Sunday, 26 August 2018

Maribor, Slovenia

Just one more card for today. This one is from dear Ana from her holidays in December last year. Maribor certainly looks lovely and cosy! I'm looking forward to sending some holiday cards in October as well. :) I also have two days holiday next month - my sister is coming to London so I'll go see her (I just need to book train or coach tickets and accommodation now...). I don't think I'll send any postcards from London though. :P I'm more looking forward to meeting my sister again as I haven't seen her for quite a while.

Maribor is the second-largest city in Slovenia and the largest city of the traditional region of Lower Styria. It is also the seat of the City Municipality of Maribor.


I've been trying to post more recent cards (i.e. received either this year or last year) today so here is another one from this summer. This is from the 'I'm going on Vacation RR' on the Postcrossing forum, I've actually been able to get into a few groups recently. This is still one of my only written & stamped postcards from Guernsey.

The views sure look gorgeous here! Top left corner is 'Petit Port', next to it is 'Moulin Huet'. Bottom left shows 'Icart View' and the fourth picture shows 'Fermain'. I would rather like to visit Guernsey some time but I've heard it's really expensive and I'm not sure how there would be to do...

I'm so happy to receive another Europa stamp. It has been difficult to collect them again this year because once again the Royal Mail haven't bothered to issue one. ...and there are plenty of great bridges in the UK! It seems they just don't care about Europa stamps anymore. :(

Greetings from Kyrgyzstan

I'm starting to lose interest with this series a bit... the cards all seem so alike no and it seems like there's not much effort put into them, although that could just be me... although it does depress me that a lot of senders can't be bothered to write anything other than 'greetings from x country' on their card.

I don't even know what else to write about this card... apart from the fact that I bet there aren't 80 ACTIVE Postcrossing members in Kyrgyzstan, something that has always frustrated me about this series.

Engelsberg Ironworks, Sweden

Not moving very far with this card... This is from a swap with Doris in Sweden earlier this month.

Ecomuseum Bergslagen (Swedish: Ekomuseum Bergslagen) is an open-air museum in the western part of the former mining and smelting region of Bergslagen in central Sweden. The museum opened in 1986 and is today the world's largest ecomuseum. The museum is a joint project of the municipalities Ludvika, Smedjebacken, Fagersta, Norberg, Skinnskatteberg, Surahammar and Hallstahammar. Two provincial museums in Dalarna and Västmanland County participate in the project. Ecomuseum Bergslagen is a 750 square kilometre area reaching from Lake Mälaren in the south to Forest Finns forests in the north. It takes about three hours by car to travel from north to south and the visitors travel on their own through the landscape. About 60 sites describe how human beings have used the region's natural resources to survive over time. The history of production of iron is the theme of the museum. Bergslagen was once the most important iron area in Sweden.

You can follow the history of mining for more than 2000 years – from 400 BC until today. Ekomuseum Bergslagen shows mythical pre-historic ironwork sites with historical blast furnacees and smithy, rolling mills, and modern steel businesses along the vital transportation route, the Strömsholms Canal. But also castles, such as Strömsholm Palace, workers' homes in Ludvika and Grängesberg and Forest Finns simple settlements and cottages near Grangärde. The museum includes several mining areas, local museums, electric power stations, historical railways (Engelsberg-Norberg Railway), and a historical railway museum (Railway museum Grängesberg). One of the attractions is Lapphyttan in Norberg Municipality, may be regarded as the type site for the Medieval Blast Furnace. Its date is probably between 1150 and 1350. It produced cast iron, which was then fined to make ferritic wrought iron cake or bun-like blooms. Another attraction is Engelsberg Ironworks (Swedish: Engelsbergs bruk), an ironworks in Ängelsberg. It was built in 1681 and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1993.

What do you know about Finland

Continuing on with the 'summer postcard pal' theme... I've been doing it for years but it hasn't seemed so popular this year. I was only able to find one postcard pal for this summer which is a shame, although the cards from Henriikka have been real treats so I could say it's also quality over quantity.. ;) She helped send back this card from Finland - I've started collecting this series but it has been difficult to arrange swaps. ....and I think this series is so much prettier than, say, 'World Travel', and even 'Greetings from' cards now all seem to look the same... :/

I rather like the fact that Finland has more heavy metal bands per capita than any other country in the world. It has always seemed pretty obvious to me, and most local bands in my old hometown, Lappeenranta, seemed to be metal bands when I was young and I think they still are. Henriikka told me that a while back there was a competition to find the 'heavy metal capital' of Finland, and that Lemi, a small municipality next to Lappeenranta, won. Yay!

This set of food stamps was issued earlier this year. I think they are awesome, there's also rye bread, salmiakki... and this one with 'bread cheese'. It's gorgeous and one of the things I miss from Finland. ..cloudberries, also seen on this stamp, are also very tasty.

Nordkalotten, Lapland

It has cooled down SO much since I last wrote here.. The heatwave is definitely over, it's not fairly chilly and raining and I've actually had to turn our little heater on because I was so cold. I'm still glad it's not so ridiculously hot anymore as the heat was making me ill... Not that I've been feeling too well recently but that's another story.. :P

Anyway... I've been meaning to post about this card for a while, I received it last year from 'Tua' in Finland. She was one of my 'summer postcard pals' last summer and I really enjoyed receiving cards from her, they were something different as she lives quite far north in the Finnish Lapland. You can't tell it from here but this card is HUGE so you can actually read the place names and see the little pictures. :)

The Cap of the North (Nordkalotten in Norwegian and Swedish, or Pohjoiskalotti in Finnish) consists of the counties Finnmark, Nordland and Troms in Norway, Norrbotten County in Sweden, Lapland/Lappi Region in Finland and Murmansk Oblast in Russia.

This area is roughly equal to the parts of Fennoscandia (including the Kola Peninsula in Russia) lying north of the Arctic Circle. The region has a subarctic climate and is home to the majority of the Sámi people.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots, Armenia

Today's last card is from the lovely Sini who keeps surprising me with lots of lovely postcards from her travels. She has visited some amazing places, it's always fascinating to read about her travels.

The cathedral and churches of Echmiatsin and the archaeological remains at Zvartnots graphically illustrate the evolution and development of the Armenian central-domed cross-hall type of church, which exerted a profound influence on architectural and artistic development in the region.

The city of Echmiatsin is located in the Armavir Marz region of Armenia. The settlement has existed since ancient times, as evidenced by Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age archaeological sites located in and near the city. The oldest written information about Echmiatsin refers to the period of the Urartian King Rusa II (685-645 BC). The settlement was mentioned in the Urartian cuneiform inscription by the name of Kuarlini. Life in this Armenian settlement has continued uninterrupted. The town has been called, successively, Artimed, during the rule of Yervandunis (as evidenced by Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi (5th century AD)), Vardgesavan, and afterwards Vagharshapat, during the age of development under the rule of King Vagharsh I Arshakuni (AD 117-140). The name Echmiatsin was used along with that of Vagharshapat after the adoption of Christianity (AD 301).

The inscribed property is divided into three separate areas: the first area includes the Mother Cathedral of Echmiatsin and St Gayane Church. The area is about 30.2 ha. 18.8 ha belongs to the Mother See of Echmiatsin (the Mother Cathedral and surrounding constructions covering 16.4 ha, the St Gayane Church and surrounding buildings covering 2.0 ha, and the cemetery of the congregation covering 0.4 ha) and 11.4 ha belongs to the community of Echmiatsin City. The second area includes St Hripsime Church and St Shoghakat Church. This area is about 25.3 ha, with 6.2 ha being the territory of St Hripsimeh Church, belonging to the Mother See. The remaining 19.2 ha belongs to the community of Echmiatsin City.

The third area consists of the archaeological site of Zvartnots, with the ruins of the temple, Catholicos Palace and other constructions, and occupies about 18.8 ha.

The religious buildings of Echmiatsin and the archaeological remains at Zvartnots bear witness to the implantation of Christianity in Armenia and to the evolution of a unique Armenian ecclesiastical architecture, which exerted a profound influence on architectural and artistic development in the region. They graphically illustrate the evolution and flowering of the Armenian central-domed cross-hall type of church.

Palojoki, Lapland, Finland

...and now for something I have been dreaming of recently.. even more so than being on a tropical beach :P I think it has been more since I moved to England that I have learned to appreciate the beauty and the tranquility of the Finnish nature. There's something here that makes me very "homesick". ...and yet England is my home now...

This card is from one of my 'summer card pals', Tua, from last year. I really like that project and have been participating on the Finnish Postcrossing forum on it for years. It doesn't seem too active this year, I'm a little disappointment I must say. It was so much fun last year and I received so many gorgeous postcards such as this from Lapland. The sender of this card lives in a village near this river. It looks so calm and tranquil. It would probably be nice to swim in the river at the moment, too, if you were there now as Lapland has been having a heatwave for a while now as well. Not something you get every year! :o

The stamp is from a set of awesome sauna stamps issued last year. I have a bit of a thing for the sauna and collect postcards relating to it. I have a fairly reasonable collection by now as well. NOTE: the link is not work safe and some of the pictures contain nudity.

Greetings from Cyprus

I have picked some predominantly blue cards for today. try and feel a bit cooler myself?? :P This postcard is from a swap with Sandra, she helped in designing this card as well which I think is pretty awesome.

The picture here shows the birthplace of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. She is identified with the planet Venus, which is named after the Roman goddess Venus, with whom Aphrodite was extensively syncretized. Aphrodite's major symbols include myrtles, roses, doves, sparrows, and swans.


We have been having a heatwave here in England for... umm.. I can't even remember how long for now, it must be at least three weeks or that what it feels like. I know I shouldn't complain because normally I'm too cold, but it's getting rather uncomfortable when I can't sleep properly at night (even with a fan on in my bedroom and the window open) and I'm constantly tired. If you close your eyes you can almost imagine being in a tropical paradise :p I wouldn't say no to a calm beach like this!

This postcard is from a friend, his mum had a stack of postcards from different places that he found when she passed away... This is one of them. I don't know whether she actually ever visited the Maldives, probably. She was such an amazing woman, I miss her.

The Maldives remained largely unknown to tourists until the early 1970s. Only 185 islands are home to its 300,000 inhabitants. The other islands are used entirely for economic purposes, of which tourism and agriculture are the most dominant. Tourism accounts for 28% of the GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn, Austria

One more for today... another swap from last year and also a Unesco card with a Europa stamp and gorgeous special cancellations. :) Thank you so much, Marco!

From the 18th century to 1918, Schönbrunn was the residence of the Habsburg emperors. It was designed by the architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Nicolaus Pacassi and is full of outstanding examples of decorative art. Together with its gardens, the site of the world’s first zoo in 1752, it is a remarkable Baroque ensemble and a perfect example of Gesamtkunstwerk.


Guimarães, Portugal

Just a couple of other random cards for today... This one is from a swap from last year. I was actually able to collect some Europa stamps then as the Royal Mail decided to issue one as well and I was able to offer a Europa stamp for swap. This year, once again, the Royal Mail haven't bothered :(

The exceptionally well preserved Historic Centre of Guimarães, located in the northern Portugal district of Braga, is often referred to as the cradle of the Portuguese nationality. The history of Guimarães is closely associated with the creation of the national identity and language of Portugal. The city was the feudal territory of the Portuguese Dukes who declared the independence of Portugal in the mid-12th century.

Founded in the 4th century, Guimarães became the first capital of Portugal in the 12th century. Its historic centre is an extremely well preserved and an authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifying the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to the 19th centuries through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques. This variety of different building types documents the responses to the evolving needs of the community. A particular type of construction developed here in the Middle Ages was used widely in the then Portuguese colonies. It featured a ground floor in granite with a half-timbered structure above, a technology that was transmitted to Portuguese colonies in Africa and the New World, becoming their characteristic feature.

The Historic Centre of Guimarães is distinguished in particular for the integrity of its historically authentic building stock. Examples from the period from 950 to 1498 include the two anchors around which Guimarães initially developed, the castle in the north and the monastic complex in the south. The period from 1498 to 1693 is characterized by noble houses and the development of civic facilities, city squares, etc. While there have been some changes during the modern era, the historic centre of Guimarães has maintained its medieval urban layout. The continuity in traditional technology and the maintenance and gradual change have contributed to an exceptionally harmonious townscape.