Monday, December 30, 2019


Lets continue with castles. Everytime I travel I need to visit castles and Stefano gave me 8 great reasons to visit Abruzzo. This region of Southern Italy, has its share of castles, some of them are just glorious ruins while others have been beautifully restored. 

Photo: Mario di Martino
IT-535028, sent by Stefano.
1 * Castello Cantelmo-Caldora - This Middle Ages castle in Pacentro was built before the 14th-15th century. The base of the castle is with a trapezoidal shape. In the corners there are towers with a squared base: as of today, only three of them are still in place;
2 * Castello di Celano - One of the best-preserved ancient military structures in Abruzzo, the fortress dates back to the 14th century;  
3 * Castello aragonese - The Renaissance castle in Ortona  dates back to the 13th century. The castle was defensive until the 17th century when it was bought by the Baglioni family as a noble residence. A gentile palace was built inside the walls, which in the 19th century fell abandoned. Since then the castle was used as a workshop and powder. In 1943 during the Battle of Ortona, the castle was hit by German bombs and American grenades. The gunpowder stored inside made the structure explode, all over the top of the walls and the noble palace skyrocketed. In '46 a landslide destroyed almost half of the castle; 
4 * Castello di Roccascalegna - The castle was principally constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries. It’s known as the Castle in the Sky because of its location on a rocky ledge that overlooks the valley that goes from the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea.
5 * Forte Spagnolo - The massive castle in the highest part of L'Aquila, was erected in 1534 by the Spanish viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo, when the town had become the second most powerful city in the Kingdom after Naples. In 2016, home to the National Museum of Abruzzo;
6 * Castello ducale di Crecchio - The castle was built by the Lombards in the eighth century, and later went into the possession of the Normans.  The castle has been through many turmoils: plundered and pillaged by Saracen pirates and feuding lords, damaged by earthquakes and reduced to rubble by the Allied forces, it rose from the ashes after a thorough restoration in the 1970s.
7 * Castello di Beffi - dates back to 1185, although the structure we see today dates from the 12th – 13th centuries. The building comprises an impressive tower from which extends a fortified area that houses several residential structures and was once the home of the feudal lord, the members of the guard and the population;
8 * Rocca Calascio - Built in the 10th century, Rocca Calascio has been named one of the most beautiful castles in the world by National Geographic. It is also the most photographed place in the region. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Penela Castle - Portugal

Christmas is over now but in Penela is still possible to see the Animated Nativity Scene. Until January 5th, Penela Presépio (Nativity) promises a lot of animation, color, music and joy. In addition to the Animated Nativity Scene in the castle, there is also a Christmas market, workshops, the Espinhal Traditional Nativity Scene and the exhibition “Roman Villa of Rabaçal: Once upon a time ...”.

Paula wished me a Merry Christmas with the night view card. The other was sent by Zé Pombal in 2008!!!

Fotografia: Oswaldo Santos
The castle of Penela is a medieval fortress with an irregular shape and curved silhouette, extending in a North-South direction. It takes full advantage of the natural steepness of the hillside, and so the wall varies in height between 7 and 19 meters. It formed part of the defensive line of the Mondego during the Christian Reconquest, and was second only to the castle of Montemor-o-Velho in order of grandeur.
The battles against the Moors and the passing of the centuries made repeated enlargement and restoration of the castle necessary, and so its (re)construction lasted from the 11th to the 16th centuries, by order of various kings, including: D. Afonso Henriques, D. Sancho I, D. Dinis, D. Fernando.

The castle's loss of defensive importance led to its maintenance being neglected, and the population started using the stones in other buildings, damaging it still further. It was restored in the 1940s, the walls and battlements were rebuilt according to what still remained, and the houses in the meantime built against the walls were pulled down. The 18th century bell-tower was also dismantled.
Since 1992 the IPPAR has seen to it that the access roads those within the castle grounds have been paved, the walls have been cleaned and restored and the circuit has been improved with the installation of footpaths around almost all the perimeter.
The occupation of this fortress is now reduced to the church and the priest's house. - in:

Tribute in Light - USA

Marie has recently been on holidays in New York and she sent me this card, with a UN stamp and postmark, to wish me an happy holiday season. 

