Monday, 6 July 2015

Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China

I used to be fairly active in the 'You choose Unesco WHS' tag on the Postcrossing forum earlier this year but have had to take a break as postage is just ridiculous in the UK now. I can't afford to send too many postcards and friends take priority. Anyway, this is one of the cards I received through that tag. I really like this view, but find it a little odd that the sender didn't write any message on the back of the card. It literally only has my name, address and the name of the tag on. O_o Oh well, the sender must have had their reasons, and the card is still lovely.

The Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China covers 16,603-hectares in Southern Yunnan. It is marked by spectacular terraces that cascade down the slopes of the towering Ailao Mountains to the banks of the Hong River. Over the past 1,300 years, the Hani people have developed a complex system of channels to bring water from the forested mountaintops to the terraces. They have also created an integrated farming system that involves buffalos, cattle, ducks, fish and eel and supports the production of red rice, the area’s primary crop. The inhabitants worship the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, forests and other natural phenomena including fire. They live in 82 villages situated between the mountaintop forests and the terraces. The villages feature traditional thatched “mushroom” houses. The resilient land management system of the rice terraces demonstrates extraordinary harmony between people and their environment, both visually and ecologically, based on exceptional and long-standing social and religious structures.

Hama Rikyu Gardens, Tokyo, Japan

A beautiful postcard from Japan from earlier this year. I'd love to get to see the cherry blossoms in Japan one day and experience 'hanami', it looks pretty amazing!

Hama Rikyu Gardens is a public park in Chūō, Tokyo, Japan. Located at the mouth of the Sumida River, it was opened April 1, 1946. The park is a 250,165 m² landscaped garden surrounding Shioiri Pond, the park itself surrounded by a seawater moat filled by Tokyo Bay. It was remodeled as a public garden park on the site of a villa of the Shogun Tokugawa family in the 17th century.

Japanese stamps are SO beautiful, and I love these special cancellations with pictures. I wish you could get nice cancellations in the UK as well... :/

Monterrey, Mexico

I don't get postcards from Mexico too often so I couldn't really refuse a swap request from there. Not sure if the view is one of my favourites, but it's still nice to have a postcard from this place.

Monterrey is the capital and largest city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the base of many significant international corporations.

It is the second wealthiest city in Mexico and the ninth in Latin America with a GDP PPP of 130.7 billion dollars in 2012. Monterrey's GDP PPP per capita of 31,051 dollars is the highest in the country and second of Latin America. It is considered a Beta World City, cosmopolitan and competitive. Rich in history and culture, Monterrey is often regarded as the most "americanized" and developed city in the entire country, even above the cities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

As an important industrial and business center, the city is also home to an array of Mexican companies, including Grupo Avante, Lanix Electronics, Ocresa, CEMEX, Vitro, Mercedes-Benz Mexico, OXXO, BMW de Mexico, Grupo Bimbo, DINA S.A., Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery and Heineken, which features Norteño capital and Grupo ALFA. Monterrey is also home to international companies such as Accenture, Ternium, Sony, Toshiba, Carrier, Whirlpool, Samsung, Toyota, Daewoo, Ericsson, Nokia, Dell, Boeing, HTC, General Electric, Gamesa, LG, SAS Institute, Grundfos, Danfoss, and Teleperformance, among others.

Monterrey is located in northeast Mexico, at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental. The uninterrupted settlement of Monterrey starts in 1596, with its founding by Diego de Montemayor. In the years after the Mexican War of Independence, Monterrey became an important business center. With the establishment of Fundidora Monterrey, the city experienced a great industrial growth.

Greetings from Hungary

The 'greetings from' card of the day comes from Hungary. Thank you so much, Daniel! I was expecting it to be a lot harder to get this one.

I like the fairly strong colours here - I've got to admit the very pastel-coloured cards in this series aren't normally my favourites.

I was already aware of the fact that Hungarian is supposed to be related to Finnish, although I still don't really see how. I couldn't really understand a word of Hungarian. :P Apparently the tone is supposed to be similar, though.

Aranjuez Cultural Landscape, Spain

A lovely Unesco card from Spain I received earlier this year.

The Aranjuez cultural landscape is an entity of complex relationships: between nature and human activity, between sinuous watercourses and geometric landscape design, between the rural and the urban, between forest landscape and the delicately modulated architecture of its palatial buildings. Three hundred years of royal attention to the development and care of this landscape have seen it express an evolution of concepts from humanism and political centralization, to characteristics such as those found in its 18th century French-style Baroque garden, to the urban lifestyle which developed alongside the sciences of plant acclimatization and stock-breeding during the Age of Enlightenment.

Aranjuez cultural landscape is located in the Province and Autonomous Community of Madrid.

Wagrain, Austria

Long time no see... I wasn't intending on taking this long to update again but somehow it just happened. Well, there *was* quite a lot going on in June and I've been preoccupied with other things. I'll try to squeeze in an update now before heading off to my aikido class.

This card is from a swap earlier this year. Marco was offering the new Austrian Europa stamp and I just couldn't resist. Marco accidentally sent me a cover with the stamp first but kindly offered to send a postcard as well as that's what we'd agreed on. He did do a lot of swaps for the stamp, though! Anyway.. I was getting frustrated with the cover I sent to him - it was returned to me TWICE by the Royal Mail despite the postage actually being too much! It did finally reach Austria, but I was getting a little annoyed. The same happened shortly afterwards with a letter I sent to dad's sister. I wonder if it happened because of the way I write (or used to, I've changed it a little since then) the return address on the back of the envelope? Oh, the joys of sorting machines. :P ...although I find it a bit strange that the postman didn't notice anything! Or maybe he did but just doesn't care...

Wagrain is a market town in the St. Johann im Pongau District in the Austrian state of Salzburg. It is located in a high valley stretching from the Salzach at Sankt Johann in the west to the Enns river in the east. The municipality includes the Katastralgemeinden Hof, Hofmarkt, Schwaighof and Vorderkleinarl. The population is about 3,020.

The settlement of Wakrein in the Archbishopric of Salzburg was first mentioned in a 1243 deed. Original a mining area, Wagrain in the early 18th century was a centre of Crypto-protestantism within the Catholic country. About 1732/33 Prince-Archbishop Count Leopold Anton von Firmian had the Protestant population expelled; most were received by King Frederick William I of Prussia and re-settled the East Prussian province, which had been devastated by the plague.

Today Wagrain mainly depends on tourism. It is nestled in the valley of the Ski Amadé resorts, one of the largest ski resort networks in Europe. In the summer the ski lifts transport bikers to the mountains for the summer mountain biking season.

Wagrain is the original home of Atomic Skis, which was founded in 1955 by Alois Rohrmoser, who bought a wheelwright shop, and expanded its production to include winter sports equipment, such as skis and sleds, using local timber resources and a crew of four craftsmen.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Saigon, Vietnam

Most of my postcards from Vietnam depict scenes of everyday life - markets, people... I do love those and wish similar postcards were available here as well, but it was still a treat to receive something slightly different. I love this cityview, it looks so vibrant, and the colours are gorgeous I think. The scan doesn't do the colours justice. :/

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly named Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. It was once known as Prey Nokor, an important Khmer sea port prior to annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. Under the name Saigon, it was the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina and later of the independent republic of South Vietnam 1955–75. On 2 July 1976, Saigon merged with the surrounding Gia Định Province and was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City after Hồ Chí Minh (although the name Sài Gòn is still unofficially widely used).

The metropolitan area, which consists of the Ho Chi Minh City metropolitan area, Thủ Dầu Một, Dĩ An, Biên Hòa and surrounding towns, is populated by more than 9 million people, making it the most populous metropolitan area in Vietnam. The city's population is expected to grow to 13.9 million in 2025.

The Ho Chi Minh City Metropolitan Area, a metropolitan area covering most parts of the Southeast region plus Tiền Giang Province and Long An Province under planning, will have an area of 30,000 square kilometres with a population of 20 million inhabitants by 2020. According to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Economist Intelligence Unit and ECA International, Ho Chi Minh City is ranked 132 on the list of world's most expensive cities for expatriate employees.

Greetings from Hong Kong

I was obviously not very organised with this one - somehow I ended up with four of these! :O I'll have to be more careful in the future...! Well, there are some very nice stamps on the cards, I've picked a couple to include in this post.

The background of this card shows the Victoria Harbour. I was also pointed out that the Chinese White Dolphin mentioned on this card is not actually white - they are grey when young and pink when mature. I'm not sure if I had even heard of them before...!

I've got a bit of a soft spot for Hong Kong as my friend Miranda is from there, so I've been curious about the place ever since I first met her. Incidentally, she'll be going to Hong Kong for a couple of weeks soon - I'm looking forward to seeing her photos on Facebook again. :) I'd love to visit Hong Kong myself one day, too, it seems like a really interesting city.

Calgary Postcrossing meet-up, Canada

I wish there were Postcrossing meet-ups a little closer to where I live - at the moment they all seem to take place in London. :/ I guess there around many active Postcrossers in the Midlands... Anyway, this could well be my first Postcrossing meet-up card from Canada. I do like it when there are special postcards printed just for these events.

Calgary is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately 80 km east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. In the 2011 census, the City of Calgary had a population of 1,096,833 and a metropolitan population of 1,214,839, making it the largest city in Alberta, and the third-largest municipality and fifth-largest census metropolitan area (CMA) in Canada.

The economy of Calgary includes activity in the energy, financial services, film and television, transportation and logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail, and tourism sectors. The Calgary CMA is home to the second-most corporate head offices in Canada among the country's 800 largest corporations.

Calgary anchors the south end of what Statistics Canada defines as the "Calgary–Edmonton Corridor".

 In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games.

Novo Mesto, Slovenia

This is from a swap from earlier this year. I was so happy when Mateja offered to send me the Slovenian Year of the Sheep/Goat stamp. :) I do still miss quite a few countries in my Year of the Sheep stamp collection, but it's pretty decent anyway.

Novo Mesto is the city on a bend of the Krka River in the City Municipality of Novo Mesto in southeastern Slovenia, close to the border with Croatia. The town is traditionally considered the economic and cultural centre of the historical Lower Carniola region.

Today, tourism is increasing in Slovenia, and Novo Mesto is feeling some of the effects. The Krka Valley is becoming a place for wine enthusiasts who take tours throughout the Lower Carniola region, tasting locally produced Cviček wine, which is produced by blending several different varieties of local wine.

Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, Greece

I've been working on my Unesco postcard collection a little lately and have received some very nice new additions to my collection. This is one of them, received earlier this year. Thank you so much, Elena!

In a small valley in the Peloponnesus, the shrine of Asklepios, the god of medicine, developed out of a much earlier cult of Apollo (Maleatas), during the 6th century BC at the latest, as the official cult of the city state of Epidaurus. Its principal monuments, particularly the temple of Asklepios, the Tholos and the Theatre - considered one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture – date from the 4th century. The vast site, with its temples and hospital buildings devoted to its healing gods, provides valuable insight into the healing cults of Greek and Roman times.

Rügen Island, Germany

One of the nicer multiviews I've received from Germany! I actually like this one quite a bit.

Rügen is Germany's largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The "gateway" to Rügen island is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, where it is linked to the mainland by road and railway via the Rügen Bridge and Causeway, two routes crossing the two-kilometre-wide Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea.

Rügen has a maximum length of 51.4 km (from north to south), a maximum width of 42.8 km in the south and an area of 926 km². The coast is characterized by numerous sandy beaches, lagoons (Bodden) and open bays (Wieke), as well as projecting peninsulas and headlands. In June 2011, UNESCO awarded the status of a World Heritage Site to the Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches and chalk cliffs like King's Chair, the main landmark of Rügen island.

The island of Rügen is part of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen, with its county seat in Stralsund. The towns on Rügen are: Bergen, Sassnitz, Putbus and Garz. In addition, there are the Baltic seaside resorts of Binz, Baabe, Göhren, Sellin and Thiessow.

Rügen is very popular as a tourist destination because of its resort architecture, the diverse landscape and its long, sandy beaches.