Saturday, December 31, 2016


Another postcrossing year ended and it's time to do some maths. When it comes to official cards, this wasn't a good year for me, I've only sent 59 cards and received the same number. I'll definitely try to send more next year. 
This official from Czech Republic arrived last October. 

CZ-1040362, sent by Lída.
Hrádek u Nechanic is a 19th-century Gothic style Romantic château near the town of Hrádek in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic.
It was built between 1839 and 1857 as a representative and summer seat by Count František Arnošt of Harrach, one of the most important representatives of the Jilemnice dynasty. The young Austrian architect Karl Fischer led building operations and suggested decoration of the chateau's interior. The chateau was designed by the English architect Edward Buckton Lamb. It is referred to as “Little Hluboká” because it resembles to Hluboka Chateau in southern Bohemia. Most of the furniture was made by local artisans. The remainder of the interior was brought from Italy and Austria. Around the same time, L. Krüger converted part of the local forest into a park. In the left part of the park, a reserve and pheasantry were founded. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wooden Churches in Southern Poland

There are 6 wooden churches in southern Poland inscribed on the UNESCO list. None of these three is on that list but they're also beautiful examples of this unique church style. 
These cards and all the other previous polish card were all sent by Andrzej. 

fot. © N. Szczerbicka
This formerly Greek Catholic church sits on a hill above the village of Hoszów in Bieszczady county in the south-eastern corner of Poland, not far from the Ukrainian border. Dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the current structure is of 20th century origin, though it includes some of the building materials used in an 18th century wooden church which originally stood on this site. 
Construction started in 1939, and it was not yet completed when World War Two began. The structure was used by the Germans as an ammunition storage site, and a major explosion occurred which seriously damaged the building. Construction continued after the war, and the church was completed in 1948.
However, by 1951 the building had been abandoned due to pressure from the new Communist Polish government. For the next decade it was used as a barn for keeping sheep in, but in 1971 it was given to the Roman Catholic church who began renovating it.
In 1977 the decaying wooden shingles on the roofs and the dome were replaced with tin roofs since they would last longer and protect the rest of the structure. 
Unfortunately the interior no longer contains any elements of the original Greek Catholic design and has been fully converted to a modern Roman Catholic style. - in:

fot. © N. Szczerbicka
The Greek Catholic Church of St. Nicolas in Rabe was built in 1858. Orthodox Church in Rabe was a filial Church of the parish in Hoszow. After the year 1951 the Church was abandoned and used as a warehouse. Since 1971 it served as Roman Catholic Church. - in:

fot. © N. Szczerbicka
This former Greek-Catholic wooden church is found on a small hill in the village of Równia. It features a three-domed architectural style which is very rare on Polish territory, being more typical of Boyko-style churches found further east in Ukraine.
The church is thought to have been built in the early 18th century, and it would later suffer extensive damage during World War Two. Following the war, the Lemko and Boyko inhabitants of the village were accused of aiding the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which was fighting the Polish government.
They were expelled from the region along with most of the Lemko and Boyko population of south-eastern Poland, and were sent to become new settlers in the recently-claimed former German territories granted to Poland at the end of the war. Thus the village of Równia lost its Greek-Catholic population, and the church was converted for use as a Roman Catholic church when Catholic Poles were resettled in the village.
This is one of the most unique wooden churches in the region of Małopolska (Little Poland), though the interior is much less remarkable than the exterior. - in:

Olkusz - Poland

Olkusz is a town in south Poland.  Olkusz is called 'Silver Town" because of the large amount of silver that was found and mined here. 
The postcard shows a tower and the remains of the city's wall. 

Foto: M. Habinka
In the 14th century Olkusz was surrounded by walls. The builder (or actually the funder of the walls as the money for their building came from the royal treasury) was Casimir the Great. The total length of the Olkusz wall was about 1100 metres (320 metres long and 225 metres wide) and it surrounded 7 hectares of the town. The thickness of both walls and towers was about 2 meters. The original fortifications had about 15 towers and 2 or even 3 gates.
The walls were demolished at the beginning of the 19th century. - in:,126.html

Monday, December 26, 2016

Reszel Castle - Poland

From the south to the north of Poland with another nice castle. This time I'm sure I don't have any other cards of this castle.

Fot. A. Stachurski
Reszel Castle was built in between 1350-1401 by the Bishop of Warmia, Jan of Miśnia, however the castle's first occupiers where the Teutonic Knights. 
After the first partition of Poland in 1772 the castle was taken over by Prussian authorities, who converted it into prison in 1795. In 1806 and 1807 the town and castle were afflicted by great fires. The first one destroyed wooden buildings of the town, the town hall and part of the castle. The other completely devastated the castle. In 1822 the castle was handed over to the evangelical commune. After the repair works the castle lost its medieval characte – the cloisters were pulled down and the south wing was converted into an evangelical church (hence its present gable).
Since 2001, after yet another restoration, the castle houses a hotel with a restaurant, an art gallery and a museum. - in:

Niedzica Castle - Poland

When I chose the 1st card from Andrzej albuns, I thought I still didn't have a card of that castle. I've just realized I was wrong. 5 years ago Monika sent me a nice card of the Dunajec Castle, also known as Niedzica Castle. 
This castle is one of the 13 medieval castles (some of which do not exist any longer), built in southern Lesser Poland, along the Dunajec river. 

Fot. © T. Ogórek
Niedzica Castle also known as Dunajec Castle, is located in the southernmost part of Poland in Niedzica (Nowy Targ County in Lesser Poland). It was erected between the years 1320 and 1326 by Kokos of Brezovica on the site of an ancient stronghold surrounded by earthen walls in the Pieniny mountains. 

The Niedzica Castle stands at an altitude of 566 m, on a hill 300 m upstream from the Dunajec River mouth, measured from the center of the dam on Lake Czorsztyn. The outline of Niedzica Castle can best be viewed from the ruins of Czorsztyn Castle on the other side of the lake. It is known as one of the most picturesque castles in the country and adorns the covers of many books. - in: wikipedia

Dublin Castle - Ireland

This may not look like a castle but it really is one, Dublin Castle, or better said, one of the courtyards of Dublin Castle. Anyway, the castle of the irish capital city, is not a traditional castle but rather a big fort built by the Anglo-Normans in the 13th century and that over the centuries has undergone some changes.

I've bought a copy of this card the last time I've been to Dublin but this one was sent by Cristina last October. 

© Liam Blake
The castle has served countless purposes since its construction: It was once a military fort, a prison, housed the national treasury, it was a court of law and for 700 years, until 1922, was the seat of the United Kingdom government's administration in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex.
The Bedford Tower, built in 1761, is the centerpiece of the Upper Courtyard. It was from there that the  Jewels of the Irish Crown were stolen in 1907. The jewels have never been recovered. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016


This is an english card sent as an official from Japan. 
On the back of the card: With their scarlet capes standing out against the drab greyness of a snowy winter's day, soldiers of the Life Guard, a regiment of the Household Cavalry, rides across House Guards Parade on their way to the Changing of the Guard Cerimony. 

JP-879698, sent by Aya.
The Life Guards (LG) is the senior regiment of the British Army and part of the Household Cavalry, along with the Blues and Royals.
The Life Guards grew from the four troops of Horse Guards (exclusively formed of gentlemen-troopers until the transformation of the last two remaining troops into Regiments of Life Guards in 1788) raised by Charles II around the time of his restoration, plus two troops of Horse Grenadier Guards (rank and file composed of commoners), which were raised some years later. - in: wikipedia

Texel - Netherlands

Differant cards from the same place, Texel island in the Netherlands. 

NL-1504148, sent by Henny.
Texel is a municipality and an island with a population of 13,641 in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. It is the largest and most populated island of the West Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea. 

NL-3606260, sent by Joyce.
The dune landscape on Texel is a unique habitat for wildlife. Notable areas include De Slufter, where the tide comes in and meets the dunes, forming a marshy environment rich in both fauna and flora. Texel is known for its wildlife, particularly in winter, when birds of prey and geese take up residence. About one third of Texel is a protected nature reserve. - in: wikipedia

© Sytske Dijksen
Lotty sent me this card back in 2013, signed by the postcrossers at a Postcrossing Meeting in Alkmaar.
This card represents perfectly the dutch Wadden Sea.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Some special sea life in the Wadden Sea. 

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
DE-5603365, sent by Lea.
1. Polychaete; 2. Soft-shell clam; 3. Cockle; 4. Semelidae; 5. Sand mason worm; 6. Ragworm; 7. Tellins; 8. Sandworm; 9. Corophium volutator; 10. Mytilidae; 11. Common starfish; 12. Common periwinkle and 13. Mudsnail. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Borkum Großer Light - Germany

Another german lighthouse card, this one from Borkum, an island northwestern Germany. It is the largest and westernmost of the East Frisian Islands in the North Sea.
The card is a RAS from Claus.
Borkum Großer Light, also known as Borkum Neuer Light, is an active lighthouse on the island of Borkum. At a height of 197 feet (60 m) it is the twenty-fourth tallest "traditional lighthouse" in the world, as well as the third tallest brick lighthouse in the world. The lighthouse is located at the west side of the Borkum island. It is the landfall light for the Ems estuary and the port of Emden, serving also as a day mark.
This lighthouse also bares a directional continuous light at a height of 151 feet (46 m) to three different directions with the colors white, red and green.
The tower was built in the summer of 1879 in a record time of six months, following a fire at the old lighthouse. - in: wikipedia

Westerhever Lighthouse - Germany

These last weeks I've received a lot of german lighthouses cards.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
DE-3494244, sent by Julia.
Westerhever lighthouse is located at the northwestern corner of the Eiderstedt peninsula, in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The lighthouse is a major landmark on the peninsula which is surrounded by salt marshes.
DE-5653953, sent by Butz
 It was built in 1908 and is still active. The round cast iron tower is 40 m (131 ft) high, with lantern and double gallery, mounted on a 1-story concrete base and flanked to either side by two 1-1/2 story keeper's cottages. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands; lantern, watch room, and galleries painted black. 

 This beautiful tower is one of the best-known lighthouses of the German North Sea coast. It is such a popular site for weddings that one of the keeper's cottages is a registrar's office; the other is a national park office. - in:
Like in previous years, the German city of Bielefeld hosted once again another international postcrossing meeting, the 7th.

I do not know how many people participated but there are many signatures on the card. The postcard, especially made for the meeting, was sent by Leonie.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


The Ore Mountains, Erzgebirge in german, formed a natural border between Saxony and Bohemia for around 800 years, from the 12th to the 20th centuries. Today, the border between Germany and the Czech Republic runs just north of the main crest of the mountain range.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
DE-5656805, sent by Gudrun.
Skiing in its Alpine form is a very expensive holiday. Skiing in its east German form is quite a different story, for the ski resorts in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) in Saxony and in Thuringia are amongst the cheapest in Europe, and certainly the best value in Germany. 
The Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge), particularly the Fichtelberg above Oberwiesenthal, were once the key training area for GDR skiers, and remain a favourite destination for athletes intent on competing in the Biathlon (cross country skiing plus rifle shooting). - in:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Berlin - Germany

Luzia has recently been to Europe, not to Portugal though. I met her last september in Brazil and I'd love to meet her again.
Anyway, she has been to Berlin and she sent me this view of Tauentzienstraße toward Breitscheidplatz and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
I don't remember when and who sent me the second card.

© - Lehnartz-Fotografie
The strange and very modern looking sculpture in the front is called Berlin. It was conceived in 1985 and unveiled by the husband-and-wife sculpting team of Brigitte Matschinsky-Denninghoff and Martin Matschinsky in 1987, the sculpture's principal motif, a "broken chain", was meant to symbolize the severed connections between West and East Berlin due to the construction of the Berlin Wall.

Even though the Wall has since been dismantled, the sculpture was bought by the city from Mrs. Matschinsky-Denninghoff to commemorate the unfortunate chapter in German history. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, December 15, 2016

San Marino

These are my 3 and only cards from San Marino. They were sent by Daniel, Alessandro and Andrzej.

 Of the world's 196 independent countries, San Marino is the fifth smallest and – arguably – the most curious. How it exists at all is something of an enigma. A sole survivor of Italy's once powerful city-state network, this landlocked micronation clung on long after the more powerful kingdoms of Genoa and Venice folded. And still it clings, secure in its status as the world's oldest surviving sovereign state and its oldest republic (since AD 301). San Marino also enjoys one of the planet's highest per capita GDPs.
Measuring 61 sq km, the country is larger than many outsiders imagine, being made up of nine municipalities each hosting its own settlement. The largest 'town' is Dogana, a place 99.9% of the two million annual visitors skip on their way through to the Città di San Marino, the medieval settlement on the slopes of 750m-high Monte Titano that was added to the Unesco World Heritage list in 2008. - in:

lito87 sas
 San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano covers 55 ha, including Mount Titano and the historic centre of the city which dates back to the foundation of the republic as a city-state in the 13th century. San Marino is inscribed as a testimony to the continuity of a free republic since the Middle Ages. The inscribed city centre includes fortification towers, walls, gates and bastions, as well as a neo-classical basilica of the 19th century, 14th and 16th century convents, and the Palazzo Publico of the 19th century, as well as the 18th century Titano Theatre. The property represents an historical centre still inhabited and preserving all its institutional functions. Thanks to its position on top of Mount Titano, it was not affected by the urban transformations that have occurred from the advent of the industrial era to today. - in:

Ed. International Souvenir
The Basilica of the Saint was designed and built, starting in 1826, by Antonio Serra, an architect from Bologna, on the grounds of the ancient Church of the 5th century, which was demolished to make place for the new Basilica.
A grave loss for the history of art, in fact it has been erased an early Christian monument of pre-Romanesque style.
The Basilica is the main religious building in the Country since it conserves the relics of the Founder of the community of San Marino – St. Marino.
The Basilica, consecrated in 1855, has a neo-classic style with a portico of Corinthian columns. The massive bell tower, originally in Romanic style, was rebuilt in the 1600’s.
Internally, the Basilica has three aisles and seven altars. The throne of the Regents, dating to the 1600’s, is situated to the left of the main altar; under the alter a small urn contains the bones of St. Marino; on the right, a marble monument houses a shrine which contains the top of the Saint’s skull. - in:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bologna - Italy

These are Asinelli and Garisenda Towers, the landmark of Bologna. There about 20 towers in the city but the number used to be much more higher. Between the 12th and the 13th century, the number of towers in the city was possibly up to 180. However throughtout the centuries many towers were taken down or demolished, and others simply collapsed. 

The two towers Garisenda and Asinelli are the traditional symbol of Bologna, strategically standing where the old Aemilian way entered the town. Today they stand right in the middle of Porta Ravegnana square, but this does not correspond to their original layout, which included wooden buildings all around their base and hanging passageways.
Made in masonry work, as very few other buildings at that time, they had very important military functions (signalling and defence), beside representing with their imposing heights the social prestige of the noble families that owned them. 
Quite recently, the statue of San Petronio made by Gabriele Brunelli in 1670, has been  placed back under the towers, after being removed in 1871 for "traffic reasons".
The Asinelli Tower was built between 1109 - 19 by the Asinelli family, and in the following century it was acquired by the Municipality of Bologna.  It is 97.20 metres high with a drop of 2.23 metres and an inner staircase of 498 steps completed in 1684. 
The Garisenda Tower, built around the same period , is much smaller (47 metres) with a steeper drop (3.22 m) due to an early and more marked subsidence of soil and foundation. - in:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gradara - Italy

Gradara is a town and comune in the Province of Pesaro e Urbino, in the region of Marche in central Italy. 
The ancient town is characterized by a double line of medieval walls and by the massive Castle, one of the best preserved in Italy. 
These cards were sent by Alessandro and Chiara.

© Photo by Shutterstock NY
The Gradara Castle is a medieval fortress that is located in the town of Gradara, Marche, in Italy. It is protected by two walls, the outermost of which extends for almost 800 meters, making it the imposing structure. Particularly striking is the view of the fortress and the underlying historical village at night. The castle is one of the most visited monuments in the region and is the scene of museum events, musical and artistic. Gradara was, by geographical position, since ancient times a crossroads of traffic and people: during the Middle Ages the fortress was one of the main theaters of clashes between militias loyal to the papacy and the turbulent families Romagna and Marche.

Situated at 142 metres above sea level, with the Republic of San Marino, Rimini and Carpegna in the background, Gradara represents an extraordinary urban and architectural combination. Legend has it that the castle was the scene of the famous and tragic love story of Paolo and Francesca, caught in each other’s arms and killed by Gianciotto, Francesca’s husband. This love story was immortalized by Dante in his Divine Comedy.
The Gradara Castle dates back to the period between 11th and 15th centuries. Its history is inextricably linked with the infamous feuds between the Malatesta and Montefeltro families. This long-standing conflict came to a halt only after the control of the castle fell into the hands of the Sforza family. It was Dante, however, who intervened with his Divine Comedy, making the castle the locale for the tale of Paolo and Francesca and thus turning the castle forever into a symbol of love. - in: wikipedia

Monday, December 12, 2016

Tirano - Italy

Another card sent by Joanna and also from a UNESCO missing site, this one from Italy. Now I'm only missing Castel del Monte to have all the italian sites.

Tirano  is a town in Valtellina, located in the province of Sondrio in northern Italy. 

© Nous srl foto © Alex Perathoner
Tirano has two neighboring railway stations. The metre gauge station, is operated by the Rhaetian Railway (RhB). The line of the Bernina Railway connects St. Moritz (Canton of Graubünden/Switzerland) with Tirano. The complete line was opened in 1910. In 2008 the Bernina Railway as well as the Albula Railway were recorded from UNESCO in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Convent of Müstair - Switzerland

Thanks to Joanna, I finally have a card from this swiss UNESCO site. To have all the swiss sites, I'm only missing a card with a Le Corbusier work. 
The Convent of Müstair, which stands in a valley in the Grisons, in the extreme south-eastern part of Switzerland, is a UNESCO WHS since 1983. 

Foto: E. Tscholl
It was founded around 775, probably on the orders of Charlemagne. At the beginning of the 9th century it was noted as being an establishment of religious Benedictines, and became a women’s abbey in the first half of the 12th century. Religious activities have continued uninterrupted until the present day, with the abbey becoming a priory in 1810. Today, the convent ensemble comprises the Carolingian conventual church and the Saint Cross Church, the residential tower of the Abbess von Planta, the ancient residence of the bishop, including two rectangular courtyards. To the west the courtyard is surrounded by cloisters, two entrance towers and agricultural buildings.
The property reflects both the history of its construction and the political and socio-economic relations in this region and throughout Europe over more than 1200 years, and thus provides a coherent example of Carolingian conventual architecture over time.
The conventual ensemble is one of the most coherent architectural works of the Carolingian period and High Middle Ages, with the most extensive cycle of known paintings for the first half of the 9th century. The figurative paintings of the Roman era, and especially the Carolingian period, are particularly important for understanding the evolution of certain iconographic Christian themes, such as the Last Judgement. - in:

Long-eared Owl

This cute little one is a long-eared owl, a species which breeds in Europe, Asia, and North America. 
The card was sent from Switzerland by Óscar.

Long-eared Owls are medium-sized, slender owls with long ear tufts. The head, roughly as wide as it is long, looks squarish. The facial disks are long and narrow.

Photo: Bernard Bellon
Long-eared Owls are fairly dark birds with buff or orange faces and intricate black, brown, and buff patterning on its feathers. The ear tufts are black with buff or orange fringes, the face has two vertical white lines between the eyes, and the eyes are yellow.
They are are nocturnal and generally spend days roosting in dense parts of trees, often near the trunk where their plumage provides excellent camouflage. The species is quite vocal, and makes an incredible variety of hoots, squeals, barks, and other noises. They hunt by making low, coursing passes over open ground, but they rarely hunt before true dark. In winter, the species often roosts communally.
These owls require a combination of grassland or other open country for foraging, and dense tall shrubs or trees for nesting and roosting. Pine stands and windbreaks or shelterbelts are favored winter roost habitat. - in:

Vals - Switzerland

Not all my cards from Switzerland are sent by Óscar. Every now and then someone else sends me cards from there. This one was sent by Caroline. 

Vals is located in the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland.
The Vals Valley owes its wilderness and diversity in a tiny area to the forces of water. In millions of years ice and rain shaped the deeply-cut mountain valley.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Hôtel des Invalides, Paris - France

I've been to many places in Europe, want to go to many places but Paris has never been and is not on the top of my long list of places to visit. I'll go one day, just don't know when. 
Susana was there in October 2011 to celebrate her birthday, très chic!! I don't know when Damien visited his capital city for the last time but he also wanted to send me a postcard of the Hôtel des Invalides.

 Editions A. Leconte
In 1670, no foundation existed to house wounded and homeless veterans who had fought for France. Louis XIV, who was anxious about what would happen to soldiers that had served during his numerous campaigns, decided to build the Hôtel Royal des Invalides. Constructed from 1671 to 1676 by Libéral Bruant, then by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte, it is one the most prestigious monuments in Paris. Today, under the Ministry of Defence but also occupied by numerous organizations that are part of other ministries, the Hôtel National des Invalides still retains its original function as a hospital and hospice for badly injured and disabled war veterans. 

Photo © Paris - Musée de l'Armée, Dist. RMN - Grand Palais / Emilie Cambier
As well as the Musée de l'Armée, it comprises the Musée des Plans-Reliefs and the Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération as two churches: the Eglise du Dôme, which houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte designed by Visconti in 1843, and the Eglise Saint-Louis des Invalides. During the second half of the 20th century, the entire site of the Hôtel National des Invalides was opened up to the public after small buildings were knocked down and a ditch created around the site. In 1981, a huge restoration project was undertaken at the Hôtel National des Invalides under the instigation of an interdepartmental commission co-directed by the Ministries of Defence and Culture to restore this exceptional site to its former glory. - in: