Saturday, 22 December 2012

Khanbulan, Lankaran, Azerbaijan

One more card for today.. and it's my first written and stamped postcard from Azerbaijan! It's such a beautiful view, too, I really like it. I saw some more pictures of Azerbaijan on tv when the Eurovision song contest was held in Baku, but I have to confess I still know very little about this country. Thank you for telling me a bit more, Dilara!

The description on the back of this card reads 'Khanbulan, Lankaran'. Khanbulan is a lake, I think, but I couldn't find much info about it. I wonder if 'Lankaran' refers to the Lankaran Rayon, then. I've already written about the city of Lankaran here, but the Rayon is a separate entity, surrounding but not including the city of Lankaran, which is technically a separate administrative region. The Lankaran Rayon does have a vast area of national parks, where a variety of fauna and flora are preserved.

Sandoy, Faroe Islands

For the longest time I didn't have any postcards from the Faroe Islands - and then suddenly this summer I received two! I'm certainly not complaining, it looks like such a beautiful, fascinating place.

Sandoy is the first of the five southern islands that make up the Faroe chain, the fifth biggest of all the Faroe Islands, an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark. As of 2011, the largest population center on the island is the village of Sandur with a population of 599. Other settlements include Skarvanes, Skopun, Skálavík, Húsavík and Dalur. The island's surrounding bird cliffs and steep slopes have been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because of their significance as a breeding site for seabirds

On the left on this card you can see a view from Húsavík, an old village located on the east of the Isle of Sandoy. In the centre of Húsavík there is a ruin called ‘Heimi á Garði’. It is said to be the remains of a farm that was built by ‘Lady of the House in Húsavík'. She was a strict and wealthy lady who lived in the 14th century. She owned all the land in Húsavík and also had some properties in Norway. Legend says that she buried two servants alive. It is also said that she got all her wealth, when she sold a golden horn to the king. The story goes that she found the golden horn in the ground, after dreaming of its location.


I'm still hoping to receive my first written and stamped postcard from Bolivia, but meanwhile this great mapcard my dear Snježana sent me is still a very nice treat.

Bolivia, officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, Chile to the southwest, and Peru to the west.

Prior to European colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire – the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The conquistadors took control of the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was known as Upper Peru and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain's South American colonies, although the area enjoyed substantial autonomy under the jurisdiction of the Royal Court of Charcas. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on 6 August 1825. Bolivia has struggled through periods of political instability, dictatorships and economic woes.

Bolivia is a democratic republic that is divided into nine departments. Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country, with a Medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level of 53%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin. Bolivia has gained global attention for its 'Law of the Rights of Mother Earth', one of the unique laws in the world that accord nature, the same rights as humans.

The Bolivian population, estimated at 10 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans. The main language spoken is Spanish, although the Guarani, Aymara and Quechua languages are also common and all three, as well as 34 other indigenous languages, are official. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

Utror Valley, Swat, Pakistan

I received this gorgeous view of Pakistan from the wonderful Vera in a swap earlier this year. I love it how she always writes so much on her cards, and decorates them really beautifully as well. :)

Utror is one of the many side valleys around Kalam in Upper Swat. From Kalam, it is 16km up the Utror River to Utror village, at about 7,300 feet above sea level. It is an unspoilt and peaceful spot and the milky white Utror River flows through the village. The valley provides a base for many trekking opportunities, including many high altitude lakes and summer pastures.

Christchurch, New Zealand

I've got a pretty random selection of cards for today.. next up is this one from New Zealand.

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's third-largest urban area. It lies one third of the way down the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of Christchurch. On this postcard you can see one of Christchurch's tramcars travelling the city loop route, passing by the Christchurch Arts Centre. The Arts Centre is one of the many buildings that suffered extensive damage in the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

Bornholm, Denmark

Something slightly less freezing - a great mapcard from Denmark! I think I actually have two copies of this card but I don't mind as it's such a nice card (and the messages are different, obviously).

Bornholm is a Danish island in the Baltic Sea, to the east of most of Denmark, south of Sweden, and north of Poland. The main industries on the island include fishing, arts and crafts such as glass making and pottery using locally worked clay, and dairy farming. Tourism is important during the summer. The topography of the island consists of dramatic rock formations in the north (unlike the rest of Denmark which is very flat) sloping down towards pine and deciduous forests (greatly damaged by storms in the 1950s) and farmland in the middle and sandy beaches in the south.

Udachny, Sakha Republic, Russia

Another snowy view, this time from Russia. This picture was taken in April, brrrr!

Udachny is a town in Mirninsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located 1,370 kilometers northwest of Yakutsk on the Markha River. It has a population of 12,611 (2010 Census preliminary results).

The Sakha (Yakutia) Republic is a federal subject of Russia. Comprising half of the Far Eastern Federal District, it is the largest subnational governing body by area in the world at 3,083,523 square kilometers and the eighth largest territory in the world, if the federal subjects of Russia were compared with other countries. It is larger than Argentina and just smaller than India which covers an area of 3,287,240 km2. It has a population of fewer than one million inhabitants. Its capital is the city of Yakutsk.

The Sakha Republic is one of the ten autonomous Turkic Republics within the Russian Federation. Yakutia also fosters close cultural, political, economic and industrial relations with the independent Turkic states through membership in organizations such as the Turkic Council and the Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture.

I received this card from a swap with Jaroslav who lives in Moldova, hence the Moldovian stamps.

Lappeenranta, Finland

Uh oh.. long time no see. I didn't realise it's been *that* long since I last updated this blog. I don't want to go into details here, let me just say that I haven't really been in the mood for updating this, or doing many other things. I haven't actually sent that many postcards in the past few months, either.. :/ ...and now Christmas is almost here (again)! I'm not very much in a festive mood at the moment and it's not helped by the fact that it's been raining so much for the past few days, and it looks like it's going to be the same over Christmas. I don't normally like snow all that much but it does make the scenery more Christmas-y. :P Therefore I thought I'd post a couple of snowy views of my old hometown Lappeenranta in Finland.

These are actually both Christmas postcards, issued by the local energy company. You couldn't really tell, though, they are REALLY nice. The top one was sent to me and Matt's family by my parents a couple (?) of years ago and shows a view of the harbour, one of my favourite places in the town. The card on the bottom, then, was an official I received in 2009 from a Postcrosser who lives in Lappeenranta! I love coincidences like that :D The picture is from the old fortress, another favourite place of mine and perfect for sliding down the hills with a big bin bag in winters :D (We did that when Matt's family came over some years ago for a visit, hehe.)