Thursday, 25 November 2010

Cambridge, England

This week has been really cold over here. Today's been the worst so far - this morning it was only +9 C in my bedroom! I've got the little heater on but I still feel like an icicle, and my fingers are pretty stiff. Fun time typing... :p We haven't had any snow in this area so far, but might get some this weekend. I hope the weather reports are wrong. :/ I don't like it when everything stops thanks to half an inch of snow, and also because our house is so stupidly cold. I should probably move to the front room where it's nice and warm as the fire's on in the fireplace. ...but then I can't DO anything, grrr.

Anyway, I thought this postcard would be fitting for now. You don't usually get scenes like this in this country, it only snows a couple of times a year on average. It's pretty but sooo inconvenient.

Snow aside this is a very typical view in Cambridge. There are bicylcles EVERYWHERE, I remember that from when I visited there some years ago. Jacqueline who sent me this card explains that there are very few places to park a car, so bicycles are an ideal means of transport. They are also fairly cheap for students to use. ...I guess it's also safer to cycle in Cambridge than in the West Midlands. I wouldn't risk using a bicycle over here, there's way too much traffic over here and I wouldn't trust drivers to be careful enough. It's a shame because it would be a great way to get some exercise too, but what can you do. *sigh*

Cambridge is also very topical to me at the moment in a different way... That is, because of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie who went to university there. They were on tv yesterday, together for the first time in 15 years! There's more about Fry And Laurie Reunited here if you're interested and want to watch clips of the program. It was excellent, SO good to see them together again! Hehe, and now I really want to rewatch 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie' :D

I love this year's Christmas stamps in the UK. Wallace & Gromit! It's just a shame they have to be so small.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Dominican Republic

This postcard comes from a swap with Trupti. She says that the Dominican Republic is her second home - I'm jealous! I wish I could retreat to somewhere sunny and warm, too.. It's been really cold in England recently, and my bedroom is freeeezing a lot of the time. I have a small thermometer here and sometimes when I look at it it says it's only about +11 C here. Insane...! That's colder than my parents' cellar used to be in their old house in Finland!

The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 48,442 square kilometres and an estimated 10 million people.

The climate of the Dominican Republic is mostly tropical. The annual average temperature is 25 °C. No wonder it's such a popular tourist destination, then! In fact, I just received a card from my postcard pal Katya in Russia, she's recently been on holiday in Dominican Republic and sent me a card of the place after coming back home (I'll post about it here later as it's a very nice card).

...aand the card was mailed directly from the Dominican Republic! It's a stamp sticker or whatever you call these, but at least it has a little more colour than some automated stamp stickers.

Easter Island, Chile

Another Unesco card, this time from Chile. This one comes from a swap with the lovely Daniela in Chile, her mother visited Easter Island recently and Daniela asked her to mail some postcards from there. not only do I have a very beautiful postcard of Easter Island, it also comes with special cancellations. :) Thank you so much, Daniela!

Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeastern most point of the Polynesian triangle. A special territory of Chile annexed in 1888, Easter Island is widely famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapanui people. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site with much of the island protected within the Rapa Nui National Park. In recent times the island has served as a cautionary tale about the cultural and environmental dangers of overexploitation. Ethnographers and archaeologists now argue that the introduction of diseases carried by European colonizers and the slave raiding that devastated the population in the 1860s had a much greater social than environmental impact.

And here are the stamps with the special cancellations! :) The bigger stamp is from a set of 2 stamps issued earlier this year, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Chilean football team. The smaller stamps are from a set of 5 stamps issued in 2009, depicting Protected Birds in Chile. The one here are Tricahue Parrot (on the right) and Chilean Flamingo (left).

Quito, Ecuador

I'm still looking for a postcard posted directly to me from Ecuador, but I do have a couple of postcards from there posted from other countries. Here's one such card, and a really nice one, too, showing the historical centre of Quito.

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.

Quito is also a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Belgrade, Serbia

One more card for today. I thought I'd stay in the ex-Yugoslavian area, so here's a card from Serbia. It was a lovely surprise card from Ana, and another Ana, from Belgrade, a lovely person I've done a swap with before. They sent me a card from their little meeting in Belgrade. Thank you so much, ladies!

Kalemegdan Fortress is one of the biggest preserved medieval fortresses in Europe. Favourite Belgrade park area with a lot of cultural, historical and sport facilities and events, as well as clubs and restaurants. Charles VI (Karlo VI) gate was raised in 18th century, in the honor of the Austrian Emperor, conqueror of Belgrade against Ottoman Empire.

Such a lovely stamp! It's from a set of 2 stamps issued earlier this year for the Year of the Tiger. I wish the UK would issue stamps like this, too. :/

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

My penpal Snjezana from Bosnia & Herzegovina sent me some really nice postcards of her hometown, Tuzla, some time ago. I've already written about Tuzla here so I'm not going to repeat myself, I just wanted to show you a couple of the cards.

I have no idea what the places shown on these cards are called or anything, but I particularly like the first card and the colours.

I feel so spoilt sometimes... I know England is far from perfect, and things are only going to get worse with all the government cuts announced not long ago and ones that are going to follow, but things are still a lot better here than in Bosnia. The things Snjezana tells me make me really upset and angry. To think how people are being treated in some places... :(

The stamp on the right is from a set of 4 stamps from 2005, representing the history of Bosnia and this stamp features the Bosnian ban Kulin. The other stamps I couldn't find any info of.

Korab, Macedonia

This beautiful card arrived from a swap with the lovely Ana a few weeks ago. Isn't it a gorgeous view?!

Mount Korab is the highest mountain of Albania and Macedonia, its peak forming a frontier between the two countries. The Korab mountain is adjacent to the Šar Mountains. The mountain is home to the spectacular Korab waterfall, in the upper valley of the Dlaboka Reka river. During spring time, the waterfall reaches height of over 130 meters, which makes it the highest in Macedonia.

The best chance to climb Mount Korab is to join the International climb that is taking part every year in beginning of September.

I really need better stamp sources.. :S According to the Stanley Gibbons website, there was a set of 4 commemorative stamps issued in Macedonia in 1999 with the theme flowers, I have no idea if these are from that set, though? EDIT: Nevermind, I found the comments page.

Also, I only just found out that Ana had left me comments in some of my entries. Does anyone know if there's a way to get notifications of comments posted in your blog? I've been using livejournal for years and there you can get email notifications of any comments left to you, but I haven't been able to find anything like that here in blogger. It would be really annoying if the only way to see comments was to go back to specific entries and check if there's anything there, but that's how it seems to be like to me. Grrr.

San Marino

A written and stamped postcard from San Marino! Thank you, Luca!

San Marino is a country situated on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains. It is an enclave, in Italy. Its size is just over 61 km2 with an estimated population of almost 30,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino. One of the European microstates, along with Liechtenstein, the Vatican, Monaco, Andorra, and Malta, San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe.

The constitution of San Marino, enacted in 1600, is the world's oldest constitution still in effect. The country's economy mainly relies on tourism, and San Marino's culture remains Italian, mainly Emilia-Romagnan in essence. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP (per capita). San Marino is considered to have a highly stable economy, with the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus.

The stamp was issued in 2007 and represents the Presdiency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Tallinn, Estonia

This card is from my postcard pal Rita in Estonia. I love this card, the colours are gorgeous and the view is rather dramatic, I love it how the waves roam wild like that.

I've been to Tallinn a couple of times, but it's been years now. The first time was when I turned 18, the trip was sort of a birthday present. Tallinn is such a beautiful place, I particularly like the old town although I have to say I like the other parts I've seen as well. Some of the more modern buildings might not be very pretty, but they still attract me for some reason. One reason why I don't like Tallinn is that Finns don't have a very good reputation there, or at least haven't had before. I can't deny there have been problems, and drunk idiots don't give you a good impression of anyone, but I still find it unfair to tar everyone with the same brush. I wouldn't mind going back, although it would also be nice to see some other places in eastern Europe.

postman, Thailand

Oopsies. I didn't mean to take almost a month before updating this blog again. Somehow it just... happened. I've been reading (loved 'The Time Traveler's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger, heartily recommended, and now I'm reading 'The Angel's Game' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, here's hoping it's as good as 'The Shadow of the Wind'), writing letters, crocheting, writing in my paper journal, doing aikido, and I've discovered zines and have been reading them a lot, too.

Anyway. I have a big bunch of cards I want to post about here now. It's probably going to take a while before I get everything sorted. I thought I'd start with this lovely official from Thailand that I received a while ago. I love mail related postcards, and it's interesting seeing postmen around the world.


This postcard shows a Thai postman and a hanging post box during King Rama V period, about 100 years ago.

Nice stamps, too, I couldn't find any info on them though so all I know is that they were both issued earlier this year. The bigger one commemorates the centenary of the demise of King Rama V.