Aug 26, 2015

Gothenburg, the Great Castle | Sweden

This nice postcard was sent by Sara from Gothenburg via postcrossing [SE-89039]. It shows Gothenburg's northern archipelago with among others the islands: Riso, Foto, Hono and Ockero.

Gothenburg (Swedish: Göteborg) is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated by the Kattegat, on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 543,005, with 549,839 in the urban area and 973,261 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. The city was ranked as the 12th-most inventive city in the world by Forbes.

Gothenburg was founded by royal charter in 1621 by King Gustavus Adolphus. At the mouth of the Göta älv, the Port of Gothenburg is the largest port in the Nordic countries. The city was named after the Geats (Swedish: Götar varied: Geatas, Gautar, Goths, Gotar, Gøtar, Götar), the inhabitants of Gothia, now southern Sweden—i.e. "Geat Castle". The river on which the city sits is the Göta älv or Gothia River. Göta borg "Gothia Fortress" is the fort on the Göta Älv, built to protect the port.

Gothenburg is home to many students, as the city includes both the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. Volvo was founded in Gothenburg in 1927. The city is a major center for sports and home to the IFK Göteborg, BK Häcken, GAIS, and Örgryte IS association football teams, the team handball team Redbergslids IK, as well as the Frölunda HC ice hockey team.

Gothenburg is served by Göteborg Landvetter Airport, located 30 km (18.64 mi) southeast of the city center. The smaller Göteborg City Airport, located 15 km (9.32 mi) from the city center, was closed to regular airline traffic in 2015.

The city is known for hosting some of the largest annual events in Scandinavia. The Gothenburg Film Festival, held in January since 1979, is the leading Scandinavian film festival with over 155,000 visitors each year. In summer, a wide variety of music festivals are held in the city, such as Way Out West and Metaltown. The annual Gothia Cup, is the world's largest football tournament with regards to the number of participants: in 2011, a total of 35,200 players from 1,567 teams and 72 nations participated.

Chile House | Germany

This beautiful postcard of Das Chilehaus was sent by Claus via postcrossing [DE-4484848]. He wrote: "The Chilehaus has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the Warehouse district in July. It was built between 1922 and 1924 as an office building and it's shaped like a ship. The red bricks are very typical for Hamburg, many buildings were built with that material." I love it when fellow postcrossers actually read your profile and send you cards that you will probably like. I think Claus has nailed it!

A bit more trivia about the building: The Chilehaus (Chile House) is a ten-story office building in Hamburg, Germany. It is located in the Kontorhausviertel. It is an exceptional example of the 1920s Brick Expressionism style of architecture. This large angular building is located on a site of approximately 6,000m², spanning the Fischertwiete Street in Hamburg. It was designed by the German architect Fritz Höger and finished in 1924. [wikipedia]

Aug 24, 2015

The Rock of Gibraltar | Gibraltar

This postcard shows the Gibraltar Rock. The Rock of Gibraltar (Spanish and Llanito: Peñón de Gibraltar, sometimes called by its original Latin name, Calpe) is a monolithic limestone promontory located in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, off the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It is 426 m (1,398 ft) high. The Rock is Crown property of the United Kingdom, and borders Spain. Most of the Rock's upper area is covered by a nature reserve, which is home to around 300 Barbary macaques. These macaques, as well as a labyrinthine network of tunnels, attract a large number of tourists each year.

The Rock of Gibraltar was one of the Pillars of Hercules and was known to the Romans as Mons Calpe, the other pillar being Mons Abyla or Jebel Musa on the African side of the Strait. In ancient times the two points marked the limit to the known world, a myth originally fostered by the Greeks and the Phoenicians.

Gibraltar is not the southernmost point of Europe, which is the Punta de Tarifa, at 25 kilometres Southwest of Gibraltar, as the crow flies. Gibraltar is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and has no contact with the Atlantic Ocean. [wikipedia]

Rich Coast | Costa Rica

This amazing postcard is from Costa Rica, where I wish I could be right now since my British summer doesn't feel very summery [14 degrees and heavy rain].

Costa Rica (literally meaning, "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city, San José.

Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared sovereignty in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. Following a brief but bloody civil war, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army. [wikipedia]

The Beagle Boys

This postcard shows the Beagle Boys. The Beagle Boys are a group of thugs from the Scrooge McDuck comics, loosely based on the popular image of Ma Barker and the Barker-Karpis Gang. They are a gang of criminals who constantly try to rob Scrooge and were created by Carl Barks.

Their introduction and first appearance was in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories#134, in the Carl Barks comic Terror of the Beagle Boys. In more recent productions such as DuckTales and The Three Musketeers, the Beagle Boys sometimes appear as henchmen for Flintheart Glomgold, Magica De Spell, or Pete. They are still some of the most frequently appearing Disney comic characters, having gained huge popularity among Disney fans over the years.

In the comics, the individual Beagle Boys are referred to by their prison numbers, indicated on the tags seen on the chests of their distinctive red shirts (which appeared as orange in the comics). The three most common numbers are 176-167, 176-671, and 176-761. In fact, no digits other than one, six, or seven appeared on their prison ID tags. Carl Barks used to include the words "Beagle Boys, Inc." on their shirts under their numbers, which was later deleted. In later years, they appeared in the comics as a trio (some combination of the most common numbers with 671-176, 716-617 and 176-176), plus cousins and other relatives of various talents as spin-off characters. They live in a small tumbledown hide-out in Duckburg; in 1980s American-produced stories, their pet cat Ratty often lived there as well.

Aug 23, 2015

Moscow, the Hero City | Russia

This postcard is from Moscow. Moscow (Russian: Москва, tr. Moskva) is the capital and the largest city of Russia with 12.2 million residents within the city limits and 16.8 million within the urban area. It is the capital of the Central Federal District and Moscow Oblast. Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, and scientific center in Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city entirely on the European continent. By broader definitions Moscow is among world's largest cities, being the 13th largest metro area, the 17th largest agglomeration, the 16th largest urban area, and the 9th largest within limits city worldwide. According to Forbes 2013, Moscow has been ranked as the ninth most expensive city in the world by Mercer and is one of the world's largest urban economies, being ranked as an alpha global city according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network and is also one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. Moscow is the northernmost and coldest megacity and metropolis on Earth. It is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe; Mercury City Tower, the second tallest skyscraper in Europe and the Moscow International Business Center. By its territorial expansion on July 1, 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the capital increased its area 2.5 times; from about 1,000 square kilometers (390 sq mi) up to 2,511 square kilometers (970 sq mi), and gained an additional population of 233,000 people.

Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia making it the world's most populated inland city. The city is well known for its unique architecture which consists of many different historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its brightly colored domes. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city—even before its expansion in 2012. In the course of its history the city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Soviet Union. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as the home of prestigious Russian artists, scientists and sports figures during the course of its history and because of the presence of many different museums, academic and political institutions and theaters. Moscow is also the seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress that is today the residence of the Russian president. The Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in the city.

Over time, Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), The Whitestone One (Белокаменная), The First Throne (Первопрестольная), The Forty Forties (Сорок Сороков), and The Hero City (город-герой). In old Russian the word "Сорок" (forty) also meant a church administrative district, which consisted of about forty churches. The demonym for a Moscow resident is "москвич" (moskvich), rendered in English as Muscovite.

The second card was sent on April 3rd, unknown year. The stamps overlap the handwriting. 

Nevsky Prospect | Russia

This postcard show Nevsky Prospect at night. Nevsky Prospect (Russian: Не́вский проспе́кт, tr. Nevsky Prospekt) is the main street in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia. Planned by Peter the Great as beginning of the road to Novgorod and Moscow, the avenue runs from the Admiralty to the Moscow Railway Station and, after making a turn at Vosstaniya Square, to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

The chief sights include the Rastrelliesque Stroganov Palace, the huge neoclassical Kazan Cathedral, the Art Nouveau Bookhouse, Elisseeff Emporium, half a dozen 18th-century churches, a monument to Catherine the Great, an enormous 18th-century shopping mall, a mid-19th-century department store, the Russian National Library, and the Anichkov Bridge with its horse statues. The feverish life of the avenue was described by Nikolai Gogol in his story "Nevsky Prospekt". Fyodor Dostoevsky often employed the Nevksy Prospekt as a setting within his works, such as Crime and Punishment and The Double: A Petersburg Poem.

During the early Soviet years (1918–44) the name of Nevsky Prospect was changed, first to "Proletkult Street" (Ulitsa Proletkul'ta) in honor of that Soviet artistic organization. Following the demise of Proletkult the name was changed again, this time to "Avenue of the 25th of October," alluding to the day of the October Revolution.

The Nevsky today functions as the main thoroughfare in Saint Petersburg. The majority of the city's shopping and nightlife are located on or right off of the Nevsky Prospekt. [wikipedia]

The Island of Venus | Cyprus

This is a nice map postcard from Cyprus, also known as the Island of Venus. Cyprus (Greek: Κύπρος; Turkish: Kıbrıs), officially the Republic of Cyprus (Greek: Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία; Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti), is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and the Gaza Strip, north of Egypt and east of Greece.

The postcard was sent on 26 March 1988 and it reads: 'Hi Yvette, Hope all is well. We are fine this end. Cyprus is great so far. Rob is away so I'm a bit down. The weather is hot. We have got a car so I'm hoping to go to Limassol and Paphos sometime to explore their shops. We are in RAF Akrotiri, so there are plenty of planes that fly over. The quarter is ... and has a big garden for Tom to roam around in. Tom is still the same - a pain. Anyway will have to go. I will write shortly when I've got time. Take care of yourself. Love to Matthew and John. Love Kay and Thomas xxx'

Cynthia's trip | Italy

Cynthia went on a coach trip to Italy in July[?] 1969. I don't know her but I know much about that trip through these two postcards. Her first [?] stop was in Rome.

She writes: 'It is our last day in Rome, and we have just finished taking photographs of this building "The Victor Emmanuel Monument". It is very tiring walking around Rome, but we want to see all we can while we're here, unlike the rest of the party who are content to sit on a coach day after day. We find it cheaper to. Do hope you are keeping well dear. Love from Cynthia xxx'

Kahu-Kiwi cloak | New Zealand

This is an amazing postcard from New Zealand. It shows a Maori girl in Kiwi feather cloak. 'This highly prized cloak is ornamented with Kiwi feathers and is a Kahu-Kiwi cloak, usually worn for ceremonial occasions.'

Maori cloaks with feather decoration may not have been popular in the period before European contact. About forty cloaks were collected on Captain Cook's voyages, but few bear the traces of feathers. Mick Pendergrast, a specialist in Maori textiles, comments that cloaks decorated fully with feathers seem to have appeared in the mid-nineteenth century. They became popular by the 1880s, and remain prestigious garments today. 