The Tribute in Light is an art installation of 88 searchlights placed six blocks south of the World Trade Center on top of the Battery Parking Garage in New York City to create two vertical columns of light to represent the Twin Towers in remembrance of the September 11 attacks.
Tribute in Light began initially as a temporary commemoration of the attacks in early 2002 but became an annual commemoration, currently produced on September 11 by the Municipal Art Society of New York. - in: wikipedia

Officials from USA

Three cards, three states, one stamp. 

Photo by Robert Jensen ©
US-6412421, sent by Megan.
These ancient Anasazi ruins are located in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwestern Colorado, home to the highest known density of archeological sites anywhere in the United States. 

Photo: Al Scott
US-6421549, sent by Misha.
On the west end of the Coachella Valley, gracing the steep slopes of Mount San Jacinto above Palm Springs, is the unique rock formation known as the Angel on the Mountain. It is best visible, when you know where to look, during the early morning hours. 

Photo by Richard Sexton
US-6409685, sent by Richhart Family.
Oak Alley Plantation is a National Historic Landmark, located between the historic cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It's iconic landscape reveals the quarter mile alley of live oak trees, gardens, sprawling lawns and a Greek Revival mansion built in 1839. The exhibitis Slavery at Oak Alley, Sugarcane, Civil War, Life Inside the Big House and the People of Oak Alley reflect the lives of the inhabitants who once resided here.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Meeting in São Paulo

Feliz Natal para todos, sings Monica's gang choir. 
Perfect cards to post today. Many thanks to Luzia and Valeria, 2 of the postcrossers who attended the Christmas Meeting in São Paulo in the begining of this month. 

Monica's Gang is a Brazilian comic book series created by Mauricio de Sousa.
The series originated in a newspaper comic strip in which the protagonists were Blu (Bidu) and Franklin (Franjinha), launched by the newspaper Folha da Manhã in 1959. As the series continued, the central characters became Jimmy Five (Cebolinha) and Monica (Mônica), both of whom began to appear in eponymous series in addition to the renamed Monica’s Gang.
The stories revolve around the adventures of Monica and her friends in the fictional Lemon Tree Street (Bairro do Limoeiro) of São Paulo, inspired by the neighborhood of Cambuí in Campinas and the city of Mogi das Cruzes, where de Sousa spent his childhood. - in: wikipedia

The postcrossing logo is a registered trade mark * Postcard designed by Istock and Paloma Duarte
If you can't make snowmen make sandmen instead. I confess that it is difficult for me to associate Christmas with heat, sand and beach!! 

Sunday, December 22, 2019


Snow and more snow. Snowy Tisa Walls in Czech Republic. 

© Daniel Rericha
CZ-164459, sent by Jana.
The Tisa Rocks or Tisa Walls are a well-known group of rocks in the western Bohemian Switzerland not far from its topographical boundary with the Ore Mountains. The region, with its rock pillars up to 30 m high, is one of the major tourist attractions of Bohemian Switzerland. The Tisa Rocks and their neighbouring Burschlicke Rocks (Bürschlické stěny) are protected as a national nature reserve. - in: wikipédia

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Riga - Latvia

How beautiful, magical and wonderful are these breathtaking snowy winter views of Riga??! I just love them. I'll definitely will visit Riga again but in winter. Riga and Tallinn must be so pretty in winter covered in snow.

LV-353425, sent by Kate.
Riga was a major centre of the Hanseatic League, deriving its prosperity in the 13th–15th centuries from the trade with central and eastern Europe. The urban fabric of its medieval centre reflects this prosperity, though most of the earliest buildings were destroyed by fire or war. Riga became an important economic centre in the 19th century, when the suburbs surrounding the medieval town were laid out, first with imposing wooden buildings in neoclassical style and then in Jugendstil . It is generally recognized that Riga has the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe. - in:

To enjoy this view you can take a lift to the top of the St. Peter's Church tower. The church’s position in the centre of Old Town gives you a close-up view of some of the beautiful architecture and colourful facades from above, as well as a view across the river to other parts of the city. - in:

GB-1189111 & GB-1189112

These are the only official cards from United Kingdom that I got this year. 

GB-1189111, sent by Zoe.
Dungeness is a headland on the coast of Kent, England. Opened in 1904, the Old Lighthouse was the 4th lighthouse to be built at Dungeness. It stands 139 feet high and contains a total of 769 steps. The lighthouse survived two world wars before being replaced in 1961. 

