Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry POSTCROSSING Christmas

This was another postcard I've designed by request of the Portuguese POSTCROSSING Forum members - Santa Claus receiving a postcard from Portugal... I was delighted when I found out that a company accepted printing a bunch of this cards and that several users use them as official POSTCROSSING cards. I've received this one two weeks ago, signed by all the forum users that went to the Christmas meeting on the December 7th in Palmela... thank you so much my friends, I'm leaving on a short vacations to Spain for the New Year celebration and I'll only return next year. I'm glad I've found POSTCROSSING and that I've met you... Merry Christmas to all of you and to all of the thousands of visitors of this blog!


Merry SEXY Christmas - PORTUGAL

My good friend Zé Guedes ask me for a sexy postcard to send to his friends this Christmas, so I made this photo-composition - a beautiful sexy young girl, with a snowy set on the background (a Lapland photo) and a postcard... the same company that printed the sweet postcards made a small edition of this card, just for him and he sent me one... Thanks a lot Zé, I had a great time choosing the pictures for this one and editing them in Photoshop - I received this card a week ago, but I decided to only share it with you today, Christmas day! Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas to all of you!

Merry SEXY Christmas - PORTUGAL


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wishing you a Sweet Christmas

Christmas is finally here!!!... I don't know about you, but with Christmas I'm like a little boy - I make the countdown from December 1st till the 24th. It's my favorite time of the year... time for giving, for sharing a good moment with my family and the ones I care he most, trading presents, having fun and specially a time for eating all those good things we normally have at this time of the year. Yes, Christmas is mostly a time of feasting with awesome food and specially wonderful deserts and sweets. Here in Portugal we have all kinds of sugary temptations to enjoy at the holiday season! Several friends of the POSTCROSSING official forum asked me to make a series of postcards representing traditional Christmas deserts - I've accepted their challenge and the result was a series of 5 postcards (I've chosen five traditional deserts and gave it a look like a Maxicard with the Cock of Barcelos, the most well known Portuguese symbol, as the stamp) that a company printed and it was released as a special edition of postcards... several were sent has official card by several POSTCROSSING users and the others sent directly to friends and family. I've received the full set signed by all of them several days ago, but I only publish them today and with this post I wish you all a Merry Sweet and Happy Christmas, hoping you may spend this night surrounded by your beloved and having the time of your life... with a spoonful of a sugary delight! Thank you all for the cards and for giving me the opportunity to create this set of postcards that took our traditional sweets to all the world! 






Friday, December 20, 2013

Borobudur Temple Compounds - INDONESIA - UNESCO #592

This is my first official card from Indonesia and I'm very glad that the sender picked a UNESCO postcard for me (even if it is from a site I already have, it's a different view that makes my collection more complete). Thanks to the message she wrote on the back, I've learned that the name of this temple "Pawon" derives from the similar Japanese word meaning a fireplace used to cook, so I imagine this was like to kitchen to the compounde. Thank you very much Alin for this beautiful postcard, I like it a lot. This postcard took 27 days to arrive!
UNESCO #592 - Pawon Temple, east of Borubudur - INDONESIA
The Borobudur Temple Compounds is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, and was built in the 8th and 9th centuries AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty. The monument is located in the Kedu Valley, in the southern part of Central Java, at the centre of the island of Java, Indonesia.

"In a Bath-House" (1913) - RUSSIA

Postcards with reproductions of paintings are a great way to travel a little bit to the genious mind of the artist that created that masterpiece, remembering the magic moment when we saw it live for the first time or, like in this case, getting to know an artist work for the first time. The modernist Zinaida Serebriakova was completely strange to me until today and judging by some of the paintings I've spoted on GoogleImages it's definitely a artist whose work really deserves a better look. Thanks a lot for your postcard Dalee, but please next time try to write in English (I really can't understand Russian). This postcard took 16 days to arrive!
"Баня" (In a Bath-House) (1913), Zinaida Seregriakova - RUSSIA
Zinaida Serebriakova (12 December 1884 – 19 September 1967) was born on the estate of Neskuchnoye near Kharkov (now Kharkiv, Ukraine) and was among the first female Russian painters of distinction. Her albums sold by the millions, and she was compared to Botticelli and Renoir. However, although she sent about 200 of her works to be shown in the Soviet Union, the bulk of her work remains in France today.

