Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Swiss Castles - Switzerland

I really don't relate castles to Switzerland but because of the cards, I realized that there's quite a few castles in the country worth to visit. 
The 1st castle is Bottmingen Castle, the card was sent by Paulo and Óscar sent the Morges Castle card. 

© Rud. Suter AG., Oberrieden/Züruch
 The moated castle of Bottmingen, a community to the south-west of Basel, is a highlight for all romantics. Dating from the 13th century, it is one of the few such buildings in Switzerland that are still intact.
The first recorded mention of Schloss Bottmingen dates from 1363, when it was owned by the Kämmerer family. These aristocratic servants to the Bishops of Basel are thought to have built the castle. In 1720, Johannes Deucher transformed the castle into an early-Baroque country manor in the French style. Although this structure has been almost entirely preserved, the basic form of the medieval castle is still visible. Today Schloss Bottmingen makes a wonderful setting for weddings, banquets and other festive occasions. - in:

© photoglob Zürich
Built by Louis of Savoy in 1286 to oppose the Bishop of Lausanne, Morges Castle was a fortress and a residence of the counts and dukes of Savoy and, later, of the Bernese bailiffs. Morges Castle accommodates the following four museums today : The cantonal Military Museum, The Swiss Museum of Historic Figurines, The Museum of Artillery and The Museum of the Lake Geneva Region police.
Located on the shore of Lake Geneva opposite Mont-Blanc, the Castle is flanked by a round tower at each corner and is a good example of a "carré savoyard" (Savoy fortress). The inner courtyard was raised to the level of the former entrance and the tops of its towers were rounded to make it suitable for 16th century artillery.  - in:

Jet d'Eau, Geneva - Switzerland

I've been to Geneva a couple of years ago but I haven't seen much of the city, the only thing I remember is the Jet D'Eau. A few days ago, on 25 August, the fountain celebrated its 125th anniversary at its present location.
The 1st of these cards was sent by Óscar, the 2nd by a former cousin and I'm not sure about the 3rd, maybe it was also that former cousin. 

 © photoglob Zürich
The Jet d'Eau is a large fountain in Geneva, Switzerland, and is one of the city's most famous landmarks, being featured on the city's official tourism web site and on the official logo for Geneva's hosting of the 2008 UEFA Championships. Situated at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhône, it is visible throughout the city and from the air, even when flying over Geneva at an altitude of 10 kilometres (33,000 ft).

Five hundred litres (110 imp gal; 130 US gal) of water per second are jetted to an altitude of 140 metres (460 ft) by two 500 kW pumps, operating at 2,400 V, consuming one megawatt of electricity. The water leaves the nozzle at a speed of 200 kilometres per hour (120 mph). Diameter of the nozzle is exactly 4 inches (10 cm). Maximum height of water jet is about 140 metres (460 ft) above water level. When it is in operation, at any given moment there are about 7,000 litres (1,500 imp gal; 1,800 US gal) of water in the air. Unsuspecting visitors to the fountain—which can be reached via a stone jetty from the left bank of the lake—may be surprised to find themselves drenched after a slight change in wind direction. 

The first Jet d'Eau was installed in 1886 at the Usine de la Coulouvrenière, a little further downstream from its present location. It was used as a safety valve for a hydraulic power network and could reach a height of about 30 metres (98 feet). In 1891, its aesthetic value was recognised and it was moved to its present location to celebrate the Federal Gymnastics Festival and the 600th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, on which occasion it was operated for the first time. Its maximum height was about 90 metres (295 feet). The present Jet d'Eau was installed in 1951 in a partially submerged pumping station to pump lake water instead of city water.
Since 2003, the fountain has operated during the day all year round, except in case of frost and particularly strong wind. It also operates in the evening between spring and autumn and is lit by a set of 21 lights totalling 9 kW. - in: wikipedia

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monte San Giorgio - Italy

The previous card wasn't the only new UNESCO site Marina sent me, she also sent this card from the italian side of Monte San Giorgio. I already had a card from the swiss side, now I've cards from both countries.

In 2003, UNESCO recognized the uniqueness and exceptional geo-paleontological of Monte San Giorgio, by entering the Swiss side of the mountain in the World Heritage List. In nominating reasons, Monte San Giorgio is identified as the best testimony of the geo-paleontological history in the marine environment dating back 247 to 235 million years ago that, through the thousands of fossils found in the last two centuries, has allowed to study in detail the evolution of many groups of marine organisms. 

© Jacques Perler
Since August 2, 2010, also the Italian side of the Monte San Giorgio entered the UNESCO list of World Natural Heritage, as also requested by UNESCO itself, thus completing the recognition of the only area of ​​transnational paleontological importance.
The fossiliferous sequence of Monte San Giorgio is acknowledged as the best in the world especially for the study of the Middle Triassic marine vertebrates. It tells us that the environment at that time was that of a complex deep tropical lagoon between large carbonate platforms covered by a few meters of water, and the open sea.
Small, low islands dotting the carbonate platform and extensive land mass was a little further away to the west. This complex environment has allowed us to have the remains of mainly marine organisms and the rarest terrestrial organisms including some plants and insects.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Virginia Island - Italy

The Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps is probably one of the hardest european UNESCO sites to get cards from. I'm really glad that I got this one from Italy. It was sent by Marina. 

Fotos: Armando Botelli * Museo Civico Archeologico di Villa Mirabello, Varese
On the western shore of Lake Varese, close to the shore of the town of Biandronno, there is the little island Virginia. It extends for 9200 meters and has a triangular shape. Owned by the municipality of Varese since 1962, thanks to the donation of the Marquis Gianfelice Ponti, the island is an archaeological and environmental site bound among the most important in Europe. 
It is one of the most important prehistoric lake dwellings whose wooden structures have been preserved over time because submerged by the waters of the lake and vegetation. Since 2011, in fact, the island is part of the list "Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps" UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the campaign of 2006, the remains were placed in their places of origin but have been realized a mold, which reproduces the collapse of part of closeup of a Neolithic structure, and some sections so that you can show to the public. - in:

Pont du Gard - France

Another UNESCO site from France. Pont du Gard was added to the UNESCO WHS list in 1985 because of its historical importance. 
I got my 1st card from there in 2008 thanks to Bruno and last April received another card as an official.

The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River in southern France. Located near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard, the bridge is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometre (31 mi) system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because of the uneven terrain between the two points, the mostly underground aqueduct followed a long, winding route that called for a bridge across the gorge of the Gardon River. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts, and, along with the Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the best preserved.

FR-685162, sent by David.
The bridge has three tiers of arches, standing 48.8 m (160 ft) high. The whole aqueduct descends in height by only 17 m (56 ft) over its entire length, while the bridge descends by a mere 2.5 centimetres (1 in) – a gradient of only 1 in 3,000 – which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve, using only simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 200,000 m3 (44,000,000 imp gal) of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It continued to be used possibly until the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but lack of maintenance after the 4th century meant that it became increasingly clogged by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire and the aqueduct's fall into disuse, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact, due to the importance of its secondary function, as a toll bridge. For centuries the local lords and bishops were responsible for its upkeep, in exchange for the right to levy tolls on travellers using it to cross the river, although some of its stones were looted and serious damage was inflicted on it in the 17th century. It attracted increasing attention starting in the 18th century, and became an important tourist destination. It underwent a series of renovations between the 18th and 21st centuries, commissioned by the local authorities and the French state, that culminated in 2000 with the opening of a new visitor centre and the removal of traffic and buildings from the bridge and the area immediately around it. Today it is one of France's most popular tourist attractions, and has attracted the attention of a succession of literary and artistic visitors. - in: wikipedia

Beaune - France

This card was a wonderful surprise from Óscar. He told me Beaune was part of a UNESCO site and that I should google to find out which site was that. Of course I did that and the site is Climats, terroirs of Burgundy, on the WHS list since last year. This site includes vineyards, associated production units including the town of Beaune and nearby villages and also the historic centre of Dijon. 

Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy in the Côte d'Or department in eastern France. It is located between Paris and Geneva.
Beaune is one of the key wine centres in France and the annual wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune is the primary wine auction in France. The town is surrounded by some of the world's most famous wine villages, while the facilities and cellars of many producers, large and small, are situated in Beaune itself. With a rich historical and architectural heritage, Beaune is considered the "Capital of Burgundy wines".

The Hospices de Beaune or Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune is a former charitable almshouse in Beaune, France. It was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of Burgundy, as a hospital for the poor. The original hospital building, the Hôtel-Dieu, one of the finest examples of French fifteenth-century architecture, is now a museum. 
An important charity wine auction is held in November each year (formerly in the great hall of the Hôtel-Dieu). - in: wikipedia

Monday, August 22, 2016

Château de Cordès - France

Castles are always welcome and this one from France is new in my collection. It was sent by Paula.

The Château de Cordès is a castle situated in the commune of Orcival, in the Puy-de-Dôme département of France. The château is privately owned, and open to the public. It is classified as a historic monument and the garden is listed by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Remarkable Gardens of France.

Photo: J. Damase
The original castle dates from 1268, when it belonged to Guillaume de Chalus, whose family occupied the castle for nearly four hundred years. In 1659, they sold it to Emmanuel d'Allègre. His son, Yves de Tourzel, the marquis d'Allegre, who became a marechal of France in 1724, rebuilt it and transformed it into a residence, and in 1695, commissioned the workshop of Le Nôtre to lay out the garden.
In 1965, the new owner restored the château and recreated the gardens. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, August 20, 2016


A beautiful french official card from Annecy with the Basilica of the Visitation, the lake and the mountains, sent by a 11 years old girl. 

Photo: M. Glatz * Editions REVALP - ALBERTVILLE
FR-684094, sent by Amandine.
The Basilica of the Visitation at Annecy, highest symbol of the religious past of the city dominates Crêt d’Annecy and the surrounding area. A landmark throughout the city Annecy, one can observe the tip of the Visitation for miles around.
Built between 1909 and 1930, it was consecrated by Cardinal Tedeschini in 1949. On the Gothic Revival style, this basilica has acquired the name of Visitation to honour a hidden mystery of the church : « the visit of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. »
There are inside beautiful mosaics and stained glass windows that recount the life of St. François de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal, whose bronze caskets are exposed, and a masterpiece of casting Paccard; a carillon of 36 bells.
The visitation is not only a historical site that can be visited. It also houses within it a community of Visitation nuns who lives in the shadow of the steeple, in a prayer life that she shares with visitors who are interested. - in:

Incles Valley - Andorra

The snowy card is one of the many cards Paulo sent me a few days ago, the other was bought by me in Andorra 3 years ago. 

Incles Valley (Vall d'Incles in Catalan) is a valley of the Principality of Andorra whose entrance is located between the villages of Soldeu and El Tarter, in the parish of Canillo.

Fotografia: Jaume Riba
Facing north-east and crossed by the Incles River, the valley provides access to Juclar, the largest lake in Andorra. Of great landscaping interest, Incles Valley is the main site for hiking in the country. The access is difficult in winter because of the snow.

The Lovers of Teruel - Spain

We all love a beautiful love story but this one didn't have an happy end though. This card was sent by Gemma.

The Lovers of Teruel (Los amantes de Teruel) is a romantic legend that is alleged to have taken place in the 13th century - in a small town called Teruel.
There was two important and wealthy families in the city of Teruel, the Marcillas' and Seguras'. Diego was a Marcilla and Isabel a Segura. 
The two fell in love as childhood playmates but when they were at an eligible age to get married, Diego's family had fallen on hard times. Isabel's father, being the most wealthy man in all of Teruel, forbid the marriage. Diego, however, was able to make an agreement with the father in which he would leave Teruel for five years to try and build up his fortune. If Diego was able to gain wealth within those five years he would be able to marry his beloved, Isabel. 
Diego was not heard from in five years and on the day of the fifth year past, Isabel's father married her to Don Pedro de Azagra from Albarracín. 

Ediciones Sicilia S. A. 
Right after the wedding ceremony there was a commotion at the Zaragoza gate. The watchmen informed the village that Diego Marcilla had returned with great riches and with the intent of marrying Isabel. Diego had not counted the day in which he petitioned Isabel's father whereas the Seguras had. Diego ran to the feet of Isabel and pleaded her to marry him. Isabel refused, for it was impossible; she had already gotten married. Then Diego pleaded for just one kiss so that at least he could go on in the world, but Isabel refused. 
Upon hearing this Diego could not bear the separation between himself and his love, and with a sigh he died on the feet of his beloved Isabel. The next day, during the funeral for Diego Marcilla, Isabel showed up dressed in her wedding dress. She proceeded to walk to the front of the church and place a kiss on the man whom she had refused but in doing so Isabel died, falling prostrate on the body of the man whom she loved. - in: 

The two deaths caused by love inspired the citizens of Teruel and they demanded that the two be buried side by side so that at least in death they could be together. This request was granted by the church. The fame of the couple soon spread through Spain and in 1560 their mummies were exhumed and placed in the tombs where they now rest.
The tombs are carved out of marble and bear the family shields of Marcilla and Segura, but the most attractive part of the tombs are the lids. The lids are exquisitely carved: one features the strong and handsome Diego, his one arm outstretched, reaching for his love Isabel – his hand comes close to touching her, but because of religious piety they do not touch (since Isabel was married). The lid for Isabel is radiant and most beautiful. 
According to 'professor' Antonio Beltrán, the legend grew when two mummies were found in San Peter’s Church (Teruel, Aragón, Spain), in 1555; and it was believed that they were Diego Marcilla and Isabel Segura, the lovers. - in: wikipedia

Peñiscola - Spain

Ana visited Spain again and I'm still waiting for that day when she decides to visit Portugal too. Come on, come on, the food is better here :) Thanks for the card dear!

Known as the City in the Sea, Peñiscola knowa how to balance the old with the new, with its Templar Castle and medieval walls that are enchantingly surrounded by water. The former Papal Residence is also on the official list of Spain’s most beautiful towns. In 1972 Peñiscola was declared to be an Historical Conservation Area, and in October 2015 it was a location for filming of Game of Thrones. Although being a film location is nothing new for Peñiscola, as it has played this role a number of times, including scenes from El Cid. It has also been featured as one of Condé Nast Traveller’s top towns in the community of Valencia. And if all of that isn’t enough to tempt you, Peñiscola is the proud owner of two blue flag beaches! - in:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sa Boadella - Spain

Gemma is one of my penpals. She likes cards as much as she loves letters and in these last months she sent me a few great cards. This one is from a beach in Lloret de Mar, not far from Barcelona where she lives. 

TRIANGLE POSTALS * Foto © Ricard Pla
Cala de Sa Boadella is practically the only virgin beach of Lloret de Mar. Located in a privileged enclave accessible through a pine forest between Santa Clotilde Gardens and Santa Cristina Beach, this cove has a natural charm worth visiting . Its crystal waters, golden sand and the tranquility of a little explored corner, make this beach an ideal place to enjoy your visit to the Costa Brava.

São João de Tarouca - Portugal

Not so long ago Ninocas spent a weekend in the north of Portugal and she sent a couple of cards from there. I got this nice one of São João de Tarouca Monastery.

Nunes de Almeida Editores
The Monastery of São João de Tarouca is located on the slopes of Leomil mountain, in the Viseu district. Initially it was a hermitage, but in 1152, after the victory of D. Afonso Henriques over the Moors in Trancoso, was laid the first stone of the Cistercian convent church. The monastery was the first to be built in the country by the Cistercian Order. The new dormitory and bell tower were built in the sixteenth century. The last phase of the monastery expansion works took place in the nineteenth century. In 1938 the altarpieces would be restored, and in particular of St. Peter, attributed to Onix. In this abbey rests Pedro Afonso, one of the bastard children of King Dinis, in an huge granite sarcophagus surmounted by recumbent statue and decorated with hunting scenes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Alto Douro Wine Region - Portugal

These cards, also sent by Paulo, are a result of a photo contest. All the pictures are great but my favorite is the picture of the 4th card. 

 Douro Valley - Portugal | © Concurso de Fotografia do Douro 2010 | Rui Ademar Pires
The Douro Valley could as easily be called the enchanted valley, such is the beauty and magic that its landscapes offer. Looking at these cards, we can only agree.

 Douro Valley - Portugal | © Concurso de Fotografia do Douro 2010 | Sónia Arrepia
Created in 1756 by the government of the Marquis of Pombal, as the first demarcated and regulated region in the world, the Alto Douro Wine Region, is an outstanding example of a traditional wine-producing region, famous not only for its Port wine, but also for its more recent high quality table wines. 

 Douro Valley - Portugal | © Concurso de Fotografia do Douro 2010 | Rui Ademar Pires
All these wines come from the terraces that surround the river Douro and its tributaries, where walls made of schist support the vineyards full of white or red grapes.

 Douro Valley - Portugal | © Concurso de Fotografia do Douro 2010 | Manuel Prates
Not only is the landscape altered by the production of wine, but also the pace of life of the Douro. If the winter is marked by the calm and quietness, which seems to be reflected in the bare vines, the transition from the summer to the autumn brings the bustle of the harvest with a fall and rise of baskets and pruning shears, on the slopes populated by workers.

Douro Valley - Portugal | © Concurso de Fotografia do Douro 2010 | Luís Silva Ramos
Recognising the importance of the landscape and the traditional wine production activities, in 2001, UNESCO classified 24 600 hectares of the Alto Douro Wine Region, divided into 13 counties, as a World Heritage. - in:

Marvão - Portugal

Nowadays I don't get cards every day and it is rare to get many cards in one day, but in some special and rare days the cards are so many that do not fit in the mailbox. Something like that happened last week. Paulo sent me an envelope full of cards, I didn't count them but should be between 100-150. I imagine that the postman had to ring the bell to deliver them. I'll show just a few of those cards and I'll start with a card of the Church of Santa Maria in Marvão.

Fotografia de João José Bica * Edição da CMM
There are references to the parish of Santa Maria since 1321, when it was given to the Order of the Hospital, led by the Crato Priory in this region of Alentejo.
The church was built near the castle in Gothic style. It was remodeled during the century XVII, a fact that testifies to the demographic expansion that the village reached and did not turn to repeat to this day, keeping timelessly its medieval features.
Transformed into a Municipal Museum in 1987, we can still recognize the religious function in the structure and in a XVIIII century chapel, covered with figurative tile panels and a Baroque carved altar.
In the museum space is possible to see archaeological pieces found nearby and ethnographic pieces that help to make a historical reading of Marvão. There's also an exhibition dedicated to popular beliefs and remedies, which are still used in this region.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Batalha Monastery - Portugal

I don't know if I already posted any Batalha Monastery card before and I'm feelizing too lazy to confirm that. This monastery is definitely one of the most beautiful portuguese monuments. I've been there twice and I really don't mind to visit it again. 
My dear penpal and friend Vera visited it last April and sent me this card from there. 

© JAMP - Edições Turísticas
The Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória, also known as the Monastery of Batalha is without doubt one of the most beautiful examples of Portuguese and European architecture.
This dazzling architectural ensemble was born out of a promise the King, João I, made in thanks for his victory at Aljubarrota, a battle fought on August 14, 1385, which assured him the throne and guaranteed independence for Portugal.
The construction took over 150 years, across various phases. This is the reason why one can find not only gothic style (for the most part), but also manualine style and some renaissance touches. A number of alterations were made to the initial project, resulting in a vast monastic complex that today includes a church, two cloisters with annexed dependencies and two royal pantheons, the Founder’s Chapel and the Unfinished Chapels.
King João I gave it to the order of Saint Dominic, under the good auspices of Doctor João das Regras, chancellor of the kingdom, and Friar Lourenço Lampreia, confessor of the monarch.
In the Dominicans’ possession until the extinction of the religious orders in 1384, the monument was then incorporated within the Public Exchequer, and today it is a cultural, touristic and devotional Monument under the jurisdiction of IGESPAR, national Monument also declared World Heritage by UNESCO, in 1983. - in:

11th Postcrossing Anniversary Meeting - Portugal

When you work on weekends there's a lot of things you are not able to do, one of them is not going to Postcrossing meetings. I missed another anniversary! I wasn't there but Ninocas and Zé didn't forget me and sent me these nice cards. I got a 3rd card yesterday, sent by Luís, but I already had it. 

Photo 2011 Nuno Antunes
The Discoveries Monuments was erected on the right bank of Tejo river, in honour of the adventurers involved in the Portuguese discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries. Aboard the stylised caravel are the 32 Portuguese heroes led by the Infante D. Henrique who was the driving force behind the epic undertaking.

© Foto João Almeida * © Portugal Souvenir
Lisbon's most photographed street is probably Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo. It's in the historic and picturesque neighborhood of Bica, one of the city's most traditional neighborhoods, known for its small bars and especially for the iconic funicular that runs through it. Constantly photographed by tourists, the funicular has been going up and down the hill since 1892. - in:

Vila Viçosa Palace - Portugal

I've already been to Vila Viçosa, I've visited the palace and I already had this card. In the last days I've got a few cards that I already had... well, when you have more than 8000 that's not a strange thing to happen. 
The card I already had was unwritten and this one was sent by Gracinha. 

Nunes de Almeida Editores
Dominating Terreiro do Paço, the vast main square in the town center, is the long marble façade of the three-story Royal Palace that belonged to the Bragança dynasty. It was the birthplace of Catherine of Bragança (who later became the queen of England) in 1638, and King Carlos spent his last night here before his assassination in Lisbon in 1908. Inside is a rich mixture of English, Flemish and French tapestries, Chinese porcelain, Brazilian ebony furniture, and massive kitchens with 2000 kg of gleaming copper, with some pots and pans large enough to bathe in, and spits large enough for several oxen. There is also an armory filled with weapons and suits of armor, and a Coach Museum occupying the Royal Stables. The entrance to the royal hunting ground is through an eye-catching "knot gate," with great ropes and knots carved into stone. - in: