Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Hội An, Vietnam

I've posted about Hội An before, but I just *had* to post this one here as well, even if it's quite similar (lanterns, people, a street view) to the other card. I really like these postcards from Vietnam, I think they are gorgeous and I like the fact that they are a bit bigger than your standard postcard.

Hội An is a city of Vietnam, on the coast of the East Sea in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam. It is located in Quảng Nam Province and is home to approximately 120,000 inhabitants. It is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hội An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.

The city possessed the largest harbour in Southeast Asia in the 1st century and was known as Lâm Ấp Phố (Champa City). Between the seventh and 10th centuries, the Cham (people of Champa) controlled the strategic spice trade and with this came tremendous wealth. The former harbour town of the Cham at the estuary of the Thu Bồn River was an important Vietnamese trading centre in the 16th and 17th centuries, where Chinese from various provinces as well as Japanese, Dutch and Indians settled. During this period of the China trade, the town was called Hai Pho (Seaside Town) in Vietnamese. Originally, Hai Pho was a divided town with the Japanese settlement across the "Japanese Bridge" (16th-17th century). The bridge (Chùa cầu) is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist temple attached to one side.

Napa Valley, California, USA

A lovely springtime view from the USA I received last year from a Year of the Horse stamp swap. Just look at the colours here!

Napa Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Napa County, California, United States. Napa Valley is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world. Records of commercial wine production in the region date back to the nineteenth century, but premium wine production dates back only to the 1960s.

The combination of Mediterranean climate, geography and geology of the region are conducive to growing quality wine grapes. John Patchett established the Napa Valley's first commercial vineyard in 1858. In 1861 Charles Krug established another of Napa Valley's first commercial wineries in St. Helena. Viticulture in Napa suffered several setbacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including an outbreak of the vine disease phylloxera, the institution of Prohibition, and the Great Depression. The wine industry in Napa Valley recovered, and helped by the results of the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, came to be seen as capable of producing the best quality wine – equal to that of Old World wine regions. Napa Valley is now a major enotourism destination.

Greetings from Poland

This is the third Polish 'Greetings from' postcard. I wonder if there's going to be a fourth one one day... :D

The Tatra Mountains are a mountain range that form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. They are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. The Tatras should be distinguished from the Low Tatras which are located south of the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia.

The Tatra Mountains occupy an area of 785 square kilometres, of which about 610 square kilometres (77.7%) lie within Slovakia and about 175 square kilometres (22.3%) on the territory of Poland. The highest peak called Gerlach, at 2,655 m is located north of Poprad. The highest point in Poland, Rysy, at 2,499 m is located south of Zakopane.

Turning Torso, Malmö, Sweden

A slightly different postcard from Sweden... I must admit, I hadn't realised you could find something like this in Sweden!

HSB Turning Torso is the tallest skyscraper in Sweden and the Nordic countries, situated in Malmö, Sweden on the Swedish side of the Öresund strait.

The project was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and officially opened on 27 August 2005. The tower reaches a height of 190 metres with 54 stories - 147 apartments, relax/lounge/spa/gym, wine cellar followed by around-the-clock concierge service 365 days a year.

Malmö is the capital and most populous city in Skåne County, and the third largest city in Sweden. Together with Copenhagen, it constitutes the transnational Øresund Region, the most densely populated area in Scandinavia. Malmö is classified as a global city, placed in the gamma- category by the GaWC, ranked 5th in Scandinavia by the Global Cities Index in 2012. It is ranked the fourth-most inventive city in the world based on the number of patent applications per 10,000 residents and the 7th-most bicycle friendly city in the world, according to the Copenhagenize Index in 2013.

Malmö was one of the earliest and most industrialized towns of Scandinavia, but it struggled with the adaptation to post-industrialism. Since the construction of the Øresund Bridge, Malmö has undergone a major transformation with architectural developments, and it has attracted new biotech and IT companies, and particularly students through Malmö University, founded in 1998. The city contains many historic buildings and parks, and is also a commercial centre for the western part of Scania. Malmö was ranked #4 in Grist Magazine's "15 Green Cities" list in 2007.

The administrative entity for most of the city is Malmö Municipality which, as of 31 March 2013, has 309,105 inhabitants in eight different localities. Malmö is also a bimunicipal locality, as part of it is formally situated in Burlöv Municipality. The total population of the urban area was 280,415 in December 2010.

Greater Malmö is one of Sweden's three officially recognized Metropolitan areas (storstadsområden) and since 2005 is defined as the municipality of Malmö and 11 other municipalities in the southwestern corner of Scania. On 31 March 2012, its population was recorded to be 664,428. The region covers an area of 2,522 square kilometres. The municipalities included, apart from Malmö, are Burlöv, Eslöv, Höör, Kävlinge, Lomma, Lund, Skurup, Staffanstorp, Svedala, Trelleborg and Vellinge. Together with Lund, Malmö is the region's economic and education hub.

Bavarian Zugspitze Railway

So... I wasn't going to send any more officials on Postcrossing until the system is back to normal (i.e. 'send a card, receive ONE back'), but I caved in and sent a few earlier this year. I haven't actually received as many back as I thought I would, so that's good. This is one of the officials I've received this year, a train postcard from Germany.

The Bavarian Zugspitze Railway is one of four rack railways still working in Germany, along with the Wendelstein Railway, the Drachenfels Railway and the Stuttgart Rack Railway. The metre gauge line runs from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen suburb of Garmisch to the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. The line culminates at 2,650 metres above sea level, which makes it the highest railway in Germany and the third highest in Europe.

Kočo Racin's Memorial House, Veles, Macedonia

I've written about Postcard United here a few times before. Well, I STILL occasionally receive postcards through that website! This one arrived earlier this month. The postcard IDs on that website look so weird... this one is 'MKD-1'! O_o

This is Kočo Racin's Memorial House in Veles, Macedonia. Kosta Apostolov Solev, primarily known as poet Kočo Racin (22 December 1908 – 13 June 1943), was a Macedonian partisan and author who is considered a founder of modern Macedonian literature. His poem collection White Dawns (Zagreb, 1939) is one of the most important masterpieces in Macedonian modern literature. Racin wrote in prose too and created some significant works with themes from history, philosophy, and literary critique.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Palestine breakfast

I was really lucky earlier this year and was one of the winners in a Palestine postcard lottery in the Postcrossing group on Facebook. This postcard makes me hungry!!

This is the typical Palestinian breakfast, consisting of humos, foul, falafel and olive oil (and some sort of flat bread and vegetables). It looks really yummy, I'd love to try this! Those falafels look quite different to the ones I've had before, though, I hadn't realised you could make them in this kind of shape as well.

Mong Kok, Hong Kong

This is one of the many beautiful postcards I've received from the 'Choose a country' RR on the Postcrossing forum. If I remember correctly, group #500 was a special group, too, and this card is from that group.

Mong Kok is an area in the Yau Tsim Mong District, on the western part of Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong. The Prince Edward area occupies the northern part of Mong Kok.

The area is characterized by a mixture of old and new multi-story buildings, with shops and restaurants at street level and commercial or residential units above. Major industries in Mong Kok are retail, restaurants (including fast food) and entertainment. It has been described and portrayed in films as an area in which triads run bars, nightclubs, and massage parlors. With its extremely high population density of 130,000/km2 or 340,000 per square mile, Mong Kok was described as the busiest district in the world by the Guinness World Records.

Dayan the Cat, Japan

A rare non-viewcard for this blog... I really like these Dayan the Cat illustrations, though, so I just *had* to post this here.

This postcard is from Michelle in Japan. I swapped 'Greetings from' postcards with her and received the Japan version from her, but mine was taking ages to arrive and it seemed like it had got lost so I sent her another one. ...and then the first one arrived pretty much straight after I had posted the second card, so Michelle sent me this as a thank you.

Michelle also asked me about my Sunday morning traditions. I don't really have any... I normally sleep late if I can, but once a month I try to go to an Aikido class in Birmingham.

Dayan the Cat is a character designed by Akiko Ikeda. There are quite a few books in the series, I think. I first came across this cat a few years ago when a Japanese penpal of mine sent me a Dayan the Cat book. It's in Japanese, though, and even though it's a children's book so supposedly the text is fairly simple, I don't understand too much of it. I did study the basics of Japanese in university, but it's been years and I haven't used the language since then so have forgotten most of it. I do think these illustrations are absolutely adorable, though. I've been lucky enough to receive a few postcards with Dayan. :)

Greetings from Luxembourg

I was so happy when Anne was offering these cards on Facebook - I thought it would be impossible to get this card sent from Luxembourg! Thank you ever so much, Anne!

I might have to look up a recipe for bouneschluppp, it sounds yummy! I don't really know too much about Luxembourg and must confess I hadn't heard of any of the people mentioned on this card before.

Skellig Michael, Ireland

A lovely Unesco card from Ireland I received three years ago. ...and it has a Europa stamp on it, too! :)

Skellig Michael (Irish: Sceilig Mhichíl), or Great Skellig (Irish: Sceilig Mhór), is an island (the larger of the two Skellig Islands) in the Atlantic Ocean, 11.6 km west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century, and was continuously occupied until its abandonment in the late 12th century. The remains of the monastery, along with most of the island itself, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Ulcinj, Montenegro

I received a bunch of postcards of Ulcinj, Montenegro from dear Snježana last month. It looks like such a pretty little town! Here are a few of the postcards.

  old town
Ulcinj is the southernmost town in Montenegro. The town of Ulcinj has a population of 10,707 (2011 census) of which the majority are Albanians. Ulcinj is the centre of Ulcinj Municipality and the centre of the Albanian community in Montenegro. The Day of Ulcinj is held every first Saturday of April. It symbolizes the end of the collection of olives, the output of the sailors at the sea, and the beginning of the tourist season. Ulcinj is founding member of National Assembly of Albanian Municipalities created in 26 November 2012.

  Klezna River Bridge
Mendra lighthouse