Monday, November 25, 2019


I've been to Utrecht last year but didn't see this mill, I didn't even know it existed. I should have received this card in the beginning of last year. 

NL-4494556, sent by Marianne.
The De Ster (the star) sawmill, in Utrecht’s Lombok district, is the last fully-intact mill of its kind.
The De Ster sawmill was built in 1739 and was in use as a timber business for centuries. In 1991, wind power was replaced by electricity, and the windmill on the roof was demolished. When, in the 1980s, the sawing work permanently came to an end, new plans were made for the reconstruction of the mill.
More than ten years later, these plans came to fruition: in September 1998, the mill hull was put in place, and on 22 June 1999 the mill was officially opened. - in:


I've received this card 1 month ago but only yesterday realized that Freiberg, where this card is from, is on the UNESCO list as part of the Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region, a site shared by Germany and Czech Republic, inscribed this year. Is not a new site in my collection but is always nice to get cards from those sites that have multiple locations or monuments. 

© Schöening Verlag
DE-8629772, sent by Eric.
Freiberg is Saxony‘s oldest and most important mining city. It was founded in 1186 when an immense deposit of silver ore was discovered at the site where the city is now located. Freiberg’s wealth and fame sprang from silver mining and its heritage is present wherever you go. The charming cityscape mirrors the profound influence of the wealth developed during the mining period. 
Among Freiberg’s best museums and collections are the Municipal History and Mining Museum and the Mineral Collection of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg - the latter world famous and thus another definite must.
Today nobody digs for silver any longer, but the “Rich Colliery” (Reiche Zeche), which is the oldest, biggest and last complete mine of Saxony, is open to the public. Entering the world of a miner by lift dressed in miner‘s gear, riding on a train and crawling around tiny, narrow aisles is an unforgettable and unique experience. Another mine that can be visited is the Old Elizabeth, which is also an important example of the mining culture Freiberg bears. - in:

Happy Postcrossing from Germany

I've recently decided to start collecting these Happy Postcrossing from... cards by papersisters. It is a beautiful, colorful and very well designed collection.
As I said, I started this collection not long ago and so far I only have postcards from Portugal and Germany.
This is the 3rd edition of the German card. I've just seen the 1st edition of the card and I like this one better, especially because of that little cow up there. 
It was sent by Bianka who proposed a swap of the German card for the Portugal.
Et voilá, a new collection begins. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wadden Sea - Germany

The Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world. In Germany this UNESCO site covers three Wadden Sea National Parks:
 - Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, comprising the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein and the North Frisian Islands; 
 - Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, extending from the mouth of the Elbe to the tiny islands of Neuwerk and Scharhörn, part of Hamburg;  
- Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park, comprising the northern coast of Lower Saxony and including the East Frisian Islands.

© Schöening Verlag
In 2009, the Wadden Sea was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in recognition of the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ of the area and the progress made in protecting and managing it for more than a generation. - in:
Card sent by Tanja.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
DE-6366764, sent by Silke.
It is a large, temperate, relatively flat coastal wetland environment, formed by the intricate interactions between physical and biological factors that have given rise to a multitude of transitional habitats with tidal channels, sandy shoals, sea-grass meadows, mussel beds, sandbars, mudflats, salt marshes, estuaries, beaches and dunes. 

The area is home to numerous plant and animal species, including marine mammals such as the harbour seal, grey seal and harbour porpoise.
Card sent by Simone.

DE-699741, sent by Udo.
Wadden Sea is one of the last remaining large-scale, intertidal ecosystems where natural processes continue to function largely undisturbed. - in:

Portovenere - Italy

A month ago I was packing for my trip to Italy. One month later I already feel like going on holidays again... but no, that won't happen so soon!! Anyway, Portovenere wasn't in my initial plan but ended up being one of the places I liked the most on this trip. Medieval town, UNESCO site, colorful port, a castle, churches, my kind of place. 

Ed. Foto Turano
Portovenere, a small town in Liguria, is one of the most beautiful places on the west coast of Italy. In 1997 Portovenere and the villages of Cinque Terre were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. 
Church of San Pietro seems to be a large castle fortified with towers and high ancient walls, but actually it is a very beautiful and old church built in 1198. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Swiss Cows

I've met Óscar and his family in 2014. Back then he was living in Switzerland.  Being postcrossers of course we talked about cards, our likes and dislikes and I mentioned I like cows. A few days later, he sent me my 1st swiss cows cards. After 7 years living there they moved back to Portugal and the last card he sent from there was, of course, a cow card. 

© Photoglob Zürich
Switzerland is the land of chocolate and cheese, so it comes as no surprise that cows are an important part of the local economy. As a whole, Switzerland has 1.59 million cows, or one for every five people. 

 Foto: A. Brazerol
Is not bad to be a cow in Switzerland. Their owners get government subsidies which are invested in impressive barns. Modern barns are bright, spacious, cozy and quite often heated. A good investment for the future, the relatively luxurious building can easily be converted into a function hall for big parties once the cattle moves out. I bet many of these barns are way better than many houses around the world. 

Photo: Juliette Repond
Swiss cows have such a good life that they even go on holidays. Yes, that's true. Each summer, after the snow melt approx. 500’000 Swiss cows go on vacation to the mountains. 
The end of the season is usually celebrated with the “Alpabzug”. For this the farmers get dressed up in their traditional working garbs and the cows are turned into beauty queens with fancy necklaces and floral hats.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave - France

I didn't get many cards this week but two of them were great additions to my UNESCO collection. Thanks to Stefanie, I finally got a card from the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave, a missing site from France. 

Situated in the commune of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, near the famous Pont d'Arc, which marks the entrance to the Ardèche gorges, the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave, discovered in 1994 by three passionate speleologists, is a masterpiece of prehistoric cave paintings.

© Chauvet - Brunel - Hillaire
This Palaeolithic decorated cave has an extraordinary bestiary on its walls, which display no fewer than 425 animal figures! Dating from the Aurignacian period, these paintings and engravings are amongst the oldest in the world...
To conserve this unique place, closed to the public since its discovery, a reconstruction area composed of five buildings, with a facsimile of the Chauvet cave and a permanent exhibition about the Aurignacians and cave painting, is open since 2015, at the Razal site in Vallon-Pont-d'Arc.
The cave is world heritage of UNESCO since June 2014! - in:

Tomar's Old Bridge - Portugal

A few days after the meeting in Mafra, a few postcrossers met in Tomar. Zé Guedes sent me this postcard with the D. Manuel Bridge, also called the Old Bridge.

Built over the Nabão river, the origins of this bridge are unknown. 
It is thought that it might have been built over or with vestiges and materials of an ancient Roman bridge, or even to have been founded in the Roman occupancy period, and restored thereafter. 
The Bridge is located next to the lovely Santa Iria Convent, and is still nowadays one of the main accesses to the gorgeous Tomar historic centre. 
The Old Bridge has suffered some transformations over the centuries, like in 1480 and 1550, as well as in 1710 when the king John the 5th decorated it with a statue of Saint Christopher (nowadays present in the Convent of Christ). - in:

Mafra Palace - Portugal

Portugal has 17 sites on the UNESCO list. The Mafra Palace and the Bom Jesus Sanctuary in Braga were classified as World Heritage last July. I've already been to the Bom Jesus Sanctuary several times but at the time of this classification, I had never visited Mafra Palace. It turned out that Mafra was chosen to host the portuguese meeting to celebrate the 150 years of cards and I was able to go. I've met there, among others, Vitória, who sent to me in 2012 a card of the palace with a matching stamp.

Foto: Paula Ribeiro * Postcrossing logo is a registered trademark
The words "massive," "monumental," "gigantic," "colossal," and "vast" fail to describe the scale of Mafra's Baroque royal palace. The grandiose monument was built in 1717 to celebrate the birth of a daughter to King João V and includes a convent and a basilica.
The extravagant king wanted the palace and basilica to compete in magnificence and grandeur with Spain's Escorial and St. Peter's in Rome, and at the time it seemed that such a huge project would never be completed. At one point there were 45,000 men working on it, and several artists came from abroad, with 7,000 soldiers overseeing the workforce. They ended up creating 5,200 doorways, 2,500 windows, 880 halls and rooms, 154 staircases, 29 courtyards, and two bell towers boasting the world's largest collection of bells (57 in each) that can be heard for 24km (15 miles) when they're played on Sunday. 

Paulo Renato da Silva
In 1720 the French ambassador reported to his king that all the money in Iberia would be insufficient to pay for it, but the gold that flowed in from the rich mines of Brazil made it possible in 1735.
The extravagant rooms of the royal apartments are furnished with exceptional pieces of 18th century furniture and paintings. One of the most eye-catching rooms has chandeliers made out of antlers and upholstery of animal skin.
Most magnificent of all is the library, one of the finest in Europe, decorated with precious marble and exotic wood. It contains 35,000 volumes, including the precious first editions of Camões' Os Lusiadas, a trilingual Bible from 1514, and the earliest edition of Homer in Greek.
The royal basilica is also particularly remarkable for the quality of its pink and gray marbles, and has one of the world's largest domes (although dwarfed by the scale of the rest of the building). It also contains eleven chapels and includes six splendid Baroque organs and fine sculptures in the atrium. - in:

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Capelinhos Volcano - Portugal

In 2016 I traveled to the Azores archipelago and on my flight back to Lisbon I had a layover on Fail Island. I stayed there for a couple of hours and felt tempted to visit the Capelinhos Volcano. I'm sure I'd love to go there but I was afraid a couple hours wouldn't be enough to visit the place, I know I always take too much time taking pictures, and I couldn't risk missing the flight to Lisbon. I know I'll visit it sooner or later.
These cards were sent by Emerich and Lurdes. 

Inserted on the Capelo volcanic complex, on the Ponta dos Capelinhos, this was the last volcano with eruption, in 1957, which consequences are still visible, being one of them the increasing of the own territory in about 2,50km2, with the lava solidification that got above the sea level,
This landscape is different from all the rest of the Island and of the Archipelago: this is a strange arid and volcanic beauty which demonstrates the great power of nature.

This Volcano was unique in the world of the Volcano Sciences, as it was photographed, observed, studied and interpreted since its very beginning until its inactivity. The volcano maintained its activity for 13 months, starting on the 27th September 1957 and extinguishing only on the 24th October 1958, in what is supposed to have been a superposing of two distinct eruptions, occurring more than 200 earthquakes before the volcano started its erupting.

Fotografia © Maurício Abreu
This fact caused great harm for the Island’s development, leading to mass emigration in this and the thereafter periods, mainly in the Capelo and Praia do Norte regions, where agricultural and pasture fields and residences were destroyed. The majority of population emigrated mostly for the United States of America, due to a refugee cooperation protocol.

From the Capelinhos Lighthouse, where the volcanic eruption started, one has an excellent panorama over all the volcano extension and its rare beauty. Here stands nowadays the Interpretation Centre that better explains this phenomenon and its history, housing a wide room that symbolises a volcanic eruption, as well as other amenities with permanent and temporary exhibitions about volcanism, and also an auditorium with a capacity for 60 people.
The volcano climbing is one of the most astonishing and unique tours in the Faial Island, presenting nevertheless some dangers and difficulties, hence there are some predefined itineraries and also official guide service." - in

PT RR - Group 139 * Surprise October

I'm only posting 3 cards from this group but I've actually received 4 cards in October. Luzia sent me a card from the 150 years of cards in São Paulo, Brazil. These were sent by Paulo, RFS and Joana. 

This year I was lucky enough to visit 2 places on my must visit list, Tallin and Cinque Terre. Lake Bled, in Slovenia, is now on the top of that list. Hope I can make it there soon. 

Foto: Cristina Duarte
When I got this card I told RFS it was my 1st from Mourão but I was wrong, this is my 2nd from this town in Alentejo region. 
The Church of Mercy dating from the 19th century. XVII, was founded in the reign of John III by the Brotherhood of Mercy of Mourão.

Joana visited Albi a few weeks ago and I've also been there the last time I traveled to France, 2013, I think. Beautiful city and impressive cathedral. 
In the Tarn Department in southwestern France, the city of Albi’s calling card is its architecture made from red brick. This material seems to change colour depending on the light or time of day and permeates the six quarters of Albi’s sizeable historic centre. The red-brick showpiece is the Episcopal City, a fortified cathedral complex steeped in medieval history. - in:

PT RR - Group 138 * Surprise September

After a 2 months break, the surprise group of the portuguese RR returned in September. Although I always join with 4 cards, that month I only received 3, one of them got lost. 

verlag johannes oefner
Óscar saw that I already have many cards from Speyer, especially with the cathedral, so he sent me this one with the Jewish Baths. 
Between 1084 and 1349, a rich Jewish community life unfolded in Speyer. Stone witnesses to this past are the ruins of the synagogue and the ritual bath. 
The Jewish ritual bath, a so-called mikveh, was first mentioned in 1126 and has remained almost completely unaltered through the centuries. This is the oldest installation of its kind in central Europe. 
A barrel-vaulted staircase leads through a vestibule to a quadratic bathing shaft located 32 feet below ground. Here the Jews undertook the religious cleansing proscribed by Mosaic law by immersing themselves in cold “natural” water.
The mikveh is decorated with rich Romanesque ornamentation that was coloured in the Middle Ages. A two-part window opens the view into the bathing shaft.
The installation is now covered by a glass structure in order to protect it. - in:

© Fernando Mascarenhas
You know you're addicted to postcards when you go to a wedding and ended up buying postcards. This is basically what happened to Ana. She went to a wedding in a church next to the Fronteira Palace and had the opportunity to buy some cards.
This palace is still inhabited by the descendants of the noblemen who inaugurated it in 1675. The interior is therefore only accessible on a guided tour, but it’s also possible to visit just the magnificent garden. You’re taken through the library, the chapel and several rooms covered with historical Portuguese and Dutch tiles, including panels illustrating the Portuguese Restoration War. 
The garden is another gallery of tiled art, with one of the world’s richest collections. It also shows the busts of all Portuguese kings up to the 1800s. Almost everything has great symbolism, with fountains and statues recalling the arts and mythology. Pieces of Ming porcelain used to serve the king during the palace’s inauguration, which, following tradition, couldn’t be used a second time, now ornament a fountain. - in:

Câmara Municipal de Viana do Alentejo
I've wanted to go to Viana do Alentejo a few times because of the beautiful church of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aires.
The Baroque sanctuary was built between 1743 and 1804, based on a project by Father João Baptista, in the spot where there was an earlier 16th century hermitage. On the cover, a Latin inscription recounts that after the Moors were expelled from these lands a farmer ploughed the field and found the image seen at the altar inside a clay pot. The building has a Latin cross floor-plan, consisting of a single nave, with vaulted ceiling. Inside is a carved rococo altar.
Also part of the sanctuary is the fountain of Our Lady of Aires, located on the Terreiro dos Peregrinos and houses of the pilgrims. - in:
This card was sent by Paulo. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Portugal x World RR - Group S31 * Castles

If money wasn't an issue, I'd definitely join more RR's, especially groups dedicated to castles. There's something magical about castles. These are from England, Poland and Germany. 

When I saw that someone from the USA was in this group I thought "what kind of castle will someone from USA send me?". Well, Kristin didn't send me an American castle card, Rochester Castle is located in England. 
Rochester Castle is known as one of the preserved and finest examples of Norman architecture in England. 
It was constructed by the Bishop of Rochester in around 1090 in the angle of the Roman town wall. The four-squared towers were added by Archbishop William de Corbell in 1127. 
Rochester Castle was fortified against the King John and soon became a stronghold and headquarters for the rebels.
King John lay siege to the castle in 1215 and took it after two long months. He finally undermined the south east tower and burned the props with the "fat of forty pigs" causing the tower to collapse. The city was well placed for raids on London and it also enabled them to devastate the lands of Kent, particularly those belonging to Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had crowned Rufus and was therefore Odo's and the rebels' enemy.
By the 17th century, the castle had become neglected, the keep had been burned out, and the site was being used as a local quarry for building materials. In 1870 the castle grounds were leased to the City of Rochester, who turned them into a public park and eventually, in the 20th century, responsibility for this imposing old structure was taken over by English Heritage.
Today, the castle stands as a proud reminder of the history surrounding the old town of Rochester, along with the cathedral, the cobbled streets and the Dickensian reflections. - in:

fot: Dariusz Krokowiak
Martin brought me back some nice memories of my trip to Poland in 2012 with this card of Olsztyn castle. My friends and I visited this castle on our way from Krakow to Warsaw. That day we also visited the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa. 
The castle, located on a hill, among limestone rocks, is part of the Trail of the Eagles' Nests. It belonged to a system of fortifications, built by King Casimir III the Great, to protect western Lesser Poland from Czechs, to whom Silesia belonged at that time. For some time, as a fee, it belonged to Prince Władysław Opolczyk.
Taken away from him in 1396, the castle was then handed by King Władysław II Jagiełło to a local nobleman, Jan Odrowąż of Szczekociny. The castle was invaded several times by Silesian princes in the 15th-century, and with the advancement of warfare, its fortifications became obsolete. In 1655, it was captured by the Swedes, and since then, it became a ruin. In 1722, it was partly demolished, with bricks used to build a parish church at Olsztyn. Currently, only fragments of defensive walls remain. The most impressive still standing part of the castle is a 35-metre round tower, built in the 13th-century, which served as a prison. - in: wikipedia

Foto - Gestaltung * Matthias Kunz
A new castle from Germany sent by Uwe. 
Medieval Kriebstein Castle, mentioned for the first time in the 14th century, is situated in Middle Saxony, right at the center of the triangle between the cities of Dresden-Chemnitz-Leipzig and is a popular destination.
Saxony’s most beautiful knight’s castle, a closed, fully preserved and completely reconstructed building complex from late-Gothic times, rises on a steep rock towering over the Zschopau River. . in: