Wednesday, March 30, 2016

PT RR - Group 19 * Castles

After the churches and the snow, now I've castles. These came from France and Portugal. 

© R. Soberka
This isn't only a RR card, it's also a meeting card. Ana sent it during Raquel's birthday meeting in Bruxelles, last January.
The card was sent from Belgium but this château is french. 
The Château de Flers is a château located in Villeneuve d'Ascq, in the Nord department of France. The château, completed in 1661, is very characteristic of the Flemish architecture of the 17th century. 
It hosts the Château de Flers museum and the tourism office of Villeneuve d'Ascq city. 

© Sergiy Scheblykin
I've already wrote many, many times about Pena Palace in Sintra. I've visited it twice but I'd love to visit it again and the other palaces of Sintra.
The card was sent by Paula.

Monday, March 28, 2016

PT RR - Group 15 * Snow

In this snowy group, Óscar sent me a card from his swiss hometown Crans-Montana and Zé Pombal a card from the Larouco Mountain in northern Portugal. 

© Photoglob Zurich
The two neighbouring resorts of Crans and Montana are situated at an altitude of 1500 m on a sun-drenched plateau high above the Rhone Valley. Together they form one of the biggest holiday destinations in the Valais.
These twin towns have much to offer, including an impressive view of the chain of mountain peaks from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc and a particularly wide programme of activities all year round. 
Idyllic mountain village or alpine town? Crans-Montana embodies both and combines all the comforts of a modern holiday resort with an expansive natural landscape and panoramic views of the Valais Alps. The modern side of Crans-Montana offers the most extensive alpine shopping for miles around. It also boasts a renowned cultural and congress centre; and a wide range of accommodation. As a venue for major sporting events, and with a reputation as a golfing Mecca, Crans-Montana draws visitors from all over the world. - in:

Foto: Cristina Duarte
Situated in the north of Portugal, in the district of Vila Real, this a 10 km long mountain, the second highest mountain of mainland Portugal, being its maximum altitude, 1527 metres.
With an unique beauty on its top is possible to the valleys of Lima, Tâmega and Cávado and Rabagão rivers, and also several villages and the town of Montalegre. In addition to the landscapes you can also observe wild horses, wolves, foxes, roe deers, wild boars and some reptiles.

PT RR - Group 3 * Churches

Time for another RR, only written in portuguese. The 1st card arrived from Brazil and it was sent by Luzia, the 2nd is a portuguese card sent by Rita.

The complex of the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora Mãe dos Homens (Our Lady Mother of Men) and former eighteenth century college form an architectural set of inestimable historical and cultural value. Built in neo-Gothic style, the Sanctuary is a jewel encrusted in Serrra do Caraça with its warheads and tall columns, altars, windows, stained glass and rose windows, besides religious works of art and the famous Last Supper of Mestre  Ataide.
Even though it was done in French architectural style, the church was built without  any slave labor and all material were regional: soapstone (taken from near the Cascatona), marble (from near  Mariana and Itabirito) and quartzite (the Caraça region and neighborhood), put together with a product  lime based, mixed with rock dust and oil. - in:

Foto: Henrique Ruas
I've been many times to Lisbon but never made a proper visit to the ruins of Carmo Convent and Church.
One of the most dramatic tourist sights in Lisbon refers to the roofless Carmo Convent and Church. This is not a place of worship proper, given at present it is more of a ruin than a functional church, but the traces of the former medieval religious edifice call forth the splendor of what the convent and the church used to be.
The monastic complex was built between 1389 and 1423 by order to Nuno Alvares Pereira, a powerful knight, head of the Portuguese army (second in importance after the king). It was initially bestowed to the Carmelite order, but it lost its functionality after the great earthquake of 1755, when much of the edifice was damaged apparently beyond repair. However, what is worth mentioning is before the earthquake, the Carmo Convent and Church represented the height of all Gothic religious edifices in Lisbon.
At present, the complex is home to the Carmo Archeological Museum. It is located in the Chiado district, and it is well worth a visit by tourists who want to sample what is best in Lisbon in terms of historical and archeological sites. - in

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Monthly Favorite Surprise RR * February '16

Last month I've got these nice cards from Germany, Switzerland and Czech Republic. 

This card is also from Germany and it was sent by Sybille. 
The Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate) was built according to the plans by Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner in 1925-1933, on a former manor estate in what is now the Neukölln district of Berlin. Even today, the horseshoe formation visible from the sky harks back to the site's former use. The functional and modest design gave the direction for housing estate architecture in the 1920s and 1930s. The asymmetrical architecture arranged in a staggered fashion gave way to a new form of urban design.
There are now just under 2000 flats and over 679 single family houses in the estate.
The "Tautes Heim" holiday home in the Hufeisensiedlung gives visitors the chance to feel what living was like in the 20s and the 30s. The house, which was restored under historical protection can accommodate up to four people and has three authentic rooms with furnishings which are typical of the time, as well as a bathroom, kitchen and garden with sun terrace. - in:
On July 7, 2008, it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status as one out of six Berlin Modernism Housing Estates.

© Photoglob Zurich
I'm always looking for new castles and this one is a new one from Swizterland. It was sent by Grace.
The impressive keep of the former fortress of Oberhofen was likely built in the early 13th Century. In the 14th Century it belonged to the Habsburgs. After the Battle of Sempach, the Bernese troops occupied Oberhofen and soon afterwards the fortress and surrounding area came under the control of the Scharnachthal dynasty. Other Bernese dynasties followed. From 1652 to 1798, the castle became a bailiwick and was extended and converted into a castle. In 1801, it became a private property again. In the middle of the 19th Century, the castle was transformed under the Counts of Pourtalès whose ancestors had originated from Neuchâtel in Switzerland and migrated to Prussia. 
In 1940, the American lawyer William Maul Measey established the Oberhofen Foundation. In 1954, the Museum opened to the public as an outpost of the Historic Museum of Berne. On January 1st 2009, Castle Oberhofen became an independent foundation again. - in:

Foto: Ivan Rillich
Radana also sent me a new castle.
Sovinec Castle rises proudly up on a rocky promontory in the mountainous valley of the Nízký Jeseník Mountains.
This was built in the 14th century and became an important Hussite fortress one hundred years later. Great danger came again during the Thirty Years War and despite the massive fortifications, it was captured by the Swedish army of General Torstenson.
Nowadays however, we can admire the castle fortifications as the most extensive preserved fortifications from the time of the Thirty Years War in our lands. During World War Two, the castle was used as a prison and base for the SS. On the contrary, it was one of the freedom cells during the period of normalisation where banned Czech artists were able to present their work. Visit a place full of the widely differing throes of Czech history, set in wonderful countryside. - in:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Monthly Favorite Surprise RR * January '16

This year I've been joining all these RR's so far and I've already joined next month RR. In the 1st month of the year I've received cards from USA, Russia, Ukraine and Germany.

Cynthia grew up next to the volcanoes of  Hawaii. The card has no identification of this vulcano though but Cynthia said it is located on the Big Island. 

In December Rita sent me one of my favorite cards, in January she sent me another favorite!! This one is from Kaliningrad and it shows the King's Gate. 
The King's Gate is one of the former six gates that were built during the 19th century around Kaliningrad (the former German city of Königsberg). 
The King's Gate was originally the Gumbinnen Gate (German: Gumbinner Tor), built in 1765 at the edge of the district Neue Sorge. In 1811 it was renamed the King's Gate and was the terminus of the Königstraße boulevard. The gate was redesigned by Friedrich August Stüler in 1850. The west facade has three sandstone statues.
The gate was damaged during the Second World War. Furthermore, as a first victory celebration, Soviet soldiers decapitated the statues. With the celebration of the city's 750-year existence in June 2005, the gate was renovated. A few months before the beginning of the festivities, the gate was still in a desolate condition. Within a few weeks, however, the gate was restored to its condition before the war. Fully restored statues replaced the decapitated ones on the gate with this renovation. - in: wikipedia

Last September I've been to Kiev for a couple of hours, I really wanted to visit St. Sophia Cathedral but the weather was so bad that my friends and I decided to go to the airport instead. Maybe next time.
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. The cathedral is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first heritage site in Ukraine to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex. - in: wikipedia
The card was sent by Lera.

Foto: Szyszka, Erfurt
I love it when I get to discover some interresting places or monuments thanks to cards. Anne sent be this Erfurt's card with the local Krämerbrücke - Merchants' Bridge. I've never heard about this bridge and now I want to see it. 
The Merchants' Bridge (Krämerbrücke) is the longest series of inhabited buildings on any bridge in Europe. The Merchants' Bridge is Erfurts most interesting secular construction, initially in wood but rebuilt in stone in 1325. There were originally 62 narrow buildings along its 120-metre length, but subsequent redevelopment left just 32 buildings. Of what was once a pair of bridgehead churches, only the Church of St. Aegidius remains at the eastern end of the bridge today.
 The Merchants' Bridge is lined with galleries, cafés and boutiques offering traditional crafts, Thuringian blue printed fabrics, hand-painted ceramics, handblown glassware, jewellery, wood carvings, antiques and delicious Thuringian specialities - perfect for browsing. - in:

Monthly Favorite Surprise RR * December '15

I didn't join the November's RR, I didn't notice it, so I'm jumping for October to December. In December I got cards from Russia, Estonia and Netherlands. 

The volvano on this card is one of the Udina volcanos in Klyuchevskoy Nature Park, considered one of the main natural attractions of the Kamchatka Peninsula. 
As a result of the numerous and lengthy eruptions in the area formed the huge lava plateaus, and today a natural park is one of the most powerful volcanic massifs are not only on the Kamchatka Peninsula, but throughout the Russian Federation. The volcanic group consists of 13 volcanos and the park register at least two new eruptions per year, which lasts from several days to two or three months.
The card was sent by Alyona.

This beautiful Suzdal card was in my favorites. Thanks Rita. The card shows the Wooden Church of St. Nicholas and the Cathedral of the Nativity.
 St. Nicholas church was built in Glotovo in 1766 and was moved to Suzdal in 1960 to be part of a Museum of Wooden Architecture & Peasant Life. This church is made out of all wood and represents the close relationship between wood and stone architecture and how precise the Russians were while building this back in 1766.
The Cathedral of the Nativity is a World Heritage Site. It is one of the eight White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal. One of the most complex monuments of Russian medieval architecture. It was built between 1222-1225. - in: wikipedia

Daire from Estonia sent me a card with the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn. This orthodox cathedral was built in a typical Russian Revival style between 1894 and 1900, during the period when the country was part of the Russian Empire. 
The cathedral was built during the period of late 19th century Russification and was so disliked by many Estonians as a symbol of oppression that the Estonian authorities scheduled the cathedral for demolition in 1924, but the decision was never implemented due to lack of funds and the building's massive construction. As the USSR was officially non-religious, many churches including this cathedral were left to decline. The church has been meticulously restored since Estonia regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. - in: wikipedia

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is situated on Dam Square in very the centre of Amsterdam. It was originally built as the city hall for the magistrates of Amsterdam. In the 17th century it was the largest secular building of Europe. Learn more about its history.
Today the Royal Palace on the Dam is one of the three Palaces, which the State has placed at the King's disposal by an Act of Parliament. It is used for Royal Events like reception of the foreign heads of state during their visits in The Netherlands, the King's New Year reception and other official receptions. Every year, it provides the setting for the presentation of various official and royal prizes. - in:
This last card was sent by Mendy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Monthly Favorite Surprise RR * October '15

This week started with 5 cards, one of them from this very same RR and it is an amazing card. 
These four are nice too and are October's cards. They came from Germany, Netherlands, New Caledonia and Taiwan. 

© Photography & Design - Hans Fine Art Photography
Sabine sent me a card from one of the german cities on my must visit list, Dresden.
The Hofkirche stands as one of Dresden's foremost landmarks. It was designed by architect Gaetano Chiaveri from 1738 to 1751. The church was commissioned by Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland while the Protestant city of Dresden built the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) between 1726 and 1743. The Catholic Elector decided that a Catholic church was needed in order to counterbalance the Protestant Frauenkirche.
In the crypt the heart of King Augustus the Strong is buried along with the last King of Saxony and the remains of 49 other members of the Wettin family, as well as the remains of people who married into the family, such as Princess Maria Carolina of Savoy, wife of Anthony of Saxony.
The church was badly damaged during the bombing of Dresden of the Second World War and was restored during the mid-1980s by the East German government. Today it is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen. - in: wikipedia

Kinderdijk was also on my must visit list but I've already been there, exactly one year ago. I'd love to go there again on a snowy day, it must be so beautiful. 
The card was sent by Mendy.

© 2007 Photo - Mike Hosken
Azzi went on holidays with her nieces to Amédée Island, New Caledonia, lucky girls!!
The Amédée lighthouse is an iron lighthouse located on Amédée Island.
The metal components were made by Rigolet in North-East Paris in 1862 and the tower was constructed in Paris as a demonstration. It was then disassembled into pieces weighing a total of 387,953 kilos and transported along the River Seine to the port of Le Havre for its voyage to New Caledonia. 
At 56 metres tall (247 steps), it is one of the tallest lighthouses in the world and it was the first metallic lighthouse constructed in France. The foundation stone was laid on 18 January 1865 and it was first lit on 15 November 1865, the saint day of the Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. 
Its light signals the entrance to the passage of Boulari, one of only three natural passages in the reef surrounding New Caledonia. 
On the other side of the world, the Roches-Douvres Light in the English Channel is the twin brother of the Amédée lighthouse. It is now a very popular tourist attraction. - in: wikipedia

Photo by Yuyen
Reuen also sent me a lighthouse card. This is is Eluanbi light located on Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost point of Taiwan, to the south of Hengchun in Pingtung County, Taiwan. 
 The lighthouse is built between the Pacific Ocean and the Taiwan Strait, facing toward the Luzon Strait. Thus, the lighthouse has a splendid panorama. The lighthouse is open to the public all year around. Today, Eluanbi Lighthouse is called "The Light of East Asia", because its intensity is the most powerful among Taiwan lighthouses. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, March 19, 2016


I'm only missing cards from 2 canadian UNESCO sites. These two, sent by Natasha, were the last that I got from this country. Waterton Glacier International Peace Park was added to the WHS list in 1995 and the Wood Buffalo National Park in 1983.

 © 2015 Canada Post
In 1932 Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta, Canada) was combined with the Glacier National Park (Montana, United States) to form the world's first International Peace Park. Situated on the border between the two countries and offering outstanding scenery, the park is exceptionally rich in plant and mammal species as well as prairie, forest, and alpine and glacial features. - in:

© 2015 Canada Post
Situated on the plains in the north-central region of Canada, the park (which covers 44,807 km2) is home to North America's largest population of wild bison. It is also the natural nesting place of the whooping crane. Another of the park's attractions is the world's largest inland delta, located at the mouth of the Peace and Athabasca rivers. - in:

Friday, March 18, 2016

White House - USA

In a few months the americans will choose a new president. There's no need to choose a house for the president as the White House has been the official residence of every U. S. president since 1800. 
This card was sent by Lindsey.

The first president, George Washington, selected the site for the White House in 1791. The cornerstone was laid in 1792 and a competition design submitted by Irish-born architect James Hoban was chosen. After eight years of construction, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved into the unfinished house in 1800. During the War of 1812, the British set fire to the President’s House in 1814. James Hoban was appointed to rebuild the house, and President James Monroe moved into the building in 1817. During Monroe’s administration, the South Portico was constructed in 1824, and Andrew Jackson oversaw the addition of the North Portico in 1829. During the late 19th century, various proposals were made to significantly expand the President’s House or to build an entirely new house for the president, but these plans were never realized.

Photography © 1996 Fred Hirschmann
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt began a major renovation of the White House, including the relocation of the president’s offices from the Second Floor of the Residence to the newly constructed temporary Executive Office Building (now known as the West Wing). The Roosevelt renovation was planned and carried out by the famous New York architectural firm McKim, Mead and White. Roosevelt’s successor, President William Howard Taft, had the Oval Office constructed within an enlarged office wing.
Less than fifty years after the Roosevelt renovation, the White House was showing signs of serious structural weakness. President Harry S. Truman began a renovation of the building in which everything but the outer walls were dismantled. The reconstruction was overseen by architect Lorenzo Winslow, and the Truman family moved back into the White House in 1952.
Every president since John Adams has occupied the White House, and the history of this building extends far beyond the construction of its walls. From the Ground Floor Corridor rooms, transformed from their early use as service areas, to the State Floor rooms, where countless leaders and dignitaries have been entertained, the White House is both the home of the President of the United States his family and a museum of American history. The White House is a place where history continues to unfold. - in:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

CA-579741, US-3691842 & US-3809162

Cards from New York, Michigan and North Carolina.

CA-579741, sent by Mengyao.
This card is actually a canadian official card but as it is easily seen, it shows the skyline of the city that never sleeps, New York. 

 Photos by Diane Cauchy
US-3691842, sent by Diane.
Some lighthouses in Michigan. The pictures were all taken by Diane. 
Manistee Light; Point Betsie, Waugashance Light; Old Mackinaw Light; White Shoal Light and St. Helena Light.
US-3809162, sent by Neil.
North Carolina fun facts:
- The state was named after King Charles I of England. Carolina comes from Carolus, the latin form of Charles;
- The Wright brothers, the aviation pioneers who were first to fly an airplane at Kitty Hawk in 1903, both dropped out of high school. They designed and manufactured their own bicyles to fund their airplane pursuits;
- Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi in New Bern in 1898. The drink was named "Brad's Drink.";
- The largest black bear ever recorded in North carolina weighed 880 pounds (199kg);
- The Biltmore Estate in Asheville is the largest private house in the US. It boasts of 25o rooms, which include 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces and 3 kitchens. Today is open to public;
- Cape Hatters Light, located on Hatters Island, is the tallest lighthouse in the US. Its height is 210 feet (64 m);
- Virginia dare was born in Roanoke Colony on August 18, 1587. She was the first child born in the New World to English parents, who were among the colonists from London.