Friday, January 31, 2014

Little Mermaid, Copenhagen - DENMARK

This amazingly beautiful postcard shows one of the greatest icons of Copenhagen, capital city of Denmark - the Little Mermaid bronze statue that recently celebrated his centenary. I had no idea it was so small (just 130cm tall) and according to the sender, lots of tourists get disappointed when they realize the mermaid is really little. Thank you very much Chris for the awesome panoramic postcard, I'm a huge Hans Christian Andersen fan since I was a toddler. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!  

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen - DENMARK
The Little Mermaid (Den lille havfrue) is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid. The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. It has a height of 1.25 metres and weighs 175 kilograms. Based on the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and has been a major tourist attraction since 1913. 


Berlin Philarmonic - GERMANY

The first classic music concert I remember watching on TV as was Beethoven's Ninth Symphony performed by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Herbert von Karajan... I was very young (only later I've found out that was Beethoven) but the image of Karajan really made a impact - I also remember listening to my father classic records, holding a pencil and pretending I was conducting the orchestra. This amazing Vintage Maxi-Card  celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Berlin Philharmonic celebrated in 1982 really made me return to that living room in my parents house. Thank you very much Judith for such a awesome postcard. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

100 years of Berlin Philharmonic (Maxi-Card) - GERMANY
The Berlin Philharmonic (formerly Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester; now Berliner Philharmoniker) is an orchestra based in Berlin, Germany voted number three on a list of "top ten European Orchestras", after the Vienna Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Its primary concert venue is the Philharmonie, located in the Kulturforum area of the city. Since 2002, its principal conductor has been Sir Simon Rattle. It also supports several chamber music ensembles. The funding for the organization is subsidized by the city of Berlin and a partnership with Deutsche Bank.

Liverpool, Maritime Mercantile City - UK - UNESCO #1150

When we think in Liverpool immediately our mind drifts to the Beatles (ok, for a few of you maybe also to the soccer team), but for UNESCO the most amazing thing on that city is the docklands, birth of modern ports and harbors. I've never been to Liverpool, but the sender of this cards guarantees that this particular area is the most beautiful of the whole city, specially at night. Thank you very much Adam, I'll keep that in mind (and let me congratulate you for your correct Portuguese writting!). My collection reaches 282 sites (699 to finish). This postcard took 4 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #1150 - Liverpool (Albert Dock) - ENGLAND - UK

Six areas in the historic centre and docklands of the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool bear witness to the development of one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries. Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire and became the major port for the mass movement of people, e.g. slaves and emigrants from northern Europe to America. Liverpool was a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management. 


Archaeo-astronomical Site Kokino - MACEDONIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The first postcard I've received from another postcrossing user (a direct swap) back in April 2013 came from Macedonia - I still remember my excitement when I saw it on my mailbox. Well the same user now sent me a awesome postcard of the archaeo-astronomical (amazing word!) near the town of Kokino, used by people from Bronze Age as a observatory. Thank you very much Anita for this beautiful card, my 3rd from Macedonia (all sent by you!) and a UNESCO tentative site (who knows, maybe this year it becomes WHS). This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

The archaeo-astronomical site, the megalithic observatory "Kokino" is located in the north-eastern part of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, at 19km to the northeast of the town Kumanovo and in the vicinity of the village Kokino. Administratively it belongs to the municipality Staro Nagorichane. It comprises an area with a surface of 100m in the direction east-west and 50m in the direction north-south, at the peak of the imposing rocky hill called Tatichev kamen. It is at an elevation of 1013 m.


Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout - NETHERLANDS - UNESCO #818

Kinderdijk windmill complex and its beautiful surroundings - what an amazing place! It's probably one of the prettiest memories I have from the Dutch road trip I took last summer. I remember seeing this beautiful clog shaped cards on the souvenir shops but because they were more expensive I bought the traditional ones (yeah, I know, I'm a scrooge). Thank you very much Amy for this nice addition to my collection. This postcard took 2 days to arrive!
UNESCO #818 - Kinderdijk Mill Network - NETHERLANDS
The outstanding contribution made by the people of the Netherlands to the technology of handling water is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area. Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The site illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology – dykes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings and a series of beautifully preserved windmills.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

AUSTRALIA... a Big Country!

I really like this card! When we compare the area of Austrália with other zones of the planet we realize how large that country is (bigger than all Europe)... of course the comparison with UK or New Zealand is only to tease them I bet! Thank you very much Sami for having the trouble of look around for this card, I really appreciate that (and I totally understand when you say you keep forgeting you live in a island). This postcard took 10 days to arrive!
A Big Country - AUSTRALIA
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Australia is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the world's 12th-largest economy. In 2012 Australia had the world's fifth-highest per capita income.

Wartburg Castle, Thuringia - GERMANY - UNESCO #897

With almost 1000 years of age, the acient walls of this beautiful caslte in the eastern part of Germany are filled with history and witnessed all the political and religious turmoil in Central Europe since feudal and medieval times. Thank you very much for this card Liane, this is another place I really wish to visit one day and since it is a UNESCO WHS it rises my collection to 281 sites (only 700 to the end... I'm almost there!).  This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
UNESCO #897 - Wartburg Castle - GERMANY
Wartburg Castle blends superbly into its forest surroundings and is in many ways 'the ideal castle'. Although it has retained some original sections from the feudal period, the form it acquired during the 19th-century reconstitution gives a good idea of what this fortress might have been at the height of its military and seigneurial power. It was during his exile at Wartburg Castle that Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German.

Antigua - GUATEMALA - UNESCO #65

Patrick is a postcrosser from New York that travels a lot to Central  America. Last year he went to Belize and I asked for a postcard; unfortunately he only read my message on his way back - he recently went to Guatemala and surprised me with this beautiful postcard of the town of Antiqua, a UNESCO WHS. Thank you very much Patrick, I'm really happy for getting this wonderful card and specially for your nice gesture - so, what's your next destination? This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
UNESCO #65 - Cerro de la Cruz, Antigua - GUATEMALA
Antigua, the capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala, was founded in the early 16th century. Built 1,500 m above sea-level, in an earthquake-prone region, it was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1773 but its principal monuments are still preserved as ruins. In the space of under three centuries the city, which was built on a grid pattern inspired by the Italian Renaissance, acquired a number of superb monuments.

Monticello - VA - USA - UNESCO #442

Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson, one of the foundinf fathers and the 3rd President of the United States. He designed this building and in its interior several of his inventions are displayed as well as a great collection of old books (some unique). Thank you so much Clarajane, not only for the berautiful postcard but also for the amazing vintage stamps (20 cents with Monticello and 3 cents  with Thomas Jefferson) you glued on the back, it makes the postcard much more valuable to me. My collection reaches 280 diferente sites (only 701 to finish). This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
UNESCO #442 - Monticelo - VIRGINIA - USA
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), author of the American Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, was also a talented architect of neoclassical buildings. He designed Monticello (1769–1809), his plantation home, and his ideal 'academical village' (1817–26), which is still the heart of the University of Virginia. Jefferson's use of an architectural vocabulary based upon classical antiquity symbolizes both the aspirations of the new American republic as the inheritor of European tradition and the cultural experimentation that could be expected as the country matured.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Highland Cattle - SCOTLAND - UK

My first postcard from Scotland! Along with whisky, the Loch Ness Monster and the skirted pipers, this odd bulls with a crazy haircut are a major Scottish trademark. I've crossed the Highlands back in 2008 (one of the best driving trips I've made) and I took dozen of photos of this cute fellas. Thank you so much Heather, I do hope you can visit Portugal one day, we have lots of wonderful things over here, believe me. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

Highland Cattle - SCOTLAND - UK
Highland cattle (Bò Ghàidhealach) are a Scottish breed of cattle with long horns and long wavy coats which are coloured black, brindled, red, yellow or dun. The breed was developed in the Scottish Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland. Breeding stock has been exported to the rest of the world, especially Australia and North America, since the early 20th Century. Their hair gives protection during the cold winters and their skill in looking for food allows them to survive in steep mountain areas.



Another beautiful card from Tsvetana,  showing one more site that hopefully will be a UNESCO World Heritage Site really soon. She never visited Bachkovo Monastery, but she says it's one of the most popular destinations among tourists (both Bulgarian and foreign). Thanks a million Tsveti, I wasn't expecting this cards and I really loved the surprise... maybe you can help me gathering all the Bulgarian Tentative sites (3 down, 10 to go). This postcard took 10 days to arrive!

The Bachkovo Monastery - BULGARIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE
The monastery is located in the Rhodope Mountains, not far from the town of Assenovgrad. Founded in the 11th century, it is one of the oldest monasteries in the Balkan Peninsula.It was connected with three cultures: Byzantine, old Georgean and Bulgarian. It has preserved unique and highly valuable monuments of architecture and painting, typical of Eastern Orthodox culture. The monastery ossuary (11-12th century) is a two-storied chapel with murals in both stories. It is unique in the entire Eastern Orthodox world.


Central Balkan National Park - BULGARIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Now that I have all the UNESCO WHS from Bulgaria, my good friend Tsvetana is helping me gathering the sites that are on the Tentative list. The Stara Planina is one of her favorite laces in Bulgaria and she loves to go trekking there with her husband; it's part of Central Balkan National Park (that's it's logo on the upper left corner). Thank you very much Tsveti. This postcard took 10 days to arrive!

Central Balkan National Park, situated in the heart of Bulgaria, includes the central and highest parts of Stara Planina Mountain (The Balkan Mountain Range). The park extends in East-West direction for about 85 km, covering a 10 km wide stripe and altitude from 550 m up to the highest peak of Stara Planina mountains - Botev peak - 2376 m. The park was established to protect the unique wilderness of Central Stara Planina Mountains and the local traditions and livelihoods linked to it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pasargadae - IRAN - UNESCO #1106

The second card sent by Pavla (a Russian business woman now living in Tehran) is from the archeological site of Pasargadae, the ancient capital founded by Cyrus the Great that represents an exceptional testimony to the Achaemenid civilisation in Persia. According to the message she wrote on the back, this card is not the best view of Pasargadae a place she already visited, but the only one she had available at the moment - don't worry Pavla, it's a amazing card and I really don't know how to thank you for this extraordinary swap. Hope we can keep on exchanging cards in the future. Ok, about my UNESCO collection, with this two postcards from Iran I now have 279 sites, only 702 to reach the end. This postcard took 22 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1106 - Ruins of Palace of Cyrus, Pasargadae - IRAN
Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great, in Pars, homeland of the Persians, in the 6th century BC. Its palaces, gardens and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid art and architecture and exceptional testimonies of Persian civilization. Pasargadae was the capital of the first great multicultural empire in Western Asia. 


Persepolis - IRAN - UNESCO #114

As I said, today was a great day to my mailbox; waiting for me, along with other great cards were this two awesome postcards from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Located about 650km south of Teheran the ruins of the legendary place that Alexander the Great burned only to prove his power still overwhelm visitors and archeologists. Thank you very much Pavla for this extraordinary addition to my collection. This postcard took 22 days to arrive!
UNESCO #114 - Imperial Treasury Bas-Relief - Persepolis - IRAN
Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. The importance and quality of the monumental ruins make it a unique archaeological site.


Kronborg - DENMARK - UNESCO #696

This is my first card received from Denmark, and a very special one... the Kronborg Castle is where the famous William Shakespeare play "Hamlet" takes place ('to be or not to be...'). According to the sender, the strategic location of this fortress was used to collect taxes from merchant ships sailing into the Baltic Sea (with the cannons loaded just in case they didn't pay). Thank you very much Rebekka for this beautiful card, my first UNESCO from Denmark and the 277th in my collection. This postcard took 3 days to arrive! 

UNESCO #696 - Kronborg Castle - DENMARK
Located on a strategically important site commanding the Sund, the stretch of water between Denmark and Sweden, the Royal castle of Kronborg at Helsingør (Elsinore) is of immense symbolic value to the Danish people and played a key role in the history of northern Europe in the 16th-18th centuries. Work began on the construction of this outstanding Renaissance castle in 1574, and its defences were reinforced according to the canons of the period's military architecture in the late 17th century. It has remained intact to the present day. It is world-renowned as Elsinore, the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet.


Beemster Polder - NETHERLANDS - UNESCO #899

The second card Moniek sent me shows another example of the Dutch mastery of building their country by gaining land from the see - the Beemster Polder was created by the draining of Lake Beemster in 1612, in order to develop new agricultural land and space for country residences. Thank you so much Moniek for this great double swap, now I'm only one WHS away for completing the Netherlands sites; my collection rises to 276, only 705 to finish now. This postcard took 2 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #899 - Beemster Polder - NETHERLANDS
The Beemster Polder, dating from the early 17th century, is is an exceptional example of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. It has preserved intact its well-ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles.

The Wadden Sea - NETHERLANDS - UNESCO #1314

Today was a great day for my mailbox - five postcards (all UNESCO) from three countries found it's way to my collection. This first one is from Wadden Sea, the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world, a Transboundary World Heritage Site that spreads over Germany and Germany coast. Thank you very much Moniek, the math of my collection stands the same because last October I've got a card from Germany with a Wadden Sea beach, but now that I have a Dutch card, this site is now complete (if only Struve Geodetic Arc was that easy). This postcard took 2 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #1314 - The Wadden Sea - NETHERLANDS
The Wadden Sea comprises the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area and the German Wadden Sea National Parks of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. It is a large temperate, relatively flat coastal wetland environment, formed by the intricate interactions between physical and biological factors that have given rise to a multitude of transitional habitats with tidal channels, sandy shoals, sea-grass meadows, mussel beds, sandbars, mudflats, salt marshes, estuaries, beaches and dunes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Komodo National Park - INDONESIA - UNESCO #609

The second postcard Jennifer sent me shows one of the best known wild creatures in Indonesia - the Komodo Dragons, probably the closest thing to a dinosaur still alive. I've seen lots of National Geographic and BBC documentaries about this giant lizards and, even knowing how dangerous their poisonous bite are, I would love to visit this site one day. Thank you so much Jennifer for this awesome double swap, thanks to you I now have more than half of the Indonesian UNESCO WHS and my collection rises to a round 275 sites (706 to go). This postcard took 14 days to arrive! 

UNESCO #609 - Komodo National Park - INDONESIA
These volcanic islands are inhabited by a population of around 5,700 giant lizards, whose appearance and aggressive behaviour have led to them being called 'Komodo dragons'. They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution. The rugged hillsides of dry savannah and pockets of thorny green vegetation contrast starkly with the brilliant white sandy beaches and the blue waters surging over coral.


Ujung Kulon National Park - INDONESIA - UNESCO #608

Today I received two beautiful Indonesian World Heritage Sites postcards sent by Jennifer (also a UNESCO cards collector. The first one is from the Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java, mainly known for the endangered species of one-horned Javanese Rhinoceros. Since she lives near this park, she already visit this site and says it's a beautiful place (and nI don't have any doubt about that). Thank you very much Jennifer, now I have 274 WHS, only 707 sites to finish. This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
UNESCO #608 - Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java - INDONESIA
This national park, located in the extreme south-western tip of Java on the Sunda shelf, includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa. In addition to its natural beauty and geological interest – particularly for the study of inland volcanoes – it contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforests in the Java plain. Several species of endangered plants and animals can be found there, the Javan rhinoceros being the most seriously under threat.


Khabarovsk - RUSSIA

This 3rd card Victoria sent me shows the Great Patriotic War Memorial in the city of Khabarovsk, a city she recently visited. The postcard was issued in 1989 so still under CCCP flag. Thank you so much Victoria, I'm really glad and excited with the interesting vintage cards you sent me. This postcard took 37 days to arrive! 

Great Patriotic War Memorial, Khabarovsk - RUSSIA
Khabarovsk is the largest city and the administrative center of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia, located 30 kilometers from the Chinese border, at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers. It is the second largest city in the Russian Far East, after Vladivostok. The city was the headquarter of the Far East Military District, and retains its historically international flavour. Since the demise of the Soviet Union it has experienced an increased Asian presence.


Tyumen University, Siberia - RUSSIA

Along with the official card I've shared with you on the last post, Victoria gently slip in an envelope two more vintage cards. The first one is from the Geological Department of the University of Tyumen (her hometown) - it was issued in 1986 by the occasion of the 400th anniversary of this Siberian town. Thank you Victoria. This postcard took 37 days to arrive! 

Tyumen State Oil and Gas University, Siberia - RUSSIA
Tyumen State Oil and Gas University is the largest university in the Tyumen region of Russia. It has 7 schools, including construction, social sciences, engineering, and the Institute of Management and Business. There are 4 petroleum universities in Russia. Tyumen State Oil and Gas University is the only university of its kind in Siberia and Far East. It was established in 1956. Today about 40 thousand students study here in 70 departments.


New Afon Cave, Abkhasia - GEORGIA

This vintage card (1983) is a official POSTCROSSING card sent from Russia but it shows the curious electric train that carry tourists to the New Afon Cave, the biggest in Georgia (the access tunnel has more than 1500m). After searching more information online I've found out that unfortunately, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and with all the internal troubles of Georgia, both Russian and international tourism almost came to an end and the cave has very little visitors. Thank you very much Victoria for this interesting card - even sent from Russia I'll consider this one as my first postcard from Georgia. This postcard took 37 days to arrive!

Entrance to the New Afon Cave, Abkhasia - GEORGIA
The Novoafonskaya peschera (New Afon Cave) is the most important tourist cave of Abkhazia and Georgia. The cave is very huge, and six big chambers are developed for the public. The biggest one is the Gruzish Cavers Chamber, which is 260m long, 75m wide and up to 50m high. Novoafonskaya is widely renowned for its wealth of speleothems. Beneath stalactites and stalagmites, which are formed of calcite, there are also gypsum crystals of various forms. Crystals resembling little flowers, cover the formation called White Mountain.


Berdichev - UKRAINE

This beautiful vintage card shows Berdichev the hometown of the sender that now lives in Kiev, Ukraine. She wrote this card on Christmas Eve and her only wish is that the difficult political situation in Ukraine may be solved soon - I've been following the news about Ukraine with concern and I also hope that everything may be sorted peacefully. Thank you very much Ksenia and don't loose your hope in human kindness and good will. This postcard took 37 days to arrive!
Berdichev - UKRAINE
Berdychiv is a historic city in the Zhytomyr Oblast of northern Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of the Berdychiv Raion and is located 44 km south of the oblast capital, Zhytomyr. Founded in 1430 when the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vitautas granted the rights over the area to Kalinik, and his servant named Berdich founded a khutor (remote settlement) there.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Saint Sava Temple, Belgrade - SERBIA

My first postcard from Serbia arrived today! It was sent by my good friend Onder, a Turkish Postcrosser that went there on business. Serbia is one of the few European countries I've never visited and, to be honest I don't know much about... for instance, I've never thought that the largest Orthodox church in the world could be on Belgrade! Thank you very much Onder for this nice surprise, hope you had a wonderful time in Serbia. This postcard took 13 days to arrive!

Saint Sava Temple, Belgrade - SERBIA
The Cathedral of Saint Sava (or Temple of Saint Sava) is a Orthodox church located in Vračar, Belgrade, Serbia. It is the largest Orthodox church in the world and ranks amongst the ten largest church buildings in the world. The church is dedicated to Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It is built on the Vračar plateau, on the location where it is alleged that his remains were burned in 1595 by the Ottoman Empire's Sinan Pasha. From its location, it dominates Belgrade's cityscape, and is perhaps the most monumental building in the city.


Grand Canyon National Park - AZ - USA - UNESCO #75

Along with the three Vegas cards, Marissa add this beautiful Grand Canyon postcard, the spot I want to drive to in that red convertible Mustang I told you the previous post. This is my 3rd Grand Canyon card, but the first I have that's "Printed in China" (business in Vegas is just like that right?... outsourcing to the best price!). Thank you very much Marissa, I'm very happy with this surprise - soon you'll get a envelope for me with some more Portuguese cards. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
UNESCO #75 - Grand Canyon - ARIZONA - USA
Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon (nearly 1,500 m deep) is the most spectacular gorge in the world. Located in the state of Arizona, it cuts across the Grand Canyon National Park. Its horizontal strata retrace the geological history of the past 2 billion years. There are also prehistoric traces of human adaptation to a particularly harsh environment.

Las Vegas - NV - USA

Finally I got postcards from the fabulous Las Vegas in Nevada, USA - and I say postcards, because the sender surprised me with these 3 amazing cards in an envelope (2 of them with lots of bright glitter spots). Who never dreamed of visiting this major amusement park at least once in his life? Me and my wife plan on going there some day to get (re)married by Elvis in one of those neon chapels before rolling through the desert on a red convertible... cliché I know, but dreams don't need to be always original. Thank you very much Marissa for sending me all this amazing cards, now if you excuse me, I must go and clean my scanner of all those freaking glitter papers! This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada - USA

Regal Vegas (Bellagio Casino Hotel), Las Vegas - NV - USA

Winning in Vegas, Las Vegas - NV - USA
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and the county seat of Clark County. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining, and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural center for Southern Nevada. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its consolidated casino–hotels and associated entertainment.


Huangguoshu Waterfall - CHINA

This beautiful postcard shows the giant Huangguoshu Waterfall, measuring 77.8 meters high and 101.0 meters wide, it's the largest in China and one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Unfortunately, during its travel or in the Chinese post office, this card was seriously damaged (two big creases, one of them almost tearing off one corner) and it's probably the one in worst condition I have... but it found a safe harbor now and even without beeing a UNESCO site, it's a great addition to my collection.Thank you very much. This postcard took 61 days to arrive!

Huangguoshu Waterfalls Scenic Area, Guizhou - CHINA
Huangguoshu Waterfalls Scenic area is one of the first state-level scenic spots in China. The waterfall cluster is made up of more than 10 above-ground waterfalls, underground waterfalls, and water stone forests at Tianxingqiao Bridge and Tianxing Cave. The waterfall looks best during the months of May through October (the rainy season). In summer, water rises in the river and rushes 700 meters down into the Rhinoceros Pool (Xi Niu Tan), creating a splendid auditory and visual environment of roaring water and karst rock formations in the water fog. During winter and spring, the waterfall extends down along the cliff, still wide and spectacular.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Indianapolis 500 - IN - USA

The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races in the world - in this postcard we can see the traditional balloon release shortly before the start of the 2011 edition (celebrating 100 years of Indy 500). In Europe we normally follow Formula One championship with that elaborated circuits instead of the simple oval track they have in the states, but I really like to watch Indy 500 and NASCAR racing on ESPN (specially the crashes, of course!). Thank you so much Jaelen. This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
100th Indianapolis 500 Ballon Release - INDIANA - USA
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is an automobile race held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. The event is held over Memorial Day weekend, which is typically the last weekend in May. The event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered one of the three most prestigious motorsports events in the world. The inaugural running was won by Ray Harroun in 1911. 


Grand Canyon National Park - AZ - USA - UNESCO #75

This beautiful postcard shows the breathtaking and dramatic view from Toroweap Overlook that stands 3000 vertical feet above the Colorado River. According to the message on the back, the Renowned Lava Falls Rapid is just downriver and can easily be seen and heard from the overlook. Thank you very much Kelly, now I wave two views of this awesome site. This postcard took 17 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #75 - Grand Canyon (Toroweap Overlook) - AZ - USA
Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon (nearly 1,500 m deep) is the most spectacular gorge in the world. Located in the state of Arizona, it cuts across the Grand Canyon National Park. Its horizontal strata retrace the geological history of the past 2 billion years. There are also prehistoric traces of human adaptation to a particularly harsh environment.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winter in CANADA Map

Freezing well below zero in the last weeks, my good friend Jason picked this awesome Map Card to send me, this time with that beautiful country all under a white blanket. I've seen some TV footage of Canada and the States and it's really impressive (and they keep talking about global warming?). Thank you very much Jason and no, I don't understand the pleasure of ice skating under -20ºC, but if it makes you happy, it can't be that bad! This postcard took 11 days to arrive!
CANADA and the Provinces Map
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States is the world's longest land border shared by the same two countries.

Nightview - HONG KONG - CHINA

The third official of today came all the way from Hong Kong and was sent by Alexias that in February will celebrate her 5th anniversary on postcrossing, congratulations! I'm only starting, will do an year next April... Thank you very much Alexia for this postcard and the nice message yo wrote. This postcard took 19 days to arrive!
The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre at night - CHINA
Hong Kong, is one of the two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China, the other being Macau. It is situated on China's south coast and, enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is known for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. With a land mass of 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Fatahillah Museum - INDONESIA

My second official card from Indonesia shows the Fatahillah Museum (History Museum) in Jakarta, the capital and largest city in Indonesia. The building architecture is clearly European (it was the Dutch Colonial Government headquarter) and inside pieces oh Indonesian history are displayed (I wonder how they show the infamous East Timor occupation). Thank you very much Mei for this card and the amazing set of stamps you've picked. This postcard took 23 days to arrive!
Fatahillah Museum (Jakarta History Museum) - INDONESIA
The Jakarta History Museum, also known as Fatahillah Museum, is located in the Old Town (Kota) of Jakarta, Indonesia. The building was built in 1710 as the Stadhuis (city hall) of Batavia. Jakarta History Museum, opened in 1974, displays objects from the prehistory period of the city region, the founding of Jayakarta in 1527, and through the Dutch colonization period from the 16th century until Indonesia’s Independence in 1948.

Sakura - JAPAN

Cherry Blossom is one of the most identifiable Japanese pictures (from the ancient illustrations to the modern photos). This beautiful official card is my first showing the Japanese Sakura. Because I live in Fundão (the greatest cherry production region in Portugal) I know very well the amazing spectacle that every spring cherry trees give us with their branches covered with beautiful flowers (still, I prefer them in late June, early July, with that same branches now filled with delicious cherries). Thank you very much Yuka. This postcard took 21 days to arrive!
Japanese Sakura (Cherry Blossom) - JAPAN
Sakura is the Japanese term for ornamental cherry blossom trees and their blossoms. A cherry blossom is the flower of any of several trees of genus Prunus, particularly the Japanese Cherry, Prunus serrulata. Many of the varieties that have been cultivated for ornamental use do not produce fruit. Edible cherries generally come from cultivars of the related species Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sidney Opera House - AUSTRALIA - UNESCO #166

In this postcard are three beautiful views of the famous Opera House in Sidney Harbour. This is one of those buildings almost everybody in the world can identify because of its unique architecture and the constant references - when we think Australia we think in the Sidney Opera House (a bit like Eifel Tower to France or Statue of Liberty to USA). It was a surprise when I found that only in 2007 it became a UNESCO WHS. Thank you very much Sami for this extraordinary card. My collection now rises to 273 (only 708 to finish). This postcard took 14 days to arrive!

UNESCO #166 - Sidney Opera House - AUSTRALIA
Inaugurated in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is a great architectural work of the 20th century that brings together multiple strands of creativity and innovation in both architectural form and structural design. A great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape, at the tip of a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour, the building has had an enduring influence on architecture. The Sydney Opera House comprises three groups of interlocking vaulted ‘shells’ which roof two main performance halls and a restaurant. 

Xumishan Grottoes, Ningxia - CHINA

Xumishan Grottoes is a precious treasure of Buddhism. It is composed of 162 caves with more than 350 Buddhist statues - the main atraction is the is the massive Big Buddha Mansion, which houses a 20-meter-tall statue of the Buddha from the Tang period (A.D. 618-908). I thought this was a site classified by UNESCO, but after searching their page I realize it's not. Still I'm very glad of having this card, specially since it's a vintage one (printed in 1988 so older than the sender like she says in the message). Thanks a lot, I love this card and I think it should be a WHS! This postcard took 56 days to arrive! 

Xumishan Grottoes, Ningxia - CHINA
Xumishan Grottoes in Ningxia was first built during Northern Wei dynasty 1400 years ago,ranks among top 10 grottoes in China, is a magnificent yet little-known Buddhism site. It been enlisted on top 100 endangered architectural and cultural sites in the world. Unlike other grottoes in China, Xumishan Grottoes has its caves chiseled on the cliffs of eight separate peaks and the distribution of these caves take a shape of a fan.



The third card Niina sent me shows another site in the UNESCOtentative list. Ukonkivi, (English: Ukko's rock), is located on the island of Ukonsaari in lake Inari, Finnish Lapland. It was considered by the local Sami people (Europe’s northernmost and the Nordic countries’ only officially indigenous people) to be an extremely important sacred natural formation and was used as a sacrificial site as recently as in the 19th century. Thank you very much for this amazing swap Niina - my collection became much richer with your beautiful cards. This postcard took 7 days to arrive! 

Ukonsaari is a holy place of the Sami People (Lapps), a rocky island with steep cliffs, rising in the middle of lake Inarinjarvi. On the western side is a sacrificial cave. The island is about 30 metres high, 50 metres broad and a 100 metres long. The distance from the village of Inari to Ukonkivi is approximately 11 kilometres.