Monday, February 22, 2010

MY-34190

I didn't get any cards today but last friday arrived this official from Malaysia.


MY-34190, sent by Putri.
The card shows a monkey and its master. The monkey helped its master to pick up coconuts. Putri says that nowadays it's harder to see monkeys picking up coconuts because the coconut trees are not that tall as they used to be.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Band-e-Amir Lake - Afghanistan

And the last card send by Chiara was this one from Afghanistan.
"Band-e Amir (meaning "Commander's Dam"--a reference to the Commander of the Faithful, Iman Ali, the first imam of the Shia Muslims and the fourth Caliph of the Sunni Muslins) refers to five lakes high in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Central Afghanistan at approximately 3000 meters elevation, west of the famous Buddhas of Bamiyan. They were created by the carbon dioxide rich water oozing out of the faults and fractures to deposit calcium carbonate precipitate in the form of travertine walls that today store the water of these lakes.
In 2008, Band-e Amir was finally declared Afghanistan's first national park.

Band-e Amir is situated at approximately 75 kilometers to the north-west of the ancient city of Bamyan, close to the town of Yakawlang. Together with Bamiyan, they are the heart of Afghanistan's tourism, attracting thousands of tourists every year and from every corner of the world.

The Band-e Amir lakes are primarily a late spring and summertime tourism destination, as the high elevation central Hazarajat region of Afghanistan is extremely cold in winter, with temperatures reaching as low as -20C." - in: wikipedia

Suq al-Wadi - Yemen

Another card sent by Chiara. This one is from Yemen and it shows the old house of the Iman Yahya Hamid ed-Din.

In the village of Suq al-Wadi, stands a famous rock palace. Its commanding position and evidence of an ancient well suggest that the site has been used as a lookout post for centuries. It is a classic example of Yemeni architecture and was built in 1786 by Imam Mansour Ali Bin Mahdi Abbas; in the 1930s Imam Yahya Hamid Al Din extended it as a summer residence.

Today, the palace is an open museum of sorts, and a very popular place to visit, not only for tourists but also for local Yemeni families. Different rooms have descriptive labels in English and Arabic. Nearby is the village of Qaryat al- Qabil, with its walled pathways, orchards and vineyards. Here on Fridays from 09.00 – 12.00 Yemenis gather for wedding celebrations.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Marsh Arabs - Iraq

One of the new countries Chiara sent me was Iraq.
This is a card from southern Iraq with a floating island of the Marsh Arabs.

"The Marsh Arabs, also known as the Maʻdān, are inhabitants of the Tigris-Euphrates marshlands in the south and east of Iraq and along the Iranian border.
Comprising members of many different tribes and tribal confederations, such as the Āl Bū Muḥammad, Ferayghāt, Shaghanbah and Banī Lām, the Maʻdān had developed a unique culture centred around the marshes' natural resources. Many of the marshes' inhabitants were displaced and the wetlands themselves destroyed during and after the 1991 uprisings in Iraq.

Madan means "dweller in the plains (ʻadan)" and was used disparagingly by desert tribes to refer to those inhabiting the Iraqi river basins, and by those who farmed in the river basins to refer to the population of the marshes. There was a considerable historic prejudice against the Maʻdān, partly as they were considered to have Persian or other "mixed" origin and partly due to their practice of temporary marriage.

Most Marsh Arabs lived in arched reed houses considerably smaller than a mudhif. The typical dwelling was usually a little more than 2 meters wide, about 6 meters long, and a little less than three meters high, and was either constructed at the waterside or on an artificial islands of reeds called a kibasha; a more permanent island of layered reeds and mud was called a dibin. Houses had entrances at both ends and a screen in the middle; one end was used as a dwelling and the other end (sometimes extended with a sitra, a long reed structure) was used to shelter animals in bad weather. A raba was a higher-status dwelling, distinguished by a north-facing entrance, which also served as a guesthouse where there was no mudhif. Traditional boats (the mashoof and tarada) were used as transport: the Maˤdān would drive buffaloes through the reedbeds during the season of low water to create channels, which would then be kept open by constant use, for the boats." - in: wikipedia

Loreto - Italy

Yesterday i've received 2 envelopes from Italy. One of them had this card and 3 cards from new countries. The envelope was sent by Chiara.

"Loreto is a hilltown and comune of the Italian province of Ancona, in the Marche. It is mostly famous as the seat of the Basilica della Santa Casa, a popular Catholic pilgrimage site
The basilica is a Late Gothic structure continued by Giuliano da Maiano, Giuliano da Sangallo and Bramante. The handsome façade of the church was erected under Sixtus V, who fortified Loreto and gave it the privileges of a town (1586); his colossal statue stands in the middle of the flight of steps in front. Over the principal doorway is a life-size bronze statue of the Virgin and Child by Girolamo Lombardo; the three superb bronze doors executed at the latter end of the 16th century and under Paul V (1605-1621) are also by Lombardo, his sons and his pupils, among them Tiburzio Vergelli, who also made the fine bronze font in the interior. The doors and hanging lamps of the Santa Casa are by the same artists.
The richly decorated campanile (1750 to 1754), is of great height; the principal bell, presented by Leo X in 1516 , weighs 11 tons. The interior of the church has mosaics by Domenichino and Guido Reni and other works of art, including statues by Raffaello da Montelupo. In the sacristies on each side of the right transept are frescoes, on the right by Melozzo da Forli, on the left by Luca Signorelli. In both are fine intarsias. The basilica as a whole is thus a collaborative masterpiece by generations of architects and artists." - in: wikipedia

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CN-161985

An official from China that i've received yesterday.


CN-161985.
"Yalu River Bridge, also called the Sino-Korean or China-Korea Friendship Bridge, connects the cities of Dandong, China and Sinŭiju, North Korea. It crosses the Yalu River, carrying pedestrian, road, and rail traffic. The bridge is one of the few ways to enter or leave North Korea. A nearby bridge called the "Broken Bridge" was built in 1909, but it was bombed and partially damaged in the Korean War around 1950 and has not been rebuilt since. Now it has become a tourist attraction on the Chinese side, with telescopes available for viewing North Korea." - in: http://life.globaltimes.cn

Gaberoun Oasis - Libya

The other card i bought in Zurich was this one from Libya.

"Gaberoun is an oasis with a large lake located in the municipality Sabha in the Lybian Sahara.
The old Bedouin settlement by the western shore of the lake has been abandoned, and now lays in ruins. A rudimentary tourist camp is located on the northeastern shore, including an open patio, sleeping huts, and a souvenir shop (attended by a touareg in full costume) in the winter.
The lake is very salty, swimming can be pleasant despite the salt water crustaceans. Mosquitoes are abundant, especially in the summer. October to May is considered the best time to visit as the climate is milder.
A small tribe inhabited the oasis, the ruins of their settlement are scattered between the palms at the north-western shore of the lake. It is said that one of their sources of subsistence were the worm-like crustaceans they fished from the salty lake. They were moved in the 1980s to a new location outside the sand dunes, in the Wadi Bashir, south of the erg, a settlement of concrete apartments built specifically for the resettlement of this tribe." - in:
wikipedia

Taktsang Monastery - Bhutan

Postcards in Switzerland aren't cheap and in Zurich i've only bought 2 cards. I've just bought 2 cards because they were from 2 hard-to-get countries. I'd have bought more if they didn't cost 2.50 swiss francs, that's 1.70€. They were expensive but i think with was a great purchase.
This is a card from Bhutan with the Taktsang Monastery.
"Paro Taktsang also called The Tiger's Nest is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan. It was built around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated in the 8th Century. Today it is the most well known of thirteen taktsang or "tiger lair" caves he meditated in at different places in Tibet and Bhutan. Completed in 1692, the temple hangs on a cliff at 3,120 metres (10,200 feet), some 700 meters (2,300 feet) above the bottom of Paro Valley, some 10 km from the district town of Paro.
The name Taktsang means "Tiger's lair", the legend being that Padmasambhava(Guru Rinpoche) flew there on the back of a tiger. The monastery includes seven temples which can all be visited. The monastery suffered several blazes and is a recent restoration. Visitors ascend the slope to the monastery on foot or on mule-back." - in: wikipedia

Liechtenstein

While i was in Switzerland i've visited Vaduz, the capital city of Liechtenstein. Lots of beautiful cards to buy. Too bad it was a bit foggy, not good for pictures. But i had a great time there.

"The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine microstate in Western Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over 160 km² (about 61.7 square miles) and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz.
Liechtenstein is the smallest German-speaking country in the world, and the only alpine country to lie entirely within the Alps. It is also the only German-speaking country not to share a common frontier with Germany. It is a constitutional monarchy divided into 11 municipalities. Much of Liechtenstein's terrain is mountainous, making it a winter sports destination. Many cultivated fields and small farms characterize its landscape both in the north (Unterland, lower land) and in the south (Oberland, upper land). The country has a strong financial sector located in the capital, Vaduz, and has been identified as a tax heaven. It is a member of the European Free Trade Association but not of the European Union. Liechtenstein is the richest country in the world on a per-capita basis." - in: wikipedia

"Schloss Vaduz is the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. The Palace is named after the town of Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, which it overlooks from an adjacent hilltop.

The earliest mention of the castle can be found in the deed of the Count Rudolf von Werdenberg-Sargans for a sale to Ulrich von Matsch. The then owners - presumably also the builders - were the Counts of Werdenberg-Sargans. The Bergfried (12th century) and parts of the east-side are the oldest. The tower stands upon a piece of ground of about 12 x 13 m and has a wall density on the ground floor of up to 4 metres. The original entrance lay at the Hofzijde at an 11 metre height. The chapel St. Anna was presumably built in the Middle Ages as well. The main altar is late-gothic. In the Schwaben War of 1499, the castle was burned by the honorbound of Switzerland. The west-side was expanded on by Count Kaspar van Hohenems (1613-1640).

The Liechtenstein family acquired Vaduz Castle in 1712 when it purchased the countship of Vaduz. At this time, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, combined the countship with the Lordship of Schellenberg, purchased by the Liechtensteins in 1699, to form the Principality of Liechtenstein.

