1. Auckland – Christchurch – Invercargill

Saturday, February 11: Sunny in Auckland & Christchurch, variable cloud around and fairly warm, high clouds in Invercargill

Randa’s ($50, airbnb)

For the final couple of hours I managed three episodes of Attenborough’s Planet Earth II. Nice pictures, but apart from the repetitious test to the point of being cliched, there was something worrying about Attenborough’s treatment of competition, which didn’t appear to be conceptually uniform. Nor was his use of contact clauses, by the way, with one or two being quite pithy and the remainder fell into the category of up with which I will not put.

Only really missed out on Mars, but not sure whether that would have been missing out on much. But it did occur to me that the Gemini story had led indirectly to massive improvements in civil aviation, if not civilian space travel or even space tourism. Read more…

I’m flying – well, sort of

Starting at... Original flight price, Bravofly, November 13, 2016
Fig. 1. Starting at… Original flight price, Bravofly, November 13, 2016

I think I’ll start with the good news. There’s so little of it. After decades of neglect Deutsche Bahn has moved Hannover main station to within 2:30 hours of Frankfurt airport. With a little advanced booking of several train tickets, this can be achieved rather cost effectively. That cuts out the need to consider flying from the nearest airport. And meanwhile in Berlin the automatic doors at the new airport won’t open or shut, so the grand opening has been postponed yet again to next year. Sigh.

Choose your price, Bravofly
Fig. 2. Choose your price, Bravofly
I had started by looking at prices from Hannover just to see if price and duration could be kept in a meaningful relationship. Flight times of 33 hours there and 29 return were really not too bad, and the price appeared reasonable at Bravofly (€1,272, Fig. 1), that then became €1,304 if you wanted to pay by bank transfer, or €1,282 if you wanted to pay with an actually existing credit card. Including a discount of €21, which makes no sense at all (Fig. 2). Sorry, no time for such games. Read more…