and friends from abroad think about the big changes in the happening to Britain (ie; Brexit) over 2019 and beyond?

A few people I know personally sometimes contribute to this really good blog.   This is really interesting and without hysteria or hype.

https://richards-watch.org

 

Big Jewish school in London UK introduces teaching on Christ

jfs on jesus.png

https://www.thejc.com/education/education-features/how-jesus-found-a-place-in-new-jfs-curriculum-1.470665 

This article really encouraged me recently.

Why?  As well as living in Israel as a Christian supporting Jewish people, when I moved to London in 2014 I started doing IT for schools for a big mainstream secondary school close the outskirts of the M25 motorway. I did this for a year and moved on to various other jobs.   More recently in 2017, I worked again for a well known Jewish private school (although not JFS) for just over a year.

I really liked my employer for lots of reasons.  I didn’t even ‘choose’ to work in a school again, and didn’t realise it was Jewish until I drove up to the gates for my last minute interview, I had just finished some contract work for a big famous American company in London’s city centre.  The teaching standard is high, as were the expectations of the pupils.   Unlike the previous place, I rarely saw any kind of fights of bad behaviour.  The staff were great to deal with, although the job was high pressure and the IT setup wasn’t in the greatest of shape and several projects were a long way behind.  Some things made up for it, having Jewish holidays off, and really great canteen which is £2 to each anything you want, the food is kosher of course but a really great choice of healthy and quality meals, I usually had salmon on Wednesday, but also sitting down and eating with staff who about 50% are Jewish, who I know I am a Christian and my interest in Israel and Bible history.

IMG_20180716_140609416 1024

Yes the school has some old interesting bits like this

I learned more things about Jewish culture that I didn’t learn in Israel.   When the school was shut (for the kids) over the summer holidays I was busy working, installing software, testing projectors, in one of the religious studies room, I picked up a Tanakh, (what Jewish people call what Christians call an Old Testament)    these books are the real word of God, but alas has commentaries from Rashi on them that show crucially important texts that predict the coming of Messiah Jesus are actually something different.   But also with this school and about 4 other UK Jewish schools I visited, may have the walls covered pictures, drawings and celebrations related to Jewish holidays, famous Rabbis, photos of Israel, France Netherlands and Poland to see Jewish history, I never actually saw quotes of scripture.  So where the Jewish kids would put on their straps and boxes on their heads faithfully each morning and do prayers, it didn’t occur to me that verses of the bible weren’t ever used to express encouragement or affirmation in a public way like Christians do.   Still, I enjoyed my regular chats with different staff on more lower key (well, this is my workplace) religious matters, and also with things that interest me in computer studies, science, geography, and history.   So what have I learned?   Judaism and Christianity have some wonderful common framework, although different in other ways with certain traditions.

I visited the library, this was moved to another building, the school needed to get rid of some books which were in a box to give away, so I got a nice Hebrew dictionary set, and some smaller books I gave to some close Christian friends who love Israel.    I had to install a new wifi point and replace 5 tired old Core2duo PCs with shiny new HP i5 all in one units.  Whilst there I looked through a religious section which had ‘other religions’ only to not see anything related to the life of Jesus or the New Testament.    There was some teaching on Christianity (which is required by curriculum) but sadly only brief bits on the life of Martin Luther.

So for the JFS to have actually explicit teaching on the life of Jesus Christ is really encouraging news for me, Jewish schools are quite competitive on marketing on getting more submissions for next term, so I am hoping the rest of the Jewish schools would follow suit on not shying away from the best Jewish teacher ever, Yeshua the Messiah.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” 

AirBNB boycots parts of Israel, so forget them and see places anyway

This morning (20/11/2018) I woke up to BBC Radio 2 at 6am to get ready for work, which mentioned a story about AirBNB deciding to unlist properties in disputed parts of Israel, this is sad. I’ve booked all my travels in hostels in Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Europe and China using hostelworld.com mostly when I travel and see things for myself and not told what to think.   Hostelworld act as a middleman for booking hostels by paying for a deposit in advance and knowing the place isn’t fully booked when you get there (can happen)

AirBNB would be the better choice for a couple, family or a group.   Now being a Christian Zionist, avid traveller and curious about places, this is yet another one of those depressing stories how countries, authorities and businesses ignore the plights of Christians persecuted who live in Muslim majority countries (Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Sudan, etc) and decide to pick on Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

In some weird way this might be a good thing seeing as Israel based companies often succeed better in the holy land than multinational organisations, ie if you look at Eldan car rental is more popular than Hertz Avis Budget etc and Aroma coffee shops out did Starbucks.

This is Hebron by the Tomb of the Patriarchs.   This is considered disputed territory but contains crucial bits of history of Jewish people, and its a place where Jews and Palestinians live.  I’ve not been here and I want to go and see it.   This is a more unstable place to visit.   I think its ok to visit but to go with a tour guide.

AirBNB is one of these internet companies that ‘disrupt’ traditional businesses doing hotels and holiday villas using the power of the internet, and are probably the “go to” brand for many holidaymakers looking to rent a place as part of a trip.

I see this as an opportunity for Israeli businesses to be shrewd and take away some of their business.   Let’s hope Israeli travel companies make a new portal to book places for foreigners that can see the many exciting parts of the country

 

Meet a blogger. Want to meet me or try out my church in London?

After blogging for nine years about different things I’ve seen in various countries I have been to particularly and places that had historical value in works of Jesus, I’ve decided to do something new and different.

As a Christian, I often read about exciting testimonies of those recently following Jesus, some from those from different parts of the world which don’t have an established body of Christ or those from a different religious background.

I know it can be hard to show up to a church for the first time, and even with a welcome team, it can be a bit awkward.   It’s often better when going to a new church to go with someone you know.

See this picture above? This is my church Calvery Shoreline Church near Camden in London that I go to. In fact, this is a very small congregation of about 12-15 of us, which is a separate church which borrows the building of the main church meeting.   I’m not a pastor or leader, just a ordinary guy who writes online.

  • Are you new to London and looking for a community to join? Single, couple or family.
  • Are you looking to change from another church?
  • Are you from a different religious background with questions about the Christian faith or the works of Jesus?
  • Done Christian mission stuff? or just on holiday in London? want to go and visit for holiday or volunteer places related to the bible? I like chatting to people on these things.
  • Just want to meet and chat?

I’ve met up with other bloggers a few times, and other folks from different backgrounds both living in Jerusalem and London.

I notice some people may have a casual interest in faith, or joining or re-joining a community but don’t know where to start.

Want to meet me and come to my church? we can meet and have coffee before if you want.   I like churches with great teaching, worship and warm community.   I moved from a massive 600 seat church to this place around March 2018 and I’d like to open an invitation to anyone else who is looking for a place to fellowship.

I often go to this park before church, there are some great coffee places near by like this one.

So please message me here or privately, do tell me a bit about your background.

Andorra – 10. Overall & Europe’s biggest secret?

IMG_20181001_190056417-PANO 1024

I’m glad I went to Andorra after I went to Luxembourg.  Luxembourg is old, has nice railways in big viaducts of the city, but Andorra is so much better!

Andorra is different because it has some many qualities that make it something of a tiny undiscovered utopia.   Here’s why;

  • Unemployment is only 3%
  • Salaries similar to UK.   Could be a great place to live you like me you work in IT and maybe a hospital or a school or banking.
  • 10% income tax and 3% VAT
  • It’s in the Pyrenees mountains!
  • There is almost no crime, one murder maybe every 4 years.
  • No problem with the possibility of Catalan state dividing Spain, that’s in Barcelona.  This little nation has a good amount of political stability.   Its already a Catalan speaking nation, with Spanish as a close second language.
  • Cheap property starting at 85k (Euros) where you are almost guaranteed to get nice views of the mountains out of the window.
  • Plenty of places to go shopping, nothing is far away.
  • Good healthcare system, I’m not sure why, but Andorran people have some of the longest life expectancies in the world.

IMG_20180929_141922334 1024

I am probably going to get in trouble for this – it’s not part of the EU!  When UK leaves on 29 March 2019, you could sit in your cosy little apartment which you can afford on a normal salary, keep more of your wages to raise a family and have fun in outdoors and drink Spanish hot chocolate or 2 Euro bottle of wine, relax and watch people have a meltdown on social media.

The only downside is for Christians like me, I don’t think this country has much faith here.   There is one Anglican church I think.   But you know what.   Someone could take on the job of moving there and planting house churches in these small towns.

You definitely need a car here.    Buses are fine, but it is hard to get in and out of this little state.  If you can learn the Catalan language and also speak Spanish, this could be a wonderful place to live.

pano2 1024

Previous 9. Distilling ideas

The end.

As part of my little countries travel and social media experiment, I really want to visit Liechtenstein in 2019, which is another tiny state next to Switzerland, stay tuned.

Related:  Other tiny countries I have seen:- Malta, Iceland, Monaco, Gibraltar, Luxembourg, Andorra

Andorra – 9. Distilling ideas

I went to this unusual supermarket and tourist shop near my youth hostel in El Tarter.

IMG_20180930_094926576Ok, so lots of British people go to France and Spain to buy cheap alcohol.   But here in Andorra I was shocked how cheap booze can be.

Yes, those are three bottles in a set for 11.98.   Did I mention there are a lot of shop signs in Russian?   This reminded me of the Cappadocia in Turkey also did this as they were a favourite with Russian people.

IMG_20180930_095016894

In my hostel, a young British man, myself and a Canadian woman in her 50s shared a reasonable quality bottle of Spanish wine that was 1 Euro and 79 cents whilst having dinner.   The cheapest bottle of wine I could find in a store in a town just outside of Calgary was $15.

IMG_20180930_095146262 1024

Local made chocolate is pretty good starting from 3 Euros.

IMG_20180930_095357435 1024

Ham, lots and lots of it.   I got a packet of the nice thinly sliced Iberian ham you often get at Christmas and some French bread which made a decent lunch whilst hiking the mountains.  A whole leg of pork is expensive to buy whole though.   Jamon / Jambon is ham in Spanish or French (not jam bun 🙂 )

IMG_20180930_100552161_HDR 1024

Distilling equipment.   Later I found this is possibly not for making your own beverages but more likely for making perfume, as the shop across the road shows.

IMG_20180929_144842051_HDR-EFFECTS 1024Not everything in Andorra is a bargain, in Andorra Le Ville, there are big clothing brands like other glamourous shopping locations.

Andorra seems to blend in its own products as prestige from elsewhere.  Shops in the main city centre had Scotch Whisky and liquors from other places also.

Previous 8. An abundance of cosy mountain apartments 

Next 10. Overall & Europe’s biggest secret?

 

Andorra – 8. An abundance of cosy mountain apartments

IMG_20180929_140746870I really want to buy a house, but that’s not going to happen in London.

Here are some flats in Andorra advertised in the main part of the city.  One is 85,000 euros!

Some apartment blocks here are boarded up or new builds that aren’t finished.  My experience living in Israel shows that houses in the middle east are sometimes sold without windows, doors, kitchen and bathroom as sometimes the buyer will finish it off with his choice of design.

These flats are 120,000 each and they look new.

This flat needs doing up, as the ad says its ‘in need of modernisation’  Only 49,000.   It’s by the main road and has all those nice views.   The ad was in English, French, Spanish, and German.   But, wait – I’ve illustrated this house not from the blurry picture I took with my phone, but Google Maps, so it has been on the market for four years.  Hmmm.

Spain’s economy is in terrible shape with lots of unemployment but Andorra seems to be a happy contented little nation with 3% unemployment and almost no crime.   To me this looks like a great place to bring up a family in salaries similar to Britain.

Previous 7. No snow, but mountains are still fun

Next 9. Distilling ideas

 

 

Andorra – 7. No snow, but mountains are still fun

One of the other great things about this country was it was still warm when visiting in late September.  Outside of winter, Andorra has mountain biking and hiking to attract visitors.

It seemed that much of lifts that take you on to the mountains were dismantled and mothballed for the time being.

pano3 1024

This big ticket office and waiting lounge with storage for skis should be really busy during the winter, but I was only there with a tiny handful of people.

IMG_20180930_121043744 1024

I just spent a brief time on top of the hill.

IMG_20180930_123248040 1024

Smaller ski lifts not working.

IMG_20180930_141506024 1024 IMG_20180930_134416895-EFFECTS 1024Mountain golf.   Buy the balls from a vending machine, and practice your swing to hit them off of this platform next to a cafe and try and get them in this small 1m or so wide basket.  Locals keeping the foliage tidy

IMG_20180930_143108106-PANO 1024

On the way out of the lift hall, I could see that big expansion plans for this place.

This was about 3km of so from El Tarter.

Previous 6. El Tarter’s youth hotel and growing little town

Next 8. An abundance of cosy mountain apartments