The castle underwent a major restoration between 1905 and 1920 during the reign of Prince Johann II, and was expanded during the early 1930's by Prince Franz Joseph II. Since 1938, the castle has been the primary residence of Liechtenstein's Royal Family. It is not open to tourists." - in: wikipedia

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Zurich Meeting

A few days after the mini international meeting with Heidi, i went to Switzerland for the big international meeting in Zurich. It was really big, 24 postcrossers from 8 countries. I didn't have the change to talk to everyone and i've no idea who some of them were.
The trip to Switzerland was great, not because of the meeting itself, but because i had the opportunity to visit some really nice places and meet some great people.

The participants at the meeting were:

zasa, masito, never_summer, egni, PaulaB, Jamie1972, buebemami, emuster, Seemeitli74, vre, Giorgis, azzurri, s_unn_y, nissemor, geminiscp, martinha, Joana122, MissMaple, Tjitske, oldieoma, dst121gr, zirafka105, Violanie59, dardo.

Meetings with Heidi

Heidi "dollart", a postcrosser from Finland, was in Portugal last month and she wanted to meet some portuguese postcrossers.

She had a 1st meeting in Lisbon area and met Ana "ninocas" and her kid, Paula "geminiscp", Luís "ludovico" and Joana "joana122".

One week later she went to Coimbra and that was where i met her. Besides me, in Coimbra she met Fernando "fernandoferreira", Ana "subtlelens", another Ana "piscesgirl" and Cristina "kryx87".

Monday, February 15, 2010

Riomaggiore - Italy

This beautiful card was a surprise from Rita. Riomaggiore is 1 of the 5 Cinque Terre villages classified as Unesco whs.


"Riomaggiore is a village and comune in the province of La Spezia, situated in a small valley in the Liguria region of Italy. It is the first of the Cinque Terre one meets coming from La Spezia.
The village, dating from the early thirteenth century, is known for its historic character and its wine, produced by the town's vineyards. Riomaggiore is in the Riviera di Levante region and has shoreline on the Mediterranean's Gulf of Genoa, with a small beach and a wharf framed by tower house.
The village is also famous for having numerous aquariums and zoos, all with native Italian animals and sealife in them.
The Via dell'Amore is a path connecting Riomaggiore to its frazione Manarola, also part of the Cinque Terre.
Riomaggiore is the most southern village of the five Cinque Terre, all connected by trail. The water and mountainside have been declared national parks." - in: wikipedia

Wat Phou - Laos

Beside the Algeria card, Verena also gave me 2 unesco cards from Laos. This card with the Wat Phou is on the UNESCO list under the name Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape.

"Wat Phou is a ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos. It is located at the base of mount Phu Kao, some 6 km from the Mekong River in Champasak province. There was a temple on the site as early as the 5th century, but the surviving structures date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The temple has a unique structure, in which the elements lead to a shrine where a linga was bathed in water from a mountain spring. The site later became a centre of Theravada Budhist worship, which it remains today." - in: wikipedia

Ghardaïa - Algeria

This card is another gift from a postcrosser i met in Zurich, Verena "vre". It's my second card from Algeria.

"Ghardaïa is the capital city of Ghardaïa Province, Algeria. It is the traditional heart of the M'zab valley, home of the Ibadi sect in Algeria, and has preserved its original medieval architecture remarkably well; the valley of which it forms a part is an official World Heritage Site. Ghardaïa is renowned for its coarse goat hair carpets, generally with simple geometric patterns in black and white." - in: wikipedia

Friday, February 12, 2010

FR-79982

Yesterday i've checked my mailbox a couple of times and the last last i checked i've found this official from France.


FR-79982, sent by Alice.
Aix-en-Provence is a city in southern France, some 30 km (19 mi) north of Marseille. It is in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône.
On the card there's the Hotel de Ville Square.

Wachau - Austria

These 2 cards are from Austria and both from Wachau, an austrian unesco whs. I didn't have cards from there and i got the 1st one from "oldieoma" in Switzerland during the meeting in Zurich. The other one is an official card, my 1st one from Austria.

"The Wachau is an Austrian valley with a landscape of high visibility formed by the Danube river. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations of Lower Austria, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems. It is 30 km in length and was already settled in prehistoric times. A well-known place and tourist attraction is Dürnstein, where King Richard the Lion-Heart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V." - in: wikipedia

AT-49155.
On the card we can see the Stift Melk, the Castle and Abbey of Schönbühel, Dürnstein and the ruins of the Aggstein Castle.

NL & FI

Officials from the Netherlands and Finland.


NL-284990.
"Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern end of the Randstad, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands.
The Dom Tower of Utrecht is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, at 112.5 metres (368 feet) in height,and the Gothic-style tower is the symbol of the city. The tower was part of the Cathdreal of Saint Martin, also known as Dom Church, and was built between 1321 and 1382 to a design by John of Hainaut. The cathedral was never fully completed due to lack of money. Since the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674 the Dom tower became a free standing tower." - in: wikipedia

FI-734641, sent by Terhi.
A card of the Suomenlinna fortress in Helsinki with a beautiful fairy stamp.
Suomenlinna is a World Heritage Site since 1991.