Photograph © Mike Kipling
GB-1189112, sent by Omeara Family.
Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire, England, 15 miles (24 km) north of York. It is a private residence, and has been the home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years.
Building of Castle Howard began in 1699 and took over 100 years to complete to a design by Sir John Vanbrugh for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle.
Castle Howard is not a fortified structure, but the term "castle" is also used for English country houses erected on the site of a former military castle.
Today, it is part of the Treasure Houses of England group of heritage houses. - in: wikipedia


I've been thinking about visiting Belgium again. I want to visit a few places that I didn't get to visit in 2011 but I also want to visit Gent and Brugge one more time. 

Foto: Sven Van Hoezendonck
BE-667832, sent by Amanda.
Graslei is a quay in the historic city center of Ghent, Belgium, located on the right bank of the Leie river. The quay opposite of the Graslei is called Korenlei. Both quays were part of the medieval port and are now a cultural and touristic hotspot of the city, with a high concentration of café patios. The site, with its unique row of historical buildings, is a protected cityscape.
Laid out along the Leie river, close to the mouth in the Scheldt, the site is considered one of the oldest of Ghent, dating back to the fifth century A.D. when Ghent was the center of the wheat trade in the County of Flanders. Most of the current houses on the Graslei date back to the Middle Ages, although the monumental façades have been heavily modified in the 18th and 19th century and were restored in anticipation of the 1913 World's Fair hosted by Ghent. - in: wikipedia

Friday, December 20, 2019

Linz's Cathedral - Austria

Because of these cards I found out that Linz was the brithplace of Maria Anna of Austria, Queen consort of Portugal. She didn't get to see this beautiful cathedral, the construction started more than one century after her death. 

The building of the New Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Linz was begun in 1855 by Bishop Franz-Josef Rudigier. The first stone was laid in 1862.
In 1924 Bishop Johannes Maria Gföllner consecrated the finished building as the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. The plans, drawn by the Master Builder of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Vincenz Statz, were made in the French high gothic style.

AT-467457, sent by Anna. 
With 20,000 seats, the cathedral is the largest, but not the highest, church in Austria. The originally-planned, higher spire was not approved, because in Austria-Hungary at the time, no building was allowed to be taller than the South Tower of the St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. At 135 m, the New Cathedral is two meters shorter than the Viennese cathedral.

© Verlag Kellner
Particularly noteworthy are the cathedral's stained-glass windows. The most famous is the Linz Window, which depicts the history of Linz. The windows also contain portraits of the various sponsors of the church's construction. During the Second World War some windows, particularly in the southern part of the cathedral, have been damaged. Instead of restoring the original windows, they have been replaced with windows displaying modern art. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Lübeck - Germany

Germany is one of the countries with most cities on my must visit list. Lübeck is definitely there.

Lübeck, the undisputed Queen of the Hanseatic League, was founded in 1143 as ‘the first western town on the Baltic coast’ and provided a shining example for all the Hanseatic towns and cities along the Baltic. The medieval old town is one of the foremost examples of brick Gothic architecture and reflects Lübeck’s illustrious past as an early centre of international trade.

© Schöening Verlag
DE-8775394, sent by Sonja.
In 1987 Lübeck’s Old Town became the first in northern Europe to be named a World Cultural Heritage site. Surrounded by water on all sides, it has been dominated by seven church spires since the Middle Ages.
For centuries, Lübeck’s name stood for freedom, justice and prosperity. Today, all the many Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and classical buildings, narrow lanes and streets, churches and abbeys, merchants’ houses, craftsmen’s yards and fortifications still tell of the heyday of Lübeck. Surrounded by water, the Old Town with the seven spires of its five principal churches brings to life 1,000 years of history and has been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its outstanding brick Gothic architecture. 

The site includes the quarter around the town hall, the castle abbey, the grand old patrician town houses between St. Peter’s church and the cathedral, the salt warehouses on the banks of the Trave river and the Holsten Gate, the city’s most famous landmark, which is also an interactive museum.
A harbour tour is the perfect way to get new perspectives while watching the Old Town from the water (...). - in:


I'm dreaming of a white Christmas but I'm pretty sure it won't happen, unless I wake up, for example, in Germany, where this official card is from. 

Foto: Marco Pazzi
DE-8769691, sent by Michaela.
The Harz is a Mittelgebirge (a relatively low mountain range or highland area, a typical geographical feature of Central Europe) that has the highest elevations in Northern Germany and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Valldemossa - Spain

The Spanish islands are a popular destination for the Portuguese but they were never a option for me. Now, after reading a bit about Mallorca and having a friend there, I might put this particular island on my list. 
Celina says it is worth to visit. 

Tullio Gatti Photo Gallery
The town of Valldemossa is only around 15-20 minutes’ drive from Palma de Mallorca into the Tramuntana mountains, but feels a world away from the capital. Perched on a hilltop, surrounded by terraced terrain, Valldemossa was named after the area’s original Moorish landowner, Muza. With its car-free cobbled alleys and rich cultural heritage, the town is a treat to visit.

The highest town in Mallorca is probably best-known as the place where the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin and his lover, the French writer George Sand, spent the winter of 1838/9, staying in rented rooms in the monastery. And, as a result, it’s probably Mallorca’s most visited town.
For the Mallorcans, Valldemossa has a more important claim to fame: it was the birthplace of the island’s only saint: Santa Catalina Thomas. Leave the busier part of the town, and head for the church of Sant Bartomeu; in the peaceful C/Rectoría behind it, you can visit her tiny birthplace and shrine. - in:

Portuguese Christmas Meeting

This year the Portuguese Christmas meeting was close to my city but I couldn't make it to Castelo Branco. I couldn't make it to Castelo Branco but these cards made it in to my mailbox.  Thanks to Patricia, Victoria and Paula.

Foto: Edite * The Postcrossing logo is a registered trademark
No, this isn't a traditional Christmas tree, this is one of the most famous symbols of Castelo Branco, its embroidery. 
 The embroidery is done in silk thread on linen using various styles of stitch but especially the defining slack stitch, also known as the Castelo Branco stitch. There is no limit to the range of colours although there are monochromatic examples where the design takes on greater prominence. In general terms, Castelo Branco Embroidery can be divided into two styles: the popular, with more obvious designs, and the erudite, more elaborate and complex and attributed to the upper, better educated classes. Some designs reflect influences brought back from the Orient on the Portuguese voyages of exploration. However, there are also references to daily life, the local fauna and flora or even just erudite artistic figures appropriate to the respective periods and taken from Renaissance and Baroque imagery. - in:

Foto: Nicola di Nunzio
A new and great card to my elderlies collection. 

Fotografia: Manuel Ribeiro
I am not sure why but I really like Roman bridges. This is the bridge of Our Lady of Grace in Nisa. Located over the Ribeira de Nisa, this bridge, made up of five round arches, is associated with a section of cobbled road, an important heritage of the period of Roman occupation of the region.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * October ´19

In October 1 of the 4 cards I was supose to get on this RR, didn't make it in to my mailbox and in November 2 seem to be lost too. Anyway, these are from Germany, Netherlands and USA. 

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
Dagmar wrote this card with a broken arm, hope she's better know. 
Hersfeld Abbey was an important Benedictine imperial abbey in the town of Bad Hersfeld. It existed from 769 to 1606 and had 66 abbots in these 837 years. The core of monastery life was the collegiate church, which today is the largest Romanesque church ruin in Europe. The abbey church, was built in the early part of the 12th century, but was used as a powder magazine and then destroyed by the French in 1761 during the Seven Years' War. The ruins are now a well-known venue for concerts and public events, and are the site of the annual "Bad Hersfeld Festival".
The Katharinenturm (tower) still stands. Within it is the Lullusglocke, Germany's oldest cast bell dated to 1038. - in: wikipedia

© Arnold Voordewind
The Castle of Staverden is located in the centre of the Veluwer National Park. After receiving city status in 1298 but has never really become a true city; development of Staverden never happened and is officially the smallest city in the Netherlands.
The castle has changed its appearance a number of times over the centuries. The current building dates from 1905 and was built by Herman Theodore s’Jacob, a descendant of a prominent family. 
The architecture is reminiscent of older styles but the interior exhibits elements characteristic of the then popular Art Nouveau style. - in:
The card was sent by Franciska.

Photo © D. J. Nordgren
Split Rock Lighthouse is a lighthouse located southwest of Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The structure was designed by lighthouse engineer Ralph Russell Tinkham and was completed in 1910. It is considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States.
Split Rock Lighthouse was built in response to the great loss of ships during the famous Mataafa Storm of 1905, in which 29 ships were lost on Lake Superior.
The light was retired in 1969 by the U. S. Coast Guard. 
On June 30, 2011, the lighthouse was designated as a National Historic Landmark. - in: wkipedia
Card sent by Sandra.