Friday, May 31, 2019

Staring at the window...

 It was because of my work with elderlies that I started my collection of old people and many of my postcrossing friends have been helping me to get new postcards. When Paula sees a postcard with an elderly she immediately thinks of me and is willing to start a fight to buy the postcard make sure that she's the one sending it to me. I appreciate the effort and dedication. These two were sent by her.

Foto: Anika Pannu © 2019 - Ed. 19 de Abril
I don't know what those two ladies are talking about, I don'tt even know in which neighborhood in Lisbon they are, perhaps in Alfama, like the lady of the postcard that follows, but this is undoubtedly a beautiful postcard for my collection.

Foto: Fabiano Knoop © 2018 - Ed. 19 de Abril
Alfama is not only one of the oldest and most picturesque districts in Lisbon, but also was one of the only neighbourhoods, which was not destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. 
This is now one of the most touristic places in Lisbon, with lots of tourists and foreign people. However if you see and elderly at the window, thats quite possible that that person has lived there for more than 70 years. 

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR - May 19

I'm on holidays!! It will be 3 weeks dedicated to trips, cards and pictures. The 1st cards I'll write will probably be June's MFS cards. I'm anxiously waiting for the addresses.
But for know lets focus on the cards I've got this month. They came from USA, Switzerland and Germany. 

Photo by Chester Lou
A vintage card sent by Cynthia with a cool solar eclipse stamp that changes colors when heated. 
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park protects some of the most unique geological, biological, and cultural landscapes in the world. Extending from sea level to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet, the park encompasses the summits of two of the world's most active volcanoes - Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. - in

If I dared to count how many cards I've of each castle in my collection, I thing Chillon castle would be on the top 3. This is my 7th card of this Swiss castle. This one was sent by Thibaut.
Chillon Castle is located on a rock on the banks of Lake Geneva. The water castle is the most visited historic building in Switzerland. For nearly four centuries Chillon was the residence and profitable toll station of the Counts of Savoy. - in:

Foto: Bildarchiv Edmund v. Konig
This is how imagine my visit to Heidelberg, covered in snow. Thanks Birgit for this lovely view. 
Heidelberg is one of the most romantic cities in Germany, thanks to its picturesque riverside location, its beautiful old buildings and bridges, and the castle ruins that overlook the town center. Attracting nearly four million visitors each year, the city is chock-full of historic sites and attractions for tourists, as well as excellent dining and entertainment experiences. - in:

Foto: Norbert Krüger
Bille, the host of this RR sent me this card with the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig.
Leipzig’s most famous landmark is located close to Napoleon’s former command post in the centre of the battlefield of the Battle of the Nations in 1813. The monument (which was constructed from concrete and granite porphyry and inaugurated in 1913) is a towering 91 metres high. Its viewing platform provides a stunning panoramic view of Leipzig and its surroundings. - in:

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * April 19

May is about to end but I still have some April's card to show. Last month the MFS RR cards came from Japan, Malaysia, Germany and the Netherlans. 

Lake Chuzenji is a scenic lake in the mountains above the town of Nikko. It is located at the foot of Mount Nantai, Nikko's sacred volcano, whose eruption blocked the valley below, thereby creating Lake Chuzenji about 20,000 years ago.
Chuzenjiko is especially beautiful in mid to late October, when the autumn colors reach their peak along the lake's shores and surrounding mountains. - in:
The card was sent by Tomoko.

This card was sent by C. K. and the picture was taken by his brother.
Seventeen kilometers from Kuala Lumpur stands a monument that seems to have been built by the gods themselves – the Batu Caves. Both a natural and man-made wonder, this holy monument incorporates both the stunning features of Malaysia’s limestone mountains and religious sculptures of the Hindu faith. - in:

A monastery in Bavaria sent by Marei. 
Reisach Priory is a monastery of the Discalced Carmelites in Oberaudorf in Bavaria.
The priory, dedicated to Saint Theresa, was founded as Urfahrn Priory (Kloster Urfahrn) in 1731 by Johann Georg Messerer, a counsellor at the Bavarian court, and was built between 1737 and 1741  by Abraham Millauer and his son Philipp to plans by the master builder Johann Baptist Gunetzrhainer.
Urfahrn Priory was dissolved in 1802, during the secularisation of Bavaria.
In 1836-37, after failed attempts to establish a Franciscan community in the empty buildings, it was re-founded as Reisach Priory (Kloster Reisach) by a small group of Carmelites from Würzburg. - in: wikipedia

© Dik von Veldhuizen
Marina brought me back some good memories of my 1st visit to the Netherlands with this lovely Kinderdijk card. 
In the beautiful wetlands around Dordrecht, you will find the windmills of Kinderdijk. Nineteen beautiful windmills, built around 1740, stand here as part of a larger water management system to prevent floods. Today, they symbolise Dutch water management, and in 1997 they were declared to be UNESCO World Heritage.
The windmills of Kinderdijk were built to keep the low-lying lands of the Alblasserwaard dry. Facing each other, they form an iconic Dutch scene. You can also admire many waterways, dikes, mills and sluices and discover how the Dutch have been using water to their benefit for over 1000 years. - in:

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Sidi Bou Said - Tunisia

Sidi Bou Said is a town located about twenty kilometers north-east of Tunis. Perched on a cliff overlooking Carthage and the Gulf of Tunis, it is named after a saint, Sidi Bou Saïd El Beji.

Picturesque white and blue village Sidi Bou Said enchants with the magic of its colors, its streets of bougainvillea and the beauty of its traditional architecture, jealously preserved.

If there is an attraction not to be missed in Sidi Bou Said is its cafe. They are meeting places for artists for over a century. The most famous are the Café des Nattes, a typical Arabic coffee shop, located in the square at the top of the main street. 

Archaeological Site of Carthage - Tunisia

I've nothing to say about the quality of these postcards. Both postcards are great when it comes to the quality of the pictures, print and paper.
The postcard from Tine was the result of an exchange the other one was a surprise from Óscar.  I don'tt know if the trip to Tunisia was a surprise to Daniela, Óscar's wife but I'm sure she wasn't surprised when Óscar told her that besides the beaches they would also visit UNESCO sites. 

Carthage was founded in the 9th century B.C. on the Gulf of Tunis. From the 6th century onwards, it developed into a great trading empire covering much of the Mediterranean and was home to a brilliant civilization. 

In the course of the long Punic wars, Carthage occupied territories belonging to Rome, which finally destroyed its rival in 146 B.C. A second – Roman – Carthage was then established on the ruins of the first. - in:

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sukur Cultural Landscape - Nigeria

Here it is, the 2nd UNESCO card from Nigeria. The quality of this one is much better than the other one and I'm much happier with it. 

Photo credit: Ishanlosen Odiaua
The Sukur Cultural Landscape, with the Palace of the Hidi (Chief) on a hill dominating the villages below, the terraced fields and their sacred symbols, and the extensive remains of a former flourishing iron industry, is a remarkably intact physical expression of a society and its spiritual and material culture. - in:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove - Nigeria

Some time ago I checked an UNESCO group on FB, hoping to find offers of my missing sites and found someone offering the 2 Nigerian Sites. I got in touch with the person, arranged the swap and the cards arrived a month later. 
I should have been super happy with these postcards but actually fell a bit disappointed, especially with this one due to the poor quality of the photo. Well, good or bad, the truth is that I scratched 2 more places  from my missing list. 

The dense forest of the Osun Sacred Grove, on the outskirts of the city of Osogbo, is one of the last remnants of primary high forest in southern Nigeria. Regarded as the abode of the goddess of fertility Osun, one of the pantheon of Yoruba gods, the landscape of the grove and its meandering river is dotted with sanctuaries and shrines, sculptures and art works in honour of Osun and other deities. The sacred grove, which is now seen as a symbol of identity for all Yoruba people, is probably the last in Yoruba culture. It testifies to the once widespread practice of establishing sacred groves outside all settlements. - in:

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Skopje - Macedonia

I've met Ana, I mean, we started to swap cards in 2008 and the 1st of these cards was the 1st she ever sent me. Do you remember it Ana?
The 2nd card was sent much recently. Some time ago Ana and Ilyani met in Malaysia and last month they met in Macedonia. When two postcrossers meet, they send cards and they sent me one.
I've noticed one thing, in 11 years postage didn't change!!! Back in 2008 the stamp was 30 MKD and in 2019 the stamp was also 30 MKD.

"Skopje is located at on the upper course of the Vardar River and is located on a major north-south Balkan route between Belgrade and Athens.
Skopje is the capital and largest city in the Republic of Macedonia, with more than a quarter of the population of the country, as well as the political, cultural, economic, and academic centre of the country." in: wikipedia.

The card shows the Kale Fotress, built in the 6th century to serve as protection but also as a nice place to observe the surroundings. In the background there's the Vodno Mountain, known for having the Millennium Cross (constructed to commemorate 2,000 years of Christianity in Macedonia and the world. The Millennium Cross is the highest structure in the Republic of Macedonia) on its top, the biggest Christian Cross on earth. On the left side of the card there's the Macedonian National Theatre.

Photo: Vlaho Brangolica
On this card besides the Kale Fortress, is also possible to see the Stone Bridge, the National Archaeology Museum, the cable car to the Millennium Cross, Macedonia Square and other places in the city. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Meteora - Greece

Greece was already on my travels plans a few times but for some reason it still didn't make it there. Of all the beautiful places the country has to offer, there's one that attracts me the most, Meteora.

Spectacularly perched atop rocky pinnacles in Thessaly, the Meteora monasteries are among the most striking sights in Greece. The name Meteora (Μετεωρα) is Greek for "suspended in the air," which perfectly describes these six remarkable Greek Orthodox monasteries. The sandstone peaks were first inhabited by Byzantine hermits in the 11th century, who clambered up the rocks to be alone with God. The present monasteries were built in the 14th and 15th centuries during a time of instability and revival of the hermit ideal; the first was Great Meteoron (c.1340) and there were 24 monasteries by 1500. They flourished until the 17th century but only six survive today; four of these still host monastic communities.
On the cards there's the Holy Monastery of Rousanou. The cards were sent by Anja and Sofia. 

Founded in the 16th century, the easily-accessible Rousannou Monastery occupies a lower rock than the others of the Meteora.

Rousannou (Ρουσανου) Monastery was founded around 1545 by Maximos and Ioasaph of Ioannina. The reason for the monastery's name is not known - it is actually dedicated to St. Barbara - but may reflect the name of a hermit who occupied the rock. It soon declined and became subject to Varlaam Monastery by 1614.
The monastery once again fell into disrepair for the two centuries prior to the 1940s, when it was damaged in World War II then plundered by the Germans. It was later repaired by the regional archaeological service and since 1988 it has been occupied by a small community of 13 nuns.
Rousannou Monastery stands on a low rock and is easily accessible by a bridge built of wood in 1868 and replaced by more solid material in 1930. Despite this, its situation is still quite dramatic, with the rock dropping off sharply on all sides.

The monastery covers the entire surface of the rock and consists of three levels: the church and cells occupy the ground floor, while the two upper floors house the guest quarters, reception halls, an exhibition room, and more cells.
The frescoes in Rousannou's Church of the Transfiguration of Christ, which is essentially a smaller version of Varlaam's church, date from 1560. The narthex is decorated primarily with gruesome scenes of martyrdom, as at other Meteora monasteries.

The resident nuns tend to be friendlier to visitors than their male counterparts in Meteora and often provide sweets to guests as they relax in the courtyard (if so, it is nice to put a small donation in the box)." - in:

Vergina - Greece

New UNESCO site in the blog!! The Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina) is one of the 18 Greek UNESCO sites. It was added to the WHS list in 1996. Thanks to Sini, it was added to my collection this week. 

The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world. - in:

Meeting in Brussels - Belgium

Last month José and Rui attended a Postcrossing meeting in Brussels and they send me not 1, not 2 but 3 beautiful meeting cards, signed by a fair amount of postcrossers. 

These cards brought me some nice memories of my visit to Belgium a couple of years ago. The country is on my list of the places and countries I want to visit again. 

When you think of Belgium specialities I'm sure that chocolate and waffles are probably the first things that cross your mind. In La Belgique Gourmand you can find that and other typical Belgian gastronomic delights, such as iscuits, chocolate truffles, macaroons, cuberdons, exquisite Babeluttes, marzipan, chocolate-coated almonds or with tiramisu or caramel coatings...
What about the famous Belgium beer? Yes, they also have beer, 250 Belgium beers. 

La Grand Place is probably one of the most beautiful squares I've ever seen.
La Grand Place is the central, geographic and historic heart of Brussels, as well as one of the most memorable squares in Europe. This lively cobbled square is part of the most beautiful seventeenth-century architectural ensemble in Belgium.
In 1695 the French army bombarded Brussels and destroyed most buildings housed in La Grand Place. They were all rebuilt except the Town Hall. - in:

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Paimpol - France

To thank me for the card I sent him from Madeira, Damien sent me this Paimpol card. 
Paimpol is a small town in Brittany, northwest France. 

Editions d'Art
Paimpol is the fishing and oyster farming centre of Côtes-d'Armor! This pretty little Breton town, once a peninsula, has been shaped by its maritime past, starting with cod fishing trips to Newfoundland and Iceland. 
This maritime past was immortalised in Pierre Loti’s novel An Iceland Fisherman. 

PT RR - Grupo 134 * Surprise April

I'm starting this month of May with the postcards I received from the April surprise group on the Portuguese speaking community.  Many thanks to Joana, Ana, Inês and Tiago.

© 2012 Cormany / Gettyimages
My first thought when I saw this postcard was, "I hope none of these ladies has broken their femur playing this game." In Portugal we call this game "macaca". 

Photo © Olivier Anger
This beautiful building is Mulhouse Town Hall. 
The building dates from 1552. It was built on the site of the former Town Hall, built in 1431, which was burnt down. - in: -

 I've been to Palmela only once and it was to attend a Postcrossing meeting. This card brings me back some good memories of that day.
Palmela castle is a huge fortified complex that stands atop the eastern edge of the Serra de Arrabida hills. This high vantage point of the castle provides stunning views over both the Tagus and Sado estuaries and made it of strategic importance for early Portuguese dynasties but surprisingly the castle experienced very little actual fighting since the Christian conquest of the Moors in the 12th century. - in:

On January 30, 2006 it snowed in São Brás de Alportel. Snow is a rare thing to see in southern Portugal. I actually remember that on that day it snowed in several areas of the country and here in Guarda, where it is suppose to be normal to snow, it did not snow at all!!