Beijing, 31 January 2013

OK, my meeting in Davos was a little more humble than the one that just finished. We didn’t talk of global trends or the next big crisis, nor were television newscasters knocking at our doors begging for an interview. No, we were talking about e-waste and what to do with the growing mountains of broken computers and discarded mobile phones that we generate.

It was still summer, or so I thought. After all, the meeting was taking place in the first week of September. But the morning after I arrived it snowed. I could NOT believe it! My wife and I had made plans that after the meeting she would join me and we would visit the area. But we weren’t about to go visiting in the snow. That was the end of that little holiday.

Perhaps because of this, or perhaps because I realized that the meeting was actually a waste of time, whatever it was, I was not in a receptive mood.  I found Davos to be a pretty nothing place. There was no part of the town that I found worth looking at, no building worth admiring, no vista to stop in front of … nothing. Just a series of anonymous-looking modern buildings along anonymous-looking streets.

Well, to be fair, there was one thing that has stayed with me and that was the train ride up to Davos. At Zurich airport, I took a train to the small town of Landquart, which stands astride the point where river Landquart meets river Rhine, still a modest river at this point on its journey to the sea. There, I changed to a narrow gauge train, which took me up to Davos. This line is part of the Rhaetian railway network (lovely name, that; it comes from the original inhabitants of the high mountain valleys of these parts, the Rhaetians). The train runs up the valley of the river Landquart to Klosters, where it turns off and begins to climb up to Davos, 10 km away and 400 metres higher. It is a truly lovely ride, reminiscent to me of the ride in the Micheline about which I wrote a post recently. Maybe it’s because the train doesn’t go too fast, or maybe it’s the narrower gauge or the single line, or maybe it’s because the trees are allowed to grow up close to the train, or maybe it’s the way the train twists and turns through the very peaceful fields and woods … but somehow in this train you feel so close to nature.

Camera : NIKON D700 . . . Focal Len : 70.0 mm . . . Shutter : 1/640sec . . . Aperture : f/9.0 . . . ISO : 200 . . . Original : Digital 12MP NEF

davos train-2-Küblis-Saas

Camera : NIKON D700 . . . Focal Len : 42.0 mm . . . Shutter : 1/640sec . . . Aperture : f/9.0 . . . ISO : 200 . . . Original : Digital 12MP NEF

Camera : NIKON D700 . . . Focal Len : 40.0 mm . . . Shutter : 1/500sec . . . Aperture : f/8.0 . . . ISO : 200 . . . Original : Digital 12MP NEF

When I took it, I was alone in my compartment, so I pulled down the window (in itself a small miracle in modern trains), stuck my head out of the window, and just let the hayfields and pine trees whoosh past me, all the way to Davos.

davos train-9

Pity Davos and the meeting were such a let-down.


Davos train-1: http://www.railography.co.uk/photos/schweiz/910/files/10-D-1857.jpg
Davos train-2: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/RhB_K%C3%BCblis-Saas.jpg/640px-RhB_K%C3%BCblis-Saas.jpg
Davos train-3: http://www.railography.co.uk/photos/schweiz/910/files/10-D-1840.htm
Davos train-4: http://www.railography.co.uk/photos/schweiz/910/files/10-D-1833.jpg
Davos train-5: http://www.streetviewfun.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/googletrainview-550×309.jpg

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I like writing, but I’ve spent most of my life writing about things that don’t particularly interest me. Finally, as I neared the age of 60, I decided to change that. I wanted to write about things that interested me. What really interests me is beauty. So I’ve focused this blog on beautiful things. I could be writing about a formally beautiful object in a museum. But it could also be something sitting quietly on a shelf. Or it could be just a fleeting view that's caught my eye, or a momentary splash of colour-on-colour at the turn of the road. Or it could be a piece of music I've just heard. Or a piece of poetry. Or food. And I’m sure I’ve missed things. But I’ll also write about interesting things that I hear or read about. Isn't there a beauty about things pleasing to the mind? I started just writing, but my wife quickly persuaded me to include photos. I tried it and I liked it. So my posts are now a mix of words and pictures, most of which I find on the internet. What else about me? When I first started this blog, my wife and I lived in Beijing where I was head of the regional office of the UN Agency I worked for. So at the beginning I wrote a lot about things Chinese. Then we moved to Bangkok, where again I headed up my Agency's regional office. So for a period I wrote about Thailand and South-East Asia more generally. But we had lived in Austria for many years before moving to China, and anyway we both come from Europe my wife is Italian while I'm half English, half French - so I often write about things European. Now I'm retired and we've moved back to Europe, so I suppose I will be writing a lot more about the Old Continent, interspersed with posts we have gone to visit. What else? We have two grown children, who had already left the nest when we moved to China, but they still figure from time to time in my posts. I’ll let my readers figure out more about me from reading what I've written. As these readers will discover, I really like trees. So I chose a tree - an apple tree, painted by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt - as my gravatar. And I chose Abellio as my name because he is the Celtic God of the apple tree. I hope you enjoy my posts. http://ipaintingsforsale.com/UploadPic/Gustav Klimt/big/Apple Tree I.jpg

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