Yuri Gagarin - CCCP

In the heat of the space run, back in the days of cold war, Soviet Union had a major victory over Uniter States when Yuri Gagarin successfully become the first man to reach outer space in his small tin can. This card is a recent Russian edition of a vintage CCCP photography used worldwide as propaganda to the Soviet achievements. Thank you very much for this great card Dalee. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin - CCCP
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity, and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation's highest honour. Gagarin died in 1968 when the MiG-15 training jet he was piloting crashed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Calanche de Piana, Gulf of Porto, Corse - FRANCE - UNESCO #258

This is my first card from Corse - one of the Mediterranean islands I have in my "to visit" list for several decades now. It shows one of the typical Mediterranean rock formations known as calanque and this one, on the Scandola Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site. Thank you so much Kerstin, I hope you had a lot of fun in Corse and a safe return to Germany. I loved the fact that you've chosen a postcard showing the limestone with a heart-shaped erosion mark that rises my collection to 248 sites, only 733 to finish. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

UNESCO #258 - Le Coeur, Corse - FRANCE
The nature reserve, which is part of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica, occupies the Scandola peninsula, an impressive, porphyritic rock mass. The vegetation is an outstanding example of scrubland. Seagulls, cormorants and sea eagles can be found there. The clear waters, with their islets and inaccessible caves, host a rich marine life. The Calanque is a steep-walled inlet, developed in limestone, dolomite, or other carbonate strata and found along the Mediterranean coast. A calanque is a steep-sided valley formed within karstic regions either by fluvial erosion or the collapse of the roof of a cave that has been subsequently partially submerged by a rise in sea level.


Ángel con dulcema (Fresco-1472), Valencia Cathedral - SPAIN

My dear friend Luzia (a Brazilian postcrosser I've met in the Forum) went on a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea with a stop at Valencia and she picked this beautiful card to wish me a Merry Christmas. It's one of the famous 15th century frescoes on the main capel - this one painted by Paolo de San Leocadio in 1472. Thank you very much Luzia, hope you had a wonderful time in your trip and let me wish you a fantastic Christmas for you and your family. This postcard took 17 days to arrive!

Fresco "Ángel con Dulcema" (1472) - SPAIN
The Cathedral–Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia is a Roman Catholic parish church in Valencia, Spain. It was consecrated in 1238 by the first bishop of Valencia and was dedicated by order of James I the Conqueror to Saint Mary. It was built over the site of the former Visigothic cathedral, which under the Moors had been turned into a mosque. Gothic architecture, in its Catalan or Mediterranean version, is the predominant style of this cathedral, although it also contains Romanesque, French Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classical elementsn. The cathedral contains numerous 15th-century paintings.


Congress Hall , Philadelphia - PA - USA

Back in the days when Philadelphia was the capital of the nation, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States sat in this building. Only after I read carefully the entrance in the UNESCO webpage I realized that this is not the building classified as World Heritage Site, but the Independence Hall that stands a few meters away. Thank you very much Nicole, nevertheless I'm glad I asked for this card - it's not UNESCO but it's still a important building in your country history (and a wonderful vintage card). This postcard took 12 days to arrive!

Congress Hall, Philadelphia - PA - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Congress Hall is a building near the intersection of Chestnut and 6th Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that served as the seat of the United States Congress from December 6, 1790 to May 14, 1800. Congress Hall was restored throughout the 20th century to its original appearance in 1796. The building is now managed by the National Park Service within the Independence National Historical Park and is open for tours by the public. Congress Hall should not be confused with Independence Hall, which is located next door.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Northern Lights, Tromsø - NORWAY

My first postcard from Norway, and what a beautiful card it is!... Watching the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is one of my strongest dreams (clearly a top 10 on the bucket list). This card really made my jaw drop and after a quick search about the city I found out lots of interesting things to visit there so Tromsø may well be one of my next winter tours... Thank you so much Yana (do you have a couch available for me and my wife?) I really love your card. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in Tromsø - NORWAY
Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The city centre contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house dating from 1789. The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church from 1965, is probably the most famous landmark. Tromsø is in the middle of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) zone, and is one of the best places in the world to observe the aurora. Because of the Earth's rotation, Tromsø moves into the aurora zone around 6 pm, and moves out again around midnight.


Maulbronn Monastery Complex - GERMANY - UNESCO #546

This card shows another ancient monastery classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, this time in Germany (my 21st WHS from there!) and was sent by Kerstin that went there with her family to the traditional Christmas market (she says they go every year because of the beautiful atmosphere). Thank you very much Kerstin for this card and the nice words in the back (a wonderful Christmas for you to). With this card, my collection jumps to 247 different sites, 734 more and I'm done.This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

UNESCO #546 - Maulbronn Monastery Complex - GERMANY
Founded in 1147, the Cistercian Maulbronn Monastery is considered the most complete and best-preserved medieval monastic complex north of the Alps. Surrounded by fortified walls, the main buildings were constructed between the 12th and 16th centuries. The monastery's church, mainly in Transitional Gothic style, had a major influence in the spread of Gothic architecture over much of northern and central Europe. The water-management system at Maulbronn, with its elaborate network of drains, irrigation canals and reservoirs, is of exceptional interest.


The Ferapontov Monastery - RUSSIA - UNESCO #982

Founded in 1398 by St Ferrapont, the Ferapontov Monastery was one of the main places of worship and of endowment for many members of the Russian feudal aristocracy. According to the sender thre are lots of beautiful murals in its walls. Thank you very much Zaskanka for this nice addition to my UNESCO collection; 246 down, 735 to go. This postcard took 13 days to arrive!
UNESCO #982 - Ensemble of the Ferapontov Monastery - RUSSIA
The Ferapontov Monastery, in the Vologda region in northern Russia, is an exceptionally well-preserved and complete example of a Russian Orthodox monastic complex of the 15th-17th centuries, a period of great significance in the development of the unified Russian state and its culture. The architecture of the monastery is outstanding in its inventiveness and purity. The interior is graced by the magnificent wall paintings of Dionisy, the greatest Russian artist of the end of the 15th century.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Along with the two nude BW pictures, Ondrej sent me this beautiful painting of the first holy night (Svatá Noc) by the famous Czech artist Josef Lada. Thank you very much Ondrej for this postcard and the nice message you wrote - I hope you may have a fantastic Christmas. This postcard took 12 days to arrive!

Svatá Noc (1933), Josef Lada - CZECH REPUBLIC
Josef Lada (born 17 December 1887 in Hrusice - 14 December 1957 in Prague, buried at Olšany Cemetery) was a Czech painter and writer. He is best known as the illustrator of Jaroslav Hašek's World War One novel The Good Soldier Švejk. He produced nearly 600 cartoons of the Švejk characters, depicting Austria-Hungary officers and civil servants as incompetent, abusive and often drunk. Lada also produced landscapes, created frescoes and designed costumes for plays and films. Over the years he created a series of paintings and drawings depicting traditional Czech occupations.

Ivana, Taras K. - CZECH REPUBLIC

This is the second artistic nude photo I got today, it's called Ivana and was taken in 1977 by Taras Kuščynskyj, another Czech master photographer. After searching online, I realised I already knew some of his work - I have some of his pictures in some photography books under the name Taras, but I didn't knew he was Czech (don't ask me why, I thought he was Greek). Thank you so much Ondrej, I really love the postcards you sent me. This postcard took 12 days to arrive!

Ivana (1977), Taras Kuščynskyj - CZECH REPUBLIC
Taras Kuščynskyj (born on the May 25th 1932, in Prague from Ukranian parents; died on the 27th December 1983) can today be deservedly regarded as a major star of Czech staged photography of the 1960s and 70s. His work became instantly an organic part of national visual heritage. The central theme of Kuščynskyj’s work was the woman, seen as a phantom as well as an element of nature – woman as a riddle, both reflecting and challenging the male world.


