Saturday, 26 February 2011

Saint Lucia

One more card for today. ...and it's from a new country! It's from Mandy, who sent me a surprise email asking me if I'd like to swap with her. Of course I did! I like seeing new places via postcards, and I know hardly anything of Saint Lucia.. I do remember seeing a travel advert to Saint Lucia in the brochure of this chocolate club Matt's sister is a member of, but it was awfully expensive. :/ Mind you, the chocolate they were also advertising was some extra special variety and it was pretty expensive as well, £5 for a 70 grams bar. I don't think I'd spend that much on chocolate...

Saint Lucia is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 620 km2 and has an estimated population of 173,765 (2009 census).

The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft) above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons (also a Unesco World Heritage Site, pictured on this card in the top right corner), form the island's most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano.

The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort. The local climate is tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds, with a dry season from December 1 to May 31, and a wet season from June 1 to November 30.

The stamp is from a set of 14 definitives issued in 2005, depicting fruits. This one here is Breadfruit.

Macau Tower, Macau

Another swap card, this time from Macau. I don't have too many postcards from there so it's nice to see some more views from there.

Macau tower, also known as Macau Sky Tower, is a tower located in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, now a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. The tower measures 338 m in height from ground level to the highest point. It features an observation deck with panoramic views, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and the Skywalk X. It offers the best view of Macau and in recent years has been used for a variety of adventurous activities. The tower was created by the architecture firm of Craig Craig Moller. Besides being used for observation and entertainment, the tower is also used for telecommunications and broadcasting.

Isn't this a cute stamp?! It's from a set of two stamps issued in 2010, depicting Giant Pandas.

Year of the Rabbit

Another Year of the Rabbit postcard, this time from the lovely Shinta in Indonesia.

Isn't it a cute little rabbit? I sometimes wish I had a rabbit, but then I don't think I could handle it as they need hay and I'm allergic to it. :( A friend of mine used to have a rabbit years ago, it was adorable but also a bit silly at times as it kept trying to hump the family's cat. :D Obviously it thought it was a cat.. Haha, well, Matt's family have a duck and she also seems to think she's a cat sometimes (as she keeps trying to eat cat food)!

And look, this card came with a matching stamp! Or rather, stamps. The two rabbit ones are from a set of 3 Year of the Rabbit stamps issued earlier this year. I couldn't find any info about the third stamp so I'm not sure what it's supposed to show...

Paris, France

This card is from a lovely French woman I sent an official to recently. She really liked it and asked if I'd like to swap with her. Sure I did, it's not like I receive postcards from France every day, plus she was super nice and it's always great to swap with people like her. :)

I like it how this is a slightly different view of Paris, even if you can still see the Eiffel Tower in it. On the front you can see Pont Alexandre III, an arch bridge that spans the Seine, connecting the Champs-Élysées quarter and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter, widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris. The bridge, with its exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses at either end, was built between 1896 and 1900. It is named after Tsar Alexander III, who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892. His son Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in October 1896. The style of the bridge reflects that of the Grand Palais, to which it leads on the right bank. The construction of the bridge is a marvel of 19th century engineering, consisting of a six-metre high single span steel arch. The design, by the architects Joseph Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Cousin, was subject to strict controls that prevented the bridge from obscuring the view of the Champs-Élysées or the Invalides. The bridge was built by the engineers Jean Résal and Amédée d'Alby and inaugurated in 1900 for the Universal Exhibition (as were the nearby Grand Palais and Petit Palais). The Pont Alexandre III is classified as a historical monument.

When I first saw this card I was a bit confused by the stamp and at first I thought it was mailed from Singapore. :P But no, it's a French stamp, issued last year to commemorate the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.


I might have lived most of my life next to Sweden but I've only ever been there once and my family doesn't have any relatives there, so my contact with the country has always been pretty limited. That, and I always lived in eastern Finland, where it is more common to hear Russian than Swedish. So yeah, my collection of postcards from Sweden is tiny to say the least. That's why I was so excited a while ago when a nice postcrosser from Sweden offered to swap with me.

I have no idea of the exact location of the place on this card, but it reminds me a lot of Astrid Lindgren's Barnen i Bullerbyn, particularly the 1986 movie "Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn" ('The Children of Noisy Village') which I loved when I was a kid, and I still really like it. They seem to live such an innocent, carefree life in that film, it's rather adorable.

The stamps are from a set of 5 stamps issued in 2010, depicting flowers (Pansies).

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

My last postcard for today comes from Saudi Arabia. I was quite surprised to see some green on it; I always used to think Saudi Arabia is a really dry, hot country..

Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Nejd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 4,854,000 people, and the urban center of a region with a population of close to 7 million people. The city is divided into 15 municipal districts, managed by Riyadh Municipality headed by the mayor of Riyadh, and the Riyadh Development Authority, chaired by the Governor of Riyadh Province, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. The current mayor of Riyadh is Abdul Aziz ibn Ayyaf Al Migrin, appointed in 1998.

The stamp on the left is from a set of 2 stamps issued in 2002, depicting the Port of Yanbu al Bahr (meaning Spring by the Sea) which is a major sea port in the Red Sea. The second stamp I'm not sure of, I couldn't find any info about it.

Phuket, Thailand

My grandma has been in Thailand for the past four weeks, she is coming back this week. I knew she would be sending me a card at some point as mum told me she'd asked for my address. And now it's here :) I really like her choice, too, this is such a cute card! Speaking of my address... It seems like our postman definitely knows me by know - grandma had forgotten to put our house number in the address, but the card still arrived. Perhaps because no one else with my postcode receives so many postcards?! :D

Elephants seem to be pretty important animals in Thailand. These two are from Phuket. Phuket, which is approximately the size of Singapore, is Thailand’s largest island. The island is connected to mainland Thailand by two bridges. It is situated off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. Phuket formerly derived its wealth from tin and rubber, and enjoyed a rich and colorful history. The island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign ship logs of Portuguese, French, Dutch and English traders. The region now derives much of its income from tourism (and is evidently pretty popular; grandma said that it's a lot more expensive than Hua Hin where she was last year).

The stamp is from a set of 10 definitives issued last year.

Minsk Railway Station Square, Belarus

Another official, this time from Belarus. If the proportion of officials I've received from Finland recently has been decreasing, then it could be said that the number of cards from Belarus is increasing. Or at least if feels like that; at the moment three out of the 43 officials I've received so far this year are from Belarus.


This card shows the Railway Station Square "Minsk Gate". These two tall buildings are located in front of the terminal. On the back of the card it reads "Building of 1953". I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I'm assuming these buildings could be from 1953?

The stamp actually fits the theme of the card - it shows the Railway Station in Brest! It's from a set of 2 definitives issued in 2002.

Sammallahdenmäki, Finland

Receiving official postcrossing cards from Finland is always very nice, it's a shame it doesn't happen all *that* much anymore. ...although I'm not sure if I can really say anything these days as I haven't been awfully active with the official site. ...and speaking of Finland and Postcrossing, I'm really happy that the Islands are finally considered their own country. About time, too, I'd been wondering for ages why they didn't have their own country code when so many other similar places did. Anyway, this post is not about Åland but Finland, sorry for rambling.


Sammallahdenmäki is a Bronze age burial site in Finland in Lappi municipality. It was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999, and includes 36 granite burial cairns dating back more than 3,000 years, to 1,500 to 500 BC. It is located on a hill in a remote area off the road between Tampere and Rauma. Originally, it was near the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, but the land has risen so it is now 15 kilometers from the sea. It is one of the most important Bronze Age sites in Scandinavia.

The site is associated with Sun worship rituals, a cult that spread from Scandinavia over the entire region. It is also a manifestation of land ownership by kinship groups, a practice introduced with agriculture. At the time the hill of Sammallahdenmäki was completely bare of trees and was probably chosen for its unimpeded view of the sea and its openness to the Sun in all directions. The settlement of the people buried here has not yet been identified.

The weirdly shaped stamp is from a set of five stamps issued earlier this year, with the theme "branches of friendship". Supposedly the thing on the left is a bird.. They sure aren't too conservative with stamps over there! The smaller stamps are from a set of 6 definitives issued in 2008, with the theme 'water & landscape views'.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Batsford Arboretum, England

This card arrived earlier this week from the not so far away Gloucestershire :) I'm a bit sad that the UK to UK tag in the British Isles community on the postcrossing forum isn't more active as I really like it and it's always nice to received postcards from the UK.

Batsford Arboretum is a 55-acre (220,000 m2) arboretum and botanical garden near Batsford in Gloucestershire, England, about 1½ miles north-west of Moreton-in-Marsh. It is owned and run by the Batsford Foundation and is open to the public daily throughout most of the year.

The arboretum sits on the Cotswold scarp and contains around 2,900 trees, with a large collection of Japanese maples, magnolias and pines. It maintains the national collection of Prunus (sato-sakura Group) — Japanese Flowering Cherry — under the NCCPG National Plant Collection scheme run by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens. Annie, who sent me this card, tells me that there is also a Falconry Centre there. It all looks so beautiful, I'd love to visit the place one day. There's more information about the place here.

The stamp is from a miniature sheet of 4 stamps issued earlier this year, regarding the tv series 'Thunderbirds'. The stamp is brilliant, but the scan really doesn't do it justice. It's one of these lenticular stamps where by tilting the stamp you can see a launch sequences from the show. Apparently these are also the first motion stamps ever issued by the Royal Mail.

Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba, Spain

..and here's another card from Wanda. It's actually a Unesco one, too!

The Cathedral and former Great Mosque of Córdoba is today a World Heritage Site and the Cathedral of the diocese of Córdoba. The site was originally a pagan temple, then a Visigothic Christian church, before the Umayyad Moors at first converted the building into a mosque, and then built a new mosque on the site. It is located in the Andalusian city of Córdoba, Spain. The Mezquita is regarded as perhaps the most accomplished monument of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba. After the Spanish Reconquista, it once again became a Roman Catholic church, with a plateresque cathedral later inserted into the centre of the large Moorish building.

Colomares Castle, Spain

I got some more postcards from Wanda not long ago. Lots of gorgeous views from Spain, and I wanted to show a couple of them here.

The first cards shows the Colomares Castle in Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain. Built by Esteban Martin and local bricklayers from nearby Mijas, between 1987 and 1994, this castle pays homage to Christopher Colombus and the discovery of America. This castle offers the visitor different architectural styles: Byzantine, Roman, Gothic and Mudejar. In the interior is what is believed to be the smallest church in the world, dedicated to St Elizabeth of Hungary, and which features in the Guinness Book of Records. source

Benalmádena, then, is a town and municipality in the province of Málaga, part of the autonomous community of Andalusia in southern Spain. The municipality is situated approximately 12 km to the west of the city of Málaga, on the southern coast between Torremolinos and Fuengirola, in the heart of the Costa del Sol. It has a population of approximately 53,000 residents, but also caters for a large number of tourists.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


It hasn't been quite so stupidly cold here recently - it's been fairly mild outside and I'm not freezing all the time at home anymore, either. It looks like spring is coming, and I've already seen some flowers outside (snowdrops, crocuses and some yellow flowers I don't recognise). Still, I wouldn't mind being somewhere like on this card I received from my penpal Sperenza in Seychelles. Doesn't that beach look like paradise?!

Seychelles is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 kilometres east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius and Réunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest. Seychelles, with an estimated population of 84,000, has the smallest population of any African state. (I hadn't realised Seychelles was part of Africa!)

About 90% of the Seychellois people live on the island of Mahé. Most of the rest live on Praslin and La Digue, with the remaining smaller islands either sparsely populated or uninhabited. Most Seychellois are descendants of early French settlers and East Africans who arrived in the 19th century. South Asian and Chinese (1.1% of the population) account for the other permanent inhabitants. About 1,703 (2000) expatriates live and work in Seychelles.

Seychelles culture is a mixture of French and African (Creole) influences. The local Seychellois Creole (Kreol), a creole language derived from French and African tongues, is the native language of 91.8% of the people; but English and French are also commonly used. English remains the language of government and commerce.

The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small. The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mahé vary from 24 to 30 °C, and rainfall ranges from 2,900 mm annually at Victoria to 3,600 mm on the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands. During the coolest months, July and August, it drops to 24 °C.

Sperenza sent this postcard in an envelope with a letter. The stamps on the envelope are so pretty! The stamps at the top are from a set of 7 definitives issued in 2005, depicting fish, this one here being the Picasso Triggerfish. The other stamp is from a set of 7 definitives issued in 2003, also depicting fish, and this one here shows the Seychelles Squirrelfish.


Just a couple of cards for today.. I was going to post more but it's already a bit late and I still have other things to do. I feel quite overwhelmed at the moment, too, as me and my boyfriend Matt are trying to sort out our wedding, and we are finally getting somewhere and have a date now: 14th August this year. I expect to be quite busy organising that from now...

This lovely viewcard arrived from Estonia a while ago. I have no idea of the exact location of this place but it looks gorgeous, so calm and peaceful. I love the colours here, too, the pink and green, and the mist in the background. Gorgeous!

The stamp is great, too. As you can see, it commemorates the Year of the Rabbit. The first day cancellation was such a lovely surprise, I wasn't expecting it at all but it's beautiful, and I have a soft spot for special cancellations. :)

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Year of the Rabbit

..and since I'm on the topic of Chinese New Year, I thought it would be appropriate to finish my posting today with this very nice Year of the Rabbit card I received from a swap from Hong Kong.

This card is from a set of 4 Year of the Rabbit cards. I got them all in this swap and this one is probably my favourite. White rabbits fascinate me.

Last year my Chinese friend organised a little New Year's party for some friends. It was really nice and I very much like the idea of having New Year as the main celebration of the year instead of Christmas. I don't think my friend is doing anything for friends this year as she's been pretty busy recently. I do hope she'll have something special with her family, though.

Anyway, back to the card. It came with a matching stamp! Unless I'm very much mistaken, it's also from a set of 4 stamps. The other two stamps are from a set of 16 definitives issued in 2006, showing birds.


I have a few postcards from Vietnam now, mostly thanks to Jo. This card is from her as well.

According to the description on the back of this card, this postcard shows Uncle HO enjoying the Mid-Autumn Festival with youngsters in Hanoi Capital. I was a bit confused about the term 'Mid-Autumn festival' first, until I realised it's the same as the Moon Festival. It is a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people, dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China's Shang Dynasty.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. It is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is at its fullest and roundest. The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties.

The main point of this card is actually the stamps.. Vietnam follows the Chinese zodiac, except that instead of the Year of the Rabbit, it celebrates the Year of the Cat. Personally I find that very cool as the Cat is probably my favourite animal. ^_^


A new country! Yeah, this is my first postcard received from Nigeria. Thank you so much for the swap, Irina!

Irina told me that it's really difficult to find viewcards in Nigeria, but I don't mind receiving this, it's always great to see people and traditions in different countries. ...and judging by the number of Nigerian postcrossers, it doesn't look like postcards are hugely popular over there anyway.

This postcard shows 'Nigerian Cultural Dance'. Irina says that Nigerians, in general, like dancing and singing. She prefers the traditional dancing to the modern dancing. I don't know anything about either (and couldn't find much information on them either) so I can't really comment, but I reckon they have different purposes anyway so it would be a bit harsh to compare. I'd just like to say that the ladies on this card are very pretty! :)

The stamp on the left is from 2009 and commemorates the World Cup in South Africa, and the stamp on the right is from a set of 8 definitives issued in 2001, showing animals. This one here is the Red-eared Guenon.

Nassau, Bahamas

This is a postcard I wasn't originally even supposed to received... Jennifer of the USA was on holiday in the Bahamas last year and sent me a card from there, but for some reason it never arrived. ..or at least it hasn't arrived so far. I do wonder what happened to it, and I'm quite annoyed because it would have been my first written and stamped postcard from the Bahamas! Jennifer was kind enough to send me another card, though this one is mailed from the USA but it's still something. It's not like I have a ton of postcards showing Bahamas, and maybe one day I'll get a written and stamped card from there...

Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial center of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The city has a population of 248,948 (in 2010), 70 percent of the entire population of The Bahamas (353,658). The city is located on the island of New Providence, which functions much like a federal district. While there is no local government, it is governed directly as an administrative division of the national government. Nassau is considered a historical stronghold of pirates.

Located on New Providence Island, Nassau has an attractive harbor, a colorful blend of old world and colonial architecture, and a busy port. The tropical climate and natural beauty of the Bahamas has made Nassau a popular tourist destination.

Nassau grew up directly behind the port area. New Providence provides 200 km² of relatively flat and low-lying land intersected by low ridges (none of which restricted settlement). In the center of the island there are several shallow lakes that are tidally connected.

The city's proximity to the United States (290 km east-southeast of Miami, Florida) has contributed to its popularity as a holiday resort, especially after the banning of American travel to Cuba.

The two bigger stamps are from a set of 5 stamps issued in 2010, showind 'Sunday Funnies'. The small stamp is a definitive stamp from 2003, showing the American Clock.

Lighthouses, Belgium

I just realised that I haven't posted any postcards from Belgium in this blog yet. ...and it's not THAT rare a country, even if I don't receive postcards from there all the time. Well, this is remedied now with this nice official that arrived a while ago. This might well be my first Belgian lighthouse postcard, actually. :)


These lighthouses are all located in West Flanders, the westernmost province of the Flemish Region, also named Flanders, in Belgium. It borders (clockwise from the North) on the Netherlands, the Flemish province of East Flanders and the Walloon province of Hainaut in Belgium, on France, and the North Sea. Its capital is Bruges (Brugge). Other important cities are Kortrijk in the south and Ostend along the coastline. The province has an area of 3,125 km² which is divided into eight administrative districts containing 64 municipalities.

The stamp is from a set of two Christmas stamps issued in 2010.