Monday, 8 May 2017

Trinidad, Cuba

This card only arrived last week and was a complete surprise. Sini from Finland was on holiday in Cuba recently and decided to send me a card, thank you a million again! It has been really interesting to hear about your holiday!

Trinidad is a town in the province of Sancti Spíritus, central Cuba. Together with the nearby Valle de los Ingenios, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988.

Trinidad was founded on December 23, 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar under the name Villa de la Santísima Trinidad.

Hernán Cortés recruited men for his expedition from Juan de Grijalva's home in Trinidads, and Sancti Spíritus, at the start of his 1518 expedition. This included Pedro de Alvarado and his five brothers. After ten days, Cortes sailed, the alcayde Francisco Verdugo failing to prevent Cortes from leaving, despite orders from Diego Velázquez.

 Francisco Iznaga, a Basque landowner in the southern portion of Cuba during the first 30 years of the colonization of Cuba, was elected Mayor of Bayamo in 1540. Iznaga was the originator of a powerful lineage which finally settled in Trinidad where the Torre Iznaga (Iznaga Tower) is. His descendants fought for the independence of Cuba and for annexation to the U.S., from 1820 to 1900.

Trinidad is one of the best-preserved cities in the Caribbean from the time when the sugar trade was the main industry in the region.

Greetings from Latvia

What does it say about this series that they aren't always even checked properly before going for printing, like here - one of the 'famous Latvians' is listed twice?! Unless I'm very much mistaken, a corrected issue was published later.. I've pretty much given up on trying to get the new issues as well because they all seem to be such hard-to-get countries and I'm not willing to pay ridiculous amounts for mint stamps/extra cards etc. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. ....and I should still be getting the new special edition Finland card as I managed to arrange a swap for it. :)

 This one is from a swap from two years ago.

I tried to find more information about this apparently very famous Arvīds Blūmentāls but Wikipedia doesn't have any information about them in English. ...and I'm too lazy to comment on anything else. :P

Manawatu Gorge, New Zealand

Another way overdue post... I don't think I'll be back to updating this blog regularly anymore, I have tried and failed too many times, but I'll try to do it occasionally. I have just been too busy and/or other things have taken priority. I got reminded about updating a few days ago when I had a nice email from Jacob, asking for a swap. It certainly cheered me up, although I'm a little confused that apparently someone still reads this blog :O I thought I'd update briefly again and picked a couple of random cards from my pile of cards that I've been wanting to write about. The first one is from a Postcrossing forum RR from last year.

The Manawatu Gorge (in Māori Te Apiti, meaning "The Narrow Passage") runs for 6-9 km between the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges in the south part of the North Island of New Zealand, linking the Manawatu and Hawke's Bay regions. It lies to the northeast of Palmerston North. Its western end is near the small town of Ashhurst, its eastern end is close to the town of Woodville.

The Manawatu Gorge is significant because, unlike most gorges, the Manawatu River is a water gap, that is it runs directly through the surrounding ranges from one side to the other. This was caused by the ranges moving upwards at the same time as the gorge was eroded by the river, instead of the more usual erosion of an already existing range.

The Manawatu River is the only river in New Zealand that starts its journey on one side of the main divide and finishes it on the other side.

 A single track rail connection was established on the northern side of the gorge; it was completed in 1891 and is now part of the Palmerston North – Gisborne Line. The rail connection is mainly used by goods trains; there are currently no scheduled passenger rail services through the gorge. Occasional railway excursions, typically with steam trains, also make use of the scenic Manawatu Gorge Railway line with its two tunnels and several small bridges.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Apologies for the lack of posts here, I know I have been completely useless at updating this blog. This summer hasn't been too good, however. I don't want to go into more detail here, let's just say that I haven't exactly been in the mood for posting here. I've been pretty rubbish with sending postcards as well for the past few months, and as a result, haven't had many back. ...which is why I was so surprised to find this postcard from Jobbo in my mailbox earlier this week. I wasn't expecting anything like this at all! Thank you a million, Jobbo, you really cheered me up!

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion. Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic centre of Laos. The estimated population of the city is 760,000 (2015).

Pha That Luang is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the centre of Vientiane, Laos. Since its initial establishment, suggested to be in the 3rd century, the stupa has undergone several reconstructions as recently as the 1930s due to foreign invasions of the area. It is generally regarded as the most important national monument in Laos and a national symbol. Vientiane's most important Theravada Buddhist festival, "Bun That Luang", is held here for three days during the full moon of the twelfth lunar month (November).

Monday, 16 May 2016

Year of the Monkey, Vietnam

Today's last card is from the same RR as the Australian library I just posted about. This is such a cheerful card!

Vietnamese stamps always seem to be so pretty and colourful, they are some of my favourites when it comes to stamps. The Vietnamese Lunar Year stamps always have such a nice design, too!

National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia

This card arrived through a Round Robin on the Postcrossing forum (the theme of this particular group was Year of the Monkey stamps). I love libraries so it's always nice to see them on postcards, too.

The National Library of Australia is the largest reference library of Australia, responsible under the terms of the National Library Act for "maintaining and developing a national collection of library material, including a comprehensive collection of library material relating to Australia and the Australian people." In 2012–2013, the National Library collection comprised 6,496,772 items, and an additional 15,506 metres of manuscript material.

Greetings from Bulgaria

For some reason I thought I'd already posted about this card here. :o Nevermind... This is from a Facebook swap from last year. Another successful swap with Donka. :) Thank you so much!

This is one of the nicer cards in this series I think. I love the blue tones and the slightly darker colour - and the stormy-looking sky! :D I also love the fact that this card mentions Bulgarian yogurt. I really, really like it and tend to have at least some every time I go to Finland. For some reason I haven't been able to find it here in England (and Turkish yogurt seems impossible to find here as well for some reason, whereas it seems to be fairly popular in Finland). All you get here is Greek yogurt and while that's VERY nice as well, it's totally different. Bulgarian yogurt is a lot more sour I think (and yummy :)).

The Old Light, Lundy Island

This is the second postcard I received from the Lundy Island. I wrote about the first one here. I did want to post about this one as well. I don't think I could ever have too many lighthouse postcards. :D

 Foundations for a lighthouse on Lundy were laid in 1787, but the first lighthouse (now known as the Old Light) was not built until Trinity House obtained a 999-year lease in 1819. The 30 m granite tower, on the summit of Chapel Hill, was designed by Daniel Asher Alexander, and built by Joseph Nelson at a cost of £36,000. Because the site, Beacon Hill, is 143 m above sea level, the highest base for a lighthouse in Britain, the light was often obscured by fog. To counter this problem, the Fog Signal Battery was built about 1861.

 The lighthouse had two lights; the lower a fixed white light and the upper a quick flashing white light, showing every 60 seconds. However, this quick revolution gave the impression it was a fixed light with no flashes detectable. This may have contributed to the grounding, at Cefn Sidan, of the La Jeune Emma, bound from Martinique to Cherbourg in 1828. 13 of the 19 on board drowned, including Adeline Coquelin, the 12-year-old niece of Napoleon Bonaparte's divorced wife Joséphine de Beauharnais.

 Owing to the ongoing complaints about the difficulty of sighting the light in fog, the lighthouse was abandoned in 1897 when the North and South Lundy lighthouses were built. The Old Light and the associated keepers' houses are kept open by the Landmark Trust.

Freiburg, Germany

A lovely official I received earlier this year. I love the colours here!


I've written about Freiburg before here so I'm not going to repeat myself again. The marketplace does look lovely, so colourful! I do love markets but don't visit them often enough for some reason. I guess I'm just lazy and it's easier to pop into Aldi up the road. :P I never seem to remember to check the opening times.. I really should as I've found such great bargains there before. ...and... a couple of weeks in Birmingham I got 6 avocados for £1 at the market! That was such a bargain as in some supermarkets they cost that much for ONE avocado. Aldi are better but even they are not that good.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Ok, so I did cheat a little with this one... I actually ordered this card, but I thought there wouldn't be any way I could ever receive a postcard from Antarctica otherwise so maybe I could do this just this once.... :P It's such a cute card, too, the baby penguins are adorable!

Port Lockroy is a natural harbour on the north-western shore of Wiencke Island in Palmer Archipelago in front of Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered in 1904 and named after Edouard Lockroy, a French politician and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, who assisted Jean-Baptiste Charcot in obtaining government support for his French Antarctic Expedition. The harbour was used for whaling between 1911 and 1931. During World War II the British military Operation Tabarin established the Port Lockroy base (Station A) on tiny Goudier Island in the bay, which continued to operate as a British research station until 1962.

In 1996 the Port Lockroy base was renovated and is now a museum and post office operated by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust.

It is one of the most popular tourist destinations for cruise-ship passengers in Antarctica. Proceeds from the small souvenir shop fund the upkeep of the site and other historic sites and monuments in Antarctica. The Trust collects data for the British Antarctic Survey to observe the effect of tourism on penguins. Half the island is open to tourists, while the other half is reserved for penguins. A staff of four typically process 70,000 pieces of mail sent by 18,000 visitors that arrive during the five month Antarctic cruise season.

Greetings from Slovakia

Slovakia seems to be in the same category as South Africa in my postcard collection - I only have a few cards from there as well. This card is from an Instagram swap from last year.

Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5 million and comprises mostly ethnic Slovaks. The capital and largest city is Bratislava. The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic language family.

The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries. In the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samo's Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra. In the 10th century, the territory was integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary, which itself became part of the Habsburg Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Slovaks and Czechs established Czechoslovakia. A separate Slovak Republic (1939–1945) existed in World War II as a client state of Nazi Germany. In 1945, Czechoslovakia was reestablished under communist rule as a Soviet satellite. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on 1 January 2009. Slovakia is also a member of the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD and the WTO.

The Postcrossing Association of Finland

A really interesting postcard I received last year. Not really so much the picture on it, but the story behind it and the reason for the card. Things like this make me miss Finland. :P

It seems fairly safe to say that Postcrossing is still pretty big in Finland when they now have a Postcrossing Association (Suomen Postcrossing-yhdistys). They have their own website (as far as I can tell, it's only in Finnish, though) and they seem fairly active. I'm pretty sure I'd be a member, too, if I still lived in Finland.

This card was sent from the association's constituent meeting, but it seems to have a been a meet-up as well as the card was signed by quite a few people.