Sunday, September 29, 2019

Convent of Christ in Tomar - Portugal

Tomar has already hosted a few postcrossing meetings and I have some postcards signed by my postcrossing friends. The first postcard was sent in April of last year by Rui and also signed by Zé, Paula, Edite and Vitória.
My last time in Tomar was in October 2017 but in August 2010 I had already been there with Susana and that was when I first visited the Convent of Christ and sent the 2nd postcard.
The 3rd postcard, despite being from Tomar, was sent and signed in Setúbal by Luzia during another of her meetings in Portugal.  

Fotografia: Oswaldo Santos
Built by the Knights Templar in 1160 along a volatile Muslim-Christian border, the Convento da Ordem de Cristo (Convent of the Order of Christ) in Tomar, Portugal, is a fantastically unique monastic fortress. Construction continued for nearly five centuries, turning the Templar stronghold into a gallery of Portuguese architectural styles.

In 1983, the Convent of Christ was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on the basis that it "represents a significant artistic achievement" - especially for its Manueline decoration - and because it is "directly and tangibly associated with events or with ideas or beliefs of outstanding universal significance" - it came to symbolize the opening of Portugal to other civilizations. 

Guia Turístico do Norte
Perhaps the finest example of Manueline stonework at the Convent of Christ is the west window, referred to as the Window of the Chapter House (Janela do Capítulo). It is so richly sculpted that it can be overwhelming to the eye at first, but a closer look reveals a wealth of meaningful and carefully-planned details, all illustrating Portugal's great status as a sea power. Among the sculptures are ropes, knots, full sails, mariners with the tools of their craft, and various seascapes. A human figure in the bottom of the window probably represents the designer, Diogo de Arruda. - in:

Meeting in Lisbon

Some days after the meeting in Ribamar, a few other postcrossers got together in Lisbon for another meeting. We just can't get enough of them and can't get enough of cards. 3 more sent by Joana, Zé and João, all depicting something very typical to Portugal, tiles. 

 Al-zuleique is the Arabic word that became the Portuguese azulejo (tile) and referred to the “small, smooth stone” used by Muslims in the Middle Ages. Their use of tiles to decorate floors and walls pleased the Portuguese Kings and subsequently won pride of place in architecture from the 15th century. We could say that Portugal adopted them in an unparalleled way, like no other European country. 

It was in the 18th century that tiles “invaded” churches and convents, palaces and homes, gardens, fountains and staircases. With geometric patterns, telling the life stories of saints or depicting profane themes, such as La Fontaine’s fables, sometimes with captions like an old version of a cartoon, they became one of the main features of Portuguese decoration.

® Fotografia: JAMP
Travelling across the country is like visiting a living museum of tiles, but it is in the National Tile Museum in Lisbon that you can get to know, like nowhere else, their history and artistic and technical evolution, from early times to modern-day production.
Tiles are still used in the 21st century by the most avant-garde trends as a key feature of civic art. - in:

Meeting in Ribamar - Portugal

A few days ago Luzia was on holidays in Europe and met some postcrossing friends here in Portugal. This time it wasn't possible for me to meet her.
These last few weeks have been rich on metings. These two postcards are from a mini meeting in Ribamar and were sent by Luzia and Zé.

© Grafipost - Editores & Artes Gráficas Lda
I didn't find much about this mill, I only know it is located in St. Isidoro parish.

© Grafipost - Editores & Artes Gráficas Lda
The St Suzana fort was built in the 17th century by order of the Count of Cantanhede as a defence against Algerian and Tunisian pirates that attacked this coastal area. Almost nothing exists of the initial structure. On its place is the building of the Fiscal Police, a fine example of the Estado Novo architecture that was built in the 20th century. - in:

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Alentejo - Portugal

I haven'te been to the Alentejo coast but I've already been a couple of times to other places in the interior of these portuguese region. On this card I can identify Évora and Mértola, two lovety cities that I visited last year. 
This card and the previous one were both sent by Ana Silva.

© Casa dos Postais / © Foto: Sandro Cabrita
The Alentejo is the beautiful region of Portugal that lies between the Algarve and central Lisbon region. This vast and sparsely populated area covers over 30% of Portugal and is characterised by its gentle rolling hills, historic fortified towns and intense summer heat.
The Alentejo is virtually undiscovered by foreign tourists but it is one of the most fascinating regions of Portugal. Intrepid visitors who take the time to explore the Alentejo will discover traditional cultures, a stunning coastline and an infectious slow pace of life. 
The Alentejo is one of the most varied regions of Portugal. On the western coastline it is possible to surf on near deserted beaches while to the east there are ancient fortified towns waiting to be explored. In-between there are empty roads, olive fields and sleepy villages – the Alentejo is the idyllic heartland of Portugal. - in:

Vila Nova de Milfontes - Portugal

I have already considered many times the idea of going to Vila Nova de Milfontes but it has not happened yet. In fact, this is just one of a few places I want to visit in the Alentejo coast, the only region in mainland Portugal that I haven't visited yet.  

© Edição Vistal * Foto ©, Art and concept: G. A. Wittich
Vila Nova de Milfontes, also nicknamed as Alentejo Princess, is a village located in the municipality of Odemira. This is a small village that is located in the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park.

Cape St. Vincent - Portugal

These last weeks I've received many meetings cards due to the several meetings held in Lisbon and Algarve. 
In the Algarve, Tiago jmet Paulo and Ana once again for another monthly meeting and this time they had an extra guest, Raquel. In addition to Tiago's postcard, here are also postcards sent by Carla, Vitória, Leninha, Zé Pombal and Vitória.

poster xxl
Tiago chose this postcard for me because this place reminds him of my visit to the Algarve 2 years ago. For one day he was my guide and took me to some iconic locations in the western Algarve, Cape St. Vincent was precisely one of them. It was not in my plans to go there, so it was a great surprise and a lovely day with Tiago.

Cabo de São Vicente (the Cape of Saint Vincent) is the most southwesterly extremity of Europe. This wind blasted and storm pounded headland is just what visitors expect, for what was considered, up until the 14th century, the end of the known world. The jagged cliffs rise 60 meters from the ferocious seas and high above guarding the busy shipping lines is one of Europe’s brightest lighthouses that can be seen 60 miles away. - in:

© Michael Howard photography
In the cape we can visit a fortress built in the 16th century in order to protect the coast from the frequent attacks by Moorish pirates. It stands on the site of an earlier medieval convent, which, legend has it, is supposed to have housed the mortal remains of São Vicente (St Vincent).
It is a military construction with a polygonal floor plan, with a gateway crowned by the royal shield and which once had a drawbridge. - in:

Inside the fortress can be seen the lighthouse of São Vicente. 
The lighthouse of Cape St. Vincente, or the Lighthouse of D. Fernando, was ordered constructed by Queen D. Maria II, and began operating in October 1846, in the 16th century Franciscan convent.[2] It was originally illuminated by olive oil lamp consisting of two clarions that rotated every two seconds, and a range of 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi).
Following an initial period of operation, the lighthouse was abandoned and almost fell into ruin; a survey of the site indicated its deplorable state by 1865. Due to its state and poor performance of its light, work began on remodelling the structure began in 1897.

Work on the site lasted 11 years, and in 1908 the lighthouse began operating with a 1,330-millimetre (52 in) Fresnel lens, making it one of the largest optics used in Portuguese lighthouses and one of the 10 largest in the world.
In 1914, a signal horn was installed. In 1926, a generator was installed, permitting an easy transition from petrol to electricity.
Due to the necessities of the Second World War, in 1947 deflector panels were installed, allowing the lighthouse to function both for terrestrial and maritime navigation. The following year, it was finally connected to the public electrical grid.
In 1982 the lighthouse was automated and, at the same time, it began to control the neighbouring lighthouse in the adjacent cape, supporting a small staff on duty. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Old fisherman

Some postcards remind us of certain people and many people remember me when they see postcards with old people. Inês Brito did it again, sent me another card dedicated to the elderly. She already sent me a few, this time she sent a fisherman.

© Edição Vistal * Foto: W. Müller / Art and concept: G. A. Wittich
Low wages, catch restrictions and competition from recreational boating are driving down the number of fishermen in Portugal, especially in the Algarve, where since 2001 the number has halved.
According to data released by Pordata, there are 17,642 fishermen in Portugal, a professional group that has been declining since 2001 in all regions of the country, with the Algarve topping the list, a region where there was a 56% reduction in fishermen. between 2001 and 2017.
According to the same data, there is also a change in the geographical concentration of the number of fishermen in Portugal: in 2001, it was in the Algarve and in the North where most of the fishermen were located; In 2017, almost half of Portugal's fishermen are in the Northern and Central regions (26% and 23%, respectively).

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * August '19

What did I say yesterday? Great cards again. Yuka, Dagmar, Sandra and Hwa did a great job choosing these cards for me. 

This 1st card depicts the longest wooden walking bridge in the world. Located in the city of Shimada, Japan,  Hōrai Bridge is a wooden pedestrian bridge over the Ōi River located in the city of Shimada. It was constructed in 1879. With a length of 897.422 metres (2,944.30 ft), the bridge was registered in The Guinness Book of Records in 1997. 

© Schöning Verlag
Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany. 
Fulda Cathedral is the former abbey church of Fulda Abbey and the burial place of Saint Boniface. Since 1752 it has also been the cathedral of the Diocese of Fulda. The abbey was dissolved in 1802 but the diocese and its cathedral have continued. The dedication is to Christ the Saviour. The cathedral constitutes the high point of the Baroque district of Fulda, and is a symbol of the town. - in: wikipedia

Photo by Mike Jones © Smith-Southwestern
San Francisco de Asis Mission Church is a historic and architecturally significant church on the main plaza of Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Built between 1772 and 1816 when New Mexico was part of the Vice-Royalty of New Spain, it is one of the finest extant examples of a Spanish Colonial New Mexico mission church (...). It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. - in: wikipedia
Every June, parishioners and the community volunteers gather to re-plaster the church in adobe. This annual project is called “The Enjarre,” or “the mudding” of the church. Since the church is the heart of the community many people are moved to help preserve the church’s historicity. By mixing clay, sand, straw, and water into thick mud it is applied to the surface, layer upon layer, until the entire adobe structure, from top to bottom which becomes resilient to the elements. - in:

I've to blame postcards for my long list of places I want to visit. This one of those cards that puts me in travel mode. I guess I need to add South Korea to that long list of must visit countries. 
Located near the entrance of the Moaksan Provincial Park, Geumsansa Temple was established in the first year of King Beop of the Baekje Kingdom (AD 599). The Buddhist temple features over ten designated cultural properties including Mireukjeon Hall, a national treasure. 
Mireukjeon Hall of the Geumsansa Temple is a three story wooden structure making it unique among Korean Buddhist halls. Mireukjeon houses a large Mireuksa Buddha (Buddha of the Future). The hall was (re-)constructed in 1635. The first floor is called Daejabojeon ("Hall of Great Mercy and Treasure"), the second Yonghwajihoe ("Gathering of Dragon and Beauty") and the third Mireukjeon ("Hall of Maitreya"). 
Mireukjeon is constructed using a multi-beam style where the eaves beams are not only placed above the pillars supporting the eaves, but also amongst the supporting pillars. - in: wikipedia

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * July '19

These last two months were great when it comes to cards from this RR, probably the best months ever. In July the cards arrived from Finland, USA, Brazil (sent from China) and Scotland. 

kuva: Markku Roisko,
I'm starting this month with a card from Hämmeenlinna, Finland, where every year is held a postcard event and a postcrossing meeting after that. The church was designed by architect Louis Jean Desprez in 1789, and built in 1792–1798.
The card was sent by "marzze". 

photograph by Mimi MacDonald
This cute white church is located in Lenox, Massachusetts and the card was sent by Jennifer. Built in 1805, it is one of a small number of surviving Federal period churches in the region. Its congregation, gathered in 1769, belongs to the United Church of Christ (...). The church building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. - in: wikipedia

Foto: Waldemir A. Oliveira
Catherine is from China but she decided to send a brazilian card. St. Generosa Church is located in São Paulo. The construction started in 1915 and the works continued for almost 20 years when the news that the city, due to the city's urbanization works, would expropriate the site arrived. In 1945, the works were paralyzed and, with the arrival of the new parish priest, Alberto Baccilique, and the non-expropriation of the church, the works continued and the parish was inaugurated in 1950.
For 17 years everything went as planned but in 1967 the church began to be demolished for the passage of a road and the São Paulo Metro. 
On September 27, 1970, was inaugurated the new church. From the old church, 40 Italian stained glass windows, chandeliers and the large central door were used.

© copyright
On my next visit to Scotland I definitely want to visit more castles.
Urquhart Castle sits beside Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. 
The present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification. Founded in the 13th century, Urquhart played a role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century. It was subsequently held as a royal castle, and was raided on several occasions by the MacDonald Earls of Ross. The castle was granted to the Clan Grant in 1509, though conflict with the MacDonalds continued. Despite a series of further raids the castle was strengthened, only to be largely abandoned by the middle of the 17th century. Urquhart was partially destroyed in 1692 to prevent its use by Jacobite forces, and subsequently decayed. In the 20th century it was placed in state care as a scheduled monument and opened to the public: it is now one of the most-visited castles in Scotland. - in: wikipedia
Card sent by Sabine. 

Friday, September 13, 2019


An official from USA that I got almost 2 months ago. 

Photo by Mike Jones © Smith-Southwestern, Inc. 
US-6121545, sent by Barbara.
On the back of the card: Four Peaks, at 7.657 feet in altitude, is a prominent landmark on the eastern skyline of Phoenix. During most winters, Four Peaks offers much of the Phoenix metro area a view of snowcapped peaks. 

Elmina Castle - Ghana

This is not only a card of a new UNESCO site but also a card from a new country. Elmina Castle is one of the Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions in Ghana. It was sent from the USA by Boyana. 

The first European slave-trading post in Sub-Saharan Africa, Elmina was built in 1482 by the Portuguese. Although the castle initially served a hub for the gold trade (hence its title ‘Elmina’ – the mine) by 1500 the castle had also become a base for the slave trade. People captured from the interior of the continent were held prisoner in the castle, and guarded by soldiers before being transported to ships bound for the colonies. In 1637 the Dutch took over the fort, and continued to use it as part of their own slave trade operations until 1814, when the practice was abolished by the Netherlands. in: