Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Lake Malawi, Malawi

This is my first written and stamped postcard received from Malawi! It's one of those postcards I never expected to receive. Well, pretty much all African countries are like that to me... :p

Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania and Lago Niassa in Mozambique, is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. It is the ninth largest lake in the world and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa. It is home to more species of fish than any other lake, including about 1000 species of cichlids. The Mozambique portion of the lake was officially declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique on June 10, 2011, and in Malawi a portion of the lake is included in the Lake Malawi National Park. Lake Malawi is a meromictic lake; permanent stratification and the oxic-anoxic boundary are maintained by moderately small chemical and thermal gradients.

Lake Malawi National Park is a Unesco site, but I have no idea whether the picture on this postcard is from there. Any help would be appreciated!

Best wishes from Sichuan, China

I'm not much into those fake "Greetings from" cards. Some of them look pretty cheap and nasty, some do actually look quite nice but I just don't like the idea of copying someone else's design. Why can't you come up with something original yourself??

I did  make an exception for this one from China, I think this is really nice and not as bad a copy as most of the others.

I also like the fact that this card mentions Sichuan cuisine. The "real" dishes would probably be way too hot for me, but I like experimenting at home and actually make some Sichuan eggplant earlier today. Toban djan chilli bean sauce is sooo tasty, and I find Sichuan peppers kind of addictive. I really want to try make kung pao chicken at home too. It was lovely when I had it from one takeaway a couple of years ago, but after ordering it from somewhere else after that it wasn't the same at all. I don't even know how it's supposed to taste like...

Happy Year of the Monkey!

A super cute Year of the Monkey maxi card I received from Taiwan :)

This is SO cute, and I love the special cancellation as well. Isn't it Chinese New Year this week?? I don't think I'll be celebrating, apart from having some vaguely Chinese food at home...

Greetings from Belarus

Today's 'Greetings from' card comes from Belarus. It's interesting, when I first joined Postcrossing, Belarus was a fairly "rare" country. You certainly can't say that anymore!

Haha, Belarus sounds a bit like Finland in that both countries have a lot of lakes and forests. :D I must admit, my knowledge of Belarus is still pretty limited and I'm not sure how accurate the picture I've got from reading newspapers/online articles is... Not sure what to say about this card... The colours make me feel really cold! :p

Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Another surprise postcard I received from Jobbo last year. A slightly different view of Mostar...

...I mean different in the sense that none of my other postcards of Mostar (and I have a LOT of them, thanks to dear Snježana) have Prince Charles on them. :P Why they would put him on a postcard like this is a little beyond me... I'm now also trying to work out what there is here behind the bridge - surely those blue (?) things are not sun loungers?!

I have yet to come across a postcard showing something other than the Old Bridge from Mostar. ...although perhaps that's not very surprising. Jobbo noted that the "new" or "normal" part of town is one of the poorest he's seen in Europe outside of Russia.

Koli National Park, Finland

This is a gorgeous, huge postcard, the scan doesn't do it justice. This is part of a stamp swap with Sini in Finland last year. The Finnish Post issued a stamp sheet about Finnish rock bands last year and it included some of my favourite bands - Nightwish and Apocalyptica. I'm not much into mint stamps so was really happy to receive the stamps on postcards (although sadly the one here didn't get cancelled, but that happens a LOT in Finland).

Koli National Park (Finnish: Kolin kansallispuisto) is a national park in the municipalities of Joensuu, Lieksa and Kontiolahti in the North Karelia region of Finland. It covers 30 square kilometres of forested hills on the western shore of Lake Pielinen, and was established in 1991. Contrary to the other national parks in Finland, Koli National Park was originally governed by the Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla. It is now governed by the Metsähallitus like the other national parks.

Koli has lots to offer cultural heritage-wise. Formerly, it was a sacrificial site, but was later used for slash-and-burn agriculture. The purpose of Koli National Park isn't to preserve wild nature, but the traditional agricultural heritage is cherished in Koli. Some fields are slashed, burnt and re-cultivated; hay is cut yearly. Traditional Finnish breeds of cow and sheep graze in the meadows of Koli.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


One more card for today, and another new country to my collection! I never thought I'd ever get a postcard from Réunion. :O

Réunion is an insular region of France located in the Indian Ocean. It is situated east of Madagascar and about 175 kilometres southwest of Mauritius, the nearest island. As of 2014, its population numbered 844,994 inhabitants.

The island has been inhabited since the 17th century, when people from Europe (mostly France), Madagascar and Africa settled there. Slavery was abolished on 20 December 1848 (a date celebrated yearly on the island), after which indentured workers were brought from South India, among other places. The island became an overseas department of France in 1946.

The local language, spoken by the majority of the population, is Réunion Creole. The official language is French.

Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France. Like the other four overseas departments, it is also one of the 18 regions of France, with the modified status of overseas regions, and an integral part of the Republic with the same status as those situated on the European mainland. Réunion is an outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, a part of the Eurozone.

French stamps are used in Réunion.

Post office in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

A lovely card I received through an Instagram swap last year. I love seeing pictures of post offices around the world but don't have too many on postcards so this is pretty special to me. ..and it's a pink post office as well!

Nuwara Eliya is a city, in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The city name meaning is "city on the plain (table land)" or "city of light". The city is the administrative capital of Nuwara Eliya District, with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is located at an altitude of 1,868 m and is considered to be the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya is also known for the temperate, cool climate, the city is known for being the coolest area in Sri Lanka.

Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada

I only have a few Unesco cards from Canada so this is a very nice addition to my collection. ...and as an added bonus, it has a wolf on it!

Wood Buffalo National Park, located in northeastern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, is the largest national park in Canada at 44,807 km2. Larger in area than Switzerland, it is the second-largest national park in the world, and thirteenth-largest protected area in the world. The park was established in 1922 to protect the world's largest herd of free roaming wood bison, currently estimated at more than 5,000. It is one of two known nesting sites of whooping cranes.

 The park ranges in elevation from 183 m at the Little Buffalo River to 945 m in the Caribou Mountains. The park headquarters is located in Fort Smith, with a smaller satellite office in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. The park contains one of the world's largest fresh water deltas, the Peace-Athabasca Delta, formed by the Peace, Athabasca and Birch Rivers. It is also known for its karst sinkholes in the north-eastern section of the park. Alberta's largest springs (by volume, with an estimated discharge rate of eight cubic meters per second), Neon Lake Springs, are located in the Jackfish River drainage. Wood Buffalo is located directly north of the Athabasca Oil Sands.

This area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for the biological diversity of the Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the world's largest freshwater deltas, as well as the population of wild bison.

On June 28, 2013, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada designated Wood Buffalo National Park as Canada's newest and the world's largest dark-sky preserve. Parks Canada claims that the designation will help preserve nighttime ecology for the park’s large populations of bats, night hawks and owls, as well as providing opportunities for visitors to experience the northern lights. The Wood Buffalo National Park had planned to celebrate the new designation with a Dark Sky Festival on August 23–25, 2013, featuring camping, astronomical presentations, a planetarium experience, and night sky viewing opportunities.

Bell Rock Lighthouse, Scotland

A lovely lighthouse postcard I received earlier this year through a Facebook swap. Iain kindly offered to send me a postcard with a new squirrel stamp. I can't get these Post & Go stamps anywhere near where I live, and the machines in the post office in Birmingham never have any of these nice pictorial stamps, they only ever seem to have the boring Queen's head ones. :( Thank you, Iain! It's just annoying that the postcard took a bit of a battering on its way down to England from Scotland.

The Bell Rock Lighthouse, off the coast of Angus, Scotland, is the world's oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse. It was built between 1807 and 1810 by Robert Stevenson on the Bell Rock (also known as Inchcape) in the North Sea, 18 km east of the Firth of Tay. Standing 35 metres tall, its light is visible from 56 km inland.

The masonry work on which the lighthouse rests was constructed to such a high standard that it has not been replaced or adapted in 200 years. The lamps and reflectors were replaced in 1843 and used in the lighthouse at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland, where they are currently on display. The working of the lighthouse has been automated since 1988.

 The lighthouse operated in tandem with a shore station, the Bell Rock Signal Tower, built in 1813 at the mouth of Arbroath harbour. Today this building houses the Signal Tower Museum, a visitor centre detailing the history of the lighthouse.

The challenges faced in the building of the lighthouse have led to it being described as one of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World.

Greetings from Serbia

A swap card from last year. I thought it was going to be really difficult to get this one, but I think I got lucky.. :)

This is quite possibly one of my favourites in the 'greetings from' series. I like the darker colours here - I've probably said it a few times before but I'm not much into the pastel colours that are used in so many of these cards. I prefer something a little more realistic. :P That, and the view here is pretty amazing.

If anyone reading this knows why Serbia is such a massive producer of raspberries, please enlighten me, I'd love to know! I'm genuinely puzzled by this fact. Mmmmmm, raspberries.. I do love them!

It would be great to see the owl capital Kikinda one day, too. :)

Polish train

A random card from last year, received through Postcard United.

There is no information about the picture on the card so I have no idea what place this is or whether this train has any significance. I do think it's a nice picture, though. I haven't looked at the Postcard United website for months and months now. I thought they were really suspicious (how could they not be if you can't even delete your account or at least remove your contact details off the site?!) so haven't bothered since. I did receive some nice postcards through the site but I can do the same with Postcrossing.