Thursday, October 02, 2014

Back to PORTUGAL

Hello

I'm glad to inform you that I've returned to Portugal with my mother... her recuperation on the last weeks is simply amazing and, against all odds, there will be no major sequels to the sepsis - she's a survivor!

At the moment she is in a physical rehabilitation center to regain muscular strength and it will take another 5-6 weeks until the magical moment when she can return home... sometimes all this still feels unreal, first the accident and the suffering and now the wonderful recuperation that helps replacing all the bad memories.

Meanwhile my wife is also recovering well, still in physiotherapy because of the fractures on the hipbone, gaining strength slowly but steady...

I still don't know when will I return to my postcard hobby, maybe in January (new year, new life)... until then I would like to thank all the postcards and e-mails I received with nice words that really helped me keeping the faith.

See you soon... 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This blog is now on hold...

Dear Friends

I 'm sorry, but this blog is temporarily closed... on Aug 11 I had a terrible car accident in Czech Republic. I'm physically ok, just somebruises and a terrible back pain, but my wife had multiple bone fractures, she's already in Portugal recovering and resting, in a couple of months should be ok. I'm still at Kromeriz in Czech Republic, because unfortunately my mother who was traveling on the back seat had suffered major injuries... she's in the intensive care unit, woke up yesterday from a 2 week induced coma and is still in a critical condition, fighting with a serious sepsis... I don't know when I'll return to Portugal and it will probably take lots of time before I can think in postcards again... I want to apologize for any official card not registered or a swap I've arranged and hasn't fulfill...

Thank you all for understanding, best regards

Joao Nogueira

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Leaving for vacations...

My dear friends, for the next month there will be no updates on this blog... I'm leaving for my summer vacations - I'll be out of home most of the time and, hoping to find my mailbox stuffed with postcards when I return. Thank you all for following my posts and helping me on this addictive hobby. I honestly wish you all the best summer ever with lots of funny and happy moments filled with love among friends and family. See you in late August!
  
this is not a postcard, just a image I found on the web... :)



Friday, July 18, 2014

Gates Fort - BERMUDA - UNESCO #983

My first card from Bermuda arrived today! Still part of the United Kingdom, the island of Bermuda played a strategic role on the naval connection through the Atlantic between the Old and the New World (of course that it's mostly famous for being the top point of the Bermuda Triangle where ships and plains get lost). Thank you Carol, you live in a beautiful place and I really like your card and the stamp you used, and since this is a UNESCO WHS, I now have 432 on my collection, only 575 left to complete it. This postcard took 19 days to arrive! 
  
UNESCO #938 - Gates Fort, St. George - BERMUDA - UK
 
The Town of St George, founded in 1612, is an outstanding example of the earliest English urban settlement in the New World. Its associated fortifications graphically illustrate the development of English military engineering from the 17th to the 20th century, being adapted to take account of the development of artillery over this period.
   
  
 

Greetings from Seatle - WA - USA

Seattle is another of those American cities like New York or San Francisco that we feel we know thanks to the constant appearances and references in movies and TV series (I'm a huge fan of Frasier sitcom). This beautiful touristic postcard uses the cityscape (with the famous Space Needle) in a stained glass pattern - I saw it on a card gallery and asked a Seattle postcrosser to send me one and she manage to find it on a small store downtown. Thank you so much Beckie for taking the time and look for this specific card for me. This postcard took 10 days to arrive!
  
Greetings from Seattle, Washington - USA
 
Seattle is a coastal seaport city and the seat of King County, in the U.S. state of Washington. With an estimated 652,405 residents as of 2013, Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and the fastest-growing major city in the United States. The Seattle area had been inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers.I was named "Seattle" in 1853, after Chief Si'ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes.
  
  
 

Boudoir Photo, Jean Agélou

Along with the 3 cards that we've arranged to swap, Anna decided to slip a extra one on the envelope - quoting her message "after a map with costumes I send you a girl without costumes". Thank you so much Anna, even being a modern Ukrainian reprint, this is my first Boudoir Card (known in the United States as "French Postcards"), one of the first mass-produced type of cards and a must buy for everyone who visited Paris one century ago (the touristic cards only came later...) - I really like the vintage erotic photos and films made by Jean Agélou, some of them are just awesome and with a certain innocence, not cheap or dirty like the most recent (Google it and see for yourself). This postcard took 8 days to arrive!
  
Boudoir Photo by Jean Agélou
  
A French postcard is a small, postcard-sized piece of cardstock featuring a photograph of a nude or semi-nude woman. Such erotic cards were produced in great volume, primarily in France, in the late 19th and early 20th century. The term was adopted in the USA, where such cards were not legally made. The cards were sold as postcards, but the primary purpose was not for sending by mail, as they would have been banned from delivery.
  
  
 

Map of Traditional Costumes - UKRAINE

This is my first Map-Card from Ukraine and it's a special Map, because it includes the main regional variations of the Ukranian Traditional Costumes with its typical embroidery. Thank you very much Anna for this beautiful postcard and your funny message. This postcard took 8 days to arrive!
  
Map of National Traditional Costumes of UKRAINE
   
The traditional dress of Ukraine is a centuries old unique and distinctive emblem of the Ukrainian culture. The traditional dress of Ukraine is full of ornamental designs, fantastic embroidery and remarkable exposition. Even today, the national dress of Ukraine is hand woven and fabulously decorated. The embroidery is an ancient practice which is applied to the traditional dress of Ukraine and it is varied from region to region in the country, embellished with the antiquated motifs and harmonic arrangements full of colors and exotic stitches.
  
  
 

"The Final Touch" (1954), Gil Elvgren

The second card I got from Anna has another amazing pin-up illustration, this time made by the most famous pin-up artist, the American Gil Elvgren (if he was alive he would celebrate his 100th anniversary this year). I really love the work of Gil Elvgren (have several books and always like to imagine a story behind every picture and every girl). For those of you that think this is a under-form of art, I just find out that the original of this illustration was recently sold in auction for $77,675! Thank you very much Anna, for sending me another pin-up postcard to my collection. This postcard took 8 days to arrive!
  
"The Final Touch" - Gil Elvgren (1954)
  
Gil Elvgren (1914 – 1980), born Gillette Elvgren in Saint Paul, Minnesota, was an American painter of pin-up girls, advertising and illustration. Elvgren studied at the American Academy of Art and was one of the most important pin-up and glamour artists of the twentieth century. Elvgren lived in various locations, and was active from the 1930s to 1970s. His clients ranged from Brown and Bigelow and Coca-Cola to General Electric and Sealy Mattress Company.
  
  
 

"Woof!" (1952), Peter Driben

Today I received a envelope with four postcards from a Ukrainian postcrosser that, like me, loves pin-up art cards. This one is another wonderful Peter Driben drawing for a 'Flirt Magazine' cover (April 1952) and it shows a nice puppy grabbing a hot girl dress (a recurrent theme in pin up world). Thank you very much Anna. This postcard took 8 days to arrive!
  
"Woof!" - Peter Driben (1952)
   
Peter Driben (October 22, 1903 - September, 1968), an American pin-up artist, was perhaps one of the most productive pin-up artists of the 1940s and 1950s. Although both Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren have extensive catalogues of work, neither came close to the output of Driben. Driben's pinups delighted the American public from the beginning of World War II until the great baby boom of the 1950s. 
    
    
    

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur - INDIA - UNESCO #1338

The second card (this one really damaged) shows the astronomical observation site of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur. Several instruments are impressive in their dimensions, and some are the largest ever built in their category. Thank you very much Akhil for another great contribution to my UNESCO collection (reached 431 sites, 576 more and I'm done). This postcard took 17 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1338 - The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur - INDIA
 
The Jantar Mantar, in Jaipur, is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. They are monumental examples in masonry of known instruments but which in many cases have specific characteristics of their own. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India's historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.
  
  
 

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka - INDIA - UNESCO #925

From India I received two UNESCO cards (different senders on different dates, probably the same mail airplane) both with several marks of a careless deliver. The first shows the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, a series of caves in Madhya Pradesh region famous specially for the Mesolithic paintings on its walls. Thank you very much Nagi for aloowing me to cross another site on the list (430 down, 577 to go). This postcard took 15 days to arrive!
  
UNESCO #925 - Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka - INDIA
 
The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau. Within massive sandstone outcrops, above comparatively dense forest, are five clusters of natural rock shelters, displaying paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period. The cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one villages adjacent to the site bear a strong resemblance to those represented in the rock paintings. 
  
