Friday, November 29, 2013

GREAT BRITAIN Map

Another great Map Card for my collection (I really must start a list, I'm such a procrastinator) this time sent from England and picturing the British Islands that form the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Thank you very much Ginte for choosing this one for me.  This postcard took 9 days to arrive!

The Great Britain Map and United Kingdom Flag
 
Great Britain, also known as Britain, is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, off the north-western coast of continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world (the largest in Europe) and the third most populous island in the world. It is surrounded by over 1,000 smaller islands and islets. The island of Ireland lies to its west. Politically, Great Britain refers to the island together with a number of surrounding islands, which constitute the territory of England, Scotland and Wales.


 

Mérida - SPAIN - UNESCO #664

Nor far from the border between Portugal and Spain stands one of the most beautiful remains of the Roman Empire I've visited (not counting with Rome itself of course!). Mérida (known as Augusta Emerita) as lots of well-preserved sites like the four we can see in this card: The Roman Theater, Diana Temple, the Alcazaba (Arab construction over a Roman fortification) and the Roman Arena. Thank you very much Vitória for this nice surprise, I really like the card and it becomes the 233th UNESCO in my collection (only 748 to the end). This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

UNESCO #664 - Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida - SPAIN
 
The colony of Augusta Emerita, which became present-day Mérida in Estremadura, was founded in 25 B.C. at the end of the Spanish Campaign and was the capital of Lusitania. The well-preserved remains of the old city include, in particular, a large bridge over the Guadiana, an amphitheatre, a theatre, a vast circus and an exceptional water-supply system. It is an excellent example of a provincial Roman capital during the empire and in the years afterwards.
 

 

Portonovo (Pontevedra), Galicia - SPAIN

This postcard picture a nice little beach in Galicia (Spain) but it was sent from Portugal by my friend José of the Postcrossing official Forum - he went there three years ago and he recalls having a great time... it's not hard to believe, Galicia is a wonderful place, I went there a lot when I lived in Aveiro (to bad the waters are so cold!). Thanks a lot Zé! This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

Aerial View of Portonovo (Pontevedra), Galicia - SPAIN
 
Portonovo is a fishing village and tourist center within the municipality of Sanxenxo. It belongs to the parish of Adina. Situated in the Ria de Pontevedra, its climate is cold and rainy in winter and warm and sunny in summer. Tourism is the main economic engine of the town, and the temporary population in the summer months increases considerably. Three beaches are found along the coast for the town: Portonovo beach (also known as Baltar beach), Caneliñas and Canelas.


 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Historic Florence - ITALY - UNESCO #174

'La bellissima Firenze'! One of the many cities in Italy I really wish to know but didn't have the pleasure to visit yet. Every street is filled with history in the world's art center that I hope I'll manage to walk some day. Thank you very much Ale (a wonderful christmas for you to) for this amazing nightview and, since Florence is part of the UNESCO WHS list, for this great addition to my collection - 232 down, 749 to go. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #174 - Historic Center of Florence - ITALY
 
Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.


 

Madeira Island - PORTUGAL

My sweet sister went to Funchal in Madeira Island for a medical congress and she didn't forgot to post me a card from there. Here we can see some of the most famous things this wonderful place has to offer us. Thank you very much Susana for this beautiful Multiview postcard. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!

Madeira Island (The Pearl of the Atlantic) - PORTUGAL
 
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies in the north Atlantic Ocean that includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas, administered together with the separate archipelago of the Savage Islands. The archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery in 1420. Today, it is a popular year-round resort, being visited every year by about one million tourists, noted for its Madeira wine, flowers, landscapes and embroidery artisans, as well as for its annual New Year celebrations that feature the largest fireworks show in the world, as officially recognised by the Guinness World Records.
 

 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thor's Hammer - UT - USA

The great American canyons became famous on the old western movies and are now one of the major landmarks of that country. In this beautiful postcard we can the sun rising besides a unique rock formation named Thor's Hammer in Utah. It came from Germany (another official card from there), sent by Mariola that loves Utah (and I understand why - this photo is beautiful), thank you very much. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

Thor's Hammer, Bryce Canyon - UTAH - USA
 
Bryce Canyon National Park is a national park located in southwestern Utah in the United States. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors.

 

Historic City of Quedlinburg - GERMANY - UNESCO #535

Quedlinburg is a historic city in Germany, not far from Leipzig and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for almost 20 years, but I must confess it's the first time I read something about it (looks beautiful and according to the sender there are lots of great monuments there and nearby) - I must visit it one day. Thank you very much Eule, I now have 231 different sites, 750 more and I'm done! This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

UNESCO #535 - Quedlinburg - GERMANY
  
Quedlinburg, in the Land of Sachsen-Anhalt, was a capital of the East Franconian German Empire at the time of the Saxonian-Ottonian ruling dynasty. It has been a prosperous trading town since the Middle Ages. The number and high quality of the timber-framed buildings make Quedlinburg an exceptional example of a medieval European town. The Collegiate Church of St Servatius is one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture.
  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Coffee shop, Amsterdam - NETHERLANDS

Along with the 'Red Light District', Coffee shops are one of the biggest tourist attraction in Amsterdam, mainly due to the Dutch legal positioning toward soft drugs, specially cannabis. Of course Amsterdam has much more things (and much better) to offer but almost no one resists entering in a Coffee shop... and like in Vegas "What happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam", so I won't say anything more! This nice card was sent by Hidwien, a 64 years old postcrosser and it was the second official from Netherlands today - thank you very much. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

Coffee shop in central Amsterdam - NETHERLANDS
 
Coffee shops, not to be confused with cafés, have been a part of Amsterdam since the 1970s, when the Dutch government made a clear distinction in the law between 'hard' and 'soft' drugs. You must get to a coffee shop to buy weed. You’ll find about 200 coffee shops in Amsterdam, so there is always one close to your location. Although coffee shops are not allowed to make any advertising, you will be able to identify them easily.


 

THE NETHERLANDS Map


With a help from Google Translator I found that the sentence in this official card means "I find myself here..." and only at that moment I spotted the little pen mark on the northern part of the map, probably where Jeannet was when she wrote me. Thanks a lot! This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
 
The Netherlands (Map-Card)
 
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of twelve provinces in North-West Europe and three islands in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders the North Sea, Belgium and Germany. It is a parliamentary democracy organized as a unitary state. The country capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague. The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as "Holland", although North and South Holland are actually only two of its provinces.
  
 
 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Alto Douro Wine Region - PORTUGAL - UNESCO #1046

It's not common to see the Douro banks covered with snow (although it's of course very cold during the winter) and that's why the picture in this card is a rare view. I really like this card that was send by Sofia, a friend I've met in the postcrossing forum, and one of the reasons I like it it's probably one of the things that drive the postcard collectors mad - the marks that mail machines leave on the cards (I call them UFOs). In this case I think it gives the postcard kind of a 'X-Files' look, like the proof that "The Truth is Out There"! Thanks a lot Sofia for this beautiful card. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #1046 - Alto Douro Wine Region - PORTUGAL
   
Wine has been produced by traditional landholders in the Alto Douro region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th century, its main product, port wine, has been world famous for its quality. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty that reflects its technological, social and economic evolution.
  
  
 

Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona - SPAIN - UNESCO #804

I've been in Barcelona several times and the Palau de la Música Catalana was probably the biggest surprise I had in all those visits; true, the Gaudi works are amazing (entering Sagrada Familia it's a unforgettable experience), the old Gothic quarter and the cathedral are beautiful and unique, but when I entered that giant room for the first time I was flabbergasted (probably helped the fact that I had never seen it on TV before). It's astonishing beautiful and I would love to go to a concert there. Thank you very much Sandra for this lovely postcard,  thanks to you my UNESCO collection reaches 230, only 751 to finish. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!

UNESCO #804 - Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona - SPAIN
 
The Palau de la Música Catalana has uniqueness, authenticity, and beauty and it is an unparalleled testimony, in the Modernist style, to a public concert hall whose symbolic, artistic, and historical value is universal. The Palau de la Música Catalana is one of the most emblematic buildings of Art Nouveau (Modernism), exceptional both for its qualities and its setting in the historic centre of Barcelona.

 
 

Karl Marx Statue, Baku - CCCP

My good friend Jason from Canada lived for some years in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan. He found this old card showing a Karl Marx statue standing in one of the squares at that city (in the 90s when he worked there the statue was already gone). Thank you very much for this historic card Jason. It's almost ironic, but at this exact moment I'm watching on the TV a angry mob in Ukraine tearing down a Lenine statue. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!

Karl Marx, Baku (Azerbaijan) - CCCP

Karl Heinrich Marx (1818 – 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx's work in economics laid the basis for the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital, and has influenced much of subsequent economic thought. He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867–1894). Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history. Revolutionary socialist governments espousing Marxist concepts took power in a variety of countries in the 20th century, leading to the formation of several socialist states such as the Soviet Union.


 

Vintage Car, Cascais - PORTUGAL

This postcard shows a nice vintage car that presently stands in front of a famous restaurant in Cascais near Lisbon advertising the dishes... on the day the photo was taken, the special was Codfish in the Oven! Thank you very much Zé, I share your love of vintage cars (my dream is to have a Jaguar E-Type from the 60s). This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

Vintage Car, Cascais - PORTUGAL
 
Cascais is a coastal town 30 kilometres west of Lisbon, with about 35,000 residents. It is a cosmopolitan suburb of the Portuguese capital and one of the richest municipalities in Portugal. The former fishing village gained fame as a resort for Portugal's royal family in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Nowadays, it is a popular vacation spot for both Portuguese and foreign tourists.


  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Berlin Wall - GERMANY

This is my 500th postcard received since I've started this blog in April! To be honest, when I started I never thought I would get so many in such little time, but the postcrossing addiction really stroke me and I suspect this 500 benchmark is just the begining. This card shows the infamous Berlin Wall that split the city for decades and was the graveyard of several eastern Germans that tried to runaway from the dictatorship in GDR. I remember well the day the Wall fel down and the joy I saw in all those people faces while embracing, celebrating and tearing down those stones... I felt really happy and I thought the world would learn a lesson, but unfortunately several walls have been built since then, some visible and real (Israel-Palestine, USA-México, etc) some invisible but also very real (between countries, religions, political or even between the people of one nation) - can we ever live without walls among us? I really wonder if I will live enough years to see it... Thank you very much Kerstin for this beautiful and significant card.  This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
 

Branderburg Gates behind the Wall, Berlin - GERMANY
 
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin.The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. On 9 November 1989 crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere and soon after it was teared down.
 
 
 

Essaouira - MOROCCO - UNESCO #753

This card has a interesting history. A friend from the postcrossing official forum went to Morroco some time ago and she sent me a postcard from the historic city of Essaouira - it never arrived... She was sad because se knows I like my cards sent from the country of origin, but as we like to say here in the northern part of Portugal, "Under the Tagus is Morroco!" (only kiddin, of course - no one really means that!) and we that in mind, when she offered to send me another card I asked for her to send in from the southern bank of Tagus river. She's a sweet thing and she went to Trafaria to send the card so, here's another UNESCO site for my collection sent from the country of origin (well almost). Now seriously, thank you very much for your attention Paula, I really lkie this card and now I have 229 WHS, only 752 to go. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

Essaouira (formerly Mogador) - MORROCO - UNESCO #753
 
Essaouira (formerly Mogador) is an exceptional example of a late-18th-century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context. Since its foundation, it has been a major international trading seaport, linking Morocco and its Saharan hinterland with Europe and the rest of the world.
 
 
 

Mafra National Palace - PORTUGAL - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The National Palace of Mafra is a beautiful XVIII century building, with one of the most amazing libraries I've ever visited and a major piece of the novel "Baltasar and Blimunda" by José Saramago, Portuguese Nobel prize of literature. I really can't understand why this is not a World Heritage Site yet, I hope UNESCO correct that mistake soon. Thank you very much Paula for this beautiful card (you promised to send it almost 3 months ago, but better late than never). This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
  
Mafra National Palace - PORTUGAL - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
On 17th November 1717, in the presence of the King and his court, the first stone of the Mafra Palace was laid at an uncommonly flamboyant ceremony celebrated by the Patriarch of Lisbon. The works employed 50 thousand workers, in addition to the seven thousand soldiers who were involved in auxiliary work. The building has an imposing monumental presence, which is the fruit of its outstanding architectural design, particularly of the central part, the Basilica, and a discerning choice of materials and decorative features, which provided it with an almost unique splendour in the Europe of its day: polychromatic marbles from different origins.
 
 
 

Portinho da Arrábida - PORTUGAL - UNESCO TENTATIVE

After a day without any postcards (I wasn't used to that anymore), today my mailbox offered me 4 reasons to smile, The first one is this amazing vintage card (probably from the late 60s, early 70s) showing some fishing on the calm  waters of "Portinho da Arrábida", part of the Arrábida Natural Park, a UNESCO tentative site since 2004 (I wonder if it is next year the promotion to WHS). Thank you very much Gracinha, I really loved this card (please feel free to send me more vintage cards - they're my favorite). This postcard took 18 days to arrive!
 
Portinho da Arrábida - PORTUGAL - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
Between Setubal and Sesimbra lies the Arrábida Natural Park, a beautiful protected area covered with pines and rich Mediterranean vegetation, including many rare species. Perched up on the hills overlooking the sea is a dazzling white 16th century Franciscan monastery, and along the slope of the hillside are five round chapels once used for solitary meditation. Down below, the crystal-clear waters of the sheltered beach of Portinho da Arrábida Monastery in Arrabida Natural Park are relatively warm and popular with scuba divers and underwater fishermen.
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Faces of NEPAL

This beautiful card really made my day. In the photo we can see young pupils at Shanti Gompa preparing for a austere life as buddhist monks with a ready smile. Thank you very much Lee, this is a amazing card, only the second I have from Nepal. This postcard took 27 days to arrive!
 
Young pupils at Shanti Gompa - NEPAL
 
Buddha was born in Shakya (Sakya) Kingdom of Kapilvastu at around which lies in present day Rupandehi district, Lumbini zone of Nepal. It has not been possible to assign with certainty the year in which Prince Siddhartha (birth name of the Buddha) was born, it is usually placed at around 623 B.C. 10 of Nepal's population practice Buddhism, consisting mainly of Tibeto-Burman ethnicities.
 
 
 

Forest Park of Buçaco - PORTUGAL - UNESCO TENTATIVE

My second card from the magnificent forest of Buçaco (or Bussaco) arrived today, this time sent by myself right from the center of the park (they have a little shop with postcards and a maibox right in front... unfortunately the mail stamp doesn't say BUÇACO but MEALHADA instead, the nearest municipality with postal office). This is a wonderful place, still recovering from the cyclone that teared down thousands of trees last January. Luckly the oldest part like the "Floresta Relíquia" (Relic Forest) that you see on this postcard survived almost flawless. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
 
Buçaco Forest Park - PORTUGAL - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
Measuring 1450m by 950m, the National Forest is surrounded by a wall with several gates scattered around the perimeter, providing access to the leafy woods which surround the church, part of a Carmelite convent, a monumental palace, and several other buildings of a religious nature. Buçaco's cultural landscape predates this, the only "wilderness” of its kind in Portugal, which was created by the Order of Discalced Carmelites between 1628 and 1630.
 

 

Lyon - FRANCE - UNESCO #872

A Portuguese postcrosser that I've met in the official forum went to the Historic French city of Lyon for a well deserved vacations after getting his Master degree - first of all let me congratulate you for your recent diploma - and he sent me this beautiful multiview card of that amazing city that I've visited 4 years ago and really loved. Thank you very much Tiago for remembering me and help my UNESCO WHS collection, this is the 228th, only 753 to finish. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!

UNESCO #872 - Historic City of Lyon - FRANCE
 
The long history of Lyons, which was founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. as the capital of the Three Gauls and has continued to play a major role in Europe's political, cultural and economic development ever since, is vividly illustrated by its urban fabric and the many fine historic buildings from all periods.
  

 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Principality of LIECHTENSTEIN

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a tiny little country in the middle of the Alps that if you're not concentrated you can easily miss when driving. I've passed by some years ago when visiting Switzerland and to be honest I don't have much memories of that country (except the mountain landscape and the Vaduz Castle). Thank you very much Steffi for sending me this card, my first picturing Liechtenstein (even if sent from Germany it's always nice to add a new Tab to my blog). This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

Vaduz Castle - LIECHTENSTEIN
 
Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east and north. Its area is just over 160 square km, and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz and the biggest town is Schaan. Liechtenstein has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world when adjusted by purchasing power parity and has the world's lowest external debt. Liechtenstein also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world at 1.5%. It is known as a principality as it is a constitutional monarchy headed by a prince.


 

Monastic Island of Reichenau - GERMANY - UNESCO #974

Another UNESCO site in Germany I've never heard of before today - in the northern reaches of Lake Constance there is a island where still stands a 1300 years monastery and several consecrated churches, all with more than 1000 years and even today there are congregations that live and work there... amazing! The postcrosser that sent this card lives only 2 1/2 hours from Reichenau and she likes to buy biologic vegetables that are grown there. Thank you very much Steffi, I really enjoyed this card and your message. Now I have 227 sites, only 754 to the end. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

UNESCO #974 - Monastic Island of Reichenau - GERMANY
  
The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance preserves the traces of the Benedictine monastery, founded in 724, which exercised remarkable spiritual, intellectual and artistic influence. The churches of St Mary and Marcus, St Peter and St Paul, and St George, mainly built between the 9th and 11th centuries, provide a panorama of early medieval monastic architecture in central Europe. Their wall paintings bear witness to impressive artistic activity.


"Old Vyatka" - RUSSIA

This official card came from Russia and was sent by Ann, a young Postcrosser that doesn't like snow (must be hard to live in central Russia and disliking snow). Unfortunately she didn't give me any information about the painting, except that it represented an old part of her city Kirov. After a lot of Google search, and some frustrating attempts of translate the backside, I've found out that there is a book called "Old Vyatka" by the artist Tatyana Dedova (it costs more than $200 on amazon.com!) with several watercolor paintings that represent the city of Kirov in the time of her grandparents... I think! Well, the main thing is I like this illustration a lot and I'm really glad I received it - thanks a lot Ann! This postcard took 48 days to arrive!

Watercolor "Old Vyatka" by Tatyana Dedova - RUSSIA

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Staten Island Ferry - NY - USA

I belive I've already wrote here that I love vintage pictures, the vivid colors and the look of postcards from the 60s and the 70s really satisfy me (I'm a bit old-fashioned you know). In this beautiful vintage photo of Manhattan there's the Staten Ferry (a NY trademark) crossing the waters and on the back we can see the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center at that time still standing high. Thanks to Rasa, a Lithuanian Postcrosser that lives in England and travels a lot, I now have this amazing card in my collection. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!   
 
Staten Island Ferry crossing to Manhattan - NY - USA
 
The Staten Island Ferry is a passenger ferry service operated by the New York City Department of Transportation that runs between the boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island. The five-mile (8 km) journey takes about 25 minutes each way. The ferry is free of charge, though riders must disembark at each terminal and reenter through the terminal building for a round trip to comply with Coast Guard regulations regarding vessel capacity.
 
 

Christmas Greetings - CCCP

Christmas is coming and a little bit around the world, million of people use postcards to wish a Happy Season (and there's not a better way in my opinion). This wonderful vintage soviet postcard was sent by a Russian Postcrosser and the curious thing is that this card is as old as she (both from 1987). Thank you very much Xony, this is a wonderful contribution to my CCCP card collection. This postcard took 11 days to arrive!

Christmas Greetings - CCCP

In the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated very much. New Year was the important time. Now Christmas is celebrated normally on the January 7th (only a few Catholics might celebrate it on the 25th December). The date is different because the Russian Orthodox church uses the old 'Julian' calendar for religious celebration days. The Orthodox Church also celebrates Advent. But it has fixed dates, starting on 28th November and going to the 6th January, so it's 40 days long.
 
 
 

La Choucroute Alsacienne - FRANCE

This summer, when I went to France to visit my sister-in-law, I've celebrated my birthday there and in the previous months every time she asked what I want as a present my response was always "A bucket of Choucroute" - and in fact I had a mountain of Choucroute waiting for me when I got to Strasbourg, spent the whole week eating it, but no problem, because I really love this dish, specially the way they do it in Alsace (and of course washed down with a nice Riesling). To my surprise, I received this card today with a promise of another bucket when I return there. Thank you very much Belita, you really made my mouth watering all day remembering your delicious choucroute. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
 

La Choucroute Alsacienne (Sauerkraut Garnie) - FRANCE
 
Choucroute garnie (French for dressed sauerkraut) is a famous Alsatian recipe for preparing sauerkraut with sausages and other salted meats and charcuterie, and often potatoes. Although sauerkraut is a traditionally German and Eastern European dish, the French annexation of Alsace and Lorraine following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 brought this dish to the attention of French chefs and it has since been widely adopted in France.

 
 

Die Wies - GERMANY - UNESCO #271

The Pilgrimage Church of Wies in Bavaria - another place I must confess I didn't knew about. It all started in the middle of XVIII century with a simple wooden statue of Christ that appeared to be in tears. Soon it became a massive pilgrimage site and a sumptuous church was erected. Thank you very much for this beautiful postcard Steffi, the interior of this church really seems amazing - my collection grows to 226 UNESCO sites, 755 more and I'm done. This postcard took 20 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #271 - Wies Church - GERMANY
 
Miraculously preserved in the beautiful setting of an Alpine valley, the Church of Wies (1745–54), the work of architect Dominikus Zimmermann, is a masterpiece of Bavarian Rococo – exuberant, colourful and joyful. The preservation is perfect: the colours have retained all their freshness and nothing is lacking in the Rococo whole that is Wies - the splendid asymmetrical ironwork of the choir, the pews of sculpted wood for the faithful, the pulpit, and the elegant and amply modelled saints that inhabit the architecture.

 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Šibenik - CROATIA - UNESCO #963

When we speak about Croatia, almost everybody thinks in Dubrovnik, but there are lots of historic towns as beautiful as Dubrovnik and much less crowded with tourists. When I went there in 2011 I remember my amazement while visiting those wonderful towns in Dalmatia like Šibenik and specially Trogir. Thank you so much Agi for this nice adding to my UNESCO collection. 225 down, only 756 to go. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #963 - St James Cathedral in Šibenik - CROATIA
  
The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik (1431-1535), on the Dalmatian coast, bears witness to the considerable exchanges in the field of monumental arts between Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. The three architects developed a structure built entirely from stone and using unique construction techniques for the vaulting and the dome of the Cathedral. The form and the decorative elements of the Cathedral, such as a remarkable frieze decorated with 71 sculptured faces of men, women, and children, also illustrate the successful fusion of Gothic and Renaissance art.
 
  

Coimbra - PORTUGAL

My good friend Eduardo from the Postcrossing official Forum sent e this nice vintage aerial view of Coimbra where he lives. Nowadays Coimbra gained popularity because of the recent designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site for the University and some other historic buildings. Thank you very much Eduardo, I really like vintage cards and those strong saturated colors that the old grainy photographs had. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!

City view of Coimbra - PORTUGAL
 
Coimbra has been called "A cidade dos estudantes" (The city of the students) or "Lusa-Atenas" (Lusitan-Athens), mainly because it is the site of the University of Coimbra, a public university whose origins can be traced back to the 13th century, one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world. It served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages.

 
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Prehistoric Rock Art in Foz Coa - PORTUGAL - UNESCO #866

Today I've got the 3 cards I sent to myself when in Foz Côa. I finally went to the Museum of the Prehistoric Rock Engravings (not to the actual site of the engravings though, because you have to book in advance), something I was thinking in doing for the last 15 years, but kept delaying I don't really know why - silly me, it's a amazing place (the museum is very interesting and with a nice permanent exhibit, the restaurant of the museum is fabulous and the views over Douro valley really astonishingly beautiful) and I will definitely return next spring and check the real engravings site (and maybe Siega Verde as well). About the cards, they're all vintage (that design with the white border was common in Portugal in the 80s) including a rare one with the original symbol of the museum that the lady in the shop offer me. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!

UNESCO #866 - Engravings, Foz Coa - PORTUGAL

UNESCO #866 - Prehistoric Rock Engravings, Foz Côa - PORTUGAL

Original Logo of the Museum of Prehistoric Art
 
Côa Valley and Siega Verde provide the best illustration of the iconographic themes and organization of Paleolithic rock art, using the same modes of expression in caves and in the open air, thus contributing to a greater understanding of this artistic phenomenon. Together they form a unique site of the prehistoric era, rich in material evidence of Upper Paleolithic occupation.

  
 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Alto Douro Wine Region - PORTUGAL - UNESCO #1046

Last weekend I went with my wife to Douro valley (Foz Côa region) for a little getaway that we try to do every month for recharging our batteries and forget all the stress at work (unfortunately it couldn't be to Guadeloupe!). At this time of the year, the Douro is amazingly beautiful because the vineyard (already harvested) is painted in all types of yellow, brown and red (Autumn is such a lovely season). I didn't resist in sending to myself this beautiful panoramic card to my UNESCO collection. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!
   
UNESCO #1046 - Alto Douro Wine Region - PORTUGAL
 
Wine has been produced by traditional landholders in the Alto Douro region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th century, its main product, port wine, has been world famous for its quality. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty that reflects its technological, social and economic evolution.
  
  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chocolate Hills, Bohol - PHILIPPINES - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The second postcard from Philippines I've got today has a wonderful picture of a curious natural formation that along the year change its color from a vivid green to a chocolate brown and that's why they're called Chocolate Hills. We can also see one of the smallest primates in the world, the Philippine Tarsier (locals call them Mawmag). Thank you very much Cristina, I also hope that this site will soon be part of the UNESCO WHS list. This postcard took 9 days to arrive! 

Chocolate Hills, Bohol - PHILIPPINES - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
Chocolate Hills and its immediate environs are relatively flat to rolling topography with elevation ranges from 100 m to 500 m above sea level. Similar to the formations found in Java, the conical and almost symmetrical and same-sized hills known as the "Chocolate Hills", are more aesthetically extensive. During the dry season when precipitation in inadequate, the grass-covered hills turn chocolate brown, hence the name in reference to a branded confection. 

  
 

El Nido, Palawan - PHILIPPINES - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Today I've received two cards from the Philippines (again, different users, different date, probably same mail plane), a country that recently faced a major tragedy because of the Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda)... to all the people in that part of the world I wish a quick recovery in this difficult time. This card shows the protected area of El Nido in the island of Palawan. This postcard took 30 days to arrive!

El Nido, Palawan - PHILIPPINES - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
The El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area is located on the north-western tip of the mainland of Palawan. In 1991, the Government of the Philippines proclaimed Bacuit Bay as a marine reserve. In 1998, the protected area was expanded to include terrestrial ecosystems and portions of the municipality of Taytay. It is now known as El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, which covers over 36,000 hectares of land and 54,000 hectares of marine waters.


 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Al Zubarah - QATAR - UNESCO #1402

It's always a wonderful feeling for a collector when he manages to get hands on a rare item. Qatar is a small country with only a handful of postcrossing users (less than 10 active in the last 6 months) and it was one of the new entries on the UNESCO list for 2013 - the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, the only remaining complete urban plan of an Arabian pearl-merchant town. Thanks a million Els for looking all Doha stores for this postcard for me, hope you can visit this site soon, it seems really interesting. Well I now have 224 sites in my collection (only 757 till the end) and since Qatar only has this site, another country completed. This postcard took 19 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1402 - Al Zubarah Archaeological Site - QATAR
 
The walled coastal town of Al Zubarah in the Gulf flourished as a pearling and trading centre in the late 18th century and early 19thcenturies, before it was destroyed in 1811 and abandoned in the early 1900s. Founded by merchants from Kuwait, Al Zubarah had trading links across the Indian Ocean, Arabia and Western Asia. A layer of sand blown from the desert has protected the remains of the site’s palaces, mosques, streets, courtyard houses, and fishermen’s huts; its harbour and double defensive walls, a canal, walls, and cemeteries.
 
  
 

Santa Maria of Poblet Monastery - SPAIN - UNESCO #518

The Poblet monastery, near Tarragona in Catalunya is an impressive site. I've never been inside (it was closed when I passed by 4 years ago on my way to Barcelona) but I have a photo much alike the view on this cars Sandra sent me from location (she visited the monastery last week). Thank you very much Sandra for taking the time to drop me a postcard, rising my collection to 223, only 758 to the end. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #518 - Poblet Monastery, Catalunya - SPAIN
  
Santa María of Poblet presents a unique blend of architectural forms generally reserved for distinct applications. It has served as one of the largest and most complete of the Cistercian abbeys, as a massive military complex, and as a royal palace, residence and pantheon of the kings of Catalonia and Aragon. It is a unique artistic achievement and one of the most perfect expressions of Cistercian style in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries.
 

Trier - GERMANY - UNESCO #367

Germany is with no doubt the #1 country in Postcrossing in terms of cards sent and active members and slowly my UNESCO collection of German sites is growing (amost half way through). Today I've got a nice multiview of the Historic City of Tier, sometimes referred to as "the second Rome". Thank you very much Steffi. My collection grows to a nice 222 sites, only 759 to finish. This postcard took 13 days to arrive!

UNESCO #367 - Historic City of Tier - GERMANY
 
Trier, which stands on the Moselle River, was a Roman colony from the 1st century AD and then a great trading centre beginning in the next century. It became one of the capitals of the Tetrarchy at the end of the 3rd century, when it was known as the ‘second Rome’. The number and quality of the surviving monuments are an outstanding testimony to Roman civilization.


 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari - BULGARIA - UNESCO #359

A very funny thing happened today - after more than 460 postcards received, I've got my first duplicate card... on the same day! Sent by different postcrossers and on different dates (but probably traveled in the same mail plane) this two copies of the Thracian Tomb found their way to my mailbox and the coincidence really made me laugh. Thank you very much Tsveti and Mariya, my Bulgarian UNESCO collection is almost done (only two more sites) and globally I now have 221 sites, only 760 to finish. This postcards took 12 and 19 days to arrive! 


UNESCO #359 - Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari - BULGARIA
 
Discovered in 1982 near the village of Sveshtari, this 3rd-century BC Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb has a unique architectural decor, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The 10 female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decoration of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands.


 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow - RUSSIA - UNESCO #545

The second card I've got from Moscow shows the massive Kremlin and Red Square as well as Lenin's Mausoleum - where the embalmed body of the historic leader of the Russian Revolution that died in 1924 can still be seen. Thank you very much Anna for this amazing card. This postcard took 13 days to arrive!

UNESCO #545 - Red Square and Lenin's Mausoleum - RUSSIA

Inextricably linked to all the most important historical and political events in Russia since the 13th century, the Kremlin (built between the 14th and 17th centuries by outstanding Russian and foreign architects) was the residence of the Great Prince and also a religious centre. At the foot of its ramparts, on Red Square, St Basil's Basilica is one of the most beautiful Russian Orthodox monuments.
 
  
  

Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow - RUSSIA - UNESCO #545

Today I've got tho amazing cards picturing the Kremlin and the Red Square. In the first one we can see a beautiful and unusual angle shot of one of the Kremlin Stars (there are four stars there, one in each major tower, since the '30s replacing the two-headed eagles of the tzars) - thank you very much Krylataba for this card and the awesome stamp you used. This postcard took 8 days to arrive!
UNESCO #545 - Kremlin Star, Moscow - RUSSIA
  
Inextricably linked to all the most important historical and political events in Russia since the 13th century, the Kremlin (built between the 14th and 17th centuries by outstanding Russian and foreign architects) was the residence of the Great Prince and also a religious centre. At the foot of its ramparts, on Red Square, St Basil's Basilica is one of the most beautiful Russian Orthodox monuments.
 

Waterfall in Fukushima - JAPAN

This beautiful waterfall came all the way from the country of the rising sun, Japan - more exactly from Fukushima where the sender lives. Fukushima is sadly famous for the major earthquake and the accident on the nuclear powerplant in 2011. I really hope that scientists can minor the effects in the surrounding nature and mankind serioulsy reflect on the usage of such energy sources, because otherwise in a few years we will only see beautiful images like this in old photos. Thank you very much Wakana. Autumn here has also arrived and yes, the leaves in the forest have turned to beautiful yellow and red tones.This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
 
Waterfall, Fukushima - JAPAN
 
Fukushima is located in the northern part of Nakadōri, the central region of the prefecture of Fokushima located in the Tōhoku region on the island of Honshu. The present-day city of Fukushima partially consists of most of the former Shinobu and Date Districts and a portion of the former Adachi District. The city is located in the Fukushima Basin's southwest area and nearby mountains with severall waterfalls.