Friday, April 12, 2024

Pyhätunturi - Finland

 My friend Anne has been to Lapland once again, last february, but this time things didn't go that well. Too cloudy to see the northern lights, too warm to have decent snow and she got the flu. She got the flu but I got a nice card from there.
Foto: Sampsa Sulonen
 Pyhätunturi – is situated in eastern Lapland, in the north of Finland, right in the middle of pure, pristine nature. It is part of Pyhä-Luosto National park. 
Pyhätunturi is, in fact, a ski centre where Finns and foreigners alike come for their skiing holidays. Like with most destinations in Lapland, downhill skiing is the main activity in Pyhä.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Venice - Italy

Venice is probably one of the most famous and visited cities, not only in Italy, but in the world. The city is known for its canals. The Grand Canal is the largest and most important canal in Venice and forms the city's largest water traffic route.  
With around 3.8 km, it "starts" in the lagoon near the Santa Lucia train station, making an "S" shaped curve through the central neighborhoods, the sestieri, and ends next to the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. The banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which date from the 13th to 18th centuries.  
One of these buildings, highlighted in these postcards, is the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. The 1st of these postcards is an official one, received a few days ago, the 2nd was sent by Anne in 2018 and the last was sent in 2009 by Irene.
DE-13872773, sent by Kolja.
Santa María della Salute is one of the most important religious edifices in Venice. Its striking dome is depicted in most of the city’s postcards. 

© FLORENTIA MINOR S. N. C. - Fiesole (FI)
Salute, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1631. The basilica was built to commemorate the end of a terrible outbreak of the plague that began in 1630, and killed a large portion of the Veneto population. It was dedicated to Our Lady of Health (Salute in Italian).
The architect, Baldassare Longhena, was commissioned to design the church and had also been responsible for the construction of the Ca’ Rezzonico. Santa Maria della Salute took 56 years to build and was completed in 1687. 

The Basilica’s interior is octagonal with small chapels on each side of the building. Although the church’s decoration is quite plain, there are several impressive paintings by Titian and Tintoretto.
The most magnificent canvas is called “Marriage at Cana” by Tintoretto. It is located in the sacristy.
Every 21 November, the Venetians celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin (Festa della Madonna della Salute). It is one of the most popular festivals in Venice. It involves crossing an improvised bridge over the Grand Canal to the Salute Basilica in recognition of freeing Venice from the plague. - in:

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Torralba d'en Salort - Spain

 Spain has an impressive number of 50 sites inscribed on the UNESCO WHS list and I've cards from 49 of those sites. Last month Jordi sent me this card from Torralba d'en Salort, one of the most beautiful and best preserved prehistoric settlements in Menorca. It is also one of the largest and most complete. This is one of Prehistoric Sites of Talayotic Menorca, classified as World Heritage Site last year.

Foto: Ricardo Pla
The main features of this site are two talaiots, the taula enclosure, a hypostyle room, some caves dug out of the ground and the remains of other buildings used as dwellings.
The taula and its enclosure are among the largest and most beautiful on the island. The building dates from the 4th-3rd centuries B.C. and was used for worship up until the 2nd century A.D. It is built on a horseshoe-shaped layout with separate areas inside. The T of the taula consists of two huge blocks of stone, one vertical and the other horizontal, beautifully finished and standing nearly 4 metres tall. Various excavation works carried out on the site have revealed the remains of a fire, wine amphorae plus evidence that kid goats and young lambs were ritually killed and eaten. Other finds include ritual objects such as an altar, a terracotta image of the Punic goddess Tanit, the bronze figure of a bull and bronze hooves belonging to the figure of a horse. These items are on display in the Museum of Menorca and provide the most compelling evidence to support the notion that the taula enclosure was a place of worship. The settlement had its heyday during the time of Punic trading expansion, towards the 1st century B.C. - in:

Curral das Freiras - Portugal

A month ago I was in Madeira and one of the places I visited was Curral das Freiras, Nun's Valley, a place I had already been to the first time I visited the island, in 2010. This time I did more than just enjoy the views from the Eira do Serrado viewpoint. I hiked a short but very scenic 2 km's path to Curral das Freiras. This trail was one of the main accesses to the town until the arrival of the first road access in 1959.
Fotografia: Ilídio Gonçalves
With its unique location, in a deep valley resembling a volcano crater, the parish of Curral das Freiras is one of the most picturesque places on the island of Madeira. Its surroundings are marked by the imposing presence of the mountain peaks that shelter the town.
The town was named after the nuns of the Santa Clara Convent who, in 1566, found this to be the ideal refuge when pirates attacked Funchal: Curral das Freiras is one of the few places on the island that, being hidden between the mountains, is not visible from the sea. - in:

Friday, March 22, 2024

PT RR - Surprise Group * February '24

In today's only post, I've postcards from Viseu and Chamusca in Portugal and from São Paulo, Brazil,  sent by Eric, Rui and Pedro.
When I receive these older postcards, I'm always curious to know what year the photos are from. Those cars are very old but I won't risk a year.   
Anyone who knows Viseu will easily recognize this square. Praça D. Duarte is located in the historic center, next to the south wing of the catedral. This square is named after King D. Duarte, who was born in Viseu in 1391 and whose statue was built in 1955. Surrounded by buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, this square was the city's main center until the end of the 19th century.

I've never been to Chamusca, I don't associate any image with it and this is my first card from this town. This statue represents a working peasant family, erected in honor of the county's farmers.

The city of São Paulo is known for having some of the tallest buildings in Brazil. In the municipality, there are around 10 thousand tall buildings, with a height above 35 meters. Of this total, more than 150 are considered skyscrapers, with a height above 100 meters and there are 16 above 150 meters. It is the fourth city with the highest number of buildings and one of the cities with the most skyscrapers in the world.  
When I was in São Paulo I saw a similar view from the top of the Martineli Building. It is 105 meters high and between 1934 and 1947 it was the second skyscraper in Brazil.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

PT RR - Surprise Group * January '24

 Cards from different countries but all written in Portuguese.

The Archaeological Site of São Miguel Arcanjo is a complex of ruins from the ancient Mission of São Miguel Arcanjo, part of the so-called Seven Peoples of the Missions, and one of the main remains of the period of the Jesuit Missions of the Guarani. These ruins are located in the northwest of Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. 
The site, commonly called the ruins of São Miguel das Missões, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with the 4 ruins on the Argentine side since 1983.
Construction was built in the 18th century, between 1735 and 1745. The Church was designed by the Italian priest João Batista Primolli and built entirely in sandstone. It was not finished, as the second tower, which would be the astronomical observatory, had yet to be built. 
The card was sent by Maria Eliza.

 Situated in the very heart of Montmartre, Place du Tertre, is one of the most famous squares of all of Paris. It is famous for its painters, cafés, and ambiance.
The hilltop village of Montmartre has an exciting past. Before it became a part of Paris, it was a quaint village covered in little farms, vineyards and windmills. During the Belle Époque, it became a haven for artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Maurice Utrillo, Van Gogh and Picasso thanks to its more affordable cost of living and cheap wine (it was exempt from Paris’s wine tax)! Here, an artistic community was formed, and a lively cabaret culture flourished, many of which you can still see standing today.
Fast-forward to the 21st century: its artistic heritage has lived on, along with the charming village-like feel. You’ll find artists covering every square inch of the Place du Tertre in the center of the neighborhood, selling their canvases and offering portrait sessions. - in:
Card sent by Pedro.
Photo: Gustav A, Wittich
I really love Porto and I especially like to cross the bridge to Gaia to enjoy the beautiful views of the historic center of Porto. This card was sent by Rui.
Cais de Gaia played a very important part in Porto's history due to Port Wine, as this was the place where the rabelo boats would dock and the barrels of wine were offloaded and taken to the cellars, but also because it was from here that Port Wine started to be exported and where the import trade of various other goods took place. 
Nowadays it is a tourist attraction with many restaurants, bars and cafés and the place where many  Douro River cruises depart from to admire the unique landscape of the Douro Valley, where Port Wine is produced. 

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR - February '24

 Beautiful cards from Canada, Germany, Russia and Belgium
Lyle Korytar
 Yes, this is an American stamp but the card is from Canada. 
Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
The area around the lake has several walking/hiking trails that are, from time to time, restricted. The trail most commonly taken by tourists is The Rockpile Trail, which is along the actual Moraine. The trail is approximately 300 metres (980 ft) long, with an elevation change of 24 metres (79 ft). The view of the lake from the top of the rockpile is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada. That view of the mountains behind the lake in Valley of the Ten Peaks is known as the "Twenty Dollar View", as Moraine Lake was featured on the reverse side of the 1969 and 1979 issues of the Canadian twenty dollar bill. - in: wikipedia
Card sent by Varun.
Photo by: Jakob Radlgruber
Grace surprised me with this wonderful card from my favorites. 
Wallfahrtskirche Maria Gern is the pilgrimage church of Berchtesgaden, often regarded as one of the most beautiful churches in Bavaria. Established somewhere between 1708 -1710, the church was built on the site of an older chapel. Maria Gern is home to a rare and significant image of Madonna and Child, which dates back to 1666. The Roman Catholic church boasts of pretty interiors, complete with beautiful frescoes and stucco work, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, by Christoph Lehrl and Joseph Schmidt. - in:
Speaking of surprises, Tanya decided to send not 1 but 6 cards, all depicting beautiful churches. They are all very beautiful but my favorite is this one of the Church of the Resurrection. This church dates from 1756 and was brought from the village Patakino to the Museum of Wooden Archictecture in Suzdal, Russia.
The museum was founded in 1968. The wooden constructions from all over the Vladimir region were brought to the museum. Noteworthy that all buildings are actual constructions that people lived and worked in. Thus, a typical village with all the features of ancient Russian settlement was reconstituted on the left bank of the Kamenka River.
Lara also checked my favorites and sent me this lovely card. 
When you think of Belgium, you’re likely to think about quality Belgian chocolate, beer, classical European architecture, and, of course – Belgian waffles. However, there is another product that makes Belgium unique, and, in particular – the city of Bruges. In the 16th-century, the city of Bruges adopted a tradition of weaving lace into thousands of shapes and patterns, contributing to Belgium’s textile industry’s success.
There are two main lace weaving techniques that are practiced in Belgium – the Bobbin Method, also known as the “Brussels Method” (since it is mainly sold in Brussels), and the Bruges Method that uses a loom. The people of Bruges are experts in producing lace so delicate that it is not meant for mass production due to the long and arduous process of weaving it.
All throughout Bruges you can find little shops selling intricate lace items. The shops are usually run by 50-90 year old women, who continue to weave lace by the traditional bobbin method. These artisans preserve the centuries-old tradition and produce quality lace item of various fabrics, colors and patterns. Belgium’s entire lace weaving industry is comprised of about 1,000 weavers that produce everything manually, without any motorized machines or other technological aids. The country doesn’t even have a single lace factory because it honors the ancient tradition of weaving and wishes to keep it alive. - in: