Saturday, 9 May 2015

Pitcairn Island map

Another one of the Pitcairn Island postcards that I ordered earlier this year. Of course I had to have this map as well :)

It really is such a small island. I wonder how it would be like to live somewhere like that, so far away from anywhere else and where everyone must know everyone and every cranny and nook of the island. I'm not sure if I'd like that...

Greetings from Ukraine

This was by far the most difficult of the Greetings from postcards for me to get hold of (written and stamped from the country of origin). I couldn't find anyone to swap with so I asked one person if they could send the card back to me written and stamped if I sent it to them blank in an envelope. They agreed, but I haven't received the card back and I don't even know if they've received the envelope. I then asked another person the same, but also sent them mint Ukrainian stamps that I had, to cover the postage. This time I had more luck and the card arrived pretty quickly. On a plus side, at least I now have the card with some lovely Europa stamps. :)

The sender pointed out that the capital city of Ukraine is actually called Kyiv, not Kiev. I had to look this up online as I was sure I had mostly seen the name written 'Kiev' in the news here (even the BBC uses that spelling) and it all seems to be down to politics. I don't want to get into that here, but I found this article pretty interesting.

Lake Seydozero, Kola Peninsula, Russia

Another amazing panoramic view of a lake, this time from Russia. This is from another Facebook swap earlier this year.

Lake Seydozero is located on the Kola Peninsula, in Murmansk Oblast within the Lake Lovozero and ensures runoff from the Seydyavryok River.

The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle and is bordered by the Barents Sea in the north and the White Sea in the east and southeast. The city of Murmansk is the most populous human settlement on the peninsula, with a population of over 300,000 as of the 2010 Census.

Despite the peninsula's northerly location, its proximity to the Gulf Stream leads to unusually high temperatures in winter, but also results in high winds due to the temperature variations between land and the Barents Sea. Summers are rather chilly, with the average July temperature of only 11 °C. The peninsula is covered by taiga in the south and tundra in the north, where permafrost limits the growth of the trees resulting in landscape dominated by shrubs and grasses. The peninsula supports a small variety of mammals, and its rivers are an important habitat for the Atlantic salmon. The Kandalaksha Nature Reserve, established to protect the population of Common Eider, is located in the Kandalaksha Gulf.

sheep on the road, Tekapo, New Zealand

More Year of the Sheep stamps, this time with a matching postcard. :) New Zealand has such amazing views and this one is no exception. I'd LOVE to visit New Zealand one day. ...and not just because of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films... :P

Lake Tekapo is the second-largest of three roughly parallel lakes running north–south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island of New Zealand (the others are Lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau). It covers an area of 83 square kilometres, and is at an altitude of 700 metres above sea level.

The lake is fed at its northern end by the braided Godley River, which has its source in the Southern Alps to the north. The lake is a popular tourist destination, and several resort hotels are located at the township of Lake Tekapo at the lake's southern end. The Lake Tekapo Regional Park, administered by Environment Canterbury, is located on the southern shore of the lake.

Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

A lovely Unesco card from Japan. ...and with a Year of the Sheep stamp and a special cancellation! :)

This is Ainokura Village, one of the Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in Japan. Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. The large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic upheavals, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and Suganuma are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people's social and economic circumstances.

Tartu, Estonia

Uh oh. It's been a while.. I haven't really been in the mood for updating this blog, have had other things to do. ...such as finishing a massive desk I've been building with Matt since the start of the year. I can finally write postcards and letters by a desk and won't have to sit on our bed anymore! :D

Anyway. I'm starting today with this summery postcard from Estonia that mum and dad sent from their holiday last summer. I hope we'll get some warmer days here soon, too, I'd love to go out in a dress!

This is the fountain "Kissing Students" (Estonian: Suudlevad Tudengid) in Tartu, sculpted by M. Karmin, reminding visitors that the University of Tartu and its students have a profound effect on life in the city. ...and I love the couple at the front. :D

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.