  
 

Victory Square, Minsk - BELARUS - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Francysk Skaryna Avenue is one of the longest avenues in Minsk and largely constructed right after the World War II with modern plans and buildings. This avenue crosses several squares and circus, the biggest of all is 'Victory Sqare', where a 3m replica of the Order of Victory medal crowns a granite column of 38m erected right in the center of the circus, built to celebrate the victory on the "Great Patriotic War". The whole urban architectural ensemble is a a site being considered by UNESCO to become a WHS. Thank you very much Irina, that's another place I'll certainly won't miss when I get the chance to visit Minsk (probably next year). This postcard took 12 days to arrive!

Victory Squre, Francysk Skaryna Avenue, Minsk - BELARUS
 
The urban architectural ensemble of Francysk Skaryna Avenue in Minsk is an example of the integrated approach in organizing a city's environment by harmoniously combining its architectural monuments, the planning structure, the landscape and the natural or man-made spots of vegetation. The Ensemble was constructed during fifteen years after World War II. Its length is 2900 meters. The width of the road including side-walks varies from 42 to 48 meters. The work on the general lay-out of the former Sovietskaya Street began in 1944, immediately after the liberation of Minsk from the Nazi troops. 
  
  
 

Tytuvėnai Church and country Map - LITHUANIA

Lithuania is one of the three Baltic States (with Estonia and Latvia) and a place I'm really thinking in visiting next year (and now I have a map to guide me!). The Tytuvėnai Church and Bernardine Monastery were built on the 16th century. Thank you very much Neja, I can now add Lithuania to my Map-Card collection list. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!
   
Tytuvėnai Church and country Map - LITHUANIA
 
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in Northern Europe, the largest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It borders Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian enclave) to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 3 million as of 2013, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. 
    
  
 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sunset on the Baltic Sea - POLAND

The last card I got from Sylwia shows a breath-taking beautiful photo of a sunset on the Baltic Sea. Every sunset photo is beautiful, but I particularly like this one, because of the boat and the birds it gives me a extraordinary sense of liberty or freedom. Probably next year I'll have the chance to travel to the Baltic, I hope I can see sunsets like this one. Thank you so much Sylwia, I really love all the four cards you sent me.  This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
  
Sunset on the Baltic Sea - POLAND
 
The Baltic Sea is a mediterranean sea located between Central and Northern Europe, bounded by the Swedish part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. The Baltic Sea is connected by artificial waterways to the White Sea via the White Sea Canal, and to the German Bight of the North Sea via the Kiel Canal. The central part, also called the Baltic Proper, is bordered on its northern edge by the Gulf of Bothnia, on its northeastern edge by the Gulf of Finland, and on its eastern edge by the Gulf of Riga.
   
  
 

Biskupin - POLAND

When I first saw this card I immediately thought "Oh look, it's the Babaorum Roman Camp from the Asterix books!"... but no, it's a archaeological open air museum, near Żnin in central Poland and the construction is of course much more recent than the original Iron Age settlement that existed there 2700 years ago. Thanks again Sylwia for introducing me to this beautiful site (that I never heard of).  This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
  
Archaeological Museum of Biskupin - POLAND
 
The archaeological open air museum Biskupin is an archaeological site and a life-size model of an Iron Age fortified settlement in Poland. When first discovered it was thought to be early evidence of Slavic settlement but archaeologists later confirmed it belonged to the Biskupin group of the Lusatian culture. The excavation and the reconstruction of the prehistoric settlement has played an instrumental part in Polish historical consciousness.
   
  
 

Pieniny Mountains National Park - POLAND - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The site on this card is not a UNESCO WHS yet, but the specific elements of flora and fauna on this dolomite and limestone mountains make it a very strong candidate for future nominations. According to the sender this is one of the main tourist attractions in Poland, even bigger than Białowieża Forest (trips down the Dunajec River on wood canoes are organized here since the 19th century). Thank you Sylwia for the beautiful card and the stamp from this year EUROPA series.  This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
  
Pieniny Mountains National Park - POLAND
  
This property encompasses valley located within the Pieniny National Park in the south of Poland. During the selection of representative sites defined location represents a unique and extremely interesting geological and geomorphological features and which is characterized by poor anthropogenic influence with preservation of specific natural ecosystems.
  
  
 

Wooden Church of the Archangel Michael, Debno - POLAND - UNESCO #1053

Today I receive four beautiful cards from Poland. The first shows one of the several Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska region classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site since 2003. The Church of the Archangel Michael in Debno is first mentioned in 1335, the ceiling and the interior walls are painted using stencils from the 15th and 16th centuries. Thank you very much Sylwia, I was looking for a card of this site for a long time and thanks for using a extraordinary Karol Józef Wojtyła stamp (one of the most beautiful Pope stamps I've ever seen). This is my429th UNESCO WHS (still 578 missing). This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
  
UNESCO #1053 - Wooden Church of the Archangel Michael, Debno - POLAND
 
The wooden churches of southern Little Poland represent outstanding examples of the different aspects of medieval church-building traditions in Roman Catholic culture. Built using the horizontal log technique, common in eastern and northern Europe since the Middle Ages, these churches were sponsored by noble families and became status symbols. 
  
  
 

Derbent - RUSSIA - UNESCO #1070

The nice close angled photography on this postcard was taken on the walls of the Derbent Fortress, a major stronghold, crucial for the control of the north-south passage on the west side of the Caspian Sea during more than 1500 years. Thank you very much Masha for another great swap (our summer here is also starting with low temperatures, hofefully it will change soon). I now have 428 UNESCO WHS cards, only 579 to finish (and only 2 missing from Russia). This postcard took 19 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #1070 - City Walls, Ancient City of Derbent - RUSSIA
 
The Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent were part of the northern lines of the Sasanian Persian Empire, which extended east and west of the Caspian Sea. The fortification was built in stone. It consisted of two parallel walls that formed a barrier from the seashore up to the mountain. The town of Derbent was built between these two walls, and has retained part of its medieval fabric. The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century.
  
  
 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Greetings from GHANA

My first postcard from Ghana arrived today!... And boy what a trip it must have been! The card was sent on June 30th in a envelope that was opened the same day for custom examination that put a big stamp there and lots of duct tape around the envelope (luckly not over the stamps!); on it's way here it must have caught lots of rain or so because it wave lots of water marks on the envelope and the card itself is creased. I know that lots of people would be mad, but to be honest I love the card like it is (I always like to imagine my cards having great adventures before reaching my mailbox). Enough chit-chat, this beautiful card has the Ghana map shape imposed over the flag and a cute little "Warrior King" - the word 'Akwaaba' means 'Welcome'. It was send by Sisu one of the founders of a wonderful project called "Prince and Princess Academy" (CLICK HERE) that wants to build a school for children on Tamale and are currently asking for donations - for each donation given they will send a postcards to the donor (other presents available for larger donations). Sisu is a teatcher and he offered me this card on a swap (I've sent several portuguese cards addressed to his pupils with historical landmarks in Portugal) and asked me to advertise the project here, so to all postcrossers out there - do you want to receive a postcard from Ghana and, more important than that, help creating a new school? Go to their site and follow the steps or send a message to Sisu through postcrossing website (Sisu's Profile). Thank you very much Sisu for this wonderful card and letter (loved the kid drawing that you slip inside the envelope), I do hope you manage to raise all the funds you need. This postcard took 15 days to arrive!
 
 
Ghana, officially called the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign multinational state and unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Ghana is the 82nd largest country in the world and 33rd largest country on continental Africa by land mass. The country is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The word Ghana means "Warrior King"
   
  
 

"Ah, Babie! Ah, nénuphar!", Macha Boky

This funny postcard is a reproduction of a illustration made by the artist Macha Boky. After some research on the web, I found out that the red dress girl with no underwear is named Babie and I found another funny illustrations (almost like cartoons) from the same author (I couldn't find anything about Macha Boky, I'll do a better search later). Thank you very much Kristina, I really laughed loud with this one. This postcard took 18 days to arrive!
  
"Ah, Babie! Ah, nénuphar!", Macha Boky
  
 

Pinnacles Desert - AUSTRALIA

I love to swap postcards with another collectors around the world, but still I must say that there's nothing like opening your mailbox and find there a postcard you weren't expecting. That happened today with this card my sweet friend from Australia sent me showing the Pinnacles Desert (with limestone formations that reach 5 meters) with a recently issued special edition stamp of the Royal Visit of William Kate and their toddler to Australia. Thank you very much Sami for another great card from Western Australia. This postcard took 7 days to arrive! 
  
Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park - AUSTRALIA
   
The Pinnacles are limestone formations contained within Nambung National Park, near the town of Cervantes, Western Australia. The raw material for the limestone of the Pinnacles came from seashells in an earlier era that was rich in marine life. These shells were broken down into lime-rich sands that were blown inland to form high mobile dunes.The Pinnacles remained unknown to most Australians until the 1960s, but now the area receives over 250,000 visitors a year.
  
  
 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Grimeton Radio Station, Varberg - SWEDEN - UNESCO #1134

These days we take lots of things for granted due to the amazing technological evolution of our society, but before the development of the transistor and electronic circuits and devices life was really different on our planet, specially in communications - the Grimeton Radio Station in Sweden was one of the most important sites for trading messages with the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Thank you so much Merja for helping my UNESCO collection (you're the sender of all the WHS cards from Sweden I currently have) that now reaches the 427, 580 more and I'll have them all. This postcard took 3 days to arrive! 
  
UNESCO #1134 - Grimeton Radio Station, Varberg - SWEDEN
  
The Varberg Radio Station at Grimeton in southern Sweden (built 1922–24) is an exceptionally well-preserved monument to early wireless transatlantic communication. It consists of the transmitter equipment, including the aerial system of six 127-m high steel towers. The site is an outstanding example of the development of telecommunications and is the only surviving example of a major transmitting station based on pre-electronic technology. Although no longer in regular use, the equipment has been maintained in operating condition. 
  
  
 

Royal Domain of Drottningholm - SWEDEN - UNESCO #559

Located on Queen's Island in Lake Mälaren, outside Stockholm, the Drottningholm palace is one of those great Royal ensembles built in Europe on the 18th century (like Versailles, Schonbrunn or Caserta). On this card we have a view of the theater. Thank you so much Merja for sending me this surprise card (I didn't ask for it when we arranged the triple swap), I'm sure that Drottningholm is a wonderful place and of course I'll visit it when I had the chance to go to Stockholm. Ok, now I have 426 UNESCO cards, only 581 to finish it. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!   

UNESCO #559 - Royal Theater, Drottningholm - SWEDEN
  
The ensemble of Drottningholm - castle, theater, Chinese pavilion and gardens - is the best example of a royal residence built in the 18th century in Sweden and is representative of all European architecture of that period, heir to the influences exerted by the Château de Versailles on the construction of royal residences in western, central and northern Europe.
  
 
 

Visby - SWEDEN - UNESCO #731

The medieval walled trading town of Visby on Gotland island in the Baltic Sea, Sweden was a Viking settlement and became a Hanseatic Town 800 years ago when hundreds of traders set their warehouses in this place. Thank you very much Merja, for another card for my UNESCO collection (425 down, 582 to go!). This postcard took 3 days to arrive!   
  
UNESCO #731 - Hanseatic Town of Visby (Town Walls) - SWEDEN
 
A former Viking site on the island of Gotland, Visby was the main centre of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic from the 12th to the 14th century. Its 13th-century ramparts and more than 200 warehouses and wealthy merchants' dwellings from the same period make it the best-preserved fortified commercial city in northern Europe.
  
  
 

Karlskona - SWEDEN - UNESCO #871

Today I received four UNESCO WHS postcards from Sweden, almost a year passed after receiving my first card from there, curiously from the same postrcrosser. This one shows the Naval Port of Karlskrona, founded in 1680 when Sweden was a much larger kingdom, it became the model for modern naval ports in Europe. The Swedish Navy still have their base there. Thank you very much Merja, this is my 424th WHS, 583 more and I'm done. This postcard took 3 days to arrive! 
   
UNESCO #871 - Naval Port of Karlskona - SWEDEN
 
The complex of the naval port of Karlskrona was the model for several similar projects in Europe. It is a unique relic of Sweden's time as a major power, and of the North European Baroque movement's attempt to create unity between the layout of the city, the manufacturing areas, and the surrounding countryside. The whole is characterized by the consistent long-term aim of cultivating efficiency and aesthetic, still clearly discernible in the infrastructure and open spaces.
  
  
 

Choo Choo with a Pearl Earring

The Korean Jetoy company started on 2001 offering design stationery with several motifs,  but fame and fortune came when they created Choo Choo, the cute big eyed cat, and started applying its image to well known paintings and characters, like this one where ans adaptation of the famous Vermeer 1665 painting "Girl With a Pearl Earring". The Jetoy cards are highly collectable and lots of people on the postcrossing site asks for them - this is my first and after seeing the reaction of my wife (she loves cats) I think I must start a Jetoy collection as well. Thank you very much for this card and the amazing stamps with cats you've used. This postcard took 17 days to arrive!
 
Choo Choo with a Pearl Earring (Jetoy)

Jetoy is a lifestyle brand that features the Choo Choo Cat. Founded in 2001 in Korea it has skyrocketed to fame in Japan, China and Hong Kong, and recently launched in the U.S. 

  
 

Taroko National Park - TAIWAN

Back in April I received a official card from Taroko National Park, the most famous natural site and pop scenic spot of Taiwan. Today I got another card from that park, this time with a photo of the scenic road on the cliff of the Taroko Gorge and with a special edition Cingshuei Cliff stamp. Thank you very much Awi. This postcard took 27 days to arrive! 
  
Taroko Gorge, Taroko National Park - TAIWAN
  
Taroko National Park is one of the eight national parks in Taiwan and was named after the Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park. The park spans Taichung Municipality, Nantou County, and Hualien County. The park was originally established on December 1937 when Taiwan was part of the Empire of Japan. After the Empire of Japan's defeat in World War II, the Republic of China assumed control of Taiwan. The ROC government subsequently abolished the park on August 15, 1945. It was not until November 1986 that the park was reestablished.
   
  
   

Friday, July 11, 2014

Byblos - LEBANON - UNESCO #295

The last card Mazen sent me has the historic Souk of Byblos, the world oldest inhabited city (dating back 8800 years) and the cradle of modern writing (the Phoenician alphabet was the base for Roman alphabet, only with minor adaptations, that we use in all the western world). The Phoenician were also famous for their trade ships that sailed the entire Mediterranean Sea and part of the Atlantic Ocean - from Byblos came the best cedar wood do build them. Thank you so much Mazen, I really love your cards and learned a lot from your messages. You've been a major contribution to my UNESCO collection, that currently have 423 sites, only 584 to finish. This postcard took 14 days to arrive!

UNESCO #295 - Historic Souk, Byblos - LEBANON
 
The ruins of many successive civilizations are found at Byblos, one of the oldest Phoenician cities. Inhabited since Neolithic times, it has been closely linked to the legends and history of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Byblos is also directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet (on which humanity is still largely dependent today).
   
  
 

Baalbeck - LEBANON - UNESCO #294

The second card I got from Lebanon shows the ruins of several temples dedicated to sun God in historic Baalbeck, a city situated in the fertile Bekaa Valley and where the best wines and herbs from the Roman Empire were produced (including Cannabis, very popular among upper classes in Rome those days - well, I guess nowadays it still is and in all the social classes!). Thanks again Mazen for the beautiful card and the nice message. With this one I reach 422 UNESCO cards, only 585 to finish my collection. This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #294 - Folk Dancers at Baalbeck - LEBANON
 
This Phoenician city, where a triad of deities was worshipped, was known as Heliopolis during the Hellenistic period. It retained its religious function during Roman times, when the sanctuary of the Heliopolitan Jupiter attracted thousands of pilgrims. Baalbek, with its colossal structures, is one of the finest examples of Imperial Roman architecture at its apogee.
  
  
 

Tyre - LEBANON - UNESCO #299

My first cards from Lebanon arrived today! This has been a truly glorious week (4 new countries) and it ends with three spectacular postcards all showing World Heritage Sites,  written, stamped and sent from Lebanon. The first one shows Tyre, located in south Lebanon, founded around 2750 BC and one of the most important ancient Mediterranean harbours. According to the scriptures, Jesus healed several people when he passed there. Thank you very much Mazen for the beautiful card and stamps. 421 UNESCO sites down, 586 to go. This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
  
UNESCO #299 - Roman Road and Colonnade, Tyre - LEBANON
  
Located on the southern coast of Lebanon, 83 km south of Beirut, the antique town of Tyre was the great Phoenician city that reigned over the seas and founded prosperous colonies such as Cadiz and Carthage. Tyre was directly associated with several stages in the history of humanity, including the production of purple pigment reserved for royalty and nobility, the construction in Jerusalem of the Temple of Solomon, thanks to the material and architect sent by the King Hiram of Tyre.
   
  
  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ayutthaya - THAILAND - UNESCO #576

The only card of the day is a beautiful multi-view from the Historic City of Ayutthaya in  Thailand. According to the sender it's only a 90min trip from Bangkok (where he lives), and when you walk along the ruins of that place you feel like you've entered a whole new world. Thank you so much Edvard, I really like this card (specially the stone head of Buddha on the tree) and I will certainly visit this place if I ever go to Bangkok. This is my 420th UNESCO WHS, 587 more and I'll have them all. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
  
UNESCO #576 - Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya - THAILAND
  
The Historic City of Ayutthaya, founded in 1350, was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom after Sukhothai.  It flourished from the 14th to the 18th centuries, during which time it grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center of global diplomacy and commerce. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Its remains, characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of its past splendour.
   
  
 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Greetings from SINT MAARTEN

For the third day in a row I get to start a new country label, and this one totally unexpected, sent by Patrick, a american postcrosser with whom I've made several swaps. This is the first time I read anything about Sint Maarten, the southern part of Saint Martin Island on the Caribbean Sea, now a autonomic region within the kingdom of Netherlands, a island of strategic importance on the old sea routes and for that divided since 1648 (the northern part is ruled by France). Thank you so much Pat, for this awesome surprise (a cards from a "hard to get" country with the cancellation mark perfectly clear!) -  I must admit I really envy your job (that take you from New York to the Caribbean every other month!) but if you keep on sending postcards I think I might forgive you! This postcard took 22 days to arrive!

 
Orient Bay view - SINT MAARTEN
  
Sint Maarten is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It encompasses the southern half of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, while the northern half of the island constitutes the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin. Its capital is Philipsburg and a total population is 37,000 (population density of 1,100 inhabitants per km²).
  
  
 

OKLAHOMA Map

Doing the Historic Route 66 from coast to coast in the United States of America is another of those dreams I have that I hope I'll manage to do one day! If I ever get to really do it, more than 400 miles of that long road-trip will be made in Oklahoma State (well, I already got the map!) Thank you very much Valerie for sending me this map, the 20th on my US State Map collection (hey I'm almost halfway throught). This postcard took 8 days to arrive!

Route 66 on Oklahoma State Map - USA
 
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, The Sooner State, in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on the choicest pieces of land prior to the official opening date, and the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which opened the door for white settlement in America's Indian Territory. Its residents are known as Oklahomans or, informally "Okies", and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.
  
  
 

Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon - NM - USA - UNESCO #353

Deep in the state of New Mexico, the remote Chaco Canyon is the location of the ruins of Pueblo Bonito, dated more than 500 years before the date that Columbus reached the American Continent. Spreading over 34 km2, the remains of the four stories high construction that held more than 800 rooms and 32 round ceremonial chambers, it's a important proof of the evolution state of those people and one of the 10 sites of this UNESCO WHS. Thank you so much Sam, I really like this card and slowly I'm gathering all the USA entries on the UNESCO list (only 4 remaining). The global math now is in 419 down, 588 to go. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
  
UNESCO #353 - Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon - NM - USA
  
For over 2,000 years, Pueblo peoples occupied a vast region of the south-western United States. Chaco Canyon, a major centre of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250, was a focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity for the prehistoric Four Corners area. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture – it has an ancient urban ceremonial centre that is unlike anything constructed before or since. In addition to the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the World Heritage property includes the Aztec Ruins National Monument and several smaller Chaco sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
  
  
 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Pattadakal - INDIA - UNESCO #239

From India I receive another wonderful postcard with Hindu temples, this time the Pattadakal Temples on the State of Karnataka, Bijapur District. According to the sender, that visited the site recently, there are 9 temples dedicated to Lard Shiva on the banks of Malaprabha river, including the one we see on the photo (unfortunately the card doesn't have the name... ). Thank you very much Nagi for one more awesome UNESCO WHS card (418 sites received, 589 missing). This postcard took 6 days to arrive!   

UNESCO #239 - Temples of Pattadakal, Karnataka - INDIA

Pattadakal, in Karnataka, represents the high point of an eclectic art which, in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Chalukya dynasty, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India. An impressive series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary, can be seen there. One masterpiece from the group stands out – the Temple of Virupaksha, built c. 740 by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband's victory over the kings from the South.