No title, R.Košťál - CZECH REPUBLIC

I'm a photography lover, specially Black and White photos. The art of Nude pictures is much harder than most people think (it's not just putting a naked model in front of the camera and click). Today I found two amazing cards from two different Czech photographers (I must confess I didn't knew any of them). The first one was taken in 1974 by Rostislav Košťál - after a search on the web I became a fan... his work is amazing! Thank you very much Ondrej. This postcard took 12 days to arrive!

 No Title (1974), Rostislav Košťál - CZECH REPUBLIC
Rostislav Košťál is a famous photographer,  born on the 3rd of June, 1943, in Brno, cultural and political capital of Moravia, Czech Republic. He studied photography from 1963 to 1967 with prof. O. K. Hruby and Ant. HInst in the prestigious school LŠU in Brno. His work, black & white photos, represents female nudes into the natural environment.  For Košťál it is important the feelings, the emotions, the research of the beauty that is possible to achieve through photography. He was awarded by FIAP in 1975 and by ASCF in 1976.


Rock Sites of Cappadocia - TURKEY - UNESCO #357

The Nevşehir Province (Cappadocia) in Central Anatolia is one of the main tourist attractions in Turkey and the massive visits in the last decades have put the rupestral sanctuaries in danger... as far as I know some measures have been taken by the Turkish authorities to preserve this treasure with more than 17 centuries. Thank you so much Selim, this great card is the 245th site in my UNESCO collection (I've reached the 25% threshold), only 736 to the end. This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
UNESCO #357 - Rock Sites of Cappadocia - TURKEY
In a spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, the Göreme valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period. Dwellings, troglodyte villages and underground towns – the remains of a traditional human habitat dating back to the 4th century – can also be seen there.


Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul - TURKEY - UNESCO #356

I've received two beautiful cards today from Turkey, another opportunity for dreaming with a land I'm so eager of visiting (maybe next Easter if all goes well). The first on shows the Mosque of Suleimon the Magnificent in Istanbul (my 3rd card from Istanbul... I guess I won't need to send any to myself!). Thank you very much Selim, I like your card very much.This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
UNESCO #356 - Süleymaniye, Istanbul - TURKEY
With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanization.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Greetings from PORTUGAL

Another "Merry Christmas" postcard was waiting for me in my mailbox today (only 8 days remaining and I didn't had the time to send any cards yet - this year I'm not behaving like a good boy... I think Santa will only fill my socks with charcoal!). Thank you very much Sofia and Mafalda, I hope you may have a wonderful Christmas and a 2014 with only good things and of course, lots of beautiful postcards! This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
Merry Christmas - PORTUGAL

Bratislava - SLOVAKIA

My first postcard from Slovakia arrived today! It shows the main spots of the country capital Bratislava and was sent by a Czech postcrosser that went there on vacations. I went to Bratislava several years ago (a fantastic trip by boat on the Danube from Wien, Austria) and I remember a lively city with lots of young people on the streets and several interesting monuments to see (I recall loving the visit to Devin Castle). Thank you very much Ondrej for remembering me while on your vacation, hope you had a great time there. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

Bratislava Multiview - SLOVAKIA
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the country's largest city. Bratislava is located in southwestern Slovakia, occupying both banks of the Danube River and the left bank of the Morava River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, a part of the larger Habsburg Monarchy territories, from 1536 to 1783 and has been home to many Slovak, Hungarian, and German historical figures.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Vintage Beer Advertisement - CCCP

This vintage CCCP postcard shows a beer advertisement - according to the sender (a Russian big beer fan!) in Soviet times there were lots of stalls selling beer in glass mugs, very popular among workers. The message says "Require complete filling beer, to line!" and it's a good advice... sometimes sellers like to fill our cup with foam instead of beer. Thank you very much Natalya for this interesting postcard - I'm also a beer lover, mostly in the summer (I never tried Russian beer yet). This postcard took 23 days to arrive!

Vintage Beer Advertisement - CCCP

Mount Cook, Te Wahipounamu - NEW ZEALAND - UNESCO #551

Today I've got another beautiful card from Edvard on his trip to southern New Zealand, this time with Mount Cook (Maori name Aoraki meaning "Cloud Piercer"). True,I've asked for a card with Mt Cook, but after receiving one with Mt Aspiring I really wasn't expecting this one. Thank you very much Edvard, hope you had a wonderful time in New Zealand (found any hobbits?). This postcard took 17 days to arrive!
UNESCO #551 - Mount Cook (Aoraki) National Park - NEW ZEALAND
The landscape in this park, situated in south-west New Zealand, has been shaped by successive glaciations into fjords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes and waterfalls. Two-thirds of the park is covered with southern beech and podocarps, some of which are over 800 years old. The kea, the only alpine parrot in the world, lives in the park, as does the rare and endangered takahe, a large flightless bird.

Vilnius - LITHUANIA - UNESCO #541

Today I've received my first UNESCO WHS postcard from Lithuania, showing the beautiful city of Vilnius, the place Napoleon named  "the Jerusalem of the North"and several tourist guides state as "the Paris of the East". I don't know which one is describes it the best, but for all I know and read, Vilnius is a beautiful place that I really wish to visit one day. Thank you very much Kristina, now I have 244 sites, only 737 to finish. This postcard took 25 days to arrive!

UNESCO #541 - Vilnius Panorama by night - LITHUANIA
Political centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 13th to the end of the 18th century, Vilnius has had a profound influence on the cultural and architectural development of much of eastern Europe. Despite invasions and partial destruction, it has preserved an impressive complex of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and classical buildings as well as its medieval layout and natural setting.


Universal Studios - SINGAPORE

One thing I really dislike is a official card without nothing written apart from the address and the postcard ID... Dear Lis, I really like this card (I'm not a big fan of Ad-Cards, but I just love "Sesame Street") but it's a pitty you didn't took a couple of minutes to write something, not even your name (I only know it thanks to Postcrossing site). I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking like this, please try a bit harder. This postcard took 20 days to arrive!

Universal Studios Ad Card - SINGAPORE


City of Melbourne - AUSTRALIA

It's usual to say that friday the 13th is a unlucky day, but after a nice day at work I've returned home and found five cards waiting on my mailbox - not bad at all. The first one is a official card from Melbourne, Australia with a link to the best spots in the city... and I think this card went to all of them, because it took almost two months to find its way to my house. Thanks a lot Paul and good luck on your charity programs. This postcard took 51 days to arrive!

City of Melbourne (Nightview) - AUSTRALIA
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. It is located on the large natural bay of Port Phillip, with its City Centre situated at the northernmost point of the bay – near to the estuary of the Yarra River. Founded on 30 August 1835 in what was then the Colony of New South Wales, it is a leading financial centre in Australia as well as the Asia-Pacific region, and has been ranked the World's most livable city since 2011 (and among the top three since 2002) – according the Economist Intelligence Unit.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Greetings from RUSSIA

We are getting closer to Christmas each day and this is of course the time to send our best wishes to our beloved - with the e-mail and social networks revolution, sending a postcard by postal mail is maybe outdated and yes, it's not cheap, but for me it's still definitely the best way to express our feellings. This one came all the way from Russia and, according to the sender, the message says "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I wish happiness, joy and to live this new year without sorrow and worries". Thank you very much Julia, I do hope that 2014 only brings good things to you and your family and friends.

Greetings from PORTUGAL

Another surprise card from a friend - this time from Rita, a nice postcrosser I've met in the official forum - and this vintage Portuguese postcard really made me laugh and took me to my child years. It's a card from 1988, issued by the state mail company CTT (recently sold by the government, let's hope we don't regret that) as part of a campaign for sharing Christmas greetings using CTT postcards; there was even a nice radio and TV jingle: "Os cartões dos correios, Boas Festas vêm dar..." I can't remember the rest but I remember sending to my older sisters postcards exactly like this one. Thank you very much Rita, I simply love your card. This postcard took 15 days to arrive!

Vintage 1988 greetings postal card - PORTUGAL

St. Dominic's Church - MACAO - CHINA - UNESCO #1110

St. Dominic's Church was founded in 1587 by Portuguese Dominican priests (originally built with wood boards, hence the local name "Ban Chang Tang") in Macao, at that time under Portuguese government. Thank you very much Ray for this beautiful card and for using stamps with the UNESCO reference. This is my second card from this World Heritage site (the other shows St Paul ruins), another place I dream of visiting. Thank you very much Ray. This postcard took 10 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1110 - St. Dominic's Church - MACAO - CHINA
Macao, a lucrative port of strategic importance in the development of international trade, was under Portuguese administration from the mid-16th century until 1999, when it came under Chinese sovereignty. With its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West. The site also contains a fortress and a lighthouse, the oldest in China.

Greetings from FLORIDA - USA

I have a thing with flamingos - call me kitsch if you want, but I really like those plastic pink flamingos to put on lawns (much more than garden gnomes) and I intend to have some one day, when I move out the apartment to a house on the mountains one day. Florida is the land of Flamingos and this beautiful postcard came from there, sent by Ricardo on its way to thanksgiving with the family in Miami - thanks a lot Ricardo, hope you had a wonderful time! This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
Greetings from Florida - USA
Florida is a state in the southeastern region of the United States (the 22nd most extensive, the 4th most populous, and the 8th most densely populated of the 50 United States). The state capital is Tallahassee, the largest city is Jacksonville, and the largest metropolitan area is Miami. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León named it "La Florida" ("Flowery Land") in 1513.

Greetings from TURKEY

Merhaba Onder! I was not expecting this card from you and I'm touched by your wish of a Merry Christmas on a "Happy Eid" postcard... whatever the name they give, the important is that we stay together with all our beloved and never let any cultural or religious differences stand in the way of true friendship. Thank you very much my friend and let me be the first to wish you a Happy Eid for you and all your family (in 2014 the Eid is set to July 28th... my birthday!). This postcard took 15 days to arrive!

Greetings from Istanbul ("Happy Eid") - TURKEY
Turkey is a contiguous transcontinental country, located mostly on Anatolia in Western Asia and on East Thrace in Southeastern Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia , Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south and the Black Sea is to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia.Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant Geo-strategic importance.


Hagia Sophia, Istanbul - TURKEY - UNESCO #356

I dream of visiting the old Constantinople since I was a young kid. Until I get the chance to do it, I can keep dreaming on, with the nice help of postcards. Thank you very much Onder for another amazing card from Istanbul, this time with Hagia Sophia. It's not a new site but still an amazing addition to my UNESCO collection. This postcard took 15 days to arrive!

UNESCO #356 - Hagia Sophia, Istanbul - TURKEY
With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanization.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Aveiro Salinas - PORTUGAL

Artisanal salt production  through solar evaporation of sea water is one of the Aveiro major activities since pre-Roman times (some say it was introduced by the Phoenicians in the century 8 BC). Even today, one the best salt in Portugal is produced in the "Troncalhada" salt pond on the outskirt of the city (I'm almost sure this photo was made there). This amazing card is from the 1960s and was sent by several of my friends from the Postcrossing Forum that got together last weekend for a Xmas meeting that unfortunately I couldn't attend. Thanks a lot Gracinha for picking a vintage card and to Paula, Ninocas, Rita José and Joana for signing it. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

Aveiro Salinas (Marina da Troncalhada) - PORTUGAL
Salt is a mineral substance composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of ionic salts. Salt is present in vast quantities in the sea where it is the main mineral constituent, with the open ocean having about 35 grams of solids per litre, a salinity of 3.5%. Salt is essential for animal life, and saltiness is one of the basic human tastes. Salt is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous of food seasonings, and salting is an important method of food preservation.


Pico Island Vineyards - AZORES - PORTUGAL - UNESCO #1117

One of the things that make the vineyards of Pico island in Azores really unique is that lots of the process is still done like in the old times. The paths between the fields and the main  roads are so narrow and sharp that wine barrels transportation is sometimes made by hand or with a small horse pulled cart. This wonderful maxi-card (a 2006 special edition) shows precisely this - thank you very much Zé for another awesome maxi-card. This postcard took 2 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1117 - Pico Island Vineyard Culture - PORTUGAL
The 987-ha site on the volcanic island of Pico, the second largest in the Azores archipelago, consists of a remarkable pattern of spaced-out, long linear walls running inland from, and parallel to, the rocky shore. The walls were built to protect the thousands of small, contiguous, rectangular plots (currais) from wind and seawater. Evidence of this viniculture, whose origins date back to the 15th century, is manifest in the extraordinary assembly of the fields, in houses and early 19th-century manor houses, in wine-cellars, churches and ports. The extraordinarily beautiful man-made landscape of the site is the best remaining area of a once much more widespread practice.

From RUSSIA with Love

This card came from Russia (with love I hope) and it shows a amazing photography by Vera Nefedova (I'm not sure if she's just the photographer or also the model). I always loved body painting (much more than tattoo - more versatile and not permanent) and this one is just wonderful, so simple but so strong. Thank you very much Tanya, I really love your card.  This postcard took 21 days to arrive!

From Russia With Love (photo by Vera Nefedova) - RUSSIA
Body painting, or sometimes bodypainting, is a form of body art. Unlike tattoo and other forms of body art, body painting is temporary, painted onto the human skin with an airbrush or a simple one, and lasts for only several hours, or at most (in the case of Mehndi or “henna tattoo”) a couple of weeks.


Mount Aspiring, Te Wahipounamu - NEW ZEALAND - UNESCO #551

Mount Aspiring (Maori name Tititea) has a height of 3027m. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site designated by Te Wahipounamu (South West New Zealand)  It's one of the places Edvard visited in his trip to New Zealand and luckily for me he found this wonderful postcard. Thanks a lot Edvard, now I have 243 sites in my collection, just 738 to finish it. This postcard took 15 days to arrive!

UNESCO #551 - Mount Aspiring (Tititea) National Park - NEW ZEALAND

The landscape in this park, situated in south-west New Zealand, has been shaped by successive glaciations into fjords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes and waterfalls. Two-thirds of the park is covered with southern beech and podocarps, some of which are over 800 years old. The kea, the only alpine parrot in the world, lives in the park, as does the rare and endangered takahe, a large flightless bird.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pirin Mountains - BULGARIA - UNESCO#225

With this second card Tsvetana sent me (an amazing picture of a place that looks really beautiful, when I look before reading the back I thought it was from New Zealand, it really seems one of the sets of "The Fellowship of the Ring"), I've completed all the sites from Bulgaria in the current UNESCO list - Thank you very much Tsveti, you've been a major help to my collection (now let's do the tentative list, eheheh). Ok now, let's do the math, another country complete and a total of 242 sites received, 739 more and I'm done. This postcard took 23 days to arrive!

UNESCO #225 - Pirin Mountains - BULGARIA
Spread over an area of over 27,000 ha, at an altitude between 1008 and 2914 m in the Pirin Mountains, southwest Bulgaria, the site comprises diverse limestone mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and predominantly coniferous forests. It was added to the World Heritage List in 1983. The extension now covers an area of around 40,000 ha in the Pirin Mountains, and overlaps with the Pirin National Park, except for two areas developed for tourism (skiing). The dominant part of the extension is high mountain territory over 2000m in altitude, and covered mostly by alpine meadows, rocky screes and summits.


Nessebar - BULGARIA - UNESCO #217

 The Ancient City of Nessebar on the Burgas Province is currently one of the most popular cruise ships destination in Bulgaria, but its roots go back more that 30 centuries (remember what I told you yesterday Jason?). This amazing postcard show a coloured picture of the late 19th century with the city an its surroundings. According to Tsvetana the mill is still there, one of the few in the Black Sea coast that survived. Thank you very much Tsveti, as you know I love vintage cards and when they're from a new UNESCO site for my collection even better. Ok now, 241 down, 740 to go. This postcard took 23 days to arrive!

UNESCO #217 - Overview of Nessebar - BULGARIA
Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the more than 3,000-year-old site of Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement (Menebria). At the beginning of the 6th century BC, the city became a Greek colony. The city’s remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the Thracian fortifications. Among other monuments, the Stara Mitropolia Basilica and the fortress date from the Middle Ages, when this was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea. Wooden houses built in the 19th century are typical of the Black Sea architecture of the period.


Uvs Nuur Basin - RUSSIA - UNESCO #769

What a great Postcrossing day, no officials but 3 new UNESCO WHS I was waiting for almost a month now. The first came from Russia showing a place with a weird name (sounds almost Klingon) and that looks deserted but it has the richest biodiversity in Eurasia. Thank you very much Galina, this beautiful card  makes my collection reach a neat 240 sites, only 741 to the end. This postcard took 27 days to arrive!

UNESCO #769 - Uvs Nuur Basin - RUSSIA
The Uvs Nuur Basin (1,068,853 ha), is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia. It takes its name from Uvs Nuur Lake, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl and seabirds. The site is made up of twelve protected areas representing the major biomes of eastern Eurasia. The mountains are an important refuge for the globally endangered snow leopard, mountain sheep (argali) and the Asiatic ibex.


Monday, December 09, 2013

Old Town Lunenburg - CANADA - UNESCO #741

The second card I've got from Canada shows a UNESCO WHS (my 5th from there). Lunenburg in Nova Scotia is one of the best examples of a colonial settlement of the 18th century (it's funny for a European when a "historic city" only has 250 years of history) - according to Jason the church we can see in the card is the oldest Presbyterian church in Canada (a friend of him got married there and he had the chance to visit the city). Thank you very much Jason for another great addition to my collection. Now I have 239, only 742 to the end. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!

UNESCO #741 - Old Town Lunenburg (Waterfront) - CANADA
Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. Established in 1753, it has retained its original layout and overall appearance, based on a rectangular grid pattern drawn up in the home country. The inhabitants have managed to safeguard the city's identity throughout the centuries by preserving the wooden architecture of the houses, some of which date from the 18th century.



In my mailbox waiting for me this afternoon were two cards from my dear Canadian friend Jason - the first is this awesome map of the province of Québec (the only one I visited yet back in 2006, had an amazing 2 weeks in Drummondville, Monreal and Québec). I really like this "Where's Waldo" type of Map-Cards, because there's lots of little details picturing the different people that live in that place. Thank you so much Jason for another amazing card. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!

Québec Map and Symbols - CANADA
Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and second most populous.Most inhabitants live in urban areas near the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City, the capital. It is the only Canadian province that has a predominantly French-speaking population, and the only one to have French as its sole provincial official language. Quebec independence debates have played a large role in the politics of the province. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a symbolic motion recognizing the "Québécois as a nation within a united Canada.



Only a few days after the one I've swapped, I got another card mailed from Luxemburg - it's a official one with a Russian code because the sender is on vacations there. I know that some people don't like to receive officials from countries different of the codes, but I really enjoy it - sending a postcard during a travel (business or pleasure) is celebrating the purpose of postcards, sharing something you see with someone you care. Thank you very much Dmitry for this interesting card. Hope you had lots of fun in Luxembourg. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!

Coat of Arms of the 12 Cantons - LUXEMBOURG
The 12 cantons of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg are areas of local government at the first level of Local Administrative Unit (LAU-1) in the European Union's Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics for Eurostat purposes. They are subdivisions of the three Districts of Luxembourg (Diekirch, Grevenmacher and Luxembourg). The cantons are in turn subdivided into 106 communes.


Defense Line of Amsterdam - NETHERLANDS - UNESCO #759

What better way to defend the city of Amsterdam than using the web of  water channels that surround it? To be honest I didn't knew about this defense line (and while traveling in Holland I don't remember see any of those forts) but it's really ingenuous. Thank you very much Ischa for making my UNESCO collection grow to 238 sites, I'm only missing 743 now (and only 3 Dutch sites). This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
UNESCO #759 - Defense Line of Amsterdam - THE NETHERLANDS

Extending 135 km around the city of Amsterdam, this defense line (built between 1883 and 1920) is the only example of a fortification based on the principle of controlling the waters. Since the 16th century, the people of the Netherlands have used their expert knowledge of hydraulic engineering for defense purposes. The center of the country was protected by a network of 45 armed forts, acting in concert with temporary flooding from polders and an intricate system of canals and locks.