Feathered cloaks are often extremely colourful, using pheasant, parrot, peacock and domestic fowl feathers. Sometimes dyed feathers are incorporated into cloaks. Feathered cloaks are normally worked in an upside-down position, starting at the lower edge. The work is suspended between weaving sticks, without using a loom. Vertical warp threads are arranged between the sticks and the wefts are twined across them. The feathers are attached during the twining process. [British Museum]

In the back there is a Tauranga postal stamp with the date 19 February 1979. The handwriting says: 'Dear Margaret, we are on our last stages now of our tour of New Zealand. I shall take it easily at that seaside bungalow, where the beach is within a minute walk. What a wonderful country. We never cease to admire the scenery and many other things. 
We expect to be home on March 5th, going just to San Fransisco for 2 nights. 
I'm afraid it has been a very tiring winter for youin England, one of those years when all the bad things come at once. I do hope it will be followed, as in 1947 by a lovely summer. Look forward to seeing you again then. 
Much love, Nina'

Well, I do hope that Margaret had a lovely summer and no more bad things happened to her.

Hoozdo Hahoodzo | USA

Even though, map postcards are not my favorites, I really like this one. It is from Arizona, United States of America.

Arizona (Navajo: Hoozdo Hahoodzo; O'odham: Alĭ ṣonak) is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western United States and of the Mountain West states. It is the sixth largest and the 15th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona is one of the Four Corners states. It has borders with New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Mexico, and one point in common with the southwestern corner of Colorado. Arizona's border with Mexico is 389 miles (626 km) long, on the northern border of the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.

Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912. It was previously part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain before being passed down to independent Mexico and later ceded to the United States after the Mexican–American War. The southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase.

Southern Arizona is known for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Northern Arizona features forests of pine, Douglas fir, and spruce trees; the Colorado Plateau; some mountain ranges (such as the San Francisco Mountains); as well as large, deep canyons, with much more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff, Alpine, and Tucson. In addition to the Grand Canyon National Park, there are several national forests, national parks, and national monuments. About one-quarter of the state is made up of Indian Reservations that serve as the home of a number of Native American tribes. [wikipedia]

Aug 22, 2015

Sweethaven, the Popeye Village | Malta

This postcard is from Sweethaven, the Popeye Village at Anchor Bay, Malta, constructed in 1979 for the filming of the Robert Evans - Robert Altman production 'Popeye', released by Paramount and Walt Disney. It stars Robin Williams as Popeye the Sailor Man and Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl.


The construction of the film set started in June 1979. A construction crew of 165 working over seven months was needed to build the village, which consists of nineteen wooden buildings. Hundreds of logs and several thousand wooden planks were imported from the Netherlands, while wood shingles used in the construction of the roof tops were imported from Canada. Eight tons of nails and two thousand gallons of paint were also used in construction.

In addition, a 200–250 foot breakwater was built around Anchor Bay's mouth to protect the set from high seas during the shooting.

The set was completed in seven months, and filming commenced on January 23, 1980 and wrapped later that year on June 19. The film, based on the comic strips by E. C. Segar, is set around the fictional village of Sweethaven, where the sailor Popeye arrives in an attempt to find his long-lost father.

Although the film had mixed reviews, Popeye Village remains a popular tourist attraction. [wikipedia]

Please receive | Malawi

This is a postcard from the Landirani Trust, an organization supporting orphans in Malawi.

In 2005, the Landirani Trust was born out of a visit to Malawi by Heather and two friends. In those early days the charity hoped to be able to provide some basic necessities such as clothing and blankets. It wasn’t long before we recognised the desperate need to put in clean water and build schools. These became two of our major activities in recent years, which in turn led to health and our building a maternity unit in 2013/14.

The word ‘Landirani’ means ‘please receive’ in the local language Chichewa and over time the charity has achieved significant awareness in Malawi and is recognised by major agencies such as UNICEF as well as the Government of Malawi. Therefore we will continue to be called the Landirani Trust in Malawi.

In the UK however, not surprisingly Landirani has proved more of a challenge for people to remember! Since the generous donation of a 10 acre site by grateful chiefs where we work, we are embarking on an ambitious programme to build ‘Sam’s Village’. We want to move away from hand-outs and instead create self-sufficient training programmes that can support thousands of local people and show them how to improve their lives. Once built the Village will be self-supporting but to get to this stage will require significant financial investment.

Most of our fundraising takes place in the UK and we recognise we need to have a more memorable name which people can identify with .. one which will express our vision for the people of Malawi. And with that African Vision Malawi was born!

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew | England

Set amongst a series of parks and estates along the River Thames' south-western reaches, this historic landscape garden includes work by internationally renowned landscape architects Bridgeman, Kent, Chambers, Capability Brown and Nesfield illustrating significant periods in garden design from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The gardens house extensive botanic collections (conserved plants, living plants and documents) that have been considerably enriched through the centuries. Since their creation in 1759, the gardens have made a significant and uninterrupted contribution to the study of plant diversity, plant systematics and economic botany.

The landscape design of Kew Botanic Gardens, their buildings and plant collections combine to form a unique testimony to developments in garden art and botanical science that were subsequently diffused around the world. The 18th century English landscape garden concept was adopted in Europe and Kew's influence in horticulture, plant classification and economic botany spread internationally from the time of Joseph Banks' directorship in the 1770s. As the focus of a growing level of botanic activity, the mid 19th century garden, which overlays earlier royal landscape gardens is centred on two large iron framed glasshouses - the Palm House and the Temperate House that became models for conservatories around the world. Elements of the 18th and 19th century layers including the Orangery, Queen Charlotte's Cottage; the folly temples; Rhododendron Dell, boundary ha-ha; garden vistas to William Chambers' pagoda and Syon Park House; iron framed glasshouses; ornamental lakes and ponds; herbarium and plant collections convey the history of the Gardens' development from royal retreat and pleasure garden to national botanical and horticultural garden before becoming a modern institution of conservation ecology in the 20th century.[UNESCO]

The Gardens and its 44 listed buildings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003.

King William's Temple, erected in 1837, with Rhododendron species and hybrids in flower on the slope, and the Flagstaff [214ft high] in the background.

Aug 21, 2015


Disneyland is the most magical place in the world! This postcard was sent in 22 July 1997 from Disneyland, Paris to Fareham, England. It reads: " Hiya, as you can see Shakita and I are in Disneyland Paris. We were supposed to be in Ireland [?] but it's apparently full. Weather great, food great, rides ....[??] Love Dad"

Raphael Tuck & Sons, The Early Days of a Postcard Pioneer

I always like the fragments of history one can learn by simply reading the back of a postcard. So, when I started to notice the name 'Raphael Tuck and Sons' on many of my vintage postcards I decided to look into it. The story is fascinating! [Sources: wikipedia,]

Most Deltiologists will recognise the name Raphael Tuck & Sons, one of the most prestigious and prolific postcard publishing companies. It was however the sons of Raphael, Adolph Tuck in particular, who managed the explosive growth of this most successful business in its early postcard era.

Raphael was married to the former Ernestine Lissner in March 1848. She gave birth to seven children, four boys and three girls, all born in Prussia prior to their migration to England. They moved in Bishopsgate in the City of London on October 1866 to set up in business selling picture frames from a small shop. Raphael sent out his sons, Herman, Adolph and Gustave to bring in more business. Herman and Adolph also went on selling trips, and at the end of the day they would check the results of the day's work. The one with the higher sales would have the bigger egg next morning for breakfast.

Three of the four sons participated in the firm established by their father. Their second son, Adolph, was chairman and managing director of Raphael Tuck and sons, Ltd. until his death on 3 July 1926. He was created a baronet on 19 July 1910. The Tuck coat-of-arms features a shield with a flaming antique lamp above which are two hands in the attitude of prayer, with two crossed F’s in a circle at the lower part of the shield. The crest shows a seated lion supporting an artist's palette whereupon is inscribed the work “Thorough". The Tuck motto inscribed on a ribbon below the shield is “Cum Deo”.

Aug 20, 2015

Kutná Hora | Czech Republic

Kutná Hora (medieval Czech: Hory Kutné; German: Kuttenberg) is a city situated in the Central Bohemian Region of Bohemia, which is now part of the Czech Republic. Kutná Hora and the neighboring town of Sedlec are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the most important buildings in the area are the Gothic, five-naved St. Barbara's Church, begun in 1388, and the Italian Court, formerly a royal residence and mint, which was built at the end of the 13th century. The Gothic Stone Haus, which since 1902 has served as a museum, contains one of the richest archives in the country. The Gothic St. James's Church, with its 86-metre (282 ft) tower, is another prominent building. Sedlec is the site of the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady and the famous Ossuary. [wikipedia]

This card was sent in 1980, when Czechoslovakia still existed. Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia (Czech and Slovak: Československo, Česko-Slovensko) was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

A game of squash from Brussels to West Sussex

I lived in Brussels for almost a year in 2007 and it is a place that will be forever in my heart. I still remember how mesmerized I was when I first saw Grand Place.

The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse (French: Maison du Roi, Dutch: Broodhuis) building containing the Museum of the City of Brussels. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It measures 68 by 110 metres (223 by 361 ft), and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Every two years in August, an enormous "flower carpet" is set up in the Grand Place for a few days. A million colourful begonias are set up in patterns, and the display covers a full 24 by 77 metres (79 by 253 ft), for area total of 1,800 square metres (19,000 sq ft). The first flower carpet was made in 1971, and due to its popularity, the tradition continued, with the flower carpet attracting a large number of tourists. [wikipedia]

The second postcard was sent at 20 April 1982 and it reads: 'Dear Rick, staying in Brussels for a few days. My squash has not progressed very far! If you have the time I will give you a game (we'll knock about). Best to leave a message with secretary. Love "D" '

Do you think they actually played that game of squash?

Turtle Farm | Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. The Cayman Islands are considered to be part of the geographic Western Caribbean Zone as well as the Greater Antilles. The territory is often considered a major world offshore financial haven for many wealthier individuals. One of the biggest tourist attractions is the Cayman Turtle Farm, shown on the postcard.

Bailiwick | Jersey

Jersey (Jèrriais: Jèrri), officially the Bailiwick of Jersey (Jèrriais: Bailliage dé Jèrri;  French: Bailliage de Jersey), is a possession of the Crown in right of Jersey, off the coast of Normandy, France. The bailiwick consists of the island of Jersey, along with surrounding uninhabited islands and rocks collectively named Les Dirouilles, Les Écréhous, Les Minquiers, Les Pierres de Lecq, and other reefs. Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the thirteenth century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained attached to the English crown.

Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination.

The island of Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands. Although the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are often referred to collectively as the Channel Islands, the "Channel Islands" are not a constitutional or political unit. Jersey has a separate relationship to the British Crown from the other Crown dependencies of Guernsey and the Isle of Man. It is not part of the United Kingdom, and has an international identity separate from that of the UK, but the United Kingdom is constitutionally responsible for the defense of Jersey. The Commission have confirmed in a written reply to the European Parliament in 2003 that Jersey is within the Union as a European Territory for whose external relationships the United Kingdom is responsible. Jersey is not fully part of the European Union but has a special relationship with it, notably being treated as within the European Community for the purposes of free trade in goods. [wikipedia]

Kota Kinabalu | Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu (Jawi: کوتا کينا بالو‎, Chinese: 亚庇; pinyin: Yàbì), formerly known as Jesselton, is the capital of the state of Sabah, located in East Malaysia. It is also the capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah. The city is located on the northwest coast of Borneo facing the South China Sea. The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park lies to its west and Mount Kinabalu, which gave the city its name, is located to its east. Kota Kinabalu has a population of 452,058 and, including the adjacent Penampang and Putatan districts, the metro area has an estimated population of 628,725.

Kota Kinabalu is often known as KK both in Malaysia and internationally. It is a major fishing destination and a popular gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and Borneo. Kinabalu Park is located about 90 kilometres from the city and there are many other tourist attractions in and around the city. Kota Kinabalu is also one of the major industrial and commercial centres of East Malaysia. These two factors combine to make Kota Kinabalu one of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia. [wikipedia]

The Great Land of the Valiant & Noble Lord | The Bahamas

The Bahamas (Taino: 'Great Land of the Valiant & Noble Lord'), officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is an island country of the Lucayan Archipelago consisting of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean; north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic); northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands; southeast of the U.S. state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys. Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. The designation of "Bahamas" can refer to either the country or the larger island chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands. As stated in the mandate/manifesto of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Bahamas territory encompasses 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean space.

Originally inhabited by the Lucayan, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taino people, the Bahamas were the site of Columbus' first landfall in the New World in 1492. Although the Spanish never colonized the Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola. The islands were mostly deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.

The Bahamas became a British Crown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American War of Independence, the Crown resettled thousands of American Loyalists in the Bahamas; they brought their slaves with them and established plantations on land grants. Blacks constituted the majority of the population from this period. The Bahamas became a haven for freed African slaves: the Royal Navy resettled Africans here liberated from illegal slave ships; American slaves and Seminoles escaped here from Florida; and the government freed American slaves carried on United States domestic ships that had reached the Bahamas due to weather. Slavery in the Bahamas was abolished in 1834. Today the descendants of slaves and free Africans make up nearly 90 percent of the population; issues related to the slavery years are part of society.

The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973, retaining Queen Elizabeth II [who is also shown on the stamp] as its monarch. In terms of gross domestic product per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in theAmericas (following the United States and Canada). Its economy is based on tourism and finance. [wikipedia]

Aug 18, 2015

Boulevard Anspach and King Baudouin | Belgium

 If you have been following this blog for awhile, you will know that I really like vintage postcards, especially written and stamped. I am amazed by the fact that you can trace a small fragment of somebody's life years ago. I always try to imagine the sender's life and the recipient's feelings while he was reading the card.

This card shows the Stock Exchange Square and Anspach Boulevard in Brussels, Belgium. Unfortunately I cannot read the handwriting.

Boulevard Anspach (French) or Anspachlaan (Dutch) is a major boulevard in the city centre of Brussels, connecting the Place de Brouckère / de Brouckèreplein to the Place Fontainas / Fontainasplein. It is named after Jules Anspach, a former mayor of Brussels. It was built over the river Senne, covering it up, although the river no longer runs underneath it. The De Brouckère metro station is accessible from the boulevard, as well as the Bourse / Beurs underground tram station. Many places of interest lie along the Boulevard Anspach, for instance the Brussels Stock Exchange, the Ancienne Belgique concert hall as well as many shops and restaurants. Prior to 1879, it was named Boulevard Central. As of 2015 the city plans to pedestrianise the boulevard between the Bourse and Place de Brouckère as part of a broader pedestrianisation plan for the city centre. [wikipedia]

The stamp used has the date 17 September [?] 1961 and shows King Baudouin of Belgium.

Baudouin or Boudewijn (7 September 1930 – 31 July 1993) reigned as King of the Belgians, following his father's abdication, from 1951 until his death in 1993. He was the eldest son of King Leopold III (1901–83) and his first wife, Princess Astrid of Sweden (1905–35). Because he had no children with his wife Queen Fabiola of Belgium, the Crown passed on to his younger brother, King Albert II of the Belgians (formerly Prince of Liège), following his death. He was a first cousin of King Harald V of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway, and Princess Ragnhild of Norway. Baudouin is the French form of his name, the form most commonly used outside Belgium; his Dutch name is Boudewijn. [wikipedia]

Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Barcelona | Spain

The city of Barcelona must have received the light of Christian faith very early on. The martyrdoms of Saint Eulalia and Saint Cucuphas during the Diocletianic Persecution bear witness to the existence of Christians in Barcelona at least by the late 3rd and early 4th centuries. 

Unfortunately, we have no historically proven records of the ecclesiastical organization of our dioceses until 343, when Bishop Praetextatus of Barcelona and another five bishops of Hispania attended the Council of Sardica to ratify the provisions set forth in the Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325) as to the divinity of Jesus Christ. 

Certain solidly grounded conjectures lead us to believe that Barcelona already had an Episcopal temple or Cathedral at that time, which would be used soon thereafter for pastoral ministry by other key bishops of our diocese: Saint Pacian (390), Lampius (400), Nundinarius (461), Nebridius (540), Ugne (599), Severus (633), Quiricus (656), Idalici (688), Laülf (693), Frodoí (890), etc. In the year 599 our Cathedral appears in a document dedicating it to the Holy Cross (Second Council of Barcelona). 

Recent excavations of the substrata of the Carrer dels Comtes of Barcelona (which currently runs along the Eastern wall of the Cathedral) brought to light a building comprising three naves separated by two series of white marble columns. This undoubtedly identifies with the paleo-Christian basilica constructed in the 4th century and ennobled by subsequent bishops over seven centuries despite the difficulties caused by the Arian fight. 

That early basilica solemnly housed the relics of Saint Eulalia in one of its chapels, hidden to avoid profanation by the Arab invaders of our peninsula (711). In 877 they were miraculously discovered at the temple of Santa María de les Arenes (or Santa María del Mar). 

The primitive Cathedral, profoundly affected when the Arab chieftain Almanzor burned and destroyed the city, remained standing until 1046, when the Count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer the Old and his wife Almodis, together with Bishop Guislabert, commenced construction of another Cathedral, called the Romanesque Cathedral. That second Cathedral was consecrated on 18 November 1058 by the Archbishop Wilfred of Narbonne

The Gothic Cathedral we have today was built on the foundations of the primitive paleo-Christian basilica and the subsequent Romanesque Cathedral. Construction commenced on 1 May 1298 during the mandate of Bishop Bernardo Pelegrí and the reign of King James II of Aragon, the Just, and was virtually completed by the mid-15th century, under the mandate of Bishop Francisco Clemente Sapera and the rule of King Alfonso V of Aragon

Three distinct periods can be defined within the 150 years of construction: in the first, the building was planned and the apse and radial chapels were built, as were the presbytery - with its altar and crypt- and the pseudo transept; afterward, the three naves, with their respective lateral chapels, were extended back to the choir; finally, construction of the basilica continued to the façade, which was later closed with a simple wall (1417). The Cloister was finished in 1448. 

At the end of the 19th century, the Barcelona industrialist Manuel Girona Agrafel offered to undertake the work on the façade and on the two side towers, in keeping with the plans drawn up by the architect Josep O. Mestres and inspired by the initial 15th-century project. Mr Girona's children finalized their father's work in 1913 on completion of the cimborio. [Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Barcelona]

Aug 15, 2015

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Duke of Edinburgh

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on 10 June 1921) is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He is the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the oldest-ever male member of the British royal family.

A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families. He was born in Greece but his family was exiled from the country when he was still an infant. After being educated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, at the age of 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth (his third cousin through Queen Victoria, and the elder daughter and heir presumptive of King George VI) whom he had first met in 1934. During World War II he served with the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets.

After the war, Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents. After an engagement of five months, he married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, the King granted him the style of "His Royal Highness" and the title Duke of Edinburgh. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander. His wife made him a prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.

Philip has four children with Elizabeth: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. He has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Through a British Order in Council issued in 1960, descendants of Philip and Elizabeth not bearing royal styles and titles can use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which has also been used by some members of the royal family who do hold titles, such as Charles and Anne.

A keen sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He is a patron of over 800 organisations and serves as chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme for people aged 14 to 24. [wikipedia]

Lovely Kingston upon Thames | England

I live in Kingston upon Thames for almost 2 years now, and this is the first time I find a postcard of Kingston. It is a multiview [in clockwise order]: 

  • Kingston Bridge is a road bridge at Kingston upon Thames in London, carrying the A308 across the River Thames. It joins the town centre of Kingston in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, to Hampton Court Park, Bushy Park, and the village of Hampton Wick in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. As of 2005, it carried approximately 50,000 vehicles per day with up to 2,000 vehicles per hour in each direction during peak times. Kingston Bridge is on the reach above Teddington Lock and close to and downstream of the mouth of the Hogsmill River, a minor tributary of the Thames. It is on the route of the Thames Path and is the end point for the Thames Down Link long distance footpath from Box Hill station.
  • A Tudor style building next to Everyday Church
  • The waterway
  • The City Center
  • 'Out of Order' sculpture, created by David Mach. David Mach (born in Methil, Fife, on 18 March 1956) is a Scottish sculptor and installation artist. Mach's artistic style is based on flowing assemblages of mass-produced objects. Typically these include magazines, vicious teddy bears, newspapers, car tyres, match sticks and coat hangers. Many of his installations are temporary and constructed in public spaces.
  • A view of the River Thames from Kingston Bridge
  • Bentalls Shopping Center
  • Hampton Court Palace

The Entertainment Capital of the World | USA

Las Vegas, officially the City of Las Vegas and often known as simply Vegas, is a city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, the county seat of Clark County, and the city proper of the Las Vegas Valley. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural center for Southern Nevada.

The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 29th-most populous city in the United States, with a population of 603,488 at the 2013 United States Census Estimates. The 2013 population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 2,027,828. The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business, and meetings and is one of the wealthiest major cities in the country. In addition, the city's metropolitan area has more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world, and is a global leader in the hospitality industry. Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

Established in 1905, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in that century (a similar distinction retained by Chicago in the 19th century). The city's tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films, television programs, and music videos.

Las Vegas is generally used to describe not just the city itself, but areas beyond the city limits—especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip—and the Las Vegas Valley. The 4.2 mi (6.8 km) stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Las Vegas Strip is in the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise, located in Clark County.

New York-New York casino uses the New York City influence of its name in several ways. Its architecture is meant to evoke the New York City skyline; the hotel includes several towers configured to resemble New York City towers such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. In front of the property is a lake representing New York Harbor, with a 150-foot-tall (46 m) replica of the Statue of Liberty, and replicas of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Main Immigration Building on Ellis Island, and Grand Central Terminal.

Within the resort, particular gambling areas, lounges, restaurants, and meeting rooms are named after New York City neighborhoods or landmarks. The main casino area, for example, is named after Central Park, while the shops are modeled after Greenwich Village. At the casino, special decks of playing cards are used where the "heart" suit is replaced by apples.

The resort is located on the northwest corner of the Tropicana - Las Vegas Boulevard intersection. At street level, pedestrians are blocked from crossing by concrete barriers. Instead, it is linked by overhead pedestrian bridges to its neighboring casinos to the south (the Excalibur, across Tropicana Avenue) and to the east (the MGM Grand). [wikipedia]

Aug 14, 2015

Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton

This is a postcard before Prince William married Miss Kate Middleton.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, KG KT ADC(P) (William Arthur Philip Louis, born 21 June 1982) is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales. He is second in line to succeed his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, after his father.

William was educated at four schools in the United Kingdom and obtained a degree from the University of St Andrews. He spent parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and Africa. In December 2006, he completed 44 weeks of training as an officer, being commissioned as a lieutenant in the Blues and Royals Regiment. In April 2008, he qualified as a pilot (earning his wings) by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell. He then underwent helicopter flying training in order to become a full-time pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue Force in early 2009. His more than seven-and-a-half years of full-time service with the British Armed Forces ended in September 2013.

William married Catherine Middleton, on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. Hours prior to the event, he was created Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus. Their first child, Prince George of Cambridge, was born on 22 July 2013, and their second, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, was born on 2 May 2015.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine Elizabeth "Kate"; née Middleton; born 9 January 1982), is the wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. 

Middleton grew up in Chapel Row, a village near Newbury, Berkshire, England. She studied art history in Scotland at the University of St Andrews, where she met William in 2001. She has had a major impact upon British and American fashion, which has been termed the "Kate Middleton effect", and in 2012 and 2013 she was selected as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time magazine. [wikipedia]

Seagull islets | Greece

The only residents of these three islets are seagulls, hence the name Glaronissia [Greek: Γλαρονήσια, 'seagul islands']. They are located north of Papafragos Beach, in Milos island. The best way to come close to them is by boat from Adamadas village.

Milos, the island of 70 beaches | Greece

I must admit that Milos island is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever been. Beautiful beaches, amazing people. I wish I can visit it again soon.

Milos or Melos (Modern Greek: Μήλος; Ancient Greek: Μῆλος Melos) is a volcanic Greek island in the Aegean Sea, just north of the Sea of Crete. Milos is the southwesternmost island in the Cyclades group.
The island is famous for the statue of Aphrodite (the "Venus de Milo", now in the Louvre), and also for statues of the Greek god Asclepius (now in the British Museum) and the Poseidon and an archaic Apollo in Athens. The Municipality of Milos also includes the uninhabited offshore islands of Antimilos and Akradies. The combined land area is 160.147 square kilometres (61.833 sq mi) and the 2001 census population was 4,977 inhabitants.

There are about 70 beaches on Milos Island. Hivadolimni Beach is the longest at about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi). The rest of the beaches are starting from (North): Sarakiniko Beach, Papafragas, Kapros, Pachena, Alogomantra, Konstantinos, Mitakas, Mantrakia, Firopotamos, Nerodafni, Lakida, Plathiena, Fourkovouni, Areti, Pollonia, Gourado and Filakopi. (South): Firiplaka, Paliochori, Provatas, Tsigrado, Agia Kyriaki, Psaravolada, Kleftiko, Gerontas, Gerakas, Agios Sostis, Mouchlioti, Katergo, Spathi, Firligos, Pialothiafes, Kalamos, Krotiraki, Psathi, Svoronou and Sakelari. (West): Agios Ioannis, Cave of Sikia, Agathia, Triades and Ammoudaraki. (East): Voudia, Thalassa, Paliorema, Tria Pagidia and Thiafes. (In the Bay Area): Hivadolimni, Lagada, Papikinou, Fatourena, Klima, Skinopi and Patrikia. The North and South and bay beaches are tourist attractions. The east beaches are very quiet, and those to the west are also quiet beaches. [wikipedia]Glaronisia Beach Milos: Glaronisia is not a beach but a complex of islets that are found north of Milos, a bit off Papafragas beach. These islets can be seen by boat that makes the tour of the island. With a volcanic background, Glaronisia have interesting geology. Source:
Glaronisia Beach Milos: Glaronisia is not a beach but a complex of islets that are found north of Milos, a bit off Papafragas beach. These islets can be seen by boat that makes the tour of the island. With a volcanic background, Glaronisia have interesting geology. Source:
Glaronisia Beach Milos: Glaronisia is not a beach but a complex of islets that are found north of Milos, a bit off Papafragas beach. These islets can be seen by boat that makes the tour of the island. With a volcanic background, Glaronisia have interesting geology. Source:

The Chichester Cross | England

Last weekend I visited a friend in Southampton for the weekend. On Saturday we visited Chichester, a beautiful small town in South England. Luckily the weather was very good so we walked a lot around the town.

The card in the back reads: "At the heart of the city, where the four main shopping streets converge, stands the elaborate Market Cross, which was given to the city in 1501 by Bishop Edward Story."

Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, in South-East England. It is the only city in West Sussex, and is its county town. It has a long history as a settlement from Roman times and was important in Anglo-Saxon times. It is the seat of a bishopric, with a 12th-century cathedral, and is home to some of the oldest churches and buildings in Great Britain.

The Chichester Cross is an elaborate Perpendicular market cross in the centre of the city, standing at the intersection of the four principal streets. According to the inscription upon it, this cross was built by Edward Story, Bishop of Chichester from 1477 to 1503; but little is known for certain and the style and ornaments of the building suggest that it may date from the reign of Edward IV. It was built so that the poor people should have somewhere to sell their wares, and as a meeting point. An earlier wooden cross had been erected on the same site by Bishop Rede (1369-1385). The stone cross was repaired during the reign of Charles II, and at the expense of the Duke of Richmond, in 1746 and stands to this day.

The Market Cross is constructed of Caen stone, one of the most favoured building materials of the age. The cross' form is octangular, having a strong butment at each angle, surmounted with pinnacles. On each of its faces is an entrance through a pointed arch, ornamented with crockets and a finial. Above this, on four of its sides, is a tablet, to commemorate its reparation in the reign of Charles II. Above each tablet is a dial, exhibiting the hour to each of the three principal streets; the fourth being excluded from this advantage by standing at an angle. In the centre is a large circular column, the basement of which forms a seat: into this column is inserted a number of groinings, which, spreading from the centre, form the roof beautifully moulded. The central column appears to continue through the roof, and is supported without by eight flying buttresses, which rest on the several corners of the building. Malmesbury Market Cross in Wiltshire is the other surviving late medieval covered English market cross with a similar form, but rather smaller and more simple.

Until the start of the nineteenth century the Cross was used as a market-place; but the increased population of the city requiring a more extensive area for that purpose, a large and convenient market-house was, about the year 1807, erected in the North-street; on the completion of which, it was proposed to take down this Cross, then considered as a nuisance. This was prevented from taking place when some of the members of the corporation purchased several houses on the north side of the Cross in order to widen that part of the street by their demolition. [wikipedia]

The city of 14 islands | Sweden

Over ten years ago I visited beautiful Stockholm. This is one of the postcards I brought back.

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic region, with 914,909 people living in the municipality, approximately 1.4 million in the urban area, and 2.2 million in the metropolitan area. The city is spread across 14 islands on the coast in the southeast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago and the Baltic sea. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Birger Jarl.

Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. The region alone accounts for over a third of the country's GDP, and is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita. It is an important global city, and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region.[12] The city is home to some of Europe's top ranking universities, such as the Karolinska Institute, and hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall. One of the city's most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia. The Stockholm metro, opened in 1950, is well known for its decoration of the stations; it has been called the longest art gallery in the world. Sweden's national football arena is located north of the city centre, in Solna. Ericsson Globe, the national indoor arena, is in the southern part of the city. The city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics, and hosted the equestrian portion of the 1956 Summer Olympics otherwise held in Melbourne, Australia.

Stockholm is the seat of the Government of Sweden and most government agencies, including the highest courts in the Judiciary, and the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister. The Government has its seat in the Rosenbad building, the Riksdag is seated in the Parliament House, and the Prime Minister's residence is adjacent at the Sager House. The Stockholm Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the Swedish monarch, while the Drottningholm Palace, a World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Stockholm, serves as the Royal Family's private residence. [wikipedia]

A cow in Limburg | Netherlands

This postcard was sent to me by a friend who lives in Limburg, in the Netherlands.
Limburg is the southernmost of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. It is in the southeastern part of the country and borders the provinces of Gelderland to the north and North Brabant to the north and the northwest. To the east it borders the German state of Northrhine-Westphalia, to the west the Flemish province of Limburg, and to the south the Walloon province of Liège.

Limburg's major cities are the provincial capital Maastricht in the south, Roermond in the middle, and Venlo in the north, all upon the Meuse river. In South Limburg, there are also urban agglomerations at Sittard-Geleen and Parkstad Limburg, which includes the city of Heerlen.

Limburg has a highly distinctive character. The social and economic trends that affected the province in recent decades generated a process of change and renewal which has enabled Limburg to transform its peripheral location into a highly globalized regional nexus, linking the Netherlands to the Ruhr metro area and the southern part of the Benelux region. A less appreciated consequence of this international gateway location is rising international crime, often drug-related, especially in the southernmost part of the province.

Aug 2, 2015

In the lap of Himalayas | India

I am trying to catchup with all the postacards I have received and bought the whole time I had 'paused' this blog. This one was sent from a very dear friend when he visited India in November 2014.

It shows Shimla,  or in British Indian orthography, Simla, the capital of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, located in northern India. Shimla acts as a hub for India's tourism sector. It is among the top 10 preferred entrepreneurial locations in India. In 1864, Shimla was declared as the summer capital of British India, succeeding Murree, northeast of Rawalpindi. After independence, the city became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh.

After the reorganisation, the Mahasu district and its major portion was merged with Shimla. Its name is derived from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali. As of 2011 Shimla comprises 19 hill states; mainly Balson, Bushahr, Bhaji and Koti, Darkoti, Tharoch & Dhadi, Kumharsain, Khaneti & Delath, Dhami, Jubbal, Keothal, Madhan, Rawingarh, Ratesh, and Sangri.

Shimla is home to a number of colleges and research institutions as well as multiple temples and palaces. The city's buildings are styled in the Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architectures dating from the colonial era. Owing to its steep terrain, Shimla hosts the mountain biking race MTB Himalaya, which started in 2005 and is regarded as the biggest event of its kind in South Asia.

Himachal Pradesh (literally "Snow-ladden Region") is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west, Haryana on the south-west, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east.

Himachal Pradesh is famous for its abundant natural beauty. After the war between Nepal and Britain, also known as the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814–1816), the British colonial government came into power. In 1950 Himachal was declared a union territory, but after the State of Himachal Pradesh Act 1971, Himachal emerged as the 18th state of the Republic of India. Hima means snow in Sanskrit, and the literal meaning of the state's name is In the lap of Himalayas. It was named by Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma, one of the great Sanskrit scholars of Himachal Pradesh.

The economy of Himachal Pradesh is currently the third fastest growing economy in India. Himachal Pradesh has been ranked fourth in the list of the highest per capita incomes of Indian states. This has made Himachal Pradesh one of the most wealthiest places in entire South Asia. Abundance of perennial rivers enables Himachal to sell hydroelectricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources: hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture.

Himachal Pradesh is spread across valleys and 90% of the population lives in villages and towns. However the state has achieved 100% hygiene and practically no single house without a toilet. The villages are well connected to roads, Public Health Center and now with Lokmitra kendra using High speed broadband. Shimla district has maximum urban population of 25%. According to a 2005 Transparency International survey, Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second-least corrupt state in the country after Kerala. The hill stations of the state are among the most visited places in country. The government has successfully imposed environmental protection and tourism development meeting European standards and it is the only state which forbids the use of polythene and tobacco products. [wikipedia]

The card was posted with a Indira Ghandi and a Mother Teresa stamp.