Saturday, 26 March 2011

Montevideo, Uruguay

One more card for today... and it's from a new country! ..yeah, it's my first postcard received from Uruguay.

Telecommunications Tower is a 158 meter tall building with 37 floors in Montevideo, Uruguay. This is the headquarters of Uruguay's government-owned telecommunications company, ANTEL, and is the tallest building in the country. It was designed by architect Carlos Ott. It is situated by the side of Montevideo's bay. The tower was completed by American Bridge and other design/built consortium team members on March 15, 2000.

The stamps on this card are really pretty. The one on the right was issued earlier this year. I'm not quite sure of the theme as I know very little Spanish, but it could possibly show local handicrafts?? The stamp in the middle was issued in 1999, with the theme 'flowers'. The one on the left I'm not sure of.. or whether it's even an actual stamp. I saw it in the picture of two stamps from 2007 (and 2009) with the theme 'diplomatic relations with Russia' but it was just a tab in the middle.. and what it has to do with Russia I have no idea of. *confused*

Asunción, Paraguay

This is another one of the three cards that Ana in Paraguay very kindly sent to me back in January. It is certainly a treat, thank you so much for this!

Here you can see a view of the centre of Asunción. This is the 'Pantéon de los Héroes'. It's a smaller version of 'Les Invalides' from Paris, France. Just like "army related elements and Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb can be found inside 'Les Invalides', tombs of national heroes (like the 1st president of Paraguay) and army related things can be found inside. The pantheon was built in 1863 but it had to be delayed until 1936 because a war had started. On the left you can see flags and on the right natives who sell their handmade bags and jewellery to tourists who visit the city.

This card is written and stamped, but as the stamp is the same as the one on the first card, I'm not posting it again here.

Masskara Festival, Bacolod City, The Philippines

Something a little different for now... I received this lovely, colourful card from my new postcard pal Maerose in the Philippines. Looks fascinating, although I have to admit that the faces of the people in the top right corner kind of freak me out.. they look like these mannequins that I've seen a few times and they always really creep me out. O_o

Masskara is coined from the word "mass" which means "crowd" and the Spanish word "cara" which means face. The two words combined have become the local word for "mask". This festival showcases colourful costumes of masks made out of papier mache or molded clay. Masskara is held on the weekend nearest October 19.

The festival features a street dance competition where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see colorfully-masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of mastery, gaiety, coordination and stamina. Major activities include the Masskara Queen beauty pageant, carnivals, drum and bugle corps competitions, food festivals, sports events, musical concerts, agriculture-trade fairs, garden shows, and other special events organized ad-hoc every year.

The stamps are from a set of 12 definitives issued in 2010, depicting Marine Life. Here you can see the Green Sea Turtle, Manta Ray and True Clownfish.

Bath, England

I've said this before, but I really like the British Isles community on the postcrossing forum and keep wishing it had more members as that way I could get more UK cards. There's so much to see on these isles that postcards from around here are always very welcome in my mailbox. That, and the participants in that community are all very nice. I can't deny, though, that one of the reasons why I like to participate in that community is that it's cheaper to send postcards within the UK than to mail them overseas. Stamp prices are going up here again at the beginning of April, and this year the increase is bigger than usual - roughly 13%! According to the Royal Mail, UK stamp prices are still "amongst the lowest in Europe" that's not much of a consolation when the price of a stamp to Europe is going up from 60p to 68p, and rest of the world from 67p to 76p. :( Thankfully I have a lot of first class stamps in stock (the price of those is going up by 5p, but you can still use older ones :)) so I'll just need to buy the make up value stamps.

I would really, really love to visit Bath some time. When I was an exchange student here some years ago, the university's International Office actually organised a day trip to Bath, but I missed it as my parents were visiting me at the same time. ...although I can't really complain as I went to Liverpool with mum and dad and got to see a lot of those Beatles-related places in Liverpool, like Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane. :) Hopefully I'll get to visit Bath eventually, maybe once Matt gets his driving licence he could take me there if I paid for the petrol? Hmmmm...

The Roman Baths complex is a site of historical interest and also a Unesco site. The house is a well-preserved Roman site for public bathing. The Roman Baths themselves are below the modern street level. There are four main features: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum holding finds from Roman Bath. The buildings above street level date from the 19th century.

The first shrine at the site of the hot springs was built by Celts, and was dedicated to the goddess Sulis, whom the Romans identified with Minerva. Geoffrey of Monmouth in his largely fictional Historia Regum Britanniae describes how in 836 BC the spring was discovered by the British king Bladud who built the first baths. Early in the eighteenth century Geoffrey's obscure legend was given great prominence as a royal endorsement of the waters' qualities, with the embellishment that the spring had cured Bladud and his herd of pigs of leprosy through wallowing in the warm mud.

The name Sulis continued to be used after the Roman invasion, leading to the town's Roman name of Aquae Sulis (literally, "the waters of Sulis"). The temple was constructed in 60-70 AD and the bathing complex was gradually built up over the next 300 years. During the Roman occupation of Britain, and possibly on the instructions of Emperor Claudius, engineers drove oak piles to provide a stable foundation into the mud and surrounded the spring with an irregular stone chamber lined with lead. In the second century it was enclosed within a wooden barrel-vaulted building,and included the caldarium (hot bath), tepidarium (warm bath), and frigidarium (cold bath). After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the first decade of the fifth century, these fell into disrepair and were eventually lost due to silting up, and flooding. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle suggests the original Roman baths were destroyed in the 6th century.

The stamp is from a set of 8 stamps issued earlier this year, depicting London West End Musicals. This one here is 'We Will Rock You'.

Tarkhankutskyi lighthouse, Black Sea, Russia

Russia is one of the biggest countries on the official postcrossing site... so why am I receiving so few officials from there? I've been wondering that for a while now as I wouldn't mind receiving more cards from there. Oh well, at least I still get lots of them through swaps and tags/RRs. :)

This card shows the Tarkhankutskyi lighthouse by the Black Sea. I really like this card and how blue it is. So pretty! ..and it's not like I have too many lighthouse postcards from Russia so I'm always curious to see more. :)

The card came in an envelope with a few other, equally lovely, postcards. ..and the stamps on the envelope are just gorgeous! The one at the top is from 2001 and is Russia's contribution to that year's Europa stamps series, that year's theme being 'water'. The lighthouse stamp underneath is from a set of 3 lighthouse stamps issued in 2006, and the small stamp is from a set of 12 definitive stamps issued in 2009, depicting Russian Kremlins. This one shows the Moscow Kremlin.

Lyon, France

Another official card.. but this time a lot more recent one - I received this one earlier this year. I just love the atmosphere here.


Lyon is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. The city of Lyon has 480,660 inhabitants. Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Lyon forms the third-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris, with the population of its urban area estimated to be 1,422,331 and that of its metropolitan area 1,757,180.

Lyon has a long cultural influence on France and the world. The city is known for its historical and architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk and in modern times has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France. It has a significant role in the history of cinema due to Auguste and Louis Lumière. The local professional football team, Olympique Lyonnais, has increased the profile of Lyon internationally through participation in European football championships.

Economically, Lyon is a major centre for banking and also the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. The city contains a significant software industry with a particular focus on video games, and in recent years has focussed on a growing local start-up sector. Lyon also hosts the international headquarters of Interpol, Euronews and International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The stamp at the top was issued in 2010 and shows 'La Conciergerie Paris'. The other two stamps are from a set of 14 definitives issued in 2008, with the theme 'Marianne and Europe'.

120 km/hr

I'm certainly very good at wasting time. It just seems to disappear somewhere, and a lot of the time I haven't really been doing much anything. I can't understand people who say they get bored and don't know what to do - I always have TOO MANY things I'd like to do, and never enough time. Yay for procrastinating.. :P

Anyway.. I thought I'd post another older card, from my second postcrossing account. I haven't used it for ages now, I had it back when you could only have 5 postcards travelling at the same time. There hasn't been any need for it after the limits increased, and at the moment there's no way I could afford to keep all the cards travelling that I'm allowed to send, especially as I still like to participate on the forum as well. This is one of my favourite cards received from that second account.


I wonder what that person is thinking about.. probably wanting to hop on the train and travel somewhere far, far away. Well, that's what I would be thinking anyway :P I could really do with a little trip somewhere, it's not good to be stuck in one place for so long..

The photo is by Jan Saudek, a Czech art photographer. His best-known work is noted for its hand-tinted portrayal of painterly dream worlds, often inhabited by nude or semi-nude figures surrounded by bare plaster walls or painted backdrops, frequently re-using identical elements (for instance, a clouded sky or a view of Prague's Charles Bridge). You can see more of his photos here but do take the above as a warning - it's probably not a very good idea to browse his website if you are at work. :P ...or if you are underaged or don't like nudity.

The stamp is from a set of 5 stamps issued in 2008. I'm not entirely sure what these stamps are supposed to present, presumably "party time". The stamp booklet looks a bit confusing, too, as if you don't look carefully, it would be easy to think it actually contains 6 stamps instead of 5. Indeed, I once received a postcard with that bottom part used as a stamp. I'm quite impressed it actually made its way here and I didn't have to pay anything for 'missing postage'.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Banja Luka, Republika Sprska, Bosnia & Herzegovina

One more card for today.. This one is from a swap with Sonja in Republika Sprska.

Banja Luka is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the administrative capital of the Republika Srpska entity. Traditionally it has been the center of the Bosanska Krajina region, located in the north-western part of the country. It is home of the University of Banja Luka, as well as numerous state and entity institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city lies on the Vrbas river and is well-known in the countries of the Former Yugoslavia for being full of tree-lined avenues, boulevards, gardens, and parks. It has been estimated that today's population of the municipality of Banja Luka is about 250,000.

The stamps on this card are adorable! I've been looking at pictures of different stamps from Republika Sprska and there seems to be lots of very nice ones there. As for these, the ones on the left are from a set of 3 definitives issued in 2009, depicting animals (there's also a super cute squirrel stamp in this set!). The other two are from a set of 4 animal stamps issued last year. Gorgeous!

West Coast Wilderness Railway, Tasmania, Australia

I'm starting to get more into train-related postcards, partly thanks to Ana I think. There's such variety there and trains appeal to my escapistic tendencies. ...and old trains look really cool!

The West Coast Wilderness Railway, Tasmania is a reconstruction of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company railway between Queenstown and Regatta Point. Despite various proposals post 1963, it was not until the 1990s after the demise of the main Mount Lyell Company mining operations, and the downgrading of The Hydro activities of dam building on the West Coast, that some very committed local West Coast people campaigned for the re-instatement of the railway. The new railway recommenced operations on 27 December 2002 under the name of the Abt Wilderness Railway, and was officially re-opened by the Prime Minister of Australia John Howard and the Premier of Tasmania Jim Bacon in 2003.

The new railway terminal in Queenstown is on the same lands as that of the original station yard, and terminates at that point. At Regatta Point the railway station has been renovated and terminatesthere. There was no attempt to vary the original alignment of the railway, except for the vicinity of the 'Quarter Mile Bridge' which is very near Teepookana. The old bridge was washed away in the floods of 1974, and the new bridge for this location is just south of the original.

A number of the original engines used on the line had been reconditioned into running order, but rolling stock was totally new and oriented towards providing facilities for year round tourist operations. There were 5 original ABT steam engines, with ABT 1 and ABT 3 restored in 2001 and ABT 5 restored in 2005, ABT 2 is currently on display in Hobart in a museum and ABT 2 was scrapped into parts for the other engines.

The stamp at the top is from a set of 16 stamps issued in 2008, commemorating the Centenary of Rugby League, this one here being 'Titans'. The stamp in the middle is from a set of 8 definitives issued last year with the title 'Fishes of the Reef - Part 2'. The stamp at the bottom is from a set of 4 stamps from 2005, depicting Australian Wildflowers. This one here is the Common Fringe Lily.

New Hampshire, USA

Another old card... I received this one over three years ago from my postcard pal Laura (I only just realised we've known each other that long. I'm impressed!). New Hampshire is located just north of her state (Massachusetts).

This area is famous for the historical covered bridges. This one here is the covered bridge in Cornish. It is the second longest wooden covered bridge in the United States, and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, which spans the Connecticut River, was built in 1866.

The stamp on the left is quite familiar.. the other two (which are upside down here, oops) are from a set of 4 stamps issued in 2007 with the theme 'pollination'.

Niagara Falls, Canada

I've got a pretty mixed batch of cards for today... This one is from my penpal Lauren in Canada, she recently visited the Niagara Falls! Looks absolutely freezing but also very impressive.

The Niagara Falls are voluminous waterfalls on the Niagara River, straddling the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The falls are 27 km north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 121 km south-southeast of Toronto, Ontario, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.

Niagara Falls is composed of two major sections separated by Goat Island: the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and the American Falls on the American side. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the main falls by Luna Island. The international boundary line was originally drawn through Horseshoe Falls in 1819, but the boundary has long been in dispute due to natural erosion and construction.

Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age), and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than 168,000 m3 of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost (110,000 m3 on average. It is the most powerful waterfall in North America.

The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Managing the balance between recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century.

Theh stamp on the envelope is from a miniature sheet issued earlier this year, commemorating the Year of the Rabbit.

Tanabata Festival, Sendai, Japan

The last week and a half really haven't been much fun. Family issues, and I've also been worrying about my friends in Japan. The news of the earthquake have really upset me, so many lives devastated and in ruins.. This weekend I was also really worried about a friend who lives in Sendai. We are not in regular touch anymore but she used to be a very dear penpal and I couldn't possibly forget her. I couldn't access the internet until Sunday evening, not fun. :( I've found my friend's twitter page and she seems to be fine. Still haven't heard from a friend in Tokyo, though, and am worried. I hope she's ok..!

I received this card over three years ago but I thought this would be a good time for posting it here. Tanabata is a Japanese star festival, originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It celebrates the meeting of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). According to legend, the Milky Way, a river of stars that crosses the sky, separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The celebration is held at night.

In present-day Japan, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on tanzaku, small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations. The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival, around midnight or on the next day. This resembles the custom of floating paper ships and candles on rivers during Obon. Many areas in Japan have their own Tanabata customs, which are mostly related to local Obon traditions. Large-scale Tanabata festivals are held in many places in Japan, mainly along shopping malls and streets, which are decorated with large, colorful streamers. The most famous Tanabata festival is held in Sendai from August 6 to August 8.

The stamp is from a set of 4 stamps issued in 2006 depicting Tohoku festivals.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Corbière Lighthouse, Jersey

Just one more card for today.. but it comes from a new country! Or not really a new country, but definitely a new postal entity or whatever you want to call it. It's kind of weird that this is my first postcard from Jersey, considering that it's not too far away from England and still sort of part of the UK. I've only received parcels from there before as a lot of internet companies are based there thanks to the lack of VAT on goods over there. ...mmmm, and Jersey Royal potatoes are really yummy! :P

This postcard shows the Corbière Lighthouse in the extreme south-western point of Jersey in St. Brelade. It was lit on 24 April, 1874, for the first time, and was the first lighthouse in the British Isles to be built of concrete. The lighthouse was built to designs by Sir John Coode. The lighthouse tower is 19m high and the lamp stands 36m above high water spring tides. The beam has a reach of 18 nautical miles, and was automated in 1976.

The lighthouse is situated on a rock which is a tidal island. A causeway links the lighthouse to shore at low tide. There is an alarm to warn visitors to clear the causeway as the tide rises, however there have been casualties among the unwary or unlucky. A plaque adjacent to the causeway commemorates Peter Edwin Larbalestier, assistant keeper of the lighthouse, who was drowned on 28 May, 1946, while trying to rescue a visitor cut off by the incoming tide.

Rebecca, who sent me this card, tells me that years ago there was a racehorse named Corbiere in the Grand National and thousands of people in Jersey bet on it. It nearly bankrupted the bookies when it won, but a lot of people in Jersey were celebrating.

The stamp is from a set of 6 stamps issued earlier this year, featuring a selection of six coaches which have graced the roads of Jersey. The one here shows the Rambler Tour Chevrolet, c.1935.

Dagestan, Russia

I have a lot of postcards from Russia as Postcrossing seems to be getting more and more popular over there, but this is my first postcard from the Republic of Dagestan. :)

This card shows the Gunibskoye plateau in the Gunibsky District (unless I'm very much mistaken?) in Dagestan.

The Republic of Dagestan is located in the North Caucasus region. Dagestan has great ethnic diversity, with several dozen ethnic groups and subgroups, most of which speak either Caucasian, Turkic, or Iranian languages. Largest among these ethnic groups are the Avar, Dargin, Kumyk, and Lezgin. While Russians form only a small proportion (4.7%) of the population, Russian remains the primary official language. The area's capital is Makhachkala, located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. According to a 2002 census, the city had a population of 462,412.

Kate used some amazing stamps, I really like these! The one on the left is from 2009, a definitive from a set of 12 showing Russian Kremlins, this one here being the Kazan Kremlin. The other small stamp is from the same set and shows the Pskov Kremlin. The stamp in the middle is from a set of 5 stamps issued in 2005, with the theme "The Earth - Light-blue Planet". The stamp on the right fits the theme of the postcard perfectly! It's from a set of 4 stamps issued in 2008, depicting Decorative Art of Dagestan. This one here shows a Kerchief chain with pendants. Just beautiful!

Mount Cook, New Zealand

Things haven't been too great here recently... I don't want to go into details as I don't feel this is the right place. However, I thought I'd try to distract myself by posting some cards here.. starting with this gorgeous view of New Zealand, sent by Heather in Australia. It really is an amazing view, quite breathtaking. I'm really sad about the recent events in New Zealand, I wish all the best to everyone affected by the earthquake.

This is a view of Mount Cook (Aoraki) in the early morning, from Peter's Lookout on the road to Mount Cook village. Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, reaching a height of 3,754 metres. It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. Mount Cook consists of three summits lying slightly south and east of the main divide, the Low Peak, Middle Peak and High Peak, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the west.

I had read about the Australia Post's Premier's Flood Relief Appeal stamps and really liked the idea - stamps issued for charity is something that I will always support. It's something that's so easily accessible to everyone. It's a sheet of 10 stamps issued in January 2011, $2 donation from the sale of this stamp sheetlet will go directly to the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal.