Monday, December 24, 2018

Perast - Montenegro

Speaking of World Heritage Sites, Perast in Montenegro is also on this UNESCO list as part of the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor. 
Perast is an old town on the Bay of Kotor, situated a few kilometres northwest of Kotor and is noted for its proximity to the islets of St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks. Both these cards show Our Lady of the Rocks and it's church. 

photo: Radoje Jovanovic
Our Lady of the Rock is an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rocks is the only building on the islet.
According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by the seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event called fašinada, when local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island, takes place.

Photo by Stevan Kordic
The first known church was built on the islet in 1452 and it was Serbian Orthodox. It was taken over by Roman Catholics and in 1632 the present Church of Our Lady of the Rocks was built. It was upgraded in 1722. The church contains 68 paintings by Tripo Kokolja, a famous 17th-century baroque artist from Perast. His most important painting, ten meters long, is The Death of the Virgin. There are also paintings by Italian artists, and an icon (circa 1452) of Our Lady of the Rocks, by Lovro Dobričević of Kotor. The church also houses a collection of silver votive tablets and a famous votive tapestry embroidered by Jacinta Kunić-Mijović from Perast. It took her 25 years to finish it while waiting her darling to come from a long journey, and eventually, she became blind. She used golden and silver fibres but what makes this tapestry so famous is the fact that she also embroidered her own hair in it. - in:

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Stari Grad - Croatia

There are so many places that I want to visit in Croatia that one trip is probably not enough to see all of them. I definitely want to visit Stari Grad one day. 
When visiting this city one has the possibility to discover an old city and its beautiful historical center and also Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO site, one of the hardest of the croatian sites to get cards from, even if you manage to go to Stari Grad, it won't be easy to get cards, that's what Agata said. Fortunately she found a few showing not only the city but also the plain. That was in 2014 and a couple of weeks ago I got another card from this city sent by Theresa. 

Stari Grad is a town on the northern side of the island of Hvar in Dalmatia, Croatia. One of the oldest towns in Europe, its position at the end of a long, protected bay and next to prime agricultural land, has long made it attractive for human settlement. Stari Grad is also a municipality within the Split-Dalmatia County.
The most ancient part of Stari Grad falls within the UNESCO Protected World Heritage Site of the Stari Grad Plain, while the entire municipality lies within the surrounding buffer zone. - in: wikipedia

The Church of St. Stephen stands on the eastern side of a small square, Trg sv. Stjepana (St. Stephen’s Square), in the historical centre of Stari Grad.  It was built from 1605 onward at the site of an earlier church also dedicated to the martyred Pope Stephen I.
The bell tower stands apart from the church. The inscription above its door indicates that it was completed in 1753. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mountains of Mourne - Northern Ireland

Mountains and sheeps, definitely a beautiful combination and a nice way Miguel chose to wish me happy holidays. 

Photography reproduced from original artistic work © Liam Blake
The Mourne Mountains, also called the Mournes or Mountains of Mourne, are a granite mountain range in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland. It includes the highest mountains in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster. The highest of these is Slieve Donard at 850 m (2,790 ft). The Mournes is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has been proposed as the first national park in Northern Ireland. The area is partly owned by the National Trust and sees a large number of visitors every year. The name Mourne (historically spelt Morne) is derived from the name of a Gaelic clann or sept called the Múghdhorna. - in: wikipedia

Cobh - Ireland

Last night I dreamt I was in Ireland and I actually wouldn't mind to be there again. However, I don't think that will happen any time soon but I definitely want to visit the country again and when that happen, I'd like to visit Cobh. 
This another one of the 38 cards Theresa sent me.

Cobh, known from 1849 until 1920 as Queenstown, is a tourist seaport town on the south coast of County Cork, Ireland. Cobh is on the south side of Great Island in Cork Harbour and is home to Ireland's only dedicated cruise terminal. Tourism in the area draws on the maritime and emigration legacy of the town. It was associated with the RMS Titanic, which was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Photo by Peter O'Toole
On a high point in the town stands the cathedral church of the diocese of Cloyne, St Colman's, which is one of the tallest buildings in Ireland.
Construction began in 1867 and was not completed until over half a century later due to increases in costs and revisions of the original plans. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


I don't know exactly where this card is from but google images suggests it might be from Zaanse Schans. I've been there and yes, even though we can't see much of the village on the card, Zaanse Schans might be the exact location. 

NL-4251468, sent by Gemma.
Located just north of Amsterdam, the Zaanse Schans offers a perfectly preserved glimpse into the Netherlands' industrial past with its traditional houses, windmills, warehouses and workshops. 
In its 18th and 19th century heyday, the Zaan region was an important industrial area dotted by hundreds of windmills producing linseed oil, paint, snuff, mustard, paper and other products. Many of the Zaanse Schans' characteristic village houses are now museums, gift shops or workshops while others are still used as private residences. - in:

Fun vs work

While some of us work, some others have fun!! That's life. While the Swiss lady picks up potatoes, the Belgian friends are sunbathing.

Raquel didn't know that I collect postcards with elderly people but Inês told her. Inês was actually on holidays in Belgium with her. The card was signed by them and a few other postcrossers in a meeting in Antwerpen. 

éditions mythra
The Oscar knows how I like elderlies postcards and this time he sent me this lady, who despite being working, seems to be happy, to wish me Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Neuschwanstein Castle - Germany

The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
The castle is located in Bavaria, near the town of Fussen. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as the “Fairytale King”. 

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG

DE-5927634, sent by Ecke.
King Ludwig was a great admirer and supporter of Richard Wagner, the world-renowned composer.
Neuschwanstein Castle was built in his honor and many rooms in the castle’s interior were inspired by Wagner’s characters.
The third floor particularly reflects Ludwig’s admiration of Wagner’s operas.The Singers Hall, which occupies the entire fourth floor of Neuschwanstein also contains characters from Wagner’s operas.
Neuschwanstein literally means “New Swan Castle” referencing of “the Swan Knight” one of the Wagner’s characters.

The Neuschwanstein Castle looks like a fairytale castle. Neuschwanstein is a castle of the paradox, it was built in the 19th century in Bavaria, in a time when castles no longer had strategical and defensive purposes.

Alpiner Kunstverlag Hans Huber, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
US-2051824, sent by Louise
While Neuschwanstein’s look is that of a medieval castle, it was equipped inside with state of the art technology at that time. For example on every floor of the castle there were toilets with automatic flushing system, as well as an air heating system for the whole castle. Water was supplied by a nearby spring situated at only 200 meters above the castle.

DE-425666, sent by Andrea.
Neuschwanstein’s positioning is also a fairytale one. It is located in the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, in a magnificent landscape, on the top of a hill. Neuschwanstein overlooks the Hohenschwangau valley. If you come to visit this castle, you will be amazed by the extremely beautiful landscape that surrounds it.
Also, Neuschwanstein lies very close to the town of Fussen, which is also a popular tourist destination in Germany.

The construction of the Neuschwanstein castle began in 1869, and originally it was projected to last three years. But Ludwig II wanted the castle to be perfect, so the immense building was not finished even at Ludwig’s death in 1886 and it is not completely finished to this day.

DE-2624717, sent by Klaus.
 Neuschwanstein Castle has a very beautiful inner garden surrounded by a walled courtyard. It even has an artificial cave. Neuschwanstein’s interior is as beautiful as its outside. Though only 14 rooms were finished before Ludiwg II’s sudden death in 1886, these rooms were majestically decorated.

 Copyright: Foto Studio Verlag Kienberger
DE-3654451, sent by Lotte.
The two story throne room was designed in Byzantine style, with wall paintings depicting angels. Ironically, there is no throne in the Throne Room, as Ludwig died before it was completely finished.

© Foto Studio Verlag Kienberger
DE-7682155, sent by Melia. 
This fairytale look of the Neuschwanstein castle inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom. Today, Neuschwanstein is the most visited castle in Germany, and one of the most popular tourist destination in the world. Every year over 1.300.000 people cross its gate. - in:

Florence Cathedral - Italy

A tour in Tuscany isn't complete without a visit to Florence, it's capital. The city attracts millions of tourists each year, and the Historic Centre of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. 
The best-known site of the city is the domed cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. 
Cards sent by Riccardo and Theresa. 

Florence Cathedral was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to a design of Arnolfo di Cambio and was structurally completed by 1436, with the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink, bordered by white, and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.

Foto: A. Tradii
The cathedral complex, in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until the development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Siena - Italy

Siena is one of the cities on my must visit list. It's historic centre, a Unesco World Heritage Site, the cuisine, art, museums and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year, make Siena one of Italy's most visited tourist attractions.
Cards sent by Tjitske and Theresa. 

© Turbanti Fabio s.n.c.
Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini was to influence the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. - in:

Photo by ATLANTIDE * Edizioni M. T. S.
The Siena Cathedral (Duomo), begun in the 12th century, is one of the great examples of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. It is unusual for a cathedral in that its axis runs north-south. This is because it was originally intended to be the largest cathedral in the world, with a north-south transept and an east-west nave, as is usual. After the completion of the transept and the building of the east wall (which still exists and may be climbed by the public via an internal staircase) the money ran out and the rest of the cathedral was abandoned. - in: wikipedia

Amalfi - Italy

Lets continue with some of the italian cards Theresa sent me. 
Located in the region of Campania, Amalfi is the town that gives its name to the Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast), an important tourist destination together with other towns on the same coast, such as Positano, Ravello and others. Amalfi is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Daniele Minopoli Editore
The Cathedral of St. Andrew, Amalfi is a highly unique cathedral full of interesting sights. Built in the early 1200s, the cathedral features a dramatic location atop a steep flight of stairs, an Arab-influenced exterior, and the relics of St. Andrew the Apostle in its crypt. Connected to the cathedral is an older basilica (now a small museum) and the fascinating Cloister of Paradise, both containing medieval murals. - in:

Monday, December 3, 2018

Cosenza - Italy

Theresa didn't know what to send me and I didn't know which cards to show. It wasn't easy to choose, I must say. I won't show all the 38 cards but I think I chose some nice ones, starting with this one from Cosenza, a city in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. 

Ediz. Ris. Romano Piero
The exact origins of the Duomo are unknown; it was probably built during the first half of the 11th century. An earthquake destroyed the cathedral on 9 June 1184, and rebuilding was completed by 1222 when the cathedral was consecrated by Emperor Frederick II. At some point during the first half of the 18th century the church was covered by a baroque superstructure which obliterated the original structure and its works of art. In the first half of the 19th century the façade was transformed in neo-gothic style, which completely changed its character. At the end of the 19th century, Archbishop Camillo Sorgente entrusted the work to Pisanti, who recovered the original old arches and the ancient structure of the church. In the 1940s the work was finally completed. In the transept is the tomb of Isabella of Aragon, wife of king Philip III of France. - in: wikipedia


Some people don't pay much attention to profiles/wishlists and send the first piece of paper they can find. Fortunately they are not so many !! On the other hand, some others make an extra effort to send that perfect postcard that will make very happy who receives it. Well, Theresa didn't know what to send me or she just couldn't decide on a single postcard, so she sent me 38 cards. An envelope filled with postcards from several countries, many churches, some castles, lighthouses, snow, etc. I would have been super happy with this postcard of Castel del Monte, a UNESCO missing site but maybe she wanted to send me a late birthday gift + early Christmas gift. How great, generous and lovely is this?? Many, many thanks Theresa. 

© Copyright by PLURIGRAF
IT-480523, sent by Theresa.
Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region in southern Italy near the Adriatic Sea. A unique piece of medieval architecture, it was completed in 1240. The castle’s location, its perfect octagonal shape, as well as the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout all reflect the broad education and cultural vision of its founder, Emperor Frederick II.
As a leader of modern humanism, the Germanic Emperor brought scholars together in his court from throughout the Mediterranean, combining Eastern and Western traditions. The castle’s unique design, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle, represents a search for perfection. Interior features reflect Eastern influences, such as the innovative hydraulic installation used by Frederick II for bathing in accord to the typical Arabic customs.
The site is of outstanding universal value in its formal perfection and its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity. Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, reflecting the humanist ideas of its founder, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. - in:


Officials from Spain are as difficult to get as the portuguese. Only 15 so far. 
This one came from Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. These are only 3 of the many attractions in the city. 

© EDICIONES A. M. * Fotografia: José Barea
ES-535506, sent by Mireia.
Torres de Quart are one of the two fortified gates of the medieval wall of Valencia that still remain standing. They were built between 1441-1460; 
Known as El Miguelete, the bell tower of the cathedral of Valencia, is a tower of Valencian gothic style. The construction of the tower starts in 1381 and ends in 1429;
The current Puerta de la Mar is a reproduction of the old Puerta del Real. The original gate had been opened in the wall in 1356 but it was destroyed in 1865. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

St. Marta Lighthouse - Portugal

Getting portuguese official cards isn't that common and in 12 years of postcrossing, I've only got 11. Last week, exactly on my birthday, I've got one of these beautiful Santa Marta Lighthouse card. The other card was sent by Susana 8 years ago. 

PT-603203, sent by Ana Serôdio.
The easily recognisable Santa Marta lighthouse stands on what was once the southern tip of Cascais (the marina now extends beyond the point). Built in 1868 on the site of a 17th century fort the lighthouse only came into operation after the site was stripped of its military status.
Santa Marta's distinctive blue and white striped tower stands at 8 metres (25ft) tall and still stands guard over the mouth of the Tagus. Until 1981 it was manned continuously by lighthouse keepers, however these days the light is automated.

The lighthouse and fort now incorporate a small museum which covers the site's history as well as the development of the optical devices used in Portugal's lighthouses. There are interactive collections of lights and optics along with multimedia presentations. Another topic covered by the museum is the lighthouse keeper's profession. - in: