Saturday, October 19, 2019

Pogradec - Albania

The Macedonian side of Lake Ohrid was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, with the site being extended to also include the cultural and historic area of Ohrid in 1980. The Albanian side of Lake Ohrid was also designated UNESCO world heritage status in 2019.
The towns situated at the lakeside are Ohrid and Struga in Macedonia along with Pogradec in Albania. - in: wikipedia
This card was also sent by Boris.

Photo: Armando Baguca
The city of Pogradec lies on the western shore of Lake Ohrid, which is the heart and soul of this city. 
Ohrid is the deepest (285m) lake in the Balkans, and is split between Macedonia (in Ohrid and Struga), and Albania. It took around 4 million years for this lake to form its present shape, from the moment the soil began to shift on the western side of the Dinaric Alps. Now, it is a veritable, picture-perfect swan lake, as well as an ecosystem that includes over 200 species – making it a real national treasure. - in:

Valbona Valley National Park - Albania

Last month, I think, Boris went on a trip to Albania, hoping to visit all the UNESCO sites in the country. That's my kind of trip. He wanted to visit and, of course, get and send cards from the sites, I can relate to that too. 
In 2017, the Gashi River, located within the Valbona National Park, was listed as part of the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe. However, there are other rivers within the park and this card doesn't identify which of them is this one. Anyway, even though I'm not sure this is a card from a missing site, I like it a lot!!

Photo: Armando Baguca
Situated in the far north of Albania, Valbona Valley National Park borders Montenegro to the north and Theth National Park to the west. 
With its dramatic, barren summits and forested valleys, glacial springs and waterfalls, it's an heavenly place both for humans and animals. The park's Gashi River is part of the multi-unit UNESCO Primeval Beech Forests World Heritage Site. In addition to floral diversity, Valbona Valley is also home to lots of wildlife. This includes brown bears, lynx, chamois, grey wolves, wild goats and countless bird species. 

Friday, October 18, 2019


This is my 2nd official from Moldova, only my 5th card from this country. 
The building on the card is Chişinău City Hall.

Photo: Igor Sirbu
MD-60462, sent by Kate.
Chişinău City Hall is a historical and architectural monument built in Italian Gothic style located in Central Chişinău, Moldova. Originally constructed to house the city Duma in 1901, the building was nearly destroyed during World War II. It was rebuilt in the postwar period based on surviving images and construction plans. - in: wikipedia

Monday, October 14, 2019

Häme Castle - Finland

One of the things I learnt in Finland is that if a city name ends in linna, that means there is a castle there. Thus, in Hämeenlina we find Häme Castle, which was part of the program of postcard meeting that took place in September. In the last of the 3 days there was a guided tour to the castle.
Over 100 people attended this meeting, including Heidi and Anna-Maria who sent me one of the official postcards of the meeting.

Postcrossing logo is a registered trademark * Photo: Taneli Eskola
Häme Castle is one of Finland’s medieval royal castles. It is believed to have been built at the end of the 13th century, following the crusade by Swedish Earl Birger to Häme region. During the Middle Ages the original fortified camp was built into a residential castle for its commandant. In the 18th century a third storey was built and curtain wall buildings partly replaced the original outer walls. The castle and its surroundings were in prison use from 1837 to 1972. The main castle is now presented as a historical monument.

FI-753195, sent by dubbu with a special hologram stamp.
The Häme Castle and its redbrick barracks are on the shore of Lake Vanajavesi. The promontary has been a meeting place for centuries, and the walls almost echo the voices from the Middle Ages." - in:


I definitely need to travel to northern Europe in winter. I want to see the northern lights and I want lots of snow. These snow-covered trees in Kuusamo look so pretty and magical. I just want snow but for those who like winter sports, Kuusamo is a place to go. This city in the Northern Ostrobothnia region is a major center for winter sports and receives approximately a million tourists every year. One of the largest ski resorts in Finland, Ruka, is situated in Kuusamo. 

Foto: Keijo Penttinen
FI-3569291, sent by Iiris.
The average annual temperature in Kuusamo is −0.37 °C (...). The warmest month is July with an average temperature of +14.3 °C, coldest January with −13.2 °C. 
Kuusamo is one of the snowiest areas in Finland: the ground is snow-covered for about 200 days a year, from late October until mid-May, with a thickness of 80–90 centimetres (31–35 in).
The center of Kuusamo is located approximately 60 km (37 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, thus polar day and night play a major role. From 14 to 29 June Kuusamo has midnight sun. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Tromsø - Norway

I want to see the northern lights and Tromsø, in Norway, is one of the best places in the world to see them. My friend Anne has been to the city last August, not the time of the year to see this phenomenon. Depending on the weather conditions and solar activity, the best time to see the lights is from September to April. 

Foto: iStock/mantaphoto * © Normmans Kunstforlag © Aune Forlag AS
I want to see the lights and I want to take pictures of the lights. These are some tips to take some perfect Instagram pictures.
- Remember to check the weather forecast (you want clear skies) and the aurora forecast (so you know when she’ll be dancing);
- Get away from the city lights. If you stand too close to them, your photos won’t be that good. Find a good spot away from the city centre;
- Do not use a flash;
- Use manual focus:
- Download camera replacement apps. They give you more options to change camera settings, such as the shutter speed. Popular apps include Long Exposure 2, NightCap Camera, and Northern Lights Photo Taker;
- For stability, use a tripod and a timer to delay the shot;
- Bring a power bank. Batteries drain faster in cold weather. - in:


One more card from Germany, this one from Munich with some towers in the city center. 

© MD Edition
DE-8530039, sent by Pia.
From left to righ: St Peter's Church, the oldest church in the district;  Frauenkirche, considered a symbol of the Bavarian capital city; New Town Hall and the gothic Heilig-Geist-Kirche (Church of the Holy Spirit). 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Wiesbaden - Germany

After two cards from Lüneburg, now I've these two from Wiesbaden, a city in central western Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe and is on the UNESCO Tentative list as one of the Great Spas of Europe.
The 1st card was sent by my penpal and friend Andrea to say she's still alive. Claus sent me the 2nd 3 years ago.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
Lined with magnificent neoclassical buildings that were rebuilt after WWII, the state capital of Hesse, 40km west of Frankfurt across the Rhine from Mainz, is one of Europe's oldest spa towns, with 14 hot springs still flowing today.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
Wiesbaden's name translates as 'meadow baths', reflecting both its thermal baths and its beautiful expanses of parkland. The city lies at the eastern edge of the Rheingau wine-growing region, which stretches along the right (northern) bank of the Rhine west to the Rüdesheim area of the Romantic Rhine. - in:

Lüneburg - Germany

Officials from Lüneburg, an attractive and historic town on the River Ilmenau, surrounded by the Lüneburg Heath in the North German state of Lower Saxony. 
Lüneburg is also called the "Salt Town", a reminder of the days when it was the centre of a major salt industry.

© Schöning Verlag
DE-8527931, sent by Marie.
Lüneburg dates back more than 1,000 years and is without a doubt one of the prettiest towns in northern Germany. Having survived the Second World War unscathed, it has retained its charming medieval character. Lüneburg is also a university town. Its large student population adds to the lively atmosphere and it is thought to have the highest concentration of pubs in the whole of Germany. The town centre is a lovely place to shop. The beautiful and historical gabled houses accommodate all kinds of specialist stores where you can browse to your heart's content. - in:

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
DE-3834634, sent by Daniela.
On this card there's the Stintmarkt, the fish market, known as the longest pub mile in Lüneburg. In the summer, the many pubs and restaurants of this area transform into large terraces and beer gardens. The fish market is also where visitors can board boats to ride on the Ilmenau river.

Water Management System of Augsburg - Germany

It is no surprise that Germany added once again a new places to the UNESCO WHS list. This year one of the German classified sites was the Water Management System of Augsburg. 
This card was sent by Dustin.

The water management system of the city of Augsburg has evolved in successive phases from the 14th century to the present day. It includes a network of canals, water towers dating from the 15th to 17th centuries, which housed pumping machinery, a water-cooled butchers’ hall, a system of three monumental fountains and hydroelectric power stations, which continue to provide sustainable energy today. The technological innovations generated by this water management system have helped establish Augsburg as a pioneer in hydraulic engineering. - in:

© Fotoverlag HUBER
Augustus Fountain on the Rathausplatz (Town Hall Square) was completed in 1594. It was designed by the Dutch artist, Hubert Gerhard. In addition to the city´s founder Caesar Augustus, bronze sculptures of four river gods represent the main watercourses in Augsburg. - in:

Pic du Midi de Bigorre - France

The Pic du Midi de Bigorre or simply the Pic du Midi is a mountain in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in southwestern France. Celina went hiking to this region last month. 

Photo Editions Jean Masson
The Pic du Midi is the unmissable site of the Pyrenees: its wide terraces perched at 2877 meters above sea level offer a unique panorama of the entire Pyrenean chain on the one hand, and a good part of Occitania on the other. After a majestic climb by cable car, you are transported into the world of high mountains, at the forefront of the Pyrenean massif, on a place that combines beauty of natural elements and strength of the human will. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba - Spain

I've been to quite a few cities in Spain but I haven't been to Cordoba yet. One day I'll go there, that's for sure and the place I want to see the most is definitely the mosque cathedral. 
I won this card on a lottery hosted by Zé. 

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (World Heritage Site since 1984) is arguably the most significant monument in the whole of the western Muslim World and one of the most amazing buildings in the world in its own right. The complete evolution of the Omeyan style in Spain can be seen in its different sections, as well as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of the Christian part.
The site which the Mosque-Cathedral occupies has been used for the worship of different divinities since ancient times. Under the rule of the Visigoths, the Basilica of San Vicente occupied this very site, and later, after the Muslims bought part of the plot of land, a primitive Mosque was built. The basilica was rectangular in shape, and for a while was shared by Christians and Muslims. As the Muslim population increased, the ruler Abderraman I acquired the whole site and demolished the basilica to make way for the first Alhama (main) Mosque in the city. Some of the original building materials from the Visigothic basilica can still be seen in the first section of the Mosque built by Abderraman I.
The great Mosque is made up of two distinct areas, the courtyard or sahn, with its porticos (the only part built by Abd al- Rahman III), where the minaret stands - nowadays, encased in the Renaissance tower - and the prayer hall, or haram. The area inside is made up of a forest of columns with a harmonious colour scheme of red and white arches. The five separate areas of the Mosque correspond to each of the five extensions carried out. - in: