Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sunset over temples, Bagan, Myanmar

Today's last card is quite a treat - Myanmar is one of those countries I never thought I'd ever receive a written and stamped postcard from! ..and then I had two through a great swap last year! :O I might post the second card here at some point but for now, here's a pretty sunset view.

Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom's height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

Myanmar (Burma) is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia bordered by China, Thailand, India, Laos and Bangladesh. One-third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 1,930 kilometres forms an uninterrupted coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Its population of over 60 million makes it the world's 24th most populous country and, at 676,578 km2, it is the world's 40th largest country and the second largest in Southeast Asia.

The country has been under military control since a coup d'état in 1962. During this time, the United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country, including genocide, the use of child soldiers, systematic rape, child labour, slavery, human trafficking and a lack of freedom of speech. Since the military began relinquishing more of its control over the government, however – coupled with its release in 2011 of Myanmar's most prominent human rights activist, Aung San Suu Kyi – the country's foreign relationships have improved rapidly, especially with major powers such as the European Union, Japan, and the United States. Trade and other economic sanctions, for example, imposed by the European Union and the United States, have now been eased.

 Myanmar is a country rich in precious stones, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources. In 2011, its GDP stood at US$82.7 billion and was estimated as growing at an annual rate of 5.5%.

Philae, Egypt

I just realised I have only posted about one postcard from Egypt in this blog so far. Ooops.. well, here's another one, received last year from a swap.

Philae is an island in Lake Nasser, Egypt. It was formerly an island in the First Cataract of the Nile River and the previous site of an Ancient Egyptian temple complex in southern Egypt. The complex was dismantled and relocated to nearby Agilkia Island during a UNESCO project started because of the construction of the Aswan Dam, after the site was partly flooded by the earlier Aswan Low Dam for half a century.

On the Unesco website, Philae is under 'Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae'.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

This is another card from a 'favourites' swap from last year. I don't have too many postcards from Chile so I was really excited to receive this one!

Torres del Paine National Park is a national park encompassing mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. The Cordillera del Paine is the centerpiece of the park. It lies in a transition area between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes. The park is located 112 km north of Puerto Natales and 312 km north of Punta Arenas. The park borders Bernardo O'Higgins National Park to the west and the Los Glaciares National Park to the north in Argentine territory.

Torres del Paine National Park is part of the Sistema Nacional de Áreas Silvestres Protegidas del Estado de Chile (National System of Protected Forested Areas of Chile). In 2006, it measured approximately 242,242 hectares. It is one of the largest and most visited parks in Chile. The park averages around 150,000 visitors a year, of which 60% are foreign tourists, who come from all over the world.

 The park is one of the 11 protected areas of the Magallanes Region and Chilean Antarctica (together with four national parks, three national reserves, and three national monuments). Together, the protected forested areas comprise about 51% of the land of the region (6,728,744 hectares).

The Torres del Paine are the peaks of the mountain range, Cerro Paine. They extend 3,050 meters above sea level, and are joined by the Cuernos del Paine. The area also boasts valleys, rivers such as the Paine, lakes, and glaciers. The well-known lakes include Grey, Pehoé, Nordenskjold, and Sarmiento. The glaciers, including Grey, Pingo, Tyndall and Geikie, belong to the Southern Patagonia Ice Field.

Catalina Island, California, USA

I realised I had two postcards showing Catalina Island in California, USA, so why not have them both in the same post?

The first card, above, is from a facebook swap with Abran last year, while the second card below is an official I received in 2011.


Santa Catalina Island, often called Catalina Island, or just Catalina, is a rocky island off the coast of the U.S. state of California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina. The island is 35 km long and 13 km across at its greatest width. The island is located about 35 km south-southwest of Los Angeles, California. The highest point on the island is 639m Mt. Orizaba. One of the Channel Islands of California archipelago, Catalina lies within Los Angeles County.

Catalina was originally settled by Native Americans who called the island Pimugna or Pimu and referred to themselves as Pimugnans or Pimuvit. The first Europeans to arrive on Catalina claimed it for the Spanish Empire. Over the years, territorial claims to the island transferred to Mexico and then to the United States. During this time, the island was sporadically used for smuggling, otter hunting, and gold-digging, before successfully being developed into a tourist destination by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. beginning in the 1920s. Since the 1970s, most of the island has been administered by the Catalina Island Conservancy.

The total population as of the 2010 census was 4,096 persons, 90 percent of whom live in the island's only incorporated city, Avalon. The second center of population is the unincorporated village of Two Harbors at the island's isthmus. Development occurs also at the smaller settlements of Rancho Escondido and Middle Ranch. The remaining population is scattered over the island between the two population centers.

The postcard I received in 2012 has a printed postage label so I'm only showing the stamps on the official card. I love the dog stamps!

La Cascade Verte, Vercors, France

A wonderful official I received from France last year.

The Vercors is a range of plateaux and mountains in the départements of Isère and Drôme in the French Prealps. It lies west of the Dauphiné Alps, from which it is separated by the rivers Drac and Isère. Cliffs at its eastern edge face the city of Grenoble.

The plateau's karstic area includes the famous Vercors Cave System which includes Gouffre Berger.

The Vercors has several resorts for cross-country skiing and for down-hill skiing. Villard-de-Lans is the biggest down-hill ski resort.

Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine

Last year I participated in a photography contest on the Postcrossing blog where the task was to take a picture of a place special to you/a secret place most people don't know about. I don't usually have any luck in competitions so I was really surprised to find out I was one of the three winners. The prize was a pack of 100 postcards made using the photo. I really like mine, they are nice and shiny and large so there's lots of room for writing (although it would be nice if the backs of the cards weren't completely blank...). One of the other winners, fuegoazul from Ukraine, agreed to a swap with me which I'm really happy about as her photo is simply stunning. Just look at it!

I wish I would've thought of adding text to the front of the cards as well! You can read more about this place in the link above, it really does sound like something out of a fairytale!

Klevan is an urban-type settlement in the Rivne Raion (district) of Rivne Oblast (province) in western Ukraine. Its population is 7,470 as of the 2001 Ukrainian Census.


This card is from a 'favourites' swap I did last year with Zane in Latvia. She sent me a bunch of truly gorgeous postcards, this one might well be my favourite although it was really hard to pick!
I can't really say anything about the place on this card, it's not mentioned anywhere. it's just a random, very pretty place in Latvia. :P