Monday, 27 January 2014

Nuuk, Greenland

One more card for today. This is only my second Greenland postcard, although this one's not a written and stamped one but from a swap with Hanna in Iceland. She sent me a bunch of Iceland postcard plus this treat, doesn't it look gorgeous?!

Nuuk is the capital and largest city of Greenland. It is the seat of government, as well as the country's largest cultural and economic center. The major cities closest to the capital are Iqaluit and St. John's in Canada, and Reykjavík in Iceland. Nuuk is the seat of government for the Sermersooq municipality. In January 2013, it had a population of 16,454, making it one of the smallest capital cities in the world by population. Nuuk is the Kalaallisut word for "cape". It is so named because of its position at the end of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord on the eastern shore of the Labrador Sea. Its latitude, at 64°10' N, makes it the world's northernmost capital.

Malaysian treats

This is an official I received back in 2009, and SUCH a lovely card! I had actually had this one in my favourites for quite a while before then so I was super excited to receive it as an official Postcrossing card.

The cakes and cookies look totally mouthwatering! Zia, the sender of this card, tells me that 'kuih' is the general name for these cookies and cakes. They are usually made with rice flour, coconut milk, sugar and various flavourings. They can be prepared in many different ways - steamed, boiled, baked or deep fried. Mmmmm....! The pink ones with white stripes on the left are called 'lapis'.


The Aikido group I'm a member of is pretty multicultural; we have and have had members from a bunch of different countries. At one point we had a guy from Ghana. He was really really nice as well, I miss him a lot. Maybe one day I'll get to meet him again...? Anyway, when he was about to move back home to Ghana I asked him if he could do me a favour and send me a postcard from Ghana. Cheeky, I know, but there we go :P He agreed to send me one - well, I thought it would be just one but instead he sent a bunch of postcards in an envelope. So many great views! (I wonder if it would be just a tad too cheeky to ask him for a written and stamped card (I don't have any yet...)? :P)

I'm rather fond of map postcards so I really like this one - and it's nice to see all the different regions of the country. I have no idea what the four places on the right are, there's no info on the back of the card. Shame, I'm curious, especially about the white structures in the bottom right corner.

Ohrid, Macedonia

This card is from dear Ana. Thanks to her I finally have a couple of postcards of Ohrid. :) I had difficulties picking which one to show here, I ended up choosing this one because of the stamps - there are so many of them and they are so pretty and colourful!

Ohrid is a city in the Republic of Macedonia and the seat of Ohrid Municipality. It is the largest city on Lake Ohrid and the eighth-largest city in the country with over 42,000 inhabitants as of 2002. Ohrid is notable for once having had 365 churches, one for each day of the year, and has been referred to as a "Jerusalem (of the Balkans)". The city is rich in picturesque houses and monuments, and tourism is predominant. It is located southwest of Skopje, west of Resen and Bitola, close to the border with Albania. In 1979 and in 1980, Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were accepted as Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In fact, Ohrid is one of only 28 sites that are part of UNESCO's World Heritage that are both Cultural and Natural sites.

Tallinn, Estonia

I thought I'd make a small post here - I've got a few things done today so I thought I'd update this blog as well now that I'm in the mood.

Today's first card is a slightly different view of Tallinn, Estonia.

I've got plenty of postcards of Tallinn but pretty much all of them show the Old Town. I do like the Tallinn Old Town, it's really pretty (and a Unesco site as well!), but it's nice to see a different view of the city on a postcard. I think this is my only postcard showing the modern part of the city, which is probably why I like it so much - although I do like the blue tones as well, this is such a lovely night view!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

I posted a card from the British Virgin Islands yesterday.. well, I have one from the US Virgin Islands as well so I thought I'd post that one here as well :D I have to admit, though, that for such a long time I thought that this was just a regular postcard from the USA... How embarrassing!

I received this postcards some years ago from Kristy from the US, she sent me this card from her holidays to the Caribbean. We were supposed to become penpals but I think we only ever wrote each other two letters if that... Which is a shame because she seemed like a really nice person. I'm a rubbish penpal these days, though, and tend to take ages to write back to people. I feel really guilty about it but it just keeps happening :/

The Virgin Islands of the United States (commonly called the United States Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Virgin Islands or USVI) are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.

 The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, along with the much smaller but historically distinct Water Island, and many other surrounding minor islands. The total land area of the territory is (346.4 km2. The territory's capital is Charlotte Amalie on the island of Saint Thomas.

As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 106,405, mostly composed by those of Afro-Caribbean descent. Tourism is the primary economic activity, although there is a significant rum manufacturing sector.

I love it how the stamp actually matches the card! The larger one shows St. John on the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Brei Roub Temple, Cambodia

Another fairly old card, this is actually an official Postcrossing card! It's also one of my only postcards received from Cambodia so it's pretty special to me.


Cambodia, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia and once known as the Khmer Empire, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Its total landmass is 181,035 square kilometres, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.

With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is the 70th most populous country in the world. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by approximately 95% of the Cambodian population. The country's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams, and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic, and cultural center of Cambodia. The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni, a monarch chosen by the Royal Throne Council, as head of state. The head of government is Hun Sen, who is currently the longest serving non-royal leader in South East Asia and has ruled Cambodia for over 25 years.

Cambodia's ancient name is "Kambuja". In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king marking the beginning of the Khmer Empire which flourished for over 600 years allowing successive kings to dominate much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth. The Indianized kingdom built monumental temples including Angkor Wat, now a World Heritage Site, and facilitated the spread of first Hinduism, then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, Cambodia was ruled as a vassal between its neighbors until it became a protectorate by the French in the mid-19th century. Cambodia gained independence in 1953.

The Vietnam War extended into Cambodia, during which the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh in 1975 and later carried out the Cambodian Genocide from 1975-1979 when they were ousted by Vietnam and then fought against the Vietnamese backed People's Republic of Kampuchea in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War (1979-1991). Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords Cambodia was governed briefly by a United Nations mission (1992-1993). The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90% of the registered voters cast ballots. The 1997 coup placed power solely in the hands of President Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party who remain in power as of 2013.

Cambodia has since had one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth averaging 6 percent for the last 10 years. Strong textiles, agriculture, construction, garments, and tourism sectors led to foreign investments and international trade. Oil and natural gas deposits found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters in 2005 remain mostly untapped, due in part to territorial disputes with Thailand.

This cancellation really confuses me - it clearly says 2008 but the card was actually mailed in 2009! Also, it looks like it says 'May' but the card was sent in April. Someone in the post office wasn't paying attention??

The Merimbun Lake, Brunei

Time for a few older cards I think... I received this one back in 2008. I just love it, the garden looks so lush and the whole place really calm and peaceful.

Situated some 37 kilometres inland from Tutong town, Tasek Merimbun reveals a captivating sight of a shallow freshwater lake, elevated wooden walkways and pavilions. It is the largest lake in Brunei. It is surrounded by the 7800-hectare Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park.

Hartini, who sent me this card, told me that there's a legend about the lake on how it has a giant white crocodile which has been living there for years and looks after something.


A gorgeous sunset view of Singapore, I received this card from one of my favourite RR's on the Postcrossing forum - the Choose a Country RR.

I don't really have much to say about this card, except that I really like this view and the colours are gorgeous, I'm rather fond of sunset views... The main reason for my picking this card was the stamps and the special cancellations, they are gorgeous. Just look:

Waldspirale, Darmstadt, Germany

A really cool card I received from the lovely Claudia last year. I had actually been hoping to receive this card for quite a while, that building looks so cool!

The Waldspirale is a residential building complex in Darmstadt, Germany, built in the 1990s. The name translates into English as forest spiral, reflecting both the general plan of the building and the fact that it has a green roof. It was designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, planned and implemented by architect Heinz M. Springmann, and constructed by the Bauverein Darmstadt company. The building was completed in 2000.

The Waldspirale apartment building is located in Darmstadt's Bürgerparkviertel. It contains 105 apartments, a parking garage, a kiosk as well as a café and a bar (the last two being located at the top of the spiral). The inner courtyard contains a playground for the children of the residents and a small artificial lake. Peculiarities of the U-shaped building are the unique facade, which does not follow a regular grid organization, and the windows, which appear as if they were "aus der Reihe tanzen," (dancing out of line) everywhere different and appearing out of order, often with 'tree tenants' - trees growing out from the windows. The diagonal roof, planted with grass, shrubs, flowers and trees, rises like a ramp along the U-form. At its highest point, the building has 8 floors.

Darmstadt, then, is a city in the Bundesland (federal state) of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine-Main-Area (Frankfurt Metropolitan Region). Darmstadt has a population of 147,927 (2013).

Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark

It's been a quiet day so I thought I'd try to catch up on this blog a bit again :P Today's first card is from a swap with Chris in Denmark, I received some truly gorgeous postcards from him last year!

Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania) is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Civic authorities in Copenhagen regard Christiania as a large commune, but the area has a unique status in that it is regulated by a special law, the Christiania Law of 1989 which transfers parts of the supervision of the area from the municipality of Copenhagen to the state. It was closed by residents in April 2011, whilst discussions continued with the Danish government as to its future, but is now open again. Christiania has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971. Its cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. Since then, measures for normalising the legal status of the community have led to conflicts, police raids and negotiations which are ongoing.

Chris told me that postcards of Christiania are rare as they don't normally allow photography in the area.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

One more card for today... and from such a fascinating place as well! Pat of the US kindly offered to swap with me and sent me this treat (it did take a while to reach England, but I received it eventually). Mmmmm, I'd really like to be somewhere warm and sunny at the moment, too, I'm not a huge fan of English winters. :P

Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. Local tradition recounts that Christopher Columbus named it Tortola, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove". Columbus named the island Santa Ana. The later Dutch settled and called it Ter Tholen, after a coastal island forming part of the west coast of the Netherlands. When the British took over, they altered the name to its present-day Tortola. The population of Tortola is 23,908. The principal settlement is Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands.

The British Virgin Islands, then, is a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constitute the US Virgin Islands and the Spanish Virgin Islands.

The official name of the Territory is still simply the "Virgin Islands", but the prefix "British" is often used to distinguish it from the neighbouring American territory which changed its name from the "Danish West Indies" to "Virgin Islands of the United States" in 1917. British Virgin Islands government publications continue to begin with the name "The Territory of the Virgin Islands", and the Territory's passports simply refer to the "Virgin Islands", and all laws begin with the words "Virgin Islands".

The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over fifty other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The islands have a population of about 27,800.

British Virgin Islanders are classed as British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 have had full British citizenship. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, its citizens are deemed to be citizens of the EU as well.


This is another postcard from the swap I had with Milad in Iraq back in 2010. I've posted about the other card in this blog before. These two cards are still my only ones from Iraq.

There is some writing on the back of the card but it's all in Arabic so I have no idea whether it says something about the places on this card. ..and as a result I'm totally clueless here. Well, not completely - the picture in the bottom left corner looks like it's from Hatra, which also happens to be a Unesco site. :) A large fortified city under the influence of the Parthian Empire and capital of the first Arab Kingdom, Hatra withstood invasions by the Romans in A.D. 116 and 198 thanks to its high, thick walls reinforced by towers. The remains of the city, especially the temples where Hellenistic and Roman architecture blend with Eastern decorative features, attest to the greatness of its civilization.

Milad wrote that Iraq is the cradle of ancient empires and civilizations dated back to 6000 years. I find this really fascinating, and the more recent history of the region very sad. Hopefully things will improve there.

Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan

Another snowy view, this time from Japan.

The Sapporo Snow Festival is a festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan, over seven days in February. Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsudome are the main sites of the festival. The 2014 Snow Festival dates are 5 to 11 February.

The festival is one of Japan's largest and most distinctive winter events. In 2007 (58th Festival), about two million people visited Sapporo to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures at the Odori Park and Susukino sites, in central Sapporo, and at the Satoland site. An International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park site since 1974, and 14 teams from various regions of the world participated in 2008. The subject of the statues varies and often features an event, famous building or person from the previous year.

The Snow Festival began in 1950, when six local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. In 1955, the Japan Self-Defense Forces from the nearby Makomanai base joined in and built the first massive snow sculptures, for which the Snow Festival has now become famous. Several snow festivals existed in Sapporo prior to the Sapporo Snow Festival, however, all of these were suspended during World War II.


A lovely snowy view of Åland I received from a swap last year.

I have no idea where exactly in Åland this place is, there is no information on the card. It does look like it's a seashore, though - those houses/sheds look so much like the ones in the Astrid Lindgren's 'Vi på Saltkråkan' tv series that I used to love when I was a kid (well, I still really like it and wouldn't mind having it on dvd). If you want to read more about the series, check Wikipedia. There might be some clips on youtube as well, I haven't checked though and they would most likely be in Swedish... Speaking of snow, we haven't actually had ANY over here so far this winter! I don't mind in the least as everything always turns into chaos when it snows here. :P Still, it does look pretty.

Røros Mining Town, Norway

Ok, I'll try to finish the update I started yesterday. :P ...starting off with this gorgeous Norwegian Unesco card that was one of the cards I received as part of the 'winner of the month' lottery in September last year. It's always such a pleasure to receive postcards from Cathrine, she's so thoughtful and I love it how her cards are so full of writing, too :)

Røros Mining Town and the Circumference is linked to the copper mines, established in the 17th century and exploited for 333 years until 1977. The site comprises the Town and its industrial-rural cultural landscapes; Femundshytta, a smelter with its associated area; and the Winter Transport Route. Completely rebuilt after its destruction by Swedish troops in 1679, Røros contains about 2000 wooden one- and two-storey houses and a smelting house. Many of these buildings have preserved their blackened wooden façades, giving the town a medieval appearance. Surrounded by a buffer zone, coincident with the area of privileges (the Circumference) granted to the mining enterprise by the Danish-Norwegian Crown (1646), the property illustrates the establishment and flourishing of a lasting culture based on copper mining in a remote region with a harsh climate.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Carraig Fhada Lighthouse, Islay, Scotland

Another postcard I received last year, this one is from my Finnish penpal Keiju, sent from her holidays in Scotland. She got to visit some amazing places - how lovely would it be to visit some of these more remote parts of Scotland?!?

Carraig Fhada Lighthouse is located at Port Ellen, a small town on the island of Islay, in Argyll, Scotland. Islay, then, is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Known as "The Queen of the Hebrides", it lies in Argyll just south west of Jura and around 40 kilometres north of the Irish coast. The island's capital and largest settlement is Bowmore where the distinctive round Kilarrow Parish Church and a distillery are located. Port Ellen is the main port.

Islay is the fifth-largest Scottish island and the seventh-largest island surrounding Great Britain, with a total area of almost 620 square kilometres. There is ample evidence of the prehistoric settlement of Islay and the first written reference may have come in the 1st century AD. The island had become part of the Gaelic Kingdom of Dál Riata during the Early Middle Ages before being absorbed into the Norse Kingdom of the Isles. The later medieval period marked a "cultural high point" with the transfer of the Hebrides to the Kingdom of Scotland and the emergence of the Clan Donald Lordship of the Isles, originally centred at Finlaggan. During the 17th century the Clan Donald star waned, but improvements to agriculture and transport led to a rising population, which peaked in the mid-19th century. This was followed by substantial forced displacements and declining resident numbers.

Today, it has over 3,000 inhabitants and the main commercial activities are agriculture, malt whisky distillation and tourism. The island has a long history of religious observance and Scottish Gaelic is spoken by about a quarter of the population. Its landscapes have been celebrated through various art forms and there is a growing interest in renewable energy. Islay is home to many bird species such as the wintering populations of Greenland White-fronted and Barnacle Goose, and is a popular destination throughout the year for birdwatchers. The climate is mild and ameliorated by the Gulf Stream.

I have to confess I pretty much only recognised the name 'Islay' before because of whisky - my dad really likes whisky and I recognise some of the names on the bottles (Laphroaig and Ardbeg mostly). Islay is one of five whisky distilling localities and regions in Scotland whose identity is protected by law. There are eight active distilleries and the industry is the island's second largest employer after agriculture. Those on the south of the island produce malts with a very strong peaty flavour, considered to be the most intensely flavoured of all whiskies. From east to west they are Ardbeg, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig. On the north of the island Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain are produced, which are substantially lighter in taste. Kilchoman is a microdistillery opened in 2005 toward the west coast of the Rinns. The oldest record of a legal distillery on the island refers to Bowmore in 1779 and at one time there were up to 23 distilleries in operation.

You don't need to pay this much to send a postcard within the UK... I'm guessing Keiju didn't realise this, I just feel bad that she ended up overpaying to send my card.

New Zealand

Happy new year 2014! I'm really hoping this year will be better than the last one, it feels like I pretty much wasted 2013... I did just write to someone on the Postcrossing forum that I'm going to have to cut back on the number of postcards I send this year, again, as stamps are so expensive (and I'm dreading the annual price increase sometime during the spring, I hope the Royal Mail won't copy countries like Australia, Canada or Finland...) but I'm still going to be sending postcards, even if I'll have to be more careful. This year hasn't started off too badly actually, I've already received some great cards (and one from a new country as well, I'm hoping to post about that one at some point).

Anyway. I was going to make a longer post and already picked the cards I wanted to post about, but it's getting late so I'll just do a couple now and maybe (MAYBE) finish at some point this weekend. This first card is yet another swap with Aaron from New Zealand, I really like his postcards!

I've said before that I'm not generally too fond of multiviews but the ones I've received from New Zealand always seem to be really nice. it because I just find the country so fascinating?? :P There isn't much information about the places on this card, at the back it only says that the flowers are the native pohutukawa or New Zealand christmas tree.

To be honest, the main reason for my picking this particular card was the stamp Aaron chose - I'm pretty obsessed with 'The Hobbit' at the moment. *blushes* This stamp is from a set of six stamps issued last year, I actually ordered the first day cover (and the maxi cards... *cough cough*) from the New Zealand Post website. Here it is:

I'm a little disappointed that it arrived in a separate envelope and they didn't print my name and address on it (the way the Royal Mail do their first day covers) but other than that I just love it!