Sunday, October 29, 2017


There was a time when most of the officials cards in my mailbox were from Finland, now I hardly get cards, officials I mean, from there. 

FI-3073686, sent by Pasi. 
The church in Lappi was completed in 1760, and it is one of the oldest wooden churches in the region. The church seats approximately 650 people. The bell tower was originally built next to the stone wall of the cemetery, but was moved to the hill in the early 19th century. Lappi is located approximately 20 km from the centre of Rauma. - in:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

House of Nobility - Finland

Anna-Maria is one of my newest penpals. We met via postcrossing and that means she also likes cards. A few days ago she has been to a meeting in Helsinki with 5 other postcrossers and of course, they signed cards. 

Photographed & published by Pentti Harala Ky, Espoo
From the 12th century until their independence in 1917, Finland was the physical and political battlefield between Sweden and Russia. During this period, Finnish nobility evolved among wealthy landowners who received special privileges, tax relief and titles in exchange for supplying soldiers to the ruler’s cavalry. These noblemen, their families and heirs were registered in the Finnish House of Nobility. Since 1862, this Ritarihuone has been their assembly hall and offices. The neo-gothic building was designed by Georg Theodor Chiewitz. - in:

Danguaire Castle - Ireland

Ireland has many, many castles to visit, so far I've only visited two. Zé Pombal has been to the green island not so long ago. I'm sure he visited a few cards and bought dozens of cards. He tagged me a few weeks ago and sent me this beautiful Dunguaire Castle card, which was one of my favs. 

Photography: Peter Zöeller
Dunguaire Castle has the most picturesque location at the shores of Galway Bay near Kinvara in County Galway. The castle comprises of a 75 foot tower and defensive wall against a stunning backdrop making this castle – the most photographed castle in Ireland!
Dunguaire Castle was built in 1520 by the Hynes Clan who were a prominent family in the area since 662. In the 17th century the castle was passed onto the Martyn clan of Galway who remained in the stonghold until 1924. It was Oliver St. John Gogarty, a well known surgeon and writer who bought and restored the castle and made it a meeting place for literary greats like George Bernard Shaw, Lady Gregory, J.M Synge and W.B. Yeats.
The castle is now in the hands of Shannon Development and is a popular tourist attraction in Galway. - in:

Chilehaus - Germany

This card was a total surprise. It was sent by Nicole on behalf of Luzia. Thanks girls!!
In 2015 this building, the Chilehaus, together with Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District in Hamburg, became part of the UNESCO WHS list. 

© Karten vom Künstler René Menges
The Chilehaus was constructed from 4.8 million bricks and serves as an example of the Brick Expressionism of the 1920s, inspired by Brick Gothic and Expressionism.
The Chilehaus building was designed by the architect Fritz Höger and built between 1922 and 1924. It was commissioned by the shipping magnate Henry B. Sloman, who made his fortune trading saltpeter from Chile, hence the name Chile House. 
The ten-storey office building is one of the historic architectural monuments of Hamburg. Due to its distinctive architecture with its lean, unconventional structure - its top evoking the bow of a ship - it is an attraction known well beyond the boundaries of Hamburg. It is considered a representative example of the revival of north German brick construction. - in:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Stahleck Castle - Germany

You don't have to be a royalty member to sleep in a castle, actually, you don't even have to be rich to sleep in this one in Germany. This 12th-century fortified castle is now an hostel. Really cool!! 
This great card was sent by Tanja.

Zeitz KG - Foto-Kunstverlag
Stahleck Castle is located in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley at Bacharach in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. 
The castle, first mentioned in 1135, was primarily owned by the diocese of Köln. In 1190 the castle was acquired by emperor Barbarossa, who gave it to his brother Konrad. In 1214 it was acquired by the mighty Bavarian dynasty as one of two important bases of the Wittelsbach rulers.
In 1689 the castle was blown up by the French.
In two construction phases (1925-27 as well as 1965-67) it was rebuilt to its current impressive size.
Today the former castle of the Hohenstaufen dynasty is one of the most popular youth hostels in Rhineland-Palatinate. - in:


Meppen is a german town in and the seat of the Emsland district of Lower Saxony.
DE-6543691, sent by Katia.
The buildings on the card are the historic Town Hall, the Hölting Mill and the MEP a shopping center. 

Perugia - Italy

I've heard about Perugia before but only the name of this italian city is familiar, I know nothing about the city and have no idea about its location. Ok, I've just checked wikipedia. Perugia is a city in the region of Umbria, located about 164 kilometres north of Rome and 148 km south-east of Florence.
This is, I think, my 1st card from there. It was sent by Tjitske. 

Photo: Giorgio Filippini * © 2012 Edizioni Chameleon, Ancona
This is a view of Via Appia. It's steep stairs lead down from the city's historic center. 
The three archs on the right bottom corner of the card belong to a medieval aqueduct built by the romans. It became a major part of the town in 1254 when it was extended to reach the spring of Monte Pacciano and in the 19th century the aqueduct became a popular walking route and it remains a favored spot for locals and visitors to take a stroll. Nowadays the aqueduct is one of the prettiest walking routes in Perugia, which forms a narrow path through the center of the town. 
Walk along the remains of the aqueduct, which run for about 2 miles through the old town. Find the path, named Via dell'Acquedotto, coming off the steep slope of Via Appia. The walking trail ends near the historic campus of the University of Perugia.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bergamo - Italy

Every now and then I travel on google maps, I mean, I look for a particular city and from there I see what other interesting places are nearby. I have already done a few routes in northern Italy and I confess that I've never put Bergamo on the itinerary. I need to reconsider that because I've read that it is a very beautiful city and this wonderful card sent by Óscar totally convinced me. 

The city of Bergamo is composed of two parts: there is the suspended Città Alta (Upper City), the historic core built up on the hills, and the Città Bassa (Lower City), which is a lively financial centre of national importance. The two parts are separated, both physically and symbolically, by the powerful Venetian defensive systems, that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 9 July 2017.

© Nous srl * foto © Alex Perathoner
One of the attraction in the Upper City is the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. It was built from 1137 on the site of a previous religious edifice of the 7th century. Construction continued until the 15th century. Of this first building the external Romanesque structure and the Greek cross plan remain. The interior was extensively modified in the 16th and 17th centuries. The dome has frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Noteworthy are the great Crucifix and the tomb of Gaetano Donizetti. - in: wikipedia


A french official card from Bordeaux.

Of all the public buildings in Bordeaux, the Grand-Théâtre is unquestionably the most well-known and appreciated.  It stands on the site of a former temple (Les Piliers de Tutelle) that was once in the middle of a Gallo-Roman forum. 
The Grand Théâtre's construction was made necessary by the destruction of a performance hall in 1755. The latter was located in the outbuildings of the former town hall, near the Grosse Cloche.

FR-918803, sent by Sandrine.
Architect François Lhote, assisted by Soufflot, initially proposed a project that was not accepted by the city aldermen. Eventually, Marshal de Richelieu, governor of the province of Guyenne, imposed the Parisian architect Victor Louis (1731-1800). In order to pay for the construction, the land located on the southern glacis of the Château Trompette was sold.
It took more than five years to build the Grand Théâtre and, after many vicissitudes, it was inaugurated in 1780 with a performance of Athalie, a play by Jean Racine.
The rectangular-shaped structure opens up onto Place de la Comédie to the west with a peristyle featuring 12 Corinthian columns supporting an entablature and a balustrade decorated with 12 statues (the nine muses and three goddesses). At the beginning, this peristyle was on the same level as Place de la Comédie. However, in the mid-19th century, it was decided to lower the level to make it easier for horse-drawn carriages to cross. - in:

Azay-le-Rideau Palace - France

 One of the places I really want to visit in France is the Loire Valley and its castles and palaces. Those castles and palaces are so beautiful. It will be difficult to choose which ones to visit.
The 1st of these cards was a surprise from Zé Pombal and the other one was sent a few years ago by Agnes.

Photo: Marcel Chevret
Described by Balzac over lunch one day as "a facetted diamond set in the Indre", Azay-le-Rideau is one of the most famous châteaux of the Loire.
Built in the early part of the 11th century, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau was burned during the Hundred Years’ War, and later rebuilt during the reign of François I, by a wealthy financier. 

A true synthesis between the French art of construction and the innovations in Italian architecture, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau is an authentic masterpiece of the Renaissance. Set on an island in the middle of the Indre river, this picturesque château has become one of the most popular of the châteaux of the Loire valley. -

Friday, October 13, 2017

Churches in Auvergne - France

Another postcard that Oscar bought on his way from Switzerland to Portugal. Unfortunately, he didn't visit any of these churches in the french region of Auvergne.
These are the churches:
- Church of Saint Astremonius in Issoire, 12th century;
- Church of St. Nectarius, in the city with the same name. Also dates from the 12th century;
- Basilica of Our Lady of Orcival in Orcival, also of the 12th century and Romanesque as the previous two;
- Clermont-Ferrand Gothic Cathedral;
- Basilica of Our Lady of Port, also in Clermond-Ferrand. It was built and rebuilt in Romanesque style between the 6th and 12th centuries;
- Cathedral of Saint-Flour. Built between 1398 and 1466 in Gothic style.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Villars Cave - France

I like to visit caves and it seems that Damien likes caves too. Not so long ago he sent me a Lascaux caves card and this time he sent this one of Villars Cave. 

The Villars Cave is one of Perigord’s largest underground networks with, up until today, about 13 km of explored ground. 

Edition Christophe Levillain
The underground river has dug enormous rooms linked to each other by passages. The infiltration waters have created fantastic natural scenery. 
The prehistoric paintings were discovered in 1958 and are the legacy of the art of our ancestors.
More than 19000 years ago, the Cro-Magnon men frequented the Cluzeau massif. They were nomad hunter-gatherers. These prehistoric men developed a complex cultural world which was expressed through artistic expression.
In Villars, the prehistoric artists used manganese (black natural pigment) which was reduced to a powder and combined with a binder. Some paintings, such as the rotunda of horses is covered by a fine film of calcite, giving it its specific blue hue.
On it, there are many horses as well as ibexes and buffaloes, it is one of the rare human representations of prehistoric art. - in:

Alquezar - Spain

Every now and then Celina goes on short but great trips to Spain. In September she went to Aragon region and a few days ago she sent to Andalucia. 
In September she sent me thos great cards from Alquezar, a town in Huesca province, Aragon region. 

Ediciones Sicilia S. A.
Alquezar is an attractive Moorish village situated on the canyon of the Rio Vero in the Sierra de Guara national park. 
Alquezar has lovely, narrow, arcaded lanes which wind up hill to the Moorish citadel set on a rocky outcrop with views down over the village and the river below. Alquezar is entered throug a Gothic gate and then ambling through the narrow streets is like stepping back in time. The ancient town square is surrounded by arcaded houses
The citadel (castle) was built in the 8th century. Christians took the castle and village in the 11th century and built the Collegiate church of Santa Maria la Mayor in the 12th century. Only the cloister with carved capitals remains from this time and the current church is 16th century. - in:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Camino de Santiago symbols

Every year thousands of pilgrims and hikers make their way to Santiago de Compostela. This is something I'd like to do someday, just don't know when. Óscar would like to do the Camino too. This postcard he sent shows some of the symbols connected with this network of pilgrims' ways.

© Ediciones A. M. Fotos: N. Benitez; P. Bucero; A. Murillo; A. Badía y D. Acevedo
* Stylized Scallop - Universal symbol as identification of the Way of Saint James. Being an element of identification, it represents schematically the convergence of the various European routes to the city of Santiago de Compostela. In some situations, the stylized viera, as well as identifying element, can be assumed as a guiding element of the route for the pilgrim. In the latter case, the application of this symbol may be positioned in the following direction;
* Santiago Cross - is a Latin cross simulating a sword-shaped lily. It is believed to have originated in the time of the Crusades. The three lilies represent the irreproachable honor which refers to the character traits of the apostle James. The sword represents the noble character of St. James and the way he was martyred, beheaded by a sword.
Yellow Arrow - very popular symbol  among the current pilgrims as a guiding element of the course to follow. Elías Valiña, priest in Cebreiro (Spain), was the pioneer in the application of a sign with yellow arrows as a support to the pilgrims who got lost in this locality. Nowadays the use of the yellow arrow is present in almost all the ways towards Santiago de Compostela. For this reason, this symbol became universal with the pilgrims of Santiago.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Graça Fort - Portugal

I've been to Elvas once to attend a Christmas Postcrossing meeting a few years ago. This city located in easternmost central Portugal, has a lot of wonderful monuments worth to visit, the Graça Fort is definitely one of them. 

© Sergiy Scheblykin 2016 * Iberian Landscapes
PT-541987, sent by Alice.
If you ever visit this fort in Elvas, you might meet Alice, she's has been working there for the last 2 years.
Also known as the Count Lippe Fort, the Graça Fort is located in a mount with the same name, one of the highest mounts in the region, with a big strategic-defensive importance, at about 1km distance north from the town of Elvas. 
This wonderful military monument was started in 1763, ordered by king D. José I, and inaugurated in 1792, already during the reign of Queen D. Maria I. 
Built in an area that had already been suffering with the many enemy attacks, namely from the nearby Spanish forces, the Graça Fort has resisted the Spanish attacks during the Oranges War (1801) and to the French bombings commanded by General Soult, in the context of the Peninsular War (1811). 

Graça Fort is constituted by three defensive lines, including in its interior several dependencies such as barracks, chapel, bunkers, the governor house, a big cistern, cannons, among many others. 
Important part of the Elvas defensive strategy, a town that since early times has been an important strategically defensive point, the Graça Fort was built in the place where before was located the ancient Santa Maria da Graça Chapel. - in:
The Fort is classified as National Heritage since 1910 and is part of the UNESCO WHS Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications.

Lourinhã - Portugal

As a teacher, Leninha has taught in several places. This year she moved again and now her postal code is from Lourinhã, from where she sent this postcard with the local Main Church, also known as the Church of Saint Mary of the Castle.

Situated in the lovely village of Lourinhã, this Gothic Church was built in the second half of the 14th century and classified as a National Monument in 1922. 
In the place where the Church is located was, supposedly, located a Moorish fortification dated from the Moorish occupancy of the territory. 
The temple was built in two different phases. It is constituted by a central nave, two laterals and a polygonal apse. The central nave is the highest and wider, separated from the laterals by eight pointed arches with vegetal decorative elements. 
In the southern nave is located a bell tower built in the 17th century. - in:

José Franco Typical Village - Portugal

I had never heard of this typical village until I had received the 1st postcard from there, sent by Ninocas and also signed by Zé and Vitória. The 3 were the participants in the Postcrossing anniversary meeting in 2012.  The other postcard was sent a few days ago by Joana Duarte.

This typical miniature village is located in Sobreiro, about 4 km northwest of Mafra on the road to Ericeira.  

José Franco was born in 1920. His parents were potters by profession, manufacturers of small tiles that farmers in the region used in their homes, and so he too began to manufacture and sell his small pottery door to door and in folk festivals and fairs.By 1945 José Franco dreamed he could build a living museum of his region to mimic the habits of his childhood and some aspects and activities of peasant life.

The most amazing part of this wonderful set is made up of small sets built in the style of a crib, with figurines of clay modeled by José Franco, replicating a village with houses that are copies of the houses on the outskirts of Lisbon from the end of the century.Inside the castle that José Franco built for delight of the children there is another village full of pictures of people in their usual activities - weddings, baptisms, rural churches, and the work of the fields.The center of this small world of wonder is a potters workshop where José Franco was shaping in clay dozens of pictures representing the pastor, the miller, the farmer, the barber, the pig slaughter and all typical figures of the region. - in: