Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR - November'16

Time now for some monthly favorite RR cards. In November I've got cards from Germany, Spain, Estonia, Japan and Georgia. 

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
Some german lighthouses in the North Sea. Obereversand in Dorum; Arngast Lighthouse in Dangast; New Lighthouse on Wangerooge island; Roter Sand in the Weser estuary; Hamburger Lighthouse in Cuxhaven; Juist island lighthouse; Heligoland lighthouse; Geestemünde North Mole Light in Bremenhaven; Norderney island lighthouse; Pilsum Lighthouse; Borkum Großer Light and Wremen lighthouse. 
The card was sent by Steffi.

Yoland also sent a card with a lighthouse, Fangar lighthouse located in Ebro Delta. 
The Ebro Delta is located in Tarragona. It covers an area of 320 square kilometres, of which 80 comprise the Ebro Delta nature reserve. It has a great ornithological richness and is internationally important due to the presence here of over 400 species and some of the most important breeding colonies in the Mediterranean.
These flat lands give the Ebro Delta its unique landscape, which varies according to the season of the year. It is home to everything from market gardens and orchards to rice fields, while in the coastal area there are large lakes fringed by rush and reed beds. The area around this nature reserve is characterised by its saline soils, and extensive deserted sandy beaches with dune systems. . in: http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/naturaleza/espacios-naturales/parque_natural_del_delta_de_l_ebre.html

A new estonian castle in my collection thanks to Ella. 
Kuressaare Episcopal Castle, also known as Kuressaare Castle, was built in the 14th century. Today, the Castle houses Saaremaa Museum with its permanent exhibition and sundry temporary exhibitions. 
The convent building of the Kuressaare Episcopal Castle is the only surviving medieval fortification in the Baltic countries that has not been significantly reconstructed. - in: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/kuressaare-episcopal-castle

Tomoko got my address again and this time she sent me this Tofukuji Temple card with a view of the Tsutenkyo Bridge.
Tofukuji is a large Zen temple in southeastern Kyoto that is particularly famous for its spectacular autumn colors. The temple was founded in 1236 at the behest of the powerful Fujiwara clan. 
In autumn, people come from all over Japan to see Tofukuji's autumn colors. The most popular view is of the Tsutenkyo Bridge, which spans a valley of lush maple trees. The view from the bridge is equally spectacular, and the 100 meter long, covered walkway becomes extremely crowded when the colors reach their peak, usually around mid to late November. - in: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3930.html

Foto by Goga Chanadiri
Another bridge, Rkoni Bridge in Georgia. The card was sent from Ukraine by Yulia. 
Rkoni bridge is one of the best examples of medieval bridges in Georgia. It is located in the municipality of Kaspi, near the monastery complex of Rkoni. The one-hinged vault bridge dates back to the 12th-13th centuries. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Kluane National Park - Canada

This beautiful card arrived from Canada last November and it was a new card for my UNESCO collection. It was sent by Jason.

Kluane National Park, plus neighbouring parks Tatshenshini in British Columbia and Wrangell-St. Elias and Glacier Bay in Alaska, make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the world's largest international protected area.

© 2015 Canada Post
The 22 000 square kilometre Kluane National Park is set like a jewel in the southwestern corner of the Yukon between northeastern British Columbia and the tidewaters of the Alaskan panhandle. Much of the park's 129 kilometre northern boundary is made up of the Alaska Highway and the Haines Road. The Alsek River, known for its big water rapids created by the tremendous volume of water it drains from the St. Elias Mountains, is so swift it appears that native people have entirely avoided using it for travel or trade routes. Lowell Glacier's immense and spectacular advances and retreats have periodically blocked the Alsek causing flooding that over the centuries has greatly affected the vegetation and wildlife in the low-lying valleys. - in: http://www.canadianparks.com/yukon/kluannp/index.htm

Saturday, February 18, 2017

CA-696156

St. Catharines is the largest city in Canada's Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in Ontario. The city is known for its many gardens, parks and trails but this card only shows churches and it wasn't easy to identify them. 

Photos by All & Burgie Ludlow
CA-696156, sent by Michelle.
On the left side there's St. George's Church; Welland Avenue Methodist Church in the middle and St. Catharine's Cathedral. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

US-4463211

Remember that I said that Sherri sent me an envelope with 4 cards? Besides the Victoria Falls card from Zimbabwe, these are the other 3 cards she also sent. It was very generous of her to send me so many cards. Thank you again. 

US-4463211, sent by Sherri.
It snowed here a few days ago, unfortunately it wasn't enough to ride a snowmobile like these guys are doing in Fairlee, a town in Orange County, Vermont. Fairlee is home to Lake Morey, which claims to have the longest ice skating trail in the United States. 

Photo © Paul Rezendes
The Windmill Point Light in Vermont is the northernmost lighthouse on Lake Champlain. 
The first lighthouse on this site was privately erected in 1830. In 1858, the Lighthouse Service contracted with the Ellis and O'Neil firm to erect the present octagonal tower, which is connected directly to the keeper's house. It remained in service until 1931. The keeper's house was transferred to the customs service for use in battling smuggling during Prohibition. 
In August 2002 a new solar powered beacon was installed in the old tower. The light is still in service and remains an active aid to navigation. - in: wikipedia

Photo © Bob Grant
View of Sherman Adams Building, Weather Observatory, from the summit of Mount Washington. This is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288.2 ft (1,916.6 m) and the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.

RU-5405900

These are official cards from Russia but none of them is from there. Nastya sent me an envelope with these cards from USA and Ukraine and also a tea bag. 

RU-5405900, sent by Nastya.
Annisquam Harbor Light Station, formerly known as Wigwam Point, was first established in 1801 and is now one of the oldest light stations in Massachusetts. The original wooden octagonal tower was replaced around 1897 by the existing brick tower. The site includes elements of the original light station complex (completed by 1814), such as the keeper's house and an oil house. An elevated wooden walkway leads to the 41-foot tall, cylindrical tower, which rests on a stone foundation. An enclosed brick passageway provides access to the tower. The lighthouse protects mariners from dangerous obstacles including long sandbars and a rocky shore along the Annisquam River. - in: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/maritime/ann.htm

The constrution of the Church of Saint Theodore Stratelates in Alushta, Crimea, began in 1833. The temple was built in the Gothic style and reminded a rural church in England.
The temple doors were closed in 1964. The building was rebuilt several times, the bell tower was destroyed and the former temple lost its original appearance. A few decades later the church was reconstructed and appeared in all its glory. 

Diamantina - Brazil

When I've been to Brazil I've visited 3 of the 4 UNESCO sites in Minas Gerais state, Diamantina, where this card is from, was the only one I didn't get to visit because it was too far from the places I was staying. 
The card was sent by Luzia. 

The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks, was built in 1731 by the Brotherhood with the same name. It is one of the oldest temples of Diamantina. It has a simple facade, however, it keeps an altar clad in gold.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Machu Picchu - Peru

It's impossible to go to Peru and not going to it's most famous attraction, Machu Picchu. 
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and in 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Besides the Titicaca card, Ara also sent me a Machu Picchu card. The other one was sent by Veronika a few years ago.

Fotografia: © Hennry Abanto
Embedded within a dramatic landscape at the meeting point between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements anywhere and the most significant tangible legacy of the Inca civilization.
 Built in the fifteenth century Machu Picchu was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. It was not until 1911 that the archaeological complex was made known to the outside world.
The approximately 200 structures making up this outstanding religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural centre are set on a steep ridge, crisscrossed by stone terraces. Following a rigorous plan the city is divided into a lower and upper part, separating the farming from residential areas, with a large square between the two. 

To this day, many of Machu Picchu’s mysteries remain unresolved, including the exact role it may have played in the Incas’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy and domestication of wild plant species.
The massive yet refined architecture of Machu Picchu blends exceptionally well with the stunning natural environment, with which it is intricately linked. Numerous subsidiary centres, an extensive road and trail system, irrigation canals and agricultural terraces bear witness to longstanding, often on-going human use. The rugged topography making some areas difficult to access has resulted in a mosaic of used areas and diverse natural habitats. The Eastern slopes of the tropical Andes with its enormous gradient from high altitude “Puna” grasslands and Polylepis thickets to montane cloud forests all the way down towards the tropical lowland forests are known to harbour a rich biodiversity and high endemism of global significance. Despite its small size the property contributes to conserving a very rich habitat and species diversity with remarkable endemic and relict flora and fauna. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274

Lake Titicaca - Peru

One of my friends and I have constantly been talking about a trip to Peru, it's one of those trips we want to do together, just don't know when, not this year for sure. My friend went to Bolivia last summer and has been to the Titicaca Lake, I'm pretty sure she wants to visit the peruvian side of the lake too.
Ara has been there last October and that's when she sent me the 1st of these cards. The 2nd was sent by Mery in 2008. 

Fotografia: © Hennry Abanto
Located between Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is one of the most fascinating lakes in the world. It is situated at a very high altitude, at over 3800 meters above sea level, and a tour at Titicaca is definitely an unforgettable experience for any visitor. 

When visiting Lake Titicaca, the town of Puno is the best place to stay, on the Peruvian side of the lake.
The town of Puno is an interesting place to visit as it is the capital of folklore of Peru.
Lake Titicaca is a sacred place for the Inca civilization, as the Incan mythology says that the first Inca king, Manco Capac, was born here. According to the Incan mythology, this is the place where the world was created from, when the god Viracocha came out of the lake and created the sun, the stars and the first people. 
You will have many places to discover on the shore of Lake Titicaca, as well as on the many islands that exist on the lake. - in: http://laketiticaca.com/

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca - Morocco

This card from Morocco is the last card sent by Andrzej and my 1st from Casablanca. 

The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca was completed in 1993 after great expense and artistic labor, and the result is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world. 
The great Hassan II Mosque was commissioned by its namesake, King Hassan II, in part to provide Casablanca with a single landmark monument.

Maroc Infini
Designed by French architect Michel Pinseau, construction of the Hassan II Mosque began in July 1986 on land reclaimed (without compensation to the former residents) from a run-down area near the sea. The goal for completion of the mosque was King Hassan II's 60th birthday in 1989, but it ended up not being finished until August 30, 1993.
The project is estimated to have cost as much as $800 million, funds that were remarkably raised entirely from public subscription. International reports have suggested both local resentment and less-than-voluntary donations to the project, but Moroccans seem to be genuinely proud of their monument. The massive fundraising also had a positive side-effect: it temporarily reduced Morocco's money supply and brought down inflation.
Nearly all the materials of the Hassan II Mosque are from Morocco, with the sole exceptions of the imported white granite columns and glass chandeliers (from Murano, near Venice). The marble is from Agandir, the cedar wood is from the Middle Atlas and the granite comes from Tafraoute.
Over 6,000 Moroccan master craftsmen and artisans were employed to work these local materials into the intricate decorations that embellish the entire structure. When construction passed its deadline in the early 1990s, 1,400 men worked by day and 1,000 worked by night to bring the vast project to completion. - in: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/morocco/casablanca-hassan-ii-mosque

Koutammakou - Togo

Getting a postcard from Africa is always good, receiving a postcard from an African UNESCO site is even better but getting a postcard from an African UNESCO site sent from there is a wonderful reason for jumping around the house, especially if that postcard has been sent on your birthday. This beautiful postcard from Togo was sent from there on 23 November last year. I've sent 3 postcards to Mikee so he could send me a postcard from Togo, I must say it was totally worth it.

Photo: F3.JR3. Amoah / E.R. ©
The Koutammakou landscape in north-eastern Togo, which extends into neighbouring Benin, is home to the Batammariba whose remarkable mud tower-houses (Takienta) have come to be seen as a symbol of Togo. In this landscape, nature is strongly associated with the rituals and beliefs of society. The 50,000-ha cultural landscape is remarkable due to the architecture of its tower-houses which are a reflection of social structure; its farmland and forest; and the associations between people and landscape. Many of the buildings are two storeys high and those with granaries feature an almost spherical form above a cylindrical base. Some of the buildings have flat roofs, others have conical thatched roofs. They are grouped in villages, which also include ceremonial spaces, springs, rocks and sites reserved for initiation ceremonies. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1140

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Victoria Falls

Last week I've got an envelope from USA with what it was supposed to be an official card. Actually, inside the envelope there were 3 cards from the USA and 1 from Zimbabwe. Sherri, a forum member with whom I've traded cards a couple of times before, was the generous sender. The other card on this post was sent by Emerich.

Photo © Karel Hrdina
One of the greatest attractions in Africa and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, the fourth largest river in Africa, which is also defining the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometer and a height of more than hundred meters. It is also considered to be the largest fall in the world.
The noise of Victoria Falls can be heard from a distance of 40 kilometers, while the spray and mist from the falling water is rising to a height of over 400 meters and can be seen from a distance of 50 kilometers. No wonder that the local tribes used to call the waterfall Mosi-o-Tunya “The smoke that thunders”.
Scottish missionary and famous explorer of Africa David Livingstone (1813-1873) named it after Queen Victoria. Livingstone who was the first European to cross Africa from south to north discovered this awe-inspiring waterfall in 1855, while preaching Christianity in Africa. That is why Livingstone wasn’t very pleased with his discovery: it was just an obstacle on his way.

Photo by Petr Hejmánek
Despite the inconveniences, he was fascinated by the beauty of the falls. In 1857 Livingstone wrote that no one in England can even imagine the beauty of this scene. Religious Livingstone also wrote that most probably angels are admiring the scenery while flying nearby. He was accompanied by soldiers but only two of them took the risk of approaching the waterfalls with Livingstone. For centuries local African tribes had a sacral fear from the waterfall.
The waterfall was hardly visited by people up until 1905, when a railway to Bulawayo was constructed. Since then Victoria Falls quickly gained popularity until the end of the British colonial rule. At the end of the 1960s the number of tourists started to decrease due to the guerrilla struggle in Zimbabwe. After Zimbabwe gained independence the region has been in relative peace and Victoria Falls started to attract a new wave of tourism.
By the end of 1990 nearly 300,000 people were visiting the falls each year. Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the citizens of both Zambia and Zimbabwe no longer have fear of the “the smoke that thunders”, and are successfully developing the tourism on both sides of the river.
The falls were formed in a zone of crustal faults. On the crest of the fall numerous islands divide the main flow into several branches. During floods, the water flow capacity reaches half a million liters of water per minute.
The water level varies throughout the year; it is at its peak in April, at the end of the rainy season when on average 500,000,000 liters of water flow and it is at its lowest level in October and early November.
Interestingly, during the dry season the water level in the Zambezi River drops sharply, and it becomes possible to walk through some parts of the waterfall. However, during the rest of the year Victoria Falls is a roaring machine that strikes anyone with its power. - in: http://victoriafallstourism.org/

Namib Desert - Namibia

Two of my 3 cards from Namibia are from the Namib Desert, the only true desert in southern Africa. The 1st card was sent by Andrzej and the 2nd by Sandra. 

Mark Van Aardt Photography ©
The Namib is a coastal desert in southern Africa. According to the broadest definition, the Namib stretches for more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) along the Atlantic coasts of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa. 
Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for roughly 55–80 million years, the Namib may be the oldest desert in the world and contains some of the world's driest regions.

Photo by Harald Mielke © ADMOS Verlags-AG
The desert geology consists of sand seas near the coast, while gravel plains and scattered mountain outcrops occur further inland. The sand dunes, some of which are 300 metres (980 ft) high and span 32 kilometres (20 mi) long, are the second largest in the world after the Badain Jaran Desert dunes in China.
The Namib is almost completely uninhabited by humans except for several small settlements and indigenous pastoral groups, including the Ovahimba and Obatjimba Herero in the north, and the Topnaar Nama in the central region. - in: wikipedia

Monday, February 6, 2017

Suricates - South Africa

If there's a top 10 of the most funny and cute animals, suricates are probably there. Is impossible not to like them.

These gregarious animals are often seen in groups, and several families may live together in a large community. Squirrel-sized meerkats are mongooses famed for their upright posture. They often stand on their rear legs and gaze alertly over the southern African plains where they live. Mothers can even nurse their young while standing.

Photo by Nigel Dennis * Art Publishers
Meerkats (also called suricates) work together in numbers. A few will typically serve as lookouts, watching the skies for birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, that can snatch them from the ground. A sharp, shrill call is the signal for all to take cover. While a few individuals guard the group, the rest busy themselves foraging for the foods that make up their varied diet. Meerkats will eat insects, lizards, birds, and fruit. When hunting small game, they work together and communicate with purring sounds. Meerkats are good hunters and are sometimes tamed for use as rodent-catchers.
Meerkat groups utilize several different burrows and move from one to another. Each burrow is an extensive tunnel-and-room system that remains cool even under the broiling African sun. Females give birth to two to four young each year in one of the group's burrows. Fathers and siblings help to raise meerkat young, teaching them to play and forage and alerting them to the ever present danger from above. Young meerkats are so fearful of predatory birds that even airplanes will send them diving for cover. - in: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/meerkat/

Cheetahs - South Africa

The cheetah is the world's fastest land mammal. With acceleration that would leave most automobiles in the dust, a cheetah can go from 0 to 60 miles an hour in only three seconds. These big cats are quite nimble at high speed and can make quick and sudden turns in pursuit of prey.

Photo: Denny Allen © Wild Treks
Before unleashing their speed, cheetahs use exceptionally keen eyesight to scan their grassland environment for signs of prey—especially antelope and hares. This big cat is a daylight hunter that benefits from stealthy movement and a distinctive spotted coat that allows it to blend easily into high, dry grasses.
When the moment is right a cheetah will sprint after its quarry and attempt to knock it down. Such chases cost the hunter a tremendous amount of energy and are usually over in less than a minute. If successful, the cheetah will often drag its kill to a shady hiding place to protect it from opportunistic animals that sometimes steal a kill before the cheetah can eat. Cheetahs need only drink once every three to four days.

Photo by Martin Harvey * Art Publishers
Female cheetahs typically have a litter of three cubs and live with them for one and a half to two years. Young cubs spend their first year learning from their mother and practicing hunting techniques with playful games. Male cheetahs live alone or in small groups, often with their littermates.
Most wild cheetahs are found in eastern and southwestern Africa. These populations are under pressure as the wide-open grasslands they favor are disappearing at the hands of human settlers. - in: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/c/cheetah/

Mount Hutt - New Zealand

Third and last New Zealand card sent by Andrzej. 

The New Zealand Souvenir Co. Ltd 
Mount Hutt rises to the west of the Canterbury Plains in the South Island of New Zealand, above the braided upper reaches of the Rakaia River, and 80 kilometres west of Christchurch. Its summit is 2190 metres above sea level.
The mountain is home to a commercial alpine ski area with the largest skiable area in the South Island (3.65 square kilometres), and a vertical height of 683 metres. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Milford Sound - New Zealand

Located in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island, Milford Sound sits within Fiordland National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. 

Produced by Colorview Publication 1997 Ltd
Bounded by steep cliffs and dense rainforest, Milford Sound is by far the best known of all of the fiords in New Zealand, and the only one that can be accessed by road. Rain or shine, Milford Sound continues to captivate even the most experienced traveller. At the pinnacle of Milford Sound is the iconic Mitre Peak - standing a proud 1,692 metres above sea level, it is certainly an impressive sight to behold.  It is approximately 16km from the head of the fiord to the open sea, which means visitors can comfortably travel the length of the fiord to open ocean and return on one of the many cruise options. - in: http://www.milford-sound.co.nz/about-milford-sound/

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Franz Josef Glacier - New Zealand

The spectacular New Zealand landscapes are famous all over the world and some of those landscapes include glaciers. Franz Josef Glacier is one of New Zealand’s largest and most-visited ones. 

Produced by Colorview Publication 2004 Ltd
Franz Josef Glacier area has some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. Just six kilometres from the centre of the village, Franz Josef Glacier(Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere) descends from the tops of the Southern Alps (Kā Tiritiri o te Moana) into rainforest close to sea level.  This provides a very rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacier in a temperate environment, within easy driving and walking distance from the main highway.
Franz Josef is the name of both the glacier and the nearby village, though the Maori names are different.  The small but lively Franz Josef Waiau village is surrounded by lush rainforest with the high snow-capped Alps above.
Within a short distance of the village are a number of options for taking in the natural attractions including a cycleway, walks of varying length, guided walks, kayaking, and action adventures like rafting or skydiving.  You can take a visit to the white heron colony or the world’s rarest kiwi. - in: http://www.glaciercountry.co.nz/explore-our-regions/franz-josef-glacier/

Sultan Abdul Samad building - Kuala Lumpur

The GTKY topic doesn't exist anymore but some of its members still keep in touch and meet. Last October Ana and Lyan met in Kuala Lumpur and it was a perfect occasion to send some cards to old friends. Thank you both. 

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is among Kuala Lumpur’s earliest Moorish-style buildings. It is set to the east of Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) and the Royal Selangor Club, across from Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin. It was built in 1897 and was named after the reigning sultan of Selangor at the time. The distinguished landmark originally served as the secretariat for the colonial British administration. Designed by A. C. Norman, the historically-significant building used to house the superior courts of Malaysia: the Federal Court of Malaysia, the Court of Appeals and the High Court of Malaya, before they moved to Putrajaya. - in: http://www.kuala-lumpur.ws/attractions/sultan-abdul-samad-building.htm

Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary - Philippines

I had once cards from all the Philippines UNESCO sites but in 2014 Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary was added to the WHS list and I had to wait 2 years to get a card from there. I got it thanks to Jan. 

Photos by Boj Capati
Forming a mountain ridge running north-south along the Pujada Peninsula in the south-eastern part of the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary has an elevation range of 75–1,637 m above sea level and provides critical habitat for a range of plant and animal species. The property showcases terrestrial and aquatic habitats at different elevations, and includes threatened and endemic flora and fauna species, eight of which are found only at Mount Hamiguitan. These include critically endangered trees, plants and the iconic Philippine eagle and Philippine cockatoo. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1403