Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Warsaw's Castle Square - Poland

Officials from my beautiful Poland, all of them showing the Castle Square in Warsaw.

PL-49009, sent by Anna
Warsaw's Castle Square (Polish: plac Zamkowy w Warszawie) is a historic square in front of the Royal Castle – the former official residence of Polish monarchs – located in Warsaw, Poland. It is a popular meeting place for tourists and locals. The Square (in a more or less triangular shape) features the landmark Sigismund's Column to the south-west, and is surrounded by historic townhouses. 
Sigismund's Column, erected in 1644, is one of Warsaw's most famous landmarks and one of the oldest secular monuments in northern Europe. The column and statue commemorate King Sigismund III Vasa, who in 1596 had moved Poland's capital from Kraków to Warsaw. - in: wikipedia

© Foto: Adam Sachocki
PL-1413044, sent by Dominika.
Built in the 15th century, this castle served as residence of Mazovian princes. Once the capital was moved to Warsaw from Kraków, the castle served as seat of the king and the government. The castle has been renovated repeatedly and destroyed completely during World War II. It was rebuilt between 1971-1988 using castle remains and rubble. 

© Foto: Adam Sachocki
PL-1021687, sent by Ania.
Today, the segment with the clock tower opens the way to the Old Town. Museum attractions include two original Rembrandt paintings as well as works by Bernardo Bellotto, aka Canaletto, court painter to Polish King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Canaletto’s paintings were vital during Warsaw’s post-war reconstruction. - in:

Lithuanian cities

Last December and January my penpal Justina left Australia to spent a few weeks with her family in her home country Lithuania. I wouldn't mind to spend a few more days in this beautiful country again. 

Foto: K. Driskius, R. Paknys
St. Anne's Church in Vilnius; Thomas Mann's summer house in Nida; Trakai Castle and one of Klaipėda's most recognizable symbols – The Meridianas. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

National Museum of Finland

It is a church? Is it a castle? No, it actually is a museum, the National Museum of Finland, in central Helsinki.
The card was sent by Minna. 

Photo Timo Syrjänen © Museovirasto

The National Museum of Finland presents Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present day, through objects and cultural history. 
The appearance of the building reflects Finland's medieval churches and castles. The architecture belongs to national romanticism and the interior mainly to art nouveau. The museum was built from 1905 to 1910 and opened to the public in 1916. The museum was named the Finnish National Museum after Finland's independence in 1917. - in: wikipedia

Monday, February 26, 2018

Hoge Veluwe National Park - Netherlands

Hoge Veluwe National Park is a national park in the Gelderland province of the Netherlands. With its 55 km² it is one of the largest national parks of the country, and a popular short stay tourist destination for the Dutch. 

 NL-1069500, sent by Elsje.
The Veluwe is famous for its diversity in natural landscapes and partly rolling landscapes. Although most of the land is flat, it has subtle variations in small areas, with the highest point at 110 meters. It's a forest-rich area, but there are large heaths, streams and small lakes as well. In the desert patches you'll find sand drifts that are among the largest ones in Europe.

 © Uitgeverij van der Meulen bv Sneek
NL-1586954, sent by Dennis & Linda.
The park is mostly covered by pristine vegetation, most of which consists of various conifers, shrub and grassland with a large variation of flowers. A good number of rare plants are found here as well as (introduced) exotic plants like American Oaks. When it comes to wildlife, the broad variety of larger mammals is most well-known.

© Uitgeverij van der Meulen lov Sneek
NL-2061781, sent by Dj Marx
Commonly sighted are deer, roes, moeflons and wild boar. However, bird wildlife is also very divers and the park is home to lot of rabbits, foxes, badgers and other small mammals.
In order to maintain naturally sustainable population in this fenced environment, controlled annual hunt is a normal practice. - in:


Another beautiful snowy card. This one is from the Netherlands. 

© Arnold Voordewind /
NL-4033459, sent by Bianca.
I'm not sure but this might be a gate to a park in Leek, where the Nienoord estate is located.

Inselsberg - Germany

I love snow but this winter I'm only getting snow in my mailbox. This has been a very dry winter, no rain, no snow and no signs of any of them!
I don't get to see snow for real but snowy cards are a nice way to fulfill my desire for snow. This one was sent by Tanja. 

LOOK-photo / Raimund Linke
Großer Inselsberg is a mountain in the Thuringian Forest with a height of 916.5 meters above sea level. It is the fourth-highest distinct mountain of Thuringia and one of its the best known excursion destinations. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Auvergne Volcanoes - France

I've said it before and I say it again, I like volcanoes. These are 3 wonderful examples of volcanoes cards. All of the are from Auvergne, the land of volcanoes in France. Two were sent by Valérie and the other is an official card. 

Volcanoes, a term which in France is automatically associated with Auvergne in the Massif Central, which was formed 60-million years ago, when the African and European tectonic plates collided. However, the European plate slipped under the African plate.
The thrust weakened it and provoked the appearance of faults lines in the area we today call Massif Central.
Some 25 million years the magma began to rise to the surface in the northern part of the Massif Central. 
There are 450 volcanoes spread in the Chaîne des Puys, Cantal, Monts Dore, Monts d' Artense, Monts du Cantal and Monts du Cézallier (between the Monts Dore and Cantal).
You can discover these volcanoes in the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d'Auvergne. - in:

Photo: Joël Damase
FR-983131, sent by Elisabeth.
The Chaîne des Puys is a volcanic alignment of 80 volcanoes that stretches nearly 32 km long and 4 km wide. It is here that the study of volcanoes is born. This natural site includes all forms of volcanism and is a fascinating visual spectacle.
Its highest point is the lava dome of Puy de Dôme, located near the middle of the chain, which is 1,465 m (4,806 ft) high.

Formed between 95,000 and 8,400 years old, the puys chain is the youngest volcanic ensemble in metropolitan France. It is precisely because these volcanoes are young, that they propose a large variety of forms.
The volcanoes of the Chaîne des Puys have not had time to erode, their forms remained pure and easily interpretable. 

Morella - Spain

Last November Celina visited the beautiful town of Morella in Spain and sent me a card from there. It didn't get to my mailbox in the following weeks and we both thought it got lost. However it didn't get lost, it must have been forgotten somewhere in the local post office because altought it has been sent in November, it has a January postmark.

© Ediciones A. M. * Fotografia: AEROPTOPVISIÓN
Located in the northern tip of the Valencian Community and just 60 kilometers from the coast, Morella is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain.
Its 16 towers, six doors and almost two kilometers of wall (walls 10 and 15 meters high, and two meters thick) are the characteristics of Morella, crowned by the castle.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ourense's Roman Bridge - Spain

Another postcard from Vanesa. She started to send offcial cards again and to celebrate, she opened a lottery. I was the lucky winner and got this card with the Roman Bridge in Ourense. 

Together with the Burgas, thermal springs and the Cathedral, the Roman Bridge is one of the three symbols of the city of Ourense.

© Ediciones Paris
The Roman Bridge of Ourense on the River Minho, was built in the first century A.D. 
According to tradition, it dates from the time of Trajan, however, its constructive characteristics are close to the time of Augustus.
During the twelfth century the main arch of the bridge gave way to a series of interminable repairs that only ended in the seventeenth century when the final reform gave the bridge its present medieval appearance while retaining its original Roman elements.
Of the original 11 arches, only 7 are left.
At present the bridge measures 370 meters long, with a central arch of 43 meters wide by 39 meters high, classified as the largest of the Roman Empire.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Meeting in Entroncamento - Portugal

It's not easy for me to go to postcrossing meetings because I work on weekends but last month I made it to the meeting in Entroncamento. The idea of this meeting was to visit the National Railway Museum, which has its headquarters and main base in Entroncamento. This city is a major hub of the Portuguese rail network and the location of railway workshops. The museum is a postcrossing member
For the 1st time in a meeting, most of the participants were newbies, this was their 1st meeting ever. 

Museu Nacional Ferroviário / Doação Varela Pécurto
As in every meeting, we sent some cards. This one was sent by Vanesa who was in the meeting.

Carlos Pinto
This one was sent by me. It shows the historical train with the E214 locomotive in Carrazedo. This old locomotive, built in 1923, was the last of the steam engines to leave the railroad in Portugal and is considered a rarity because it is articulated and, at the time, it was the most powerful in the Corgo metric line.

Torres Novas - Portugal

I'm not really sure how this postcard got to my mailbox, because it has no stamp. It must have fallen during its trip from Alcanena to Guarda. It was sent by Carolina, who I met during the meeting in Entroncamento last month.
In Torres Novas I've only been to the shopping centers next to the highway and honestly, I don't know much about the city.
The card shows a night view of one of the city's square, the windmills of Pena and the castle with a statue of D. Sancho I, the king who founded the city in 1190.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cabanas / Conceição Church - Portugal

The postcard says as you can see, that this church is located in Cabanas, however when doing a search on the net, its location is in Conceição de Tavira. In 2013, the parish merged into the new parish Conceição e Cabanas de Tavira, this might explain the confusion. 
As for who sent this postcard, there's no confusion at all. It was sent by Leninha after winning her lottery on FB.

© al-garbdistri
This church goes back to the first quarter of the 16th century. The façade's portico features a late-Gothic Manueline decoration.

St. Rita healing

Inês has recently moved to Lisbon to start a new job. To celebrate this, she opened a lottery. I was the winner and she sent me a card with this old lady. 

Foto: Jão Filipe de Brito Sol Pereira
The lady is doing a St. Rita healing. I tried to find out what exactly is this healing and what it is used for but couldn't find any information. 

Three Generations

Three generations in the same picture. A nice card sent by Paula to wish me a 2018 full of cards ;)

Gérard Castello Lopes
Picture taken in 1957 somewhere in Algarve.

Corvo Island - Portugal

Corvo, considered by UNESCO a World Biosphere Reserve, forms, together with the island of Flores, the Western Group of the Azores archipelago. Originated from only one volcano, it is the smallest of the nine islands, with an area of only 17.1km2 and the northernmost island of the archipelago.
These nice Corvo island cards were sent by Lurdes who was born on Flores island but who lives now on Terceira island. 

© VerAçor Lda * Nuno Sá
Corvo’s discovery is closely linked with that of its bigger sister Flores, which is said to have taken place around 1450. Yet, its settlement only started in the 16th century, as the island was too isolated and in lack of a secure harbour. Over the centuries, Corvo became known as a favourite refuge for corsairs, as, for a matter of survival, the inhabitants provided water and food and repaired their ships in exchange for their protection. Vila Nova do Corvo, the island’s administrative centre, is the smallest community Europe’s with a town charter, which it received in 1832 from King Pedro IV in gratitude for their support during the conflicts between the Liberals and the Absolutists.
During the island’s heydays at the end of the 19th century, it counted more than 1,000 inhabitants. The main income sources for the remaining approx. 400 inhabitants are still agriculture and cattle raising, with the resulting cheese production leading the list today. As a matter of fact, the number of cows living on the island outnumbers by two and a half times the population. 

© VerAçor Lda * Nuno Sá
The people of Corvo are genuinely friendly and regard the arrival of a stranger as a welcome interruption in their daily monotony. As everybody knows everybody and nobody can hide anything, doors are generally not even locked! - in:
These three XIX century windmills are one of the attractions of the island. From this location, it is possible to see Flores island, which is at a distance of 17.9 kms. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

San Pedro de la Roca Castle - Cuba

Two cards of the San Pedro de la Roca Castle in Santiago de Cuba. The 1st was sent by Zé Pombal and I forgot who sent the other one.
This 17th-century fortress, situated on a rocky promontory at the coast of Santiago city, is the best-preserved monument of Spanish-American military architecture.
Giovan Battista Antonelli, a member of a Milanese family of military engineers, designed it in 1637, inspired by Italian and Renaissance design principles.
It was primarily established to guard against commercial and political rivals in the Caribbean region, European colonies, and raiding pirates. It features a strong defensive series of forts, barricades, citadels, armories, and batteries.

Photo by A. Cavalli
Due to sporadic construction work, completion of the citadel took nearly 42 years. Despite many overseas attacks and natural disasters like earthquakes, this massive historical complex of fortifications still stands.
The castle went through a massive restoration project in the 1960’s. Today it is one of the best preserved castles in the America’s, as well as the best example of a renaissance fortress. Since 1997, it is a World UNESCO heritage site too. - in:

Paraty - Brazil

When it comes to Brazil, I'm more interrested in it's historical places than in the sunny beaches. Paraty is one of the historical cities I'd like to visit. These cards sent by Luzia and Déa made me discover a bit more about the city, it's history and beauty. 

Foto: Paulo Laborne
Paraty is a coastal historic town in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was first settled by the Portuguese in 1667. Its old churches, cobbled streets and nearby forests, waterfalls, islands and emerald-green sea attract lots of tourists interested in mixing cultural tourism and more natural settings.

 Design / Photo by H. Sealaender
 Paraty grew in the 18th century as a strategically important port for exporting the gold mined in Minas Gerais. When shipments in nearby Rio began to attract the attention and ambition of pirates and privateers from rival European powers, the Portuguese began using Paraty as their safe port for getting their gold to Lisbon. Together with Ouro Preto, the town was part of the Royal Road (Caminho Real or Caminho do Ouro, Gold Road), a route used to export gold in colonial times. It was also an obligatory sleep-over stop for travelers between Rio and São Paulo until the late 1800s, when the inner road was opened. This caused Paraty to be forgotten, stalled in time, away from "progress" and disfiguration and helped it preserve its old city as it was in the past. In the 1970s, it was rediscovered as a popular tourist destination. - in: wikitravel
 Design / Photo by H. Sealaender
Paraty is known for the cobblestone-paved streets throughout the Historic Center District.
Paraty has been able to maintain many of its historic buildings. Much of the architecture of the city has not changed for 250 years or more.
Once a month when there is a Full Moon and the tide is high, seawater rises from its normal levels, and pours into the Historic Center District through special openings in the seawalls separate the city from the harbor. The streets are only flooded for a short time, until the tide recedes. The water is usually only six to ten inches deep and a few merchants near the seawall put out small bridges to span the flooded streets for the benefit of pedestrians. - in: wikipédia