Friday, May 30, 2014

CABO VERDE Map

The last card I receive from my dear sister-in-law is this map-card showing all the 10 islands of the archipelago of Cabo Verde (I've visited four in three different trips: Sal, Boa Vista, Santiago and Fogo), a amazing addition to my map collection. Thanks again Mila for the amazing cards you've sent and I'm very happy to know that you enjoyed your vacations there (it's not that hard to believe though, it's really a wonderful place). This postcard took 32 days to arrive!
  
Archipelago of Cabo Verde Map - CABO VERDE
 
Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cape Verde, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. Located 570 km off the coast of Western Africa, the islands cover a area of slightly over 4,000 km2. Three (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry; the others generally rockier with more vegetation. The name of the country stems from the nearby Cap-Vert, on the Senegalese coast. Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the previously uninhabited islands in the 15th century.
  
  
  

Island of Boa Vista - CABO VERDE

This three wonderful cards show some of the "good views" of Boa Vista island, where you can find some of the most beautiful beaches of Cabo Verde. I've been there 6 years ago, before the construction of the major hotels and I had the luck to see a almost virgin and unexplored island where the giant turtles had their sanctuary and perfect for hiking and whale watching... nowadays the massive flux of tourists is causing impact on the ecological equilibrium and as far as I know more hotels are projected. I do hope that they don't ruin that paradise (even knowing the importance of tourism revenues to the Cabo Verde economy). Thanks again Mila, your cards made me go back in time and remember that extraordinary week I spent there (after checking the photos I found out that after 6 years I'm fatter and with much more white hairs... life is really just a quick glimpse of time that we must learn to enjoy more). This postcards took 32 days to arrive!
  


 
Boa Vista (Portuguese meaning “good view”) is the easternmost island of Cape Verde. It is located in the Barlavento group of the archipelago. The island is known for marine turtles and traditional music, as well as its ultramarathon and its sand dunes and beaches. The island also constitutes the municipality of Boa Vista, which has two parishes, Santa Isabel and São João Baptista.
  
  
 

Cabo Verde Multiview - CABO VERDE

Today I received five amazing cards from my sister in law that went to the Boa Vista island in Cabo Verde (I know the official designation is Cape Verde, but I'll use the Portuguese denomination, sorry) for a week of sun, peace and tranquility in that amazing archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, that I also have the luck to visit for several times. This first card is a multi-view with pictures of all the islands. Thank you very much Mila for remembering me during your vacations. This postcard took 32 days to arrive!
   
Islands of Cape Verde (Multiview) - CAPE VERDE
  
Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cape Verde, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. Located 570 km off the coast of Western Africa, the islands cover a area of slightly over 4,000 km2. Three (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry; the others generally rockier with more vegetation. The name of the country stems from the nearby Cap-Vert, on the Senegalese coast. Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the previously uninhabited islands in the 15th century.
  
  
 

"The Birth of Venus" (1879), Bouguereau

The newest addition to my paintings collection (must do a list one of this days) is one of the most beautiful Bourguereau painting, "The Birth of Veuns", a huge canvas (3m high) that completely inebriates you when you see it live (I spent a good half hour staring at it in Orsay, Paris). The perfection of the design of Venus body is awesome and, to be honest I prefer this one to the Botticelli one - Venus is the Godess of Love so it doesn't make sense picturing her self-consciously covering her body with her hair and hands... if there's a woman not ashamed of being naked it's Venus (and there's nothing to be ashamed, the human body is a wonderful thing and nudity is perfectly normal and should be accepted). Thank you very much Carmen for this beautiful card and the wonderful stamps you used (loved the one with the cat). This postcard took 19 days to arrive!
  
"The Birth of Venus" (1879) - CHINA
  
The Birth of Venus (French: La Naissance de Vénus) is one of the most famous paintings by 19th-century painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. It depicts not the actual birth of Venus from the sea, but her transportation in a shell, as a fully mature woman, from the sea to Paphos in Cyprus. The subject matter, as well as the composition, resembles a previous rendition of this subject, Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, as well as Raphael's The Triumph of Galatea.

  
 

Cathedral of Guarda - PORTUGAL

Not far from my home stands the highest (and coldest) city in Portugal, Guarda. The Cathedral ("Sé da Guarda") is a architecture masterpiece that combine several styles because its construction spread along 200 years. In Guarda lives one of the friends I've made in the Postcrossing Forum and she sent me this beautiful card of the Cathedral surrounded with snow (something normal during winter). Thank you very much Martinha. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
  
The Cathedral of Guarda (Sé) - PORTUGAL
 
Guarda is the highest city in continental Portugal (altitude 1,056 m), located to the northeast of Serra da Estrela (the largest mountain in mainland Portugal). The main attraction in Guarda is its cathedral, known as the Sé da Guarda. This mediaeval Cathedral is a historical religious building and its construction took from 1390 until the mid 16th century, combining Gothic and Manueline styles.
  
  
  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Everglades - FL - USA - UNESCO #79

The cute pussycat in the photo is one of the beautiful specimens of the endangered Florida Panther (a smaller subspecies of the western mountain lion) - they're highly protected because nowadays there are only 30 remaining in all the Everglades National Park. According to the sender, that lives in Florida and has been to this Park several times, they often get to close to cars and the roads in the Everglades are filled with "warning: panthers crossing" signs! Thank you very much Claudia for this awesome card and your nice message and stamps. This postcard took 14 days to arrive! 
  
UNESCO #79 - Florida Panther, Everglades National Park - FL - USA
   
Everglades National Park is the largest designated sub-tropical wilderness reserve on the North American continent. Its juncture at the interface of temperate and sub-tropical America, fresh and brackish water, shallow bays and deeper coastal waters creates a complex of habitats supporting a high diversity of flora and fauna. It contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere, the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie and the most significant breeding ground for wading birds in North America.
    
  
   

Retro Travel Poster - CHICAGO - USA

The Anderson Design Group, Inc. is an award-winning graphic design firm based in Nashville, famous for the posters, magazine and book covers with a retro look. I told you already that I'm a bit old-fashioned and this kind of design really attracts me. I've browsed the online catalog of this design firm and I would love to get more postcards with their posters, they're awesome. Thank you very much Robin for the amazing card and your description of the first time you visited this fountain (one of the highest water jet in the world and the eastern terminus of U.S. Historic Route 66.). This postcard took 15 days to arrive!  
 
Buckinghem Fountain Poster- CHICAGO - USA
    
Buckingham Fountain is a Chicago landmark in the center of Grant Park. Dedicated in 1927, it is one of the largest fountains in the world. Built in a rococo wedding cake style and inspired by the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles, it is meant to allegorically represent Lake Michigan. It operates from April to October, with regular water shows and evening color-light shows. During the winter, the fountain is decorated with festival lights.
  
  
 

MALAYSIA Map

In this postcard we can see all the states unified under the Malaysian federation and the coat of arms of each one as well as the official coat of arms of Malaysia, the 'Jata Negara Malaysia' that have two rampant tigers that symbolize the traditional Malay and a shield divided in all the regions - the motto of the country is written bellow and state that "Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu" (Unity is Strength). Thank you very much Shaliza for this beautiful card from a country I would really love to visit - probably since I was a little boy and read the Sandokan novels by Emilio Salgari that I wish to go to Malaysia. This postcard took 20 days to arrive!      
  
Map and Coat of Arms of MALAYSIA
  
Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. It is one of 17 megadiverse countries on earth, with large numbers of endemic species.
  
    
 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Miguasha National Park - CANADA - UNESCO #686

Recently the Canadian post offices sent a special edition series of postcards with some of the UNESCO sites in that country. My good friend Jason promised to send me one of each and today I got the first one showing Miguasha National Park, in east Quebec(a place I've never heard about and, according to the message he wrote it's unknown to Jason as well), famous for the fossils Devonian Period. Thanks a lot for this wonderful card, the 390th WHS in my list, only 591 to complete the collection. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!  
  
UNESCO #686 - Miguasha National Park, Quebec - CANADA
    
The palaeontological site of Miguasha National Park, in south-eastern Quebec on the southern coast of the Gaspé peninsula, is considered to be the world's most outstanding illustration of the Devonian Period known as the 'Age of Fishes'. Dating from 370 million years ago, the Upper Devonian Escuminac Formation represented here contains five of the six fossil fish groups associated with this period. Its significance stems from the discovery there of the highest number and best-preserved fossil specimens of the lobe-finned fishes that gave rise to the first four-legged, air-breathing terrestrial vertebrates – the tetrapods.
     
   
   
 

The Longmen Grottoes - CHINA - UNESCO #1003

The Chinese art of stone carving reached its peek during the 5th and 6th centuries and it was mainly in that period that the Longmen Grottoes were carved with thousands of Buddhist statues. Thank you very much Ines for this card and the nice message you wrote. As for my UNESCO collection, 389 down, 592 to go. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!  

UNESCO #1003 - The Longmen Grottoes, Hunan Province - CHINA
 
The Longmen Grottoes, located on bothsides of the Yi River to the south of the ancient capital of Luoyang, Henan province, comprise more than 2,300 caves and niches carved into the steep limestone cliffs over a 1km long stretch. These contain almost 110,000 Buddhist stone statues, more than 60 stupas and 2,800 inscriptions carved on steles. These works, entirely devoted to the Buddhist religion, represent the high point of Chinese stone carving.
  
  
 

ARKANSAS Map

The State of Arkansas map is my most recent addition to my map collection and it was sent by Kristy from Tennessee (that already sent me a map from her state). Although Tennessee and Arkansas are not that far away from each other she never went to "the Natural State". Thank you very much Kristy for my 14th map state (only three dozens missing). This postcard took 13 days to arrive! 
  
ARKANSAS Map and Symbols - USA
 
Arkansas is a state located in the Southern region of the United States. Its name is of Siouan derivation, denoting the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta. Known as "the Natural State", the diverse regions of Arkansas offer residents and tourists a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The capital and most populous city is Little Rock, located in the central portion of the state.
  
  
 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Barra de São Miguel Beach - BRAZIL

My friend Luzia from the Postcrossing Forum that lives in São Paulo, Brazil, sent me this postcard of the beautiful Barra de São Miguel Beachin the Alagoas state with a wonderful stamp (special commemorative edition of the World Football Championship that starts next month) - as she says, besides all the problems that Brazil is living nowadays (specially in São Paulo) it still offers these little pieces of paradise and for the next month will be the center of the world's attention because of the World Cup and the moment the ball start to roll every problem will vanish, at least while the team keeps winning - "Panis et Circences" in the 21st century. Thank you very much Luzia I totally understand you, here in Portugal is the same thing and back in 2004 when we hosted the Euro Cup it was incredible all the alienation in the people. Well if you can't beat them, join them... Go Ronaldo Go!!! This postcard took 11 days to arrive!

Barra de São Miguel Beach, Alagoas - BRAZIL

Alagoas is one of the 27 states of Brazil and is situated in the eastern part of the Northeast Region. It borders: Pernambuco (N and NW); Sergipe (S); Bahia (SW); and the Atlantic Ocean (E). Its capital is the city of Maceió. it is one of the greatest producers of sugarcane and coconuts in the country and has an economy based on cattle raising. Alagoas possesses some of the country's richest folklore.
  
  
 

Tomsk, Siberia - RUSSIA

The second official came all the way from the cold Siberia, more precisely form the city of Tomsk (one of the oldest towns in Siberia) and it shows the Chapel of the Iberian Mother of God that stands at Lenina Square (the largest square of the city, that kept its name even after the USSR collapse and where a monument to Lenin still exists). Thank you very much Alyona. This postcard took 19 days to arrive!

Chapel of the Iberian Mother og God, Tomsk, Siberia - RUSSIA
 
The Chapel of the Iberian Mother of God is located on the Lenina square (formerly Bazaar) near the monument to Lenin, on the town of Tomsk in Siberia. The chapel in memory of the Crimean War of 1853-1856 was built on the merchant Petrov, designed by architect Konstantin Eremeev and consecrated on Easter Tuesday 1858. Tomsk chapel was built in the likeness of the Iberian Chapel in Moscow.
  
  
 

1972 Olympics, Munich - GERMANY

Two official Postcrossing postcards were waiting for me today at my mailbox! The first one is a beautiful vintage card (older than me!) showing the construction site of the magnificent Olympic Stadium in Munich Germany and the Olympiaturm (the giant TV Tower that was at the time a architecture record with 290m). Thank you very much Wolfgang for this historical vintage card, loved it. This postcard took 12 days to arrive! 
  
Construction site of the Olympic Stadium in Munich - GERMANY
     
The 1972 Summer Olympics was held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972. They were the second Summer Olympics to be held in Germany, after the 1936 Games in Berlin, which had taken place under the Nazi regime. Mindful of the connection, the West German Government was eager to take the opportunity of the Munich Olympics to present a new, democratic and optimistic Germany to the world, as shown by the Games' official motto, "Die Heiteren Spiele", or "the Happy Games.
   
  
 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kama Sutra Cartoon - USA

This amazing postcard came all the way from Spam, Minnesota in the United States (yes, the birthplace of the infamous canned food!). It shows a comic cartoon of one of the hundreds of weird positions described in the Kama Sutra book - of course that even knowing that the great Vātsyāyana work is much more than a sex manual, and a great book by the way, it's impossible to listen to the name Kama Sutra without thinking in something really kinky! In this particular scene (called 'Herd of Cows') we can see a lucky fella having fun with five different girls (whoa... "ménage à six"? really?). Thank you very much Mimi, I laughed a lot with this card and the funny story you told me (let's hope my blog doesn't get censured because of this picture!). This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
 
"Herd of Cows" Position, Kama Sutra
 
The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Hindu text widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by Vātsyāyana. Contrary to popular perception, especially in the western world, Kama Sutra is not just an exclusive sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life and other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties of human life.
  
  
 

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco - USA

This nice vintage card (from the 80s) shows the magnificent Marin coastline in the foreground with the Golden Gate and the city of San Francisco in the distance. It was sent by Ilona that recently went to California. Thank you very much my dear, I really like the card, normally the Golden Gate cards only show the bridge, I think this is a very nice angle showing the rocky coast. This postcard took 12 days to arrive! 

Golden Gate, San Francisco Bay - CA - USA
     
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It opened in 1937 and had until 1964 the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, with 1,280 m.
   
   
   

Toruń - POLAND - UNESCO #835

Only a week after getting my first card from Toruń, today I received another one, so I guess I've arranged two swaps of the same site without noticing, but I glad I did it because this was sent precisely from Toruń so I have a card sent from exact location (and luckily in the cancellation mail stamp is really easy to read Toruń). Thank you very much for your card  Wiltoria, you live in a wonderful city. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!

Medieval Town of Toruń - POLAND - UNESCO #835
 
Toruń owes its origins to the Teutonic Order, which built a castle there in the mid-13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia. It soon developed a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League. In the Old and New Town, the many imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries (among them the house of Copernicus) are striking evidence of Torun's importance.
  
  
  

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Swiss Pin Up - SWITZERLAND

My friend Óscar from the Postcrossing Forum sent me this beautiful drawing of a Swiss Pin Up. Thank you very much Óscar, I really like this sexy design of Helvetia (I think it would give a wonderful T-Shirt) and this card was very useful for me to clean my brain from the picture of the "Alpine Avalanche" you sent last month. This postcards took 3 days to arrive!
   
The Swiss Pin Up - SWITZERLAND
  
Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland, officially Confœderatio Helvetica, the Swiss Confederation. The allegory is typically pictured in a flowing gown, with a spear and a shield emblazoned with the Swiss flag, and commonly with braided hair, commonly with a wreath as a symbol of confederation. The name is a derivation of the ethnonym Helvetii, the name of the Gaulish tribe inhabiting the Swiss Plateau prior to the Roman conquest.
    
 
  

The Virgin Komi Forests - RUSSIA - UNESCO #719

Another great card from Russia with one more World Heritage Site to my growing collection, this time showing the Virgin Komi Forests in the Northern Ural mountains, a wild sanctuary that is being threatened by illegal logging and gold-mining (I do hope authorities can maintain and protect this place from the unstoppable greed of some human beasts).  Thank you very much Masheeke for my 20th Russian UNESCO WHS (5 more and I'll complete the country) that raises my collection to a total of 388 different sites (only 593 to finish) - and thank you for the amazing Europa Stamp that you used. This postcards took 13 days to arrive! 

UNESCO #719 - Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve, Virgin Komi Forests - RUSSIA

The Virgin Komi Forests cover 3.28 million ha of tundra and mountain tundra in the Urals, as well as one of the most extensive areas of virgin boreal forest remaining in Europe. This vast area of conifers, aspens, birches, peat bogs, rivers and natural lakes has been monitored and studied for over 50 years. It provides valuable evidence of the natural processes affecting biodiversity in the taiga.
  
  
 

Flax Spinning - BELARUS

Like most people on Eastern Europe, Belorussians are proud of their heritage and the unique culture they have carved out over many centuries of history and they have several ethnographic complexes and museums designed to show and spread their national identity to visitors and tourists. This card was issued by the 'Braslav Museum of Traditional Culture' and it shows the traditional way of spinning flax. Thank you very much Irina, your description of the natural landscapes of Belarus made my will to visit your country grow.  This postcards took 10 days to arrive! 
 
Applied Art of Belarus, Flax Spinning - BELARUS
  
The traditional way of spinning flax stricks is to use a distaff, but it is not required. A distaff is a long vertical pole that can be attached to the spinning wheel, or free standing next to the wheel. The long fibers of flax are tied together at one end and the rest of the fibers are fanned out. In Belarus flax has been cultivated since ancient times. Flax fibers were used to make fabrics, clothes, beautiful household items, toys for children. Seeds were used to make bread, tasty kissel (a sweet drink resembling thin jelly). No wonder blue flowers adorn the National Emblem of Belarus. 
 
   
   

Bali - INDONESIA

From the distant paradise of Bali Indonesia, I received three awesome postcards sent by Shinta (she often goes there on romantic getaways with her husband - you lucky girl!). This postcards are so beautiful that I first thought of posting them separately, but then I decided to join them in only one to be sure that everyone would see them altogether.  The first two show the kecak where young males show their strength and virility by carrying a beautiful lady wearing traditional costumes near the seaside, the second bring us Barong, the mythical creature that has the magical power to clean the world from all evil and one of the most amazing sunset photos in my collection that make me understand and agree that Bali must be a perfect destination for a romantic vacation (maybe Barong will help me by winning the lottery!) Thank you very much Shinta for this extraordinary cards and stamps. This postcards took 18 days to arrive! 

The kecak dance, Bali - INDONESIA

The Barong, Bali - INDONESIA

Romantic Sunset, Bali - INDONESIA
 
Bali is an island and province of Indonesia, and includes a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida. It is located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java to the west and Lombok to the east, and has its capital of Denpasar at the southern part of the island. Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. Tourism is the largest single industry in terms of income, and as a result, Bali is one of Indonesia's wealthiest regions.
  
  
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Modena - ITALY - UNESCO #827

From Italy comes another beautiful contribution to my UNESCO collection. The Cathedral of Modena (in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna) with its huge bell tower, visible from many miles of the city, and the surrounding Piazza Grande (big square) is another example of the magnificent Italian architecture and a well deserved designated World Heritage Site, the 387th in my collection (594 sites to finish). Thank you very much Gabriele for the nice card and the awesome cancellation mail stamp with the drawing of the Cathedral. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
 
 UNESCO #827 - Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena - ITALY
 
The magnificent 12th-century cathedral at Modena, the work of two great artists (Lanfranco and Wiligelmus), is a supreme example of early Romanesque art. With its piazza and soaring tower, it testifies to the faith of its builders and the power of the Canossa dynasty who commissioned it.
 
  
 

Alcatraz, San Francisco - CA - USA

The last card I got from Ron shows the most famous prison in USA, Alcatraz. During 30 years thousand of prisoners were locked in this little rock in San Francisco Bay - 36 tried to escape and none made it. Thank you so much Ron for the four cards you sent me that took me on a little trip through California. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
  
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay - CA - USA
    
Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, 2.4 km offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. In 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Today, the island's facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; it is open to tours.
      

Carlsbad - CA - USA

Another medium size city (or maybe I should say little, by American standarts, since it has less then 100.000 inhabitants) on the shores of San Diego, California is Carlsbad (nothing to do with the UNESCO Carlsbad Caverns, those are in New Mexico). According to Ron, for more than two years now this region in under serious drought conditions and wildfires are threatening the city (the green hills we see on the horizon of the postcard photo are not green anymore). Thank you very much Ron for the card and your message. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
  
Carlsbad Beach, San Diego - CALIFORNIA - USA
 
Carlsbad is an affluent seaside resort city occupying a 7-mile (11 km) stretch of Pacific coastline in North San Diego County, California. The city is located 87 miles (140 km) south of Los Angeles and 35 miles (56 km) north of downtown San Diego. Referred to as "The Village by the Sea" by locals, Carlsbad's Mediterranean climate attracts visitors year-round to its quaint hotels and five-star luxury resorts.
  
  
 

Ventura - CA - USA

Just one hour drive from Los Angeles and Hollywood, Ventura Beach is used for filming lots of TV series and movies (small production and B-rated mainly, like the recent cult movie Sharkzilla... so bad, so awful that it became a instant classic and, I must confess, I loved it!). Thanks again Ron. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!

Fishing Pier, Ventura Beach - CALIFORNIA - USA

Ventura (officially the City of San Buenaventura), is the county seat of Ventura County, California, United States, incorporated in 1866. The original inhabitants of the area were native Chumash people, who called it Shisholop ("In the mud") in the Chumash language. Ventura is famed for the quality and frequency of the surfing conditions at spots such as Surfer's Point at Ventura County Fairgrounds.
  
  
 

Long Beach - CA - USA

My friend Ron from the states sent me four cards from the Golden State of California without telling me, so it was a nice surprise when I found them today on my mailbox. The first one shows a picture of Long Beach Port, one of the biggest in the whole world - the Ocean Liner in the picture is the RMS Queen Mary.  Thank you Ron. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
  
The Queen Mary at Long Beach Port - CALIFORNIA - USA
  
Long Beach is a city in Los Angeles County in Southern California, on the Pacific coast of the United States. The city is a dominant maritime center of the United States. The Port of Long Beach is the United States' second busiest container port and one of the world's largest shipping ports. In 2008, the Long Beach, California, City Council approved a locally originated movement to designate the city as the "Aquatic Capital of America.
 
  
 

Fortress Town of Palmanova - ITALY - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Not far from Venice, near the border between Italy and Slovenia stands one of the most beautiful fortified village I've ever visited - the star-shaped fortress of Palmanova (check online the beauty of the construction in a aerial view). Its not a UNESCO WHS yet, but I do believe it will be soon (it deserves as much as the Vauban fortresses in France). In this card we can see the 'Duomo' (Cathedral) viewed from a window in the City Hall. Thank you very much Caterina, I love the vintage card you've chosen. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

Palmanova - ITALY - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
The fortress town of Palmanova, among the more important and better preserved examples of late Renaissance military architecture, was built by order of the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia in 1593. A better understanding of the reasons that induced the Venetians to erect Palma and to choose the site can be obtained by going back to the policy and culture of the previous century, both in Friuli and in Venice, and by taking into account the situation in Europe in relation to aspects concerning diplomacy, military technique and strategy as well as philosophic culture and catholic doctrine after the Council of Trent.
  
  
 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Keukenhof Park - THE NETHERLANDS

Today I received a wonderful surprise. My friend Paula from the Postcrossing Forum went on a wild trip the Netherlands and she sent me a beautiful card from Keukenhof Park, the biggest flower gardens in Europe where 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually (it was the biggest in the world until the moment that the excessive Dubai Secret Garden open doors). It's signed by several other postcrossing members that organized a meeting while she was there. Thank you very much Paula, Jetske, Sofa, Tjitsle, Telenn, Isagy and Astrid for remembering me! This postcard took 8 days to arrive!

Keukenhof Park, Lisse - THE NETHERLANDS
  
Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe,is located in South Holland in the small town of Lisse, south of Haarlem and southwest of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The garden was established in 1949 by the then-mayor of Lisse. The idea was to present a flower exhibit where growers from all over the Netherlands and Europe could show off their hybrids – and help the Dutch export industry (the Netherlands is the world's largest exporter of flowers).
  
  
 

Castel del Monte - ITALY - UNESCO #398

Castles have always fascinated me and whenever I go abroad I don't mind taking a detour just to visit one of those magic places, living memories of a distant and very different past. I've visited probably hundreds in my life but, as far as I remember, I've never entered one with octagonal shaped walls like Castel del Monte in Andria - I really want to go there one day. Thank you very much Marica for this wonderful card (I'm glad you've chosen a aerial view - that way the shape of the walls is pretty clear), the 386th UNESCO WHS in my collection, only 595 to finish. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

UNESCO #398 - Castel del Monte in Andria, Bari - ITALY
 
When the Emperor Frederick II built this castle near Bari in the 13th century, he imbued it with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the mathematical and astronomical precision of the layout and the perfectly regular shape. A unique piece of medieval military architecture, Castel del Monte is a successful blend of elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic.
  
  
 

TENNESSEE Map

From the another side of the world came the second map of the day, a new US State for my collection (13 down, 37 to go), this time Tennessee, home of Elvis, Davy Crockett and some say, the Simpsons characters (Springfield is on the north, not far from 'Capital City'). Thank you very much Kristy (born, raised and living there with 7 cats and 12 chinchillas!). This postcard took 5 days to arrive!
 
TENNESSEE Map and Symbols - USA
   
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States, bordered by Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, and Arkansas and Missouri to the west. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state's western border. Tennessee's capital and second largest city is Nashville but Memphis is the state's largest city. Tennessee's major industries include agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism.
   
  
  

TAIWAN Map

From the other side of the world came this extraordinary Map-Card showing the island of Taiwan, with awesome little cartoons (some of them really tiny, I had to use a magnifying glass to see all the details) picturing the main cities and the railway travk that circles all the island. Thank you so much Jehshu-i for this amazing contribution to my Map collection. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
  
Railway Map and main cities - TAIWAN
 
Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a state in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China now governs the island of Taiwan, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and other minor islands. Neighboring states include the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east and northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taipei is the seat of the central government. The island of Taiwan (formerly known as "Formosa") was mainly inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines until the Dutch and Spanish settlement during the Age of Discovery in the 17th century.
   
  
  

Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Monastic Buildings - UKRAINE - UNESCO #527

This official card is simply awesome - I can tell that the postcrosser that got my address really made a effort to please my preferences. It's a vintage card (early 70s) from a UNESCO WHS ('House of the Metropolitan' part of Saint-Sophia complex in Kiev) and she went on purpose to the central post-office to get a special commemorative cancellation ink stamp of the 60 years of Ukraine in UNESCO. Thank you so much Julia, your amazing card really made me happy. This postcard took 13 days to arrive! 
  
UNESCO #527 - House of the Metropolitan, Kiev - UKRAINE
 
Designed to rival Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, Kiev's Saint-Sophia Cathedral symbolizes the 'new Constantinople', capital of the Christian principality of Kiev, which was created in the 11th century in a region evangelized after the baptism of St Vladimir in 988. The spiritual and intellectual influence of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra contributed to the spread of Orthodox thought and the Orthodox faith in the Russian world from the 17th to the 19th century.
  
  
 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TEXAS Map

Howdy! My US State Map collection just reached a dozen cards with this old frontier look map of 'The Lone Star State' - the place Spanish called 'The New Kingdom of the Phillipines' and that we all grew up watching in those old cowboy movies and latter on the Dallas soap. Thank you so much Susan, I really like this card... and suddenly I feel the craving for a spicy BBQ! This postcard took 8 days to arrive! 
 
TEXAS Map and Symbols - USA
 
Texas is the second most populous (after California) and the second-largest of the 50 U.S. states (after Alaska) in the United States of America. Austin is the state capital and Houston is the largest city in Texas (and the fourth-largest in the United States). Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former independent republic and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico. Due to its long history as a center of the cattle industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy.
 
 
 
 

Retro Chic - FRANCE

The first official Postcrossing card of this week came from Mélanie that live in southern France and love to travel and cook (specially cakes - beeing a French that doesn't surprise me, you have wonderful pastry over there!). She sent me this retro looking pin-up vintage girl that I really like (I have a thing for vintage stuff), unfortunately the card doesn't have any information about the model or the artist. Merci beaucoup Mélanie! This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
 
Retro Chic Vintage Pin-Up Looking Girl - FRANCE
 
 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Turkish Belly Dancer - TURKEY

In this card we have a voluptuous Turkish Oriental Dancer, performing the famous Raqs Sharqi, mostly known in the west as Belly Dance (rough translation of the much more sensual French "Danse du Ventre"). It's one of the things that tourists look for and for instance in Istanbul I found dozens of places, mainly restaurants, offering belly dance shows. I didn't go to any, they were a bit expensive and to be honest the idea of having dinner surrounded by tourists (probably dumb drunk) laughing at the girls sounded a bit degrading for my taste, so I went to Hodjapasha Dance Theater and Culture Center to see a proper ethnic dance show and I became flabbergasted with the flexibility and the moves of those dancers  (and my wife fascinated with a bearded male belly dancer) - a great night! Thank you so much Muammer for taking me back to Turkey with your cards (loved the heart shaped stamp on this one). This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
 
Turkish  Belly Dancer, Ankara - TURKEY
 
Turkish oriental dance is referred to in Turkey as Oryantal Dans, or simply 'Oryantal'. The Turkish style of bellydance is lively and playful, with a greater outward projection of energy than the more contained Egyptian style. Turkish dancers are known for their energetic, athletic (even gymnastic) style, and their adept use of finger cymbals, also known as zils. Connoisseurs of Turkish dance often say a dancer who cannot play the zils is not an accomplished dancer. Floorwork, which has been banned in Egypt since the mid-20th century, is still an important part of Turkish bellydance.
 
 
 

Kocatepe Mosque, Ankara - TURKEY

On the journey through Turkey guided by Muammer we now stop at Ankara, her hometown, to see this wonderful nightview of the recently built Kacatepe Mosque (clearly inspired on the great Ottoman mosques of Istanbul). Thanks again Muammer for the card and for your message (I'll make you fulfill that promise of show me Ankara if I have the chance to visit it soon!). This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
 
Kocatepe Mosque, Ankara - TURKEY
 
The Kocatepe Mosque is the largest mosque in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. It was built between 1967 and 1987 in the Kocatepe quarter in Kızılay, and its size and prominent situation have made it a landmark that can be seen from almost anywhere in central Ankara. Completed in 1987, this project is built in a neo-classical Ottoman architecture style, and is an eclectic building inspired by the Selimiye mosque in Edirne, and the Sehzade and Sultan Ahmet mosques in Istanbul.
  
 
 

Ephesus - TURKEY

The second card Muammer sent me shows the Legendary Ephesus, a Ancient Greek city now in Turkey territory. It was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation and a very important place for Christianism (some say the Gospel of John may have been written here). Thank you very much Muammer for another beautiful UNESCO Tentative Site (I thought Ephesus was already a WHS, but well, I'm sure it'll be soon). This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
 
Library of Celsus, Ephesus - TURKEY - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
The Temple of Artemis, which was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is situated on the edge of this small town. The city which was situated at the beginning of the Persian Royal Road has survived sufficiently enough to enable us to understand the ancient way of life in Ephesus. It is one of the cities which played an impressive role in the beginnings of Christianity and during the period of its proliferation (St.John Church and the shrine of the Virgin Mary). It contains one of the most spectacular examples of religious architecture of the Seljuk Period.