Oct 30, 2010

Mill Network at Kinderdijk



Another Private Swap, this time with Sarah from the Netherlands. These are Unesco listed windmills at Kinderdijk. I think this is an amazing picture. :)

Cape Peninsula


This the third card from Rosey! It shows the Cape Peninsula and Robben island.


The Cape Peninsula is a generally rocky peninsula that juts out for 75 km (47 mi) into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western extremity of the African continent. At the southern end of the peninsula are Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. On the northern end is Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town. The peninsula was once an island, but about sixty million years ago it was joined to the mainland by the emergence from the sea of the sandy area now known as the Cape Flats. The towns and villages of the Cape Peninsula now form part of greater Cape Town. The Cape of Good Hope is sometimes given as the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean. However, according to the International Hydrographic Organization agreement that defines the ocean boundaries, the meeting point is at Cape Agulhas, about 200 km (120 mi) to the southeast. [wikipedia]

Tavern of the seas


Another beautiful card sent by Rosey from South Africa.

In 1700 Cape Town lacked the sophistication of Amsterdam, or the exotic attractions of Batavia, and visitors commented upon the problems of rough roads, wandering animals and open sewage, but it was generally rated an attractive town, and particularly welcome after months at sea.

Wealthy visitors could find rooms in the finer houses and wrote of the abundant, fresh food and the dancing laid on for their enjoyment. There was also a wine shop, that offered tours of Table Mountain, complete with hampers carried by slave porters.

Sailors found their way to boarding houses and tented camps, and filled up the taverns, which had a reputation for prostitutes and brawls with the local soldiers. 'The Scottish Temple' was a popular bar and brothel and it prospered for much of the century. Cape Town lived up to its nickname 'Tavern of the Seas'. [www.capetown.at/heritage/history/voc_1700s.htm]

South Africa by Gerald Hoberman


Beautiful, colorful postcard sent by Rosey from South Africa. As she writes, these are common aspects of her city, as it is full of art, spray paintings etc, and of the town life [commonly known as the Cape Flats].

The pictures on this card are by Gerald Hoberman Collection. THE HOBERMAN COLLECTION is an international specialist publisher of award-winning photographic books featuring the multifaceted attributes of countries, cities, and wildlife. Launched in 1996, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection publishes the photographs of the world-renowned South African father and son team exclusively.
The Hobermans’ quest is fueled by a passion for sharing their positive vision of the world through photography. Their thirst for adventure has led them increasingly far from home to cover a variety of subjects, such as the majestic tiger in its natural habitat, the frozen splendor of the Arctic tundra, the spectacular deserts of Namibia, and the vibrancy of the city of New York and its people. [hobermancollection.com]

Oct 27, 2010

Oslo, Beta World City


A friend, who is lucky enough to travel very often throughout the world, sent this to me a few days ago!

Oslo is the capital and largest city in Norway. It is considered a global city and ranked "Beta World City" in studies performed by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008. For several years, Oslo has been listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world along with such other global capitals as Copenhagen, Paris, and Tokyo. In 2009, however, Oslo regained its status as the world's most expensive city. Also a crime-ridden city, statistics showed that in 2007 the crime rate was four times that of New York City. In 2010, Oslo consistently ranked as one of Northern Europe's least livable capitals.
As of 2010, the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1,422,442 of whom 907,288 live in the contiguous conurbation. The population currently increases at a record rate of over 2% annually, making it the fastest growing capital in Europe. A large portion of this growth stems from immigration increasingly changing Oslo into a cosmopolitan city. The immigrant share of the population in the city proper now counts more than 25%. [wikipedia]

Well...I surely didn't have all these in mind about Oslo. I have visited Helsinki and Stockholm in the past and thought that Oslo would be like those two Scandinavian cities. I guess if you have not visited a place, you cannot form an opinion about it!




Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno de Quiapo


This card was sent by Janine from Philippines as a Private Swap. As she informs me, this is the feast of the Black Nazarene Procession, which is held every year at 9 of January in Quiapo. A lot of people who are devotees go to this procession. In the middle there is Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno de Quiapo a life-sized, dark-coloured, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ and there are two ropes tied to it. The devotees hold on to it as a sign of their faith.


The statue's original carver is an anonymous Mexican carpenter, and the image arrived in the archipelago by galleon from Acapulco, Mexico. Folk tradition attributes the color of the Black Nazarene to a fire on the ship carrying it, charring the image from its original fair tone into its present dark complexion. Today, the image borne in procession consists of the original body of the Black Nazarene connected to a replica of the head, while the original head portion of the statue remains on a replica of the body enshrined within the high altar of the basilica. An exception to this setup was during the 2007 feast, where both the original head and the body were combined in celebration of the Black Nazarene's 400 year history. [wikipedia]



As for the two beautiful stamps, the one on the left shows the Central Mindanao University and the one on the right is 1997 "Year of the Ox" stamp. I actually didn't know that one can use older stamps....

The Wolverine State


This card was sent to me by Collen as a RAS via postcrossing! It really made me smile :)


Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is a French corruption of the Ojibwe word mishigama, meaning "large water" or "large lake".
Michigan is the eighth most populous state in the United States. It has the longest freshwater shoreline of any political subdivision in the world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair. In 2005, Michigan ranked third among US states for the number of registered recreational boats, behind California and Florida. Michigan has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds. A person in the state is never more than six miles (10 km) from a natural water source or more than 87.2 miles (140.3 km) from a Great Lakes shoreline.
Michigan is the only state to consist entirely of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is often dubbed "the mitten" by residents, owing to its shape. The Upper Peninsula (often referred to as "The U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km)-wide channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Upper Peninsula is economically important for tourism and natural resources.
Michigan is, by tradition, known as "The Wolverine State," and the University of Michigan takes the wolverine as its mascot. The association is well and long established: for example, many Detroiters volunteered to fight during the American Civil War and George Armstrong Custer, who led the Michigan Brigade, called them the "Wolverines". The origins of this association are obscure; it may derive from a busy trade in wolverine furs in Sault Ste. Marie in the 18th century or may recall a disparagement intended to compare early settlers in Michigan with the vicious mammal. Wolverines are, however, extremely rare in Michigan. A sighting in February 2004 near Ubly was the first confirmed sighting in Michigan in 200 years. The animal was found dead in 2010. [wikipedia]

Oct 25, 2010

Dead Sea


Another private swap this time with Mervat from Jordan.

It shows the Dead Sea, which I have always been curious to find out why it's called like that.. So, here's what I learned:


The Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east, and Israel to the west. Its surface and shores are 422 metres (1,385 ft) below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface on dry land. The Dead Sea is 378 m (1,240 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, with 33.7% salinity. Only Lake Assal (Djibouti), Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond) have a higher salinity. It is 8.6 times more salty than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River. The sea has a density of 1.24 kg/L, making swimming difficult. [wikipedia]

Hmmmm... Reading this makes me wanna try swimming in the Dead Sea or -at least- taste its salt! Maybe should plan my next trip there!! If so, I'll keep you informed ;)

Itsukushima Shrine


Itsukushima Shrine at Hirosima, Japan, sent by Yoko via postcrossing [JP-131810].

Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine on the island of Itsukushima (popularly known as Miyajima) in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Japanese government has designated several buildings and possessions as national treasures.
The shrine is dedicated to the three daughters of the Shinto deity of seas and storms Susano-o no Mikoto, brother of the great sun deity, Amaterasu (the tutelary deity of the Imperial household). The first shrine buildings were probably erected in the 6th century, and the shrine has been destroyed many times. The present shrine dates from the mid-16th century, having been rebuilt in keeping with its earlier 12th century design.
The current sixteenth century shrine follows the design established in 1168, when funds were provided by the warlord Taira no Kiyomori. The shrine's construction, consisting of pier-like structures built over the bay, is due to the holy status that the island once commanded. Commoners were historically not allowed to set foot on the island, and had to approach by boat, entering through the gate that appears to float. Beside the shrine is a noh stage.
The dramatic gate (torii) of Itsukushima Shrine is one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions, and the view of the gate in front of the island's Mount Misen is classified as one of the Three Views of Japan (along with the sand bar Amanohashidate, and Matsushima Bay). The gate has existed since 1168, though the current gate dates back to 1875. The gate, built of camphor wood, is about 16 metres high and was built in a four-legged style to provide additional stability.
The gate only appears to be floating at high tide; when the tide is low, the gate is surrounded by mud and can be accessed by foot from the island. It is common practice for visitors to place coins in the cracks of the legs of the gate and make a wish. Retaining the purity of the shrine is so important that since 1878, no deaths or births were permitted at the shrine. To this day, burials on the island are still forbidden. [wikipedia]

Kazan Kremlin | Russia




This is the Kazan Kremlin sent by Anna via postcrossing [RU-230956]. She used amazing stamps :)

The Kazan Kremlin is the chief historic citadel of Tatarstan, situated in the city of Kazan. It was built on behest of Ivan the Terrible on the ruins of the former castle of Kazan khans. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. The Kazan Kremlin includes many old buildings, the oldest of which is the Annunciation Cathedral (1554-62), the only 16th-century Russian church to have six piers and five apses. Like many of Kazan's buildings of the period, it is constructed of local pale sandstone rather than of brick. The cathedral bell tower was erected in five tiers at the urging of Ivan the Terrible and was scored to resemble the Ivan the Great Belltower in Moscow, but was pulled down by the Soviets in 1930.

Also of interest are snow-white towers and walls, erected in the 16th and 17th centuries but later renovated; the Qol-Şärif mosque, recently rebuilt inside the citadel; and the Governor's House (1843-53), designed by Konstantin Thon, now the Palace of the President of Tatarstan. The Palace is believed to be located on the site of former Khan's palace. Tucked between Presidential Palace and Söyembikä Tower is the palace church built on the foundation of medieval mosque.

Oct 23, 2010

Kimono (着物)



This is a card sent to me as a "Traditional Clothing Tag" by Yumi from Japan! This woman is wearing a kimono, the traditional Japanese costume. As Yumi points out it is very difficult to wear and you need someone to help you put it on. I have visited Japan in the past and the prices of kimonos (not with plain fabric, but patterned) were really high, but I still regret that I didn't buy one! I hope someday I will go to Japan again and hopefully I will buy one then!

Meteora


Meteora is a place you have to visit before you die! Meteora are actually huge rock pillars. On the top of them there are built six orthodox monasteries. Each of them is unique. I don;t have to tell you that the view from up there is amazing. When you are there, there is nothing that reminds you of modern civilization... it is almost like a journey to time!

Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith – the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only "when the Lord let them break". In the words of UNESCO, "The net in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 373 metres (1,224 ft) cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction."In the 1920s there was an improvement in the arrangements. Steps were cut into the rock, making the complex accessible via a bridge from the nearby plateau. During World War II the site was bombed and many art treasures were stolen. Until the 17th century, the primary means of conveying goods and people from these eyries was by means of baskets and ropes.
Only six of the monasteries remain today. Of these six, five are inhabited by men, one by women. Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. [wikipedia]

Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo

Another card from Shallale, this time from Dominican Republic, where she lived years back. Usually I don't like multi-view cards, but after some reading I had, I understood that these four sites are the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo and  they are listed as a whole at Unesco World Heritage Sites. For more details about each one, read below.

At the top left, I think it is the Fortaleza Ozama, a sixteenth-century castle which lies at the entrance to Santo Domingo and overlooking the Ozama River. Named after this river, the castle, also referred to as "La Fortaleza", is the oldest formal military construction still standing in America. An impressive architectural structure of medieval style and design, the Tower of Homage (in Spanish: Torre del Homenaje) stands in the center of the grounds. The castle was designed to guard the entrance to the port of Santo Domingo, and defend the city from seaborne enemies. Construction began in 1502. It was well-built enough to serve as a prison until the 1960s, when the prison was closed, the "Fortaleza" was restored and it opened to the public. It is located at the end of Las Damas Street. [wikipedia]

At the top right, you can see the Alcázar de Colón, or Columbus Alcazar, located in Santo Domingo, which is the oldest Viceregal residence in America, and forms part of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo World Heritage Site. The building houses the Museo Alcázar de Diego Colón, whose collection exhibits the Caribbean's most important ensemble of European late medieval and Renaissance works of art, which were acquired in the 1950s. The palace is an impressive construction of coralline blocks that once housed some fifty rooms and a number of gardens and courtyards, although what remains today is about half the size it once was. It was built under Diego Colón, the son of Christopher Columbus; when he became Viceroy of La Española and the Indies in 1509, he ordered the construction of a family home and governor’s mansion between 1510 and 1512. [wikipedia]

On the bottom left you can see the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in Santo Domingo, which is the oldest cathedral in the Americas, begun in 1514 and completed in 1540. Fronted with a golden-tinted coral limestone façade, the church combines elements of both Gothic and Baroque with some lavish plateresque styles as exemplified by the high altar chiseled out of silver. The treasury has an excellent art collection of ancient woodcarvings, furnishings, funerary monuments, silver, and jewelry. Some historians believe that the remains which used to rest in the cathedral, before being removed to the Colombus Lighthouse, are those of famed navigator Christopher Columbus. [wikipedia]

At the bottom right, I think it is La Puerta del Conde (The Count's Gate), where Francisco del Rosario Sanchez, one of the Dominican Founding Fathers, proclaimed Dominican independence and raised the first Dominican Flag, on February 27, 1844. The gate is part of a structure called El Baluarte del Conde (The Count's Bulwark), a fort in Ciudad Colonial, the colonial area of Santo Domingo. The fort was part of a larger system of fortifications that ran along a defensive wall which surrounded Ciudad Colonial. The Altar of the Fatherland and Independence Park are located there. [wikipedia]

Port Salut, Haiti


This postcard arrived yesterday 22/10/2010 and as you can see on the stamp it was sent on 29 of September! It took approximately three weeks to come from Haiti to Greece!! It worth it! Shallale sent it to me and she writes: "Enjoy this scene of after fishing". As I read in the back of the card, this is Port Salut.

Port-Salut is a coastal town in the Sud Department of Haiti and the hometown of Haiti's deposed president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was born there in 1953. Port-Salut is a popular destination for local Haitians as well as tourists to a certain degree seeking relaxation and tranquility due to the beautiful beaches that the town is surrounded by. The area has yet to be discovered on a mainstream tourist level. With proper management and investment, Port-Salut could become a major tourist destination in Haiti, a country whose tourism industry, full of potential, has been struggling for decades. [wikipedia]

Oct 21, 2010

Manneken Pis

This is one of my favorite postcards. I bought it when I was living in Brussels three years ago. I was there as a stagiere and it was a very happy and bright period of my life! Therefor, everything belgian makes me smile because it reminds me of that period! This card is actually shaped as the statue. This is the famous Manneken Pis (literally little man pee in Dutch). It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. It was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and put in place in 1618 or 1619.

There are several legends behind this statue, but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-over-Heembeek). The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage them. From there, the boy urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.

San Felipe del Morro


A Private Swap with Michelle from Puerto Rico sent on 11 October 2010!

On the card you can see San Felipe del Morro Fort at San Juan. It was built from 1539 to 1787 and has been the most important fort in defending the city of San Juan from numerous invasion attempts. Michelle  writes: "in every inch of ground you can feel the history while walking by el Morro and around the city of San Juan". The fort was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1983.

Puerto Rico (Spanish for "rich port") is composed of an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest by land area of the Greater Antilles. It, however, ranks third in population among that group of four islands, which also include Cuba, Hispaniola, and Jamaica. Puerto Ricans often call the island Borinquen, from Borikén, its indigenous Taíno name, which means "Land of the Valiant Lord". The terms boricua and borincano derive from Borikén and Borinquen respectively, and are commonly used to identify someone of Puerto Rican heritage. The island is also popularly known in Spanish as "La Isla del Encanto" which means "The Island of Enchantment" in English.
San Juan, officially Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista (Municipality of the Capital City, Saint John the Baptist), is the capital and most populous municipality in Puerto Rico. It has a population of 433,733, making it the 42nd-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States. San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico ("Rich Port City"). Puerto Rico's capital is the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the city's former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas. [wikipedia]

Andros



This is Andros, one of my favorite islands. It is also called the island of the wealthy ship-owners [in Greek it's just one word : εφοπλιστές]. It is 379,7 km2 and its coastline is 176 km. It is a rather quiet island with only a few tourists, even though it is very close to Athens [only an hour and a half by boat]. From many years ago the biggest part of the population were fishermen and ship-owners. Many of them became very wealthy and their families have a big part in Greek economy. It is said, that these rich families keep the tourists away from the island [every year there are fewer boats to and from Andros]. 
In Andros there is one of the most important museums of modern art in Greece [www.moca-andros.gr]. If you ever visit the island you must definitely taste fourtalia [scrambled eggs with potatoes and sausages]. As for the beaches I have to warn you that the roads of the island are not very well, but they worth it! My favorite ones are:

Oct 20, 2010

Tallinn


Postcard of the Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia, sent from Maria.

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of 159.2 km2 with a population of 411,196. The Tallinn Old Town (including Toompea) became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1997.
The origin of the name "Tallinn(a)" is certain to be Estonian, although the original meaning of the name is debated. It is usually thought to be derived from "Taani-linn(a)" (meaning "Danish-castle/town") after the Danes built the castle in place of the Estonian stronghold at Lindanisse. However, it could also have come from "tali-linna" ("winter-castle/town"), or "talu-linna" ("house/farmstead-castle/town"). The element -linna, like Germanic -burg and Slavic -grad / -gorod, originally meant "fortress" but is used as a suffix in the formation of town names. The previously used official German name Reval was replaced after Estonia became independent in 1918–1920. At first both forms Tallinna and Tallinn were used. The form Tallinna appearing in modern times in Estonian denotes the genitive case of the name, as in Tallinna Reisisadam (Port of Tallinn). [wikipedia]

Oct 19, 2010

Tanjung Rhu


This card was sent to me by Shu Yi as a private swap.

It is a sunset at Tanjung Rhu, a pristine beach area to the north of Langkawi Island. It looks amazing! I hope I'll visit it someday :)

Langkawi, officially known as Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. On July 15, 2008, Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah had consented to the change of name to Langkawi Permata Kedah in conjunction with his Golden Jubilee Celebration. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of some 64,792, the only other inhabited island being nearby Pulau Tuba. Langkawi is also an administrative district with the town of Kuah as the capital and largest town. Langkawi is a duty-free island - very very interesting :P . [wikipedia]

Dassen Island Lighthouse

This is by far the most beautiful postcard I have received :)

It is actually an image from the book Lighthouses of South Africa by Gerald Hoberman and it was sent to me by Coral via postcrossing [ZA-13493]. She writes that the Cape in South Africa is known for its storms and the many ships that have wrecked on its coasts.

Victoria Harbour


Another postcrossing card [HK-20591], this time from Hong Kong.

This is Victoria Harbour, a natural landform harbour situated between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea was instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent development as a trading centre. Throughout its history, the harbour has seen numerous reclamation projects undertaken on both shores, but still retains its founding role as a port for thousands of international vessels each year.
Long famous for its spectacular views, the harbour is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. Lying in the middle of the territory's dense urban region, the harbour is the site of annual fireworks displays and its promenades are popular gathering places for tourists and residents. [wikipedia]

Czar Alexander II statue at Senate Square | Finland

Today was a good day for my mailbox!! As I returned tired from work, I found six cards waiting for me :D

The first one was this:


It was sent by Pirjo via postcrossing [FI-925057]. As Pirjo writes, this is the Senate square, a very popular meeting place. Many people enjoy sitting at the stairs in the background and watching other people going by. 
On the right you can see a statue of emperor Alexander II. The statue, erected in 1894, was built to commemorate his re-establishment the Diet of Finland in 1863, as well as his initiation of several reforms that increased Finland's autonomy from Russia. The statue comprises Alexander on a pedestal surrounded by figures representing the law, culture and the peasants.
During the Russification of Finland from 1899 onwards, the statue became a symbol of quiet resistance, with people of Helsinki protesting to the decrees of Nicholas II leaving flowers at the foot of the statue of his grandfather, then known in Finland as "the good czar".
After Finland's independence in 1917, demands were made regarding the removal of the statue, and later, a suggestion was made that it should be replaced with the equestrian statue of Mannerheim (currently located along Mannerheimintie, near Eduskuntatalo). Nothing came of either of these suggestions, and today the statue is one of the major tourist landmarks on the city, standing as a monument to Finland's relationship with Imperial Russia. [wikipedia]

Oct 16, 2010

Glorious....mutilation???

Ok...this is the most weird card I have. It was sent on 25 September 1908 from Harwich (a small port in Essex) to London. In the front it is written: "It's simply glorious here!".


And, as you can see, there is this cute scene.


But, in the back, it says: "Dear L. hope you are quite well as I am same  at present. sorry to say I am deprived of the top of my Finger second on the Left Hand. Hope you will excuse me for not writing [?]
Remember me to Rose"

This is all so weird... How did he lost the top of his finger and what was his relationship with the two women (L. and Rose)? Too bad we will never know :(

Acropolis of Athens

Well, it was about time for me to upload a card with the most famous Greek sight! This is the Acropolis, an Unesco World Heritage Site. The Acropolis is actually a total of approximately 20 temples and buildings, most of them built at the Golden Age of Athens. At that time, Pericles was the leader of Athens. He put in charge of the construction Ictinos and Callicrates, two famous architects, and Pheideas, a famous sculptor. In the center of the card you can see the Parthenon temple, dedicates to Athena, the protector goddess of Athens. Underneith, you can see the Irodeion Theater.

From Bucharest to a greek Kafeneio in Athens

 Once again I took a walk at Monastiraki, where there is aflea market of antiques and old things. I found some beautiful postcards. The one I like the most is this :


 It is a card of Romania, but unfortunately the stamps cover the description of the place. In the back there are six different stamps!


But, what I like most in this card is that it is addressed to George Taflian and instead of an address it was sent to the local Kafeneioand at the bottom says: "Guys, hello from Bucharest to everybody".
Kafeneio is a Greek kind of cafeteria, where only men used to go. There they would drink traditional Greek coffee or ouzo, they would play cards and discuss about politics. Depending on in which neighborhood the Kafeneio was, you would see not only people of the lower class, but also people of the spirit [professors, writers, poets etc]. Kafeneia [plural of Kafeneio] still exist, but nowadays you may even see women there.

Oct 12, 2010

..and then, there is paradise..


This Summer we decided to spend most of our vacations at some exotic island, where there would be only palm trees, golden sand and us! For some reason [still I cannot explain why], we thought of Canary Islands. We booked flights and hotel and off we went... What a disappointment.. Due to the volcano, there was only black sand and in addition in every beach there were thousands of people. We were pretty bumped but managed to have a good time.

When we returned to Greece, summer was not over yet, so we went at Crete island. And then, there was paradise. Beautiful, not crowded beaches and we even saw some palm trees. As you can see on the card, Vai is a golden sand beach with a palm forest!

I didn't know paradise was so close at home =]

Oct 11, 2010

Castle in Malbork, Poland

This is another postcrossing card, sent by Sulwia from Poland. Unfortunately, she forgot to write the postcard ID, so I cannot register it. :(

The Castle in Malbork was built in Prussia by the Teutonic Order, a German Roman Catholic religious order, as an Ordensburg (fortified castle of the order). The Order named it Marienburg (Mary's Castle). The town which grew around it was also named Marienburg. Since 1945, when it became part of the nation of Poland after World War II, it has been called Malbork.
The castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress, and is the world’s largest brick Gothic castle. UNESCO designated the "Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork" and its museum as World Heritage Sites in December 1997. It is one of two World Heritage Sites in the region with origins in the Teutonic Order. The other is the "Medieval Town of Toruń", founded in 1231 as the site of the castle Thorn (Toruń). [by wikipedia]

Oct 10, 2010

Taipei 101


This is Taipei city in Taiwan, sent by Pin Yu. The tallest building in the card is Taipei 101, where you can dine on 85th floor, as Pin Yu tells me.

Taipei 101, also known as the Taipei Financial Center, is a landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District. The building ranked officially as the world's tallest from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.

My wishlists

Apart of my goal to receive one postcard from each country and one of each Unesco World Heritage Sites, I have a few more lists in mind... For example, I am trying to have one postcard from each greek island and it may seem easy, but -as I recently found out- there are 1400 islands in our little country!
Some other collections I would like to have are:

Seven Wonders of the World

  • Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt)
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon (Iraq)
  • Statue of Zeus at Olympia (Greece)
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Turkey)
  • Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus (Turkey)
  • Colossus of Rhodes (Greece)
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria (Egypt)

Seven Wonders of the Medieval World

  • Stonehenge (United Kingdom)
  • Colosseum (Italy)
  • Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa (Egypt)
  • Great Wall (China)
  • Porcelain Tower of Nanjing (China)
  • Hagia Sophia (Turkey)
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy)

Seven Natural Wonders of the World


  • Grand Canyon (USA - Arizona)
  • Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  • Harbor of Rio de Janeiro 
  • Mount Everest (Nepal, China)
  • Aurora 
  • Parícutin volcano (Mexico)
  • Victoria Falls (Zambia)

Seven Natural Wonders of the Underwater World


  • Palau
  • Belize Barrier Reef
  • Great Barrier Reef (Austarlia)
  • Deep-Sea Vents
  • Galápagos Islands (Ecuador)
  • Lake Baikal (Russia)
  • Northern Red Sea 

Seven Wonders of the Industrial World
  • SS Great Eastern
  • Bell Rock Lighthouse (Scotland)
  • Brooklyn Bridge (USA)
  • London sewerage system (England)
  • First Transcontinental Railroad 
  • Panama Canal
  • Hoover Dam (USA - Arizona)

I know that many of them do not exist, but I guess there are some representation of them! So, those are my lists.. Hope I will complete them soon!! :)

Oct 9, 2010

Rua de Malaca


A private swap with Dianna from Macau! This is a night view at Rua de Malaca. In the left it's the Casa Real Casino and in the background the Golden Dragon Hotel and Casino.

Oct 8, 2010

Buffalo River

Another postcrossing postcard [US-840603]! This time from Anita, who writes that many people enjoy floating down Buffalo River, including her :)

Oct 7, 2010

Ruhr District


A multiview postcard Ruhr district, which -as Guido informs me- is European Culture Capital 2010 [DE-718528].

Manchester


This postcard was sent to me by James from United Kingdom via postcrossing [UK-173046].

People on this postcard seem so relaxed...wish I could join them for some beer ;)

Oct 6, 2010

Guia Lighthouse, Macau


Another private swap, this time with Agnes from Macau, China. On the back of the postcards says: "Guia Lighthouse was designed by a localborn Portuguese Carlos Vincent de Rocha. Completed on 24 September 1865 it is the oldest lighthouse in the Far East and has never ceased to be operational since built."

I really like the stamps :)

HMAS Sydney

Whenever I receive a postcard of a city or of a monument, I search the Internet for information and history. As Debbie from Australia, who sent it to me, wrote, this memorial has a very sad story.

HMAS Sydney was a ship of the Royal Australian Navy. During the World War II it came across a German ship named Kormoran. After a long battle, HMAS Sydney was sank taking with her 645 sailors.

Sun Shiny in Greece

Some friends were on vacation a few days ago at Amorgos Island. They decided to write me a few words on this beautiful postcard :)

Wish I was with them!!

Oct 5, 2010

Hokkaido | Japan

This wonderful postcard was sent to me by Chiriro via postcrossing [JP-129413]. It is Hakodate Hokkaido, which is located in northern Japan.

Hokkaido actually means North sea circuit and is the second largest island of Japan. Hakodate is a city and port located in Southern Hokkaido.

Sardegna | Italy



Enrico sent this via postcrossing.
[IT-105272]

Sardegna is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Vaasa, Finland


Peppina sent this to me via postcrossing from Vaasa [FI-912874]. As Peppina writes, Vaasa is an over 400 years old town in Finland!

Over the years, Vaasa has changed its name several times, due to alternative spellings, political decisions and language condition changes. At first it was called Mustasaari or Mussor after the village where it was founded in 1606, but just a few years later the name was changed to Wasa to honor the royal Swedish lineage. The city was known as Wasa between 1606 and 1855, Nikolaistad (Swedish) and Nikolainkaupunki (Finnish) between 1855 and 1917, Vasa (Swedish) and Vaasa (Finnish) beginning from 1917, with the Finnish name being the primary name from ca 1930 when Finnish speakers became the majority in the city. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaasa]

Chech Republic


This one came from Czech Republic. Eva sent it to me via postcrossing [CZ-75250]! As you can see, it is a mini czech-dictionary :P

I'm back :)

After a few days away, today I found in my mail box seven postcards! Four of them came via postcrossing [from Chech Republic, Italy, Finland and Japan], two were private swaps and one was sent to me by some very dear friends!What a happy moment!!I had a really difficult day, but these cards put a smile in my face!

Ok...enough with the talking..I'll start uploading them right now :)