Monday, April 27, 2020

Connemara - Ireland

Beautiful scenic views from Connemara, Ireland.

They say when you visit Connemara you “experience the real beauty of Ireland”. It’s located in the north west corner of County Galway and is an area of desolate beauty, incredible scenery and some interesting attractions, which combine to make Connemara a really beautiful place and a place close to the hearts of Irish people and visitors alike. - in:

Photo by E. Nägele, F. R. P. S
On the back of the card: "Connemara is an extensive region of mountain country between Galway Bay and lillari harbour. Rich is scenic grandeur, it remains a remote and unspoilt district of natural beauty. Among the scenic attractions scattered in profusion throughout the region, are lofty mountain ranges, lakes and stretches of moorland."

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Tower Bridge

London's Tower Bridge is one of the most recognizable bridges in the world. Its Victorian Gothic style stems from a law that forced the designers to create a structure that would be in harmony with the nearby Tower of London.

 Plans for the Tower Bridge were devised around 1876 when the east of London became extremely crowded and a bridge across the Thames in that area of the city seemed a necessity. It would take another eight years - and lots of discussions about the design - before construction of the bridge started. 
The bridge, designed by city architect Horace Jones in collaboration with John Wolfe Barry, would eventually be completed in 1894. Five contractors and nearly 450 workers were involved in the construction of the 265 meter long bridge. It took 11,000 tons of steel to build the framework. At the time many people disliked its Victorian Gothic design, but over time the bridge became one of London's most famous symbols.

The proximity of the harbor and its location in the direction of the sea required for the bridge to allow the passage of large vessels. Hence the decision to create a moveable bridge which can be opened to accommodate boat traffic. The mechanism to open the bridge is hidden in the two towers. Until 1976, when the mechanism became electrified, steam power was used to pump water into hydraulic accumulators which powered the engines.

Each deck is more than 30 meters wide and can be opened to an angle of 83 degrees. When opened the bridge has a clearance of almost 45 meters. It used to open almost fifty times a day but nowadays it is only raised about one thousand times a year. - in:

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Buckingham Palace - England

Buckingham Palace, one of several palaces owned by the British Royal family, is one of the major tourist attractions in London. The Changing of the Guard in front of the palace always attracts plenty of spectators.

Originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site which had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front which contains the well-known balcony on which the Royal Family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside. However, the palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb in World War II; the Queens's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.

Photographers Paul Ratcliffe and John Foster ©
GB-629355, sent by Linda.
The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which still survive, included widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle epoque cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style. The Buckingham Palace Garden is the largest private garden in London.
The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September, as part of the Palace's Summer Opening." - in: wikipedia

GB-946955, sent by Karen.
Changing the Guard, also known as Guard Mounting, takes place outside Buckingham Palace from 10.45am and lasts around 45 minutes, with the actual handover taking place at 11am. The Buckingham Palace Old Guard forms up in the palace’s forecourt from 10.30am and is joined by the St James’s Palace Old Guard at around 10.45am. The New Guard then arrives from Wellington Barracks and takes over the responsibilities of the Old Guard in a formal ceremony accompanied by music.
The guard that looks after Buckingham Palace is called The Queen's Guard and is made up of soldiers on active duty from the Household Division’s Foot Guards. The guards are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats.
The ceremony is free to watch and currently takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, weather permitting. - in:

Truro Cathedral - England

Even though one of these officials came from Belgium, they are both from the city of Truro, one of the smallest cities in the United Kingdom. Although small, it has a large and beautiful cathedral. It is one of the three cathedrals in UK with three spires.

Printed and published by J. Salmon Ltd - Copyright © 10/44/04/03
BE-688222, sent by Janien.
Truro Cathedral was one of the first 'new' Anglican cathedrals to be built in Britain since Salisbury Cathedral was started in 1220. It is built in the Gothic Revival architectural style fashionable during much of the 19th century. 
Construction began in 1880 on the site of the 16th century parish church (St Mary the Virgin) to a design by noted church architect, John Loughborough Pearson.
One particularly unusual feature of the cathedral is the fact that part of the original St Mary's Church was incorporated into it and now serves as the cathedral's Lady Chapel.

GB-100340, sent by Sophie.
Foundation stones were laid in 1880 and the first section of the cathedral was consecrated in 1887. The central tower was completed by 1905 and the building was completed with the opening of the two western towers in 1910. JL Pearson died in 1897 and the work of his architectural practice was continued by his son, Frank Loughborough Pearson. - in:
On this card there's the cathedral, the west front window and a terracota panel of Christ on the way to the Calvary.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Ameland Lighthouse - Netherlands

Ameland lighthouse is located in Hollum, most populated village on the Ameland island.

NL-605742, sent by Wilma.
Ameland’s lighthouse was built in 1880 to a height of 55 meters, and served our county well for over 125 years. In 2005 the coastguard stopped using the lighthouse as modern technology took over its function.
After the coastguard abandoned their use of the lighthouse, they handed it to the Foundation Ameland Museums, which opened the lighthouse to the general public. They did a swell job converting it to a museum.

NL-1191820, sent by Roelof.
Before you reach the top floor and its gorgeous views, you first pass several floors with exhibitions on marine life, history of the tower, other lighthouses in The Netherlands and so on.
Nowadays, the lighthouse is an enlisted monument, though it still shines nightly and brightly. Its signal is a triple beam every 15 seconds. - in:

Prinsengracht Canal - Netherlands

"Amsterdam has been called the "Venice of the North" for its more than one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form concentric belts around the city, known as the grachtengordel.

NL-492277, sent by Auke.
Alongside the main canals are 1550 monumental buildings. The 17th-century canal ring area, including the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Jordaan, are put on the Unesco World Heritage List.

Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal) is the the longest of the main canals in Amsterdam. It is named after the Prince of Orange. Most of the canal houses along it were built during the Dutch Golden Age of the United Provinces.
Interesting sights along Prinsengracht include the Noorderkerk (Northern Church), the Noordermarkt (Northern Market), Anne Frank House, the Westerkerk (Western Church, Amsterdam's tallest church) with the Homomonument (Gay Monument)." - in: wikipedia

Chroma Publishing Zone © Sietske de Fries
NL-1713194, sent by Marian.
Filled with houseboats, cafés and locally-owned shops and galleries, Prinsengracht is by far the liveliest of Amsterdam's three main canals.
This particular western stretch is (roughly) the eastern border of the Jordaan neighborhood, originally built for workers and now a popular area for hip, young residents. The Jordaan is known for its dense collection of smaller canal houses, narrow streets and a distinctive bohemian feel.
On the southwest corner of Prinsengracht and Brouwersgracht (at No. 2) stands one of Amsterdam's oldest brown cafés, Café Papeneiland, which opened its doors in 1642. - in:

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Utrecht - Netherlands

Two years ago I'd just returned from the Netherlands. The first time I visited the country I stayed in Rotterdam and the second time I chose Utrecht, where I had a guided tour of the city with my friend Tessa. One of the things we did was to visit the cathedral and its tower. As suggested in the last postcard, we went up the tower but did even more, we went down under the tower. We did the Dom Under visit, which presents us with 2000 years of Utrecht history. With the help of interactive flashlights, we discovered the archaeological finds, which date back to the Roman Castellum 'Trajectum', the Roman fortress that protected the northern border of the Roman Empire. I had already climbed many church towers, but it was the first time I walked through a cathedral foundations.

"Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern end of the Randstad, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands.

The Dom Tower of Utrecht is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, at 112.5 metres (368 feet) in height,and the Gothic-style tower is the symbol of the city. The tower was part of the Cathdreal of Saint Martin, also known as Dom Church, and was built between 1321 and 1382 to a design by John of Hainaut. The cathedral was never fully completed due to lack of money. Since the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674 the Dom tower became a free standing tower." - in: wikipedia

 © Donker Utrecht
NL-2234352, sent by Maryn.
This is an unsual view of the Dom Tower in Utrecht. 
Climbing the Dom Tower is a wonderful opportunity to explore the city of Utrecht in an entirely different way! Via 465 steps (there is no lift), a guide will take you to the top of the highest church tower in the Netherlands. Halfway there, you will get a view of the historic bells with a total weight of no less than 32,000 kg. One floor higher is the magnificent 17th-century Hemony carillon. The tower galleries at 70 and 95 metres provide a spectacular view of the city and province of Utrecht. - in:

Kinderdijk - The Netherlands

Kinderdjik was one of the many places I got to know about because of postcards. I never had much interrest on windmills, that's something we don't have in my region, but after visiting the Kinderdjik once and the Netherlands twice, I'm an huge fan now. 

The Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout is a group of buildings in an exceptional human-made landscape in which the centuries-long battle of the Dutch people to drain parts of their territory and protect them against further inundation is dramatically demonstrated through the survival of all the major elements of the complex system that was devised for this purpose.

Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and has continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The property illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology: polders, high and low-lying drainage and transport channels for superfluous polder water, embankments and dikes, 19 drainage mills, 3 pumping stations, 2 discharge sluices and 2 Water Board Assembly Houses. The beautifully preserved mills can be divided into three categories: 8 round brick ground-sailers, 10 thatched octagonal smock mills, and one hollow post mill.

NL-4610496, sent by Janneke.
 The installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area demonstrate admirably the outstanding contribution made by the people in Netherlands to the technology of handling water.

© Aad Schenk
NL-2234384, sent by Martha.
The landscape is striking in its juxtaposition of its horizontal features, represented by the canals, the dikes, and the fields, with the vertical rhythms of the mill system. There is no drainage network of this kind or of comparable antiquity anywhere else in the Netherlands or in the world. - in:

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


The village of Seefeld lies to the east of the Jadebusen bay, and together with the towns of Rodenkirchen and Schwei forms the municipality of Stadland, which is located in the Wesermarsch district of Lower Saxony.

DE-9127073, sent by Viola.
Seefeld mill was brought from Oldenburg to Seefeld in 1874
This mill is one of the last of around 120 mills in the Wesermarsch district. The mill was used commercially until 1986. It fell into disrepair after the Second World War. From 1978, however, it was extensively renovated by private individuals and later restored using public funds. It is now owned by the community and has become a well-known cultural and event center.
The local church, also seen on the card, was built in 1675. 

Museum Island - Germany

Besides the cathedral, which can actually be seen on the 1st of these postcards, on the Museum Island it is possible to visit, as the name suggests, a few museums: the Old Museum, the New Museum, the Old National Gallery, the Bode Museum and the Pergamon Museum. 

"Museum Island in Berlin, is the name of the northern half of the Spreeinsel, an island in the Spree river in the centre of the city. The island received its name for several internationally renowned museums: Old Museum - is the oldest of the museums; New Museum - located behind the Old Museum, was completed in 1859. According to plan, after the completion in 2009, it shall -- as before the war -- exhibit the collections of Egyptian and pre-history; Old National Gallery - was completed in 1876 to host a collection of 19th century art donated by banker Joachim H. W. Wagener. The collection was greatly expanded and is today one of the largest collections of 19th century sculptures and paintings in Germany; Bode Museum - located at the northern tip of the island and easily recognizable due to its copper-brown cupola. It houses the sculpture collections and late Antique and Byzantine art; Pergamon Museum - completed in 1930, which hosts original-size, reconstructed monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, and the market gate of Miletus, consisting of parts taken from the original excavation sites.

The collections that were united on Museum Island for the first time allowed a unified look at European art from the Antiques up to the 19th century, presented in buildings that display the history of museums in themselves over a course of a hundred years, which is why the entire ensemble was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1999." - in: wikipedia.

Berlin Cathedral - Germany

I've been at home for 6 days now and there's not much to do besides writing cards, letters and updating this blog. At home or at home, hope you all are safe and healthy. 

The Protestant Berlin Cathedral on Museum Island in the Mitte district is Berlin's largest church and one of the major sights in the city's centre.

 Photo by Jürgen Henkelmann
DE-1467816, sent by Martina.
Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom), completed in 1905, is Berlin's largest and most important Protestant church as well as the sepulchre of the Prussian Hohenzollern dynasty. This outstanding high-renaissance baroque monument has linked the Hohenzollerns to German Protestantism for centuries and undergone renewed phases of architectural renovation since the Middle Ages. 

© Global Guides .net * Photo by Bernardus Marinus Steenbeek - Gtafic design by Olivier Durand
DE-2348702, sent by Bine.
 First built in 1465 as a parish church on the Spree River it was only finally completed in 1905 under the last German Kaiser -Wilhelm II. Damaged during the Second World War it remained closed during the GDR years and reopened after restoration in 1993. - in:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Speyer Cathedral - Germany

The Speyer Cathedral was  added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981 as "a major monument of Romanesque art in the German Empire". 

 The imperial cathedral in Speyer, officially known as the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Stephen, is the town's most prominent landmark. Laid out in the form of a Latin cross, it is one of Germany's largest and most important Romanesque buildings, and was intended to be no less than the largest church in the western world when building work began in 1030.

Photo: Bavaria Luftbild Verlags GmbH
DE-2002357, sent by Uwe.
Speyer Cathedral in the Rhineland-Palatinate region has long since ceased to be the largest church in the western world. However, it is still the world's largest surviving Romanesque church. Construction began under Salian Emperor Konrad II, and the church was consecrated in 1061 under his grandson Heinrich IV. 

  Verlag Johannes Oefner
DE-2173601, sent by Sabine.
Its huge triple-naved vaulted basilica is the central element of a design that is thought to have greatly influenced Romanesque architecture in the 11th and 12th century. The mighty but eminently well-proportioned main building, consisting of the nave and transept with four towers in a symmetrical design, inspired many other important churches. A central attraction that strongly reflects the spirit of the time is the fully preserved crypt, which is the largest Romanesque columned hall in Europe. 

As the burial site for Salian, Hohenstaufen and Habsburg rulers and their wives, the crypt – and the cathedral itself – represent the ultimate symbol of medieval imperial power. The huge 'cathedral bowl' outside the main door is certainly worth a visit. With a capacity of 1,560 litres, it had to be filled with wine by every new bishop to keep the people happy. Perhaps these are the origins of the Cathedral Wine Fair in spring at which Palatinate vineyards present their wines against the stunning backdrop of the cathedral. - in: