Sunday, April 5, 2020

Bergen - Norway

Back in 2012 Heidi "dollart" travelled to Norway, the expensive south Norway, she said. Norway is on my must visit list but at the bottom of it. This country is way too expensive for a poor portuguese. In 2009 Valérie also visited the country. These are the cards they sent me. 

Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and the most popular gateway to the fjords of West Norway. The city still has relics of its Hanseatic heyday, most notably the old harbor of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bergen has been ravaged by several fires; the most recent major fire took place in 1917, a fire which destroyed most of the buildings in what is today the central parts of the city center.

 © Aune Forlag AS
 Between 1350 and 1750 Bryggen used to be a Hansa dock, trading and processing area. The wooden houses at Bryggen today were built after the devastating city fire of 1702, but are probably very similar to the buildings that were there before. Despite neglect and fires (Norwegian cities had a habit of burning down because everything is made of wood), a considerable number of buildings have survived and are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 If you enter some of the alleyways between the storefronts, you really get a feel of what Bergen must have been like in the middle ages. There are a few museums on the history of Bergen and of Bryggen, but the most interesting aspect is probably that almost all of the buildings are still in use. One example is the restaurant Bryggen tracteursted, serving food and drinks in a building first opened for this purpose in 1708. - in: wikitravel

Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum - Norway

Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site and the last Norwegian site added to the UNESCO WHS list. Last month Doris got to visit the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum in Rjukan. 

Rjukanfossen (the Rjukan Waterfall) lay the foundation for the Vemork Power Plant, which became the largest of its kind in the world when completed in 1911. The Vemork Power Plant now houses the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum and the World Heritage Centre. Visitors can learn about the industrial adventure that began in the early 1900s and about the dramatic events that took place in Rjukan during World War II. - in:

Photo: I. Karvand / NIA
During Word War II, Vemork in Rjukan was one of the few places in Europe that made heavy water, an important ingredient in the first nuclear bombs. The facility was sabotaged by Norwegian resistance fighters, which prevented Germany from developing the atom bomb. This operation made Vemork the centre of one of the most important and daring sabotage missions during the war. - in:

Florence - Italy

In the last days of February, Anne traveled to Italy. The situation was still pretty much under control and limited to the north of the country but it all changed and a few days later the Italian central government decided to extend restrictions on the movement of people across the entire country to limit the spread of coronavirus. It was a trip in strange circunstances but even with all the restrictions, such as closed museums, she fell in love in Florence... again. I know I'd fall in love with this view. Grazie. 

© Photo Luciano Mugnaini
Florence is renowned as one of the most cultural and historical cities in the world and is packed full of amazing architecture and places of significance. As the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy, Florence has a population of 383,000 and a wider metropolitan population of 1.5 million. This wonderful city lies in the central region of Italy and has a well developed rail network with connections to Pisa, and Bologna.
During ancient history, Florence was once a Roman city and then developed into a thriving medieval commune. It is hailed as the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, and throughout the 12th, 15th and 16th centuries, was one of the most important cities of the world. Notable residents of Florence included Machiavelli, Lorenzo Medici, Dante, Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo and Raphael.
Today, tourism is undoubtedly a major part of the economy of Florence and an average of 13 million people visit the city each year. - in:

PT RR - Group 148 * Surprise March

In these quarantine days, I believe that for many postcrossers, is it really hard not to outside and send cards. I've to work everyday, my post office is not far from work but  due to restrictions on postal services in several countries, I stopped sending mail almost 2 weeks ago. I'm sot sending and I'm not getting any mail either.  These two must have been the last I received.
Both arrived on the same days and I really enjoyed both. Thanks to Mafalda and Tiago.

Because of the virus, Mafalda gave up her trip to Georgia and went to Spain. When she diced to go she still hadn't realized how the situation was there. He returned to a place that she knows well and luckily did not bring any bad memories.
The Collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor is a medieval church in Toro, province of Zamora, Spain.
One of the most characteristic examples of transitional Romanesque architecture in Spain, the church of Santa María la Mayor is inspired by the Cathedral of Zamora, in turn, inspired by the Old Cathedral of Salamanca. The tower-dome is usually listed as one of the four most typical in León together with those in the cathedrals of Salamanca, Plasencia and Zamora.
It was begun around 1170 and was finished in the mid-13th century. Two different directors of the work have been identified, according to the different types of stone used (limestone in the old sections, sandstone in the most recent ones), and by the barrel vaults in the transept. The church is on the basilica plan, with a nave and two aisles, with a transept over whose crossing is the hendecagonal dome. The transept ends with three semicircular apses. - in: wikipedia

© Edição Vistal * Foto: Wildman - - Design: G. A. Wittich
When a new year starts I immediately start to think of my next trips. This year because of the virus everything is on hold and plans had to be changed and I decided that I'll spend my holidays in Portugal. This will be my small contribution to help the national economy. Thinking of possible destinations, Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast can be a good option, this is actually the only area of the country that I've never been to.
Classified as one of the 7 Wonders - Beaches of Portugal, the beach of Odeceixe, located at the northern end of the county of Aljezur, has the particularity to contain a river beach as it is limited to the east and north by the Ribeira de Seixe. Has so baths of sea and river. The stream, which includes the largest watershed of this county, affects the dynamics of that beach, not only by the amount of sediments but also by the power of the floods, which in very rainy periods may affect the shape and dimension of this beach.The Odeceixe Beach insert is thus on the edge of a valley dominated by this stream, resulting lofty cliffs sandwiched between shale and grauvaques characteristic of this region. The beach features a high quality landscape and biodiversity and can enjoy is a rare landscape of great beauty and the top of the cliffs. These are prime habitat for birds, providing excellent conditions for bird watching, as the white stork, the peregrine or red-billed chough. It is indeed in this Natural Park, the only place in the world where it is possible to observe the storks nesting in maritime cliffs. - in:

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Škocjan Caves - Slovenia

When in Slovenia one has to add some caves to the visit list. These are no ordinary caves. Škocjan Cave system is one of the largest known underground canyons in the world; is an example of natural beauty with great aesthetic value; due to particular microclimatic conditions, a special ecosystem has developed; the area has great cultural and historical significance as it has been inhabited since the prehistoric times and is typical example of contact karst. - in: wikipedia

 Due to their exceptional significance, the Škocjan Caves were entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites in 1986.
 International scientific circles have thus acknowledged the importance of the Caves as one of the natural treasures of planet Earth. 
Ranking among the most important caves in the world, the Škocjan Caves represent the most significant underground phenomena in both the Karst region and Slovenia. - in:
On the card there's the Cekvenik bridge in Šumeča jama Cave, which crosses the Reka river.

This exceptional system of limestone caves comprises collapsed dolines, some 6 km of underground passages with a total depth of more than 200 m, many waterfalls and one of the largest known underground chambers. The site, located in the Kras region (literally meaning Karst), is one of the most famous in the world for the study of karstic phenomena. - in:

Lake Bohinj - Slovenia

I've read somewhere that Lake Bled is for tourists and Lake Bohinj is for travelers. I'm not sure if I'm more a tourist or a traveler but I do know that I want to visit both lakes. 
Cards sent by Ivana, Tina and Leonardo. 

Situated on the edge of the Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps, Lake Bohinj is the largest lake in Slovenia. It is located in a glacial valley and it comprises almost 100 million cubic metres of water – according to an old Bohinj joke: no more than a bucket if it is large enough. The steeply descending lake basin is relatively smoothly shaped and has no shallow areas. In summer, the temperature of the water rises to 22 °C; in winter, the lake freezes sometimes. Water level rises 2 – 3 metres after heavy rainfall. - in:

Many visitors to Slovenia say they’ve never seen a more beautiful lake than Bled…that is, until they’ve seen the blue-green waters of Lake Bohinj, 26km to the southwest. Admittedly, Bohinj lacks Bled’s glamour, but it’s less crowded and in many ways more authentic. It’s an ideal summer holiday destination. People come primarily to chill out or to swim in the crystal-clear water, with leisurely cycling and walking trails to occupy them as well as outdoor pursuits like kayaking, hiking and horse riding. - in:

Photo by Peter Strgar
Church of St. John the Baptist, thought to have been built as early as pre 1300, is one of the most beautiful examples of the Middle Age architecture and fresco painting in Slovenia. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Ljubljana - Slovenia

Back in 2013 Mafalda lived in Ljubljana for a couple of months, luck girl!! 

Slovenia's capital and largest city is one of Europe's greenest and most liveable capitals; it was the European Commission's Green Capital of Europe in 2016.

Foto © Francí Horvat
Car traffic is restricted in the centre, leaving the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city's heart, free for pedestrians and cyclists. 
Slovenia's master of early-modern, minimalist design, Jože Plečnik, graced Ljubljana with beautiful bridges and buildings as well as dozens of urban design elements such as pillars, pyramids and lamp posts, which exist solely to make the city even prettier. - in: