Monday, September 25, 2023

Ponta Delgada - Azores

Today is Azores postcards day!! I started with the map of Faial and now I've views from Ponta Delgada, São Miguel island. 
Two cards show exactly the same place, Gonçalo Velho Cabral Square,  in ponta Delgada, where the "Portas da Cidade" - City's Gates, are located. The areal views of the Square where sent by Paula, a former penpal, Zé, and Cristina sent the card with the City's gates.

©  Maurício de Abreu

  Where once there was the ocean now there is land: the current square and seaside avenue were built in the late 1940s.
Its name derives from a homage of the Town Hall of Ponta Delgada to the first Donatary Captain of the Islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria. 
The square floor is typically paved with dark basalt stones from the region and elegant bright marble brought from mainland.

The city's gates in Ponta Delgada are one of the city's architectural landmarks. 
Located nowadays in the city centre, in Gonçalo Velho Cabral Square, the gates were built in 1783 near an old dock in the east side of the city, having been transferred to this location in 1952. 
Classified in 1953 as National Trust Building, they're characterised by their three perfect round arches, boasting in the middle arch the Royal and city’s coat of arms. 


An official from Portugal!! Yay. The last time I got one was last year in May. 
These last days I'm only thinking about my holidays, next week, but this card brought me back some memories of my last holidays in Faial island. 

Faial Island is the 4th largest island in the Archipelago. It is 21km long and 14km wide (173.42km2), which corresponds to 7% of the total landmass of the Azores, and has the 3rd largest population, with approximately 15,000 inhabitants (2011 census).
The island is formed by a line of mountains that crosses from east to west dotted by numerous volcanic peaks. The largest of these is Caldeira, a giant crater that is 2,000m across by 400m deep, the result of intense eruptions that greatly contributed to the formation of the island as it exists today.

PT-796799, sent by Fernando.
At the western tip of the island stands the Capelinhos Volcano that began to erupt in 1957 and ended in 1958. Just a little more than 60 years ago, this eruption deeply marked the island and its effects are still visible today.
The highlands of the island are marked by hills and extensive areas of pasture and forest, which create striking landscapes with an intense palette of greens. The coast is characterized by a great variety of geographical formations, from slopes dominated by cliffs to protected bays, natural pools, and several black sand beaches.
Horta, the only city in the Triangle, is known as the “Sea City”, with a history connected to navigation, international trade, telecommunications, aviation, and whaling dating back 600 years.
Ever since it was settled, Horta has been a place where peoples and cultures from different parts of the world have met and interacted. Its marina is one of the busiest in the world, welcoming more than 1,200 vessels on their journeys across the Atlantic every year. First started centuries ago, calling into the port of Horta is still a mandatory ritual today for sailors from all over the world. 
Today, the island is still recognized for the harmonious way it combines the best of nature on land and sea with this feeling of closeness to the rest of the world––a feeling that stems from sharing, a sense of curiosity, and generosity. - in:

Sunday, September 24, 2023

PT RR - Surprise Group * September 23

 Ups, it happened again!! I got the 3 cards I was supposed to received in this group but as last month, I already had one of them. Eric sent me the same card he sent me last February.

© concept by

If I'm not mistaken Tiago has sent me the 3 Portuguese FOTW cards, Portugal, Azores and now Madeira. 
Madeira has an area of 741 km², a population of 289.000 and its capital is Funchal. 
* Laurissilva - the indigenous forest of Madeira dates from the Tertiary Period; 
* Laurissilva is considered a living legacy, as, in light of the glaciations which occurred at the beginning of the Quarternary Period, which led to its almost total extenction in continental Europe;
* Cristiano Ronaldo - is original from Funchal, Madeira. He was born in February 5th in 1985;
* Banana - is a noteworthy fruit on Madeira island due to its quality and quantity of production; 
* Sugar cane - is one of the agricultural species with the greatest relevance in the History of Madeira, which originated the White Gold Age;
* It quickly afforded the Funchal metropolis frank economic property. This meant that in the second half of the 15th century, the city of Funchal became a mandatory port of call for European trade routes.

Fotografia: Oswaldo Santos

I didn't have this exact card but I've similar ones. It was sent by Nídia.
These are just a few of the twenty-four stone espigueiros (granaries) in the village of Soajo, northern Portugal. With architectural features dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the community used them  to store its corn, mainly maize, which is abundant in the region.
The crosses at the top represent divine protection of their contents, survival of the community, "our daily bread".

Monthy Fav. Surprise RR - August '23

Sometimes there are months when the postcards I receive in this RR have repeated themes, for example 2 postcards with churches, 2 FOTW but in August the postcards had nothing to do with each other. Four different wishes, four different themes, 3 different countries, USA, Netherlands, China. 

Photo - Konstantino Hatzisarros 2019 *
The Mural Kings by TATS CRU at the Houston Bowery Wall went up in late January of 2019 as an homage to NYC and the Lower East Side, including a shout out to the late Keith Haring (who, back in 1982, was the first artist to create a site-specific mural for the now legendary street canvas). Tats Cru is the first full graffiti crew to paint a mural here.
The mural also honors green activist and advocate Liz Christy (1950 – 1985), who created NYC’s first community garden, which still thrives just across the street from the mural. - in:
Card sent by Nan.

Edith checked my windmill collection and noticed I still didn't have this one. 
De Hoop is a smock mill in Dokkum, Friesland, which was built in 1849 and has been restored to working order. The mill is listed as a Rijksmonument, a national heritage site.

A snowy, foggy view of Tianshan Tianchi Lake, (literally: the Heaven Lake of the Tianshan Moutains), is a famous tourist destination in Xinjiang. The surface of the lake is 1,910m above sea level with its deepest part reaching 105m. Tianchi is surrounded by spruce trees while the lake surface reflects Bogda Peak, making the surrounding scenery seem like it came out of a fairytale.
The scenic area includes natural landscapes such as alpine lakes, wetland meadows, forests, gorges and other natural splendors. - in:
Beautiful card, one of my favs from China, with nice stamps, sent by Qi.

Totally different card from China but also great. I've seen pictures of this place on IG and was impressed by the thousands of tiny red houses sprawling on the hills. 
Seda (or Sertar in Tibetan), which forms part of the Garze part of Sichuan province, is home to the largest Tibetan Buddhist institute in the world.
Founded in 1980, the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute now houses some 40,000 monks, nuns, students and pilgrims. The place is of huge spiritual importance to Buddhists, with residents hailing not just from the nearby area but also from provinces all over China and even from overseas. - in:
Card sent by Linda. 

Friday, September 22, 2023


 Windmills in Australia?!! Australia is big but there are only a few traditional mills in the country. This is the Old Mill in Perth.

AU-892796, sent by Ângela.
The Old Mill in South Perth is one of Perth’s best known landmarks and one of Western Australia’s oldest colonial buildings.
Built in 1835 and operating until 1859, the mill produced 680kg of flour per day at its peak. Since ceasing production, the mill has been used as a hotel, a residence, a wine saloon and a poultry farm. - in:

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania - Romania

What did I just say about churches in Romania? After the wooden churches of Maramures and the painted churches in Moldavia, now I've fortified churches in Transylvania. These are also on the UNESCO list.

These Transylvanian villages with their fortified churches provide a vivid picture of the cultural landscape of southern Transylvania. The seven villages inscribed, founded by the Transylvanian Saxons, are characterized by a specific land-use system, settlement pattern and organization of the family farmstead that have been preserved since the late Middle Ages. They are dominated by their fortified churches, which illustrate building styles from the 13th to the 16th century. - in:

Foto: © M. Dragomir

 The village of Biertan, first mentioned in an official document in 1283, is home to one of the largest and most impressive medieval strongholds in Transylvania. 
Surrounded by quaint streets and vineyards, the 15th century fortified church at Biertan is perched high on a hill in the middle of the village. Three tiers of 35-foot-high defensive walls, connected by towers and gates, encircled the complex, making the church impossible to conquer during medieval times. Featuring late-gothic architecture with heavy doors and double exterior walls, the church boasts the largest Transylvanian multi-paneled wooden altar and a remarkable wooden door which once protected the treasures in the sacristy. 
Visitors can also admire the towers surrounding the church, namely the Clock Tower, the Bell Tower, the Gate Tower and the Bacon Tower. Within the grounds are several other interesting buildings, including the Prison Tower - which once served marital counseling purposes. - in:

© Photo Mioritics
Viscri village is one of the oldest in Brasov county and all of Transylvania, its beginning being lost in time, although the first mentioning appears in the 15th century. The Saxon colonists came in this area of Romania somewhere in the 12th century, settling or establishing new villages, most of them having beautiful fortified churches in the middle. This is also the case of Viscri village, dominated by the impressive rural fortification with its charming Romanic church from the 13th century. The mysterious monument rises above the gentle rolling hills and the traditional atmosphere that hasn’t changed in centuries. - in:

Churches of Moldavia - Romania

There is no shortage of beautiful churches in Romania. These are found in the northeast of the country, in the Moldovia region. These are only 2 of the 8 churches that have been classified as World Heritage since 1993.

 These eight churches of northern Moldavia, built from the late 15th century to the late 16th century, their external walls covered in fresco paintings, are masterpieces inspired by Byzantine art. They are authentic and particularly well preserved. Far from being mere wall decorations, the paintings form a systematic covering on all the facades and represent complete cycles of religious themes.Their exceptional composition, the elegance of the characters, and the harmony of the colors blend perfectly with the surrounding countryside. - in:

Photo: © Marius Vasiliu
 Built in 1487 and dedicated to the Holy Cross, the monastery at Patrauti is the oldest surviving religious site founded by Stephen the Great. Mural paintings, dating from around 1550, can still be admired on the west façade. In 1775, soon after Bucovina was annexed to the Habsburg Empire, the monastery was turned into a parish church. Today, only the church and a wooden bell tower are still standing from the original monastic complex. - in:

Founded in 1530, Humor (Hoo mor) is rather small, physically, but it looms large among Bucovina’s treasures with a variety of frescoes dating from 1535, including one illustrating the Return of the Prodigal Son and one with a “humorous” depiction of the devil as a woman.
The church, topped by a cross-shaped shingled roof, is without a steeple, indicating that it was built by a court official rather than a prince. The predominant hues of the frescoes are reddish brown with some rich blues and green infusions. An extremely valuable collection of icons from the 16th century is displayed in the monastery. - in:

Friday, September 15, 2023

Wooden Churches of Maramures - Romania

I've just realized that I haven't posted a card from Romania since... 2018!! This means I didn't get cards from there in the last 5 years. It was about time to finally get one again. The multiview cards with 6 Wooden Churches of Maramures is my official card #1900. 
Maramureș is perhaps one of the most authentic regions in Romania, filled with a rich historical heritage, especially when it comes to traditional crafts.


RO-208148, sent by Calin.
The building of wooden churches began in the 16th century when the Catholic Austro-Hungarian authorities prohibited the construction of Orthodox stone churches in the area. Initially, there were over 300 wooden churches built in the region, but today only around 100 are left standing. Most of them are Orthodox, but there are also some Greek-Catholic churches, and they greatly vary in terms of architectural style.
The wooden churches are built with high timber, and their most characteristic features are the tall and slim bell towers located at the western end of the building, as well as their massive roof that makes the whole main body look minuscule. 
Out of the approximately 100 wooden churches, 8 of them were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Romania: the wooden church of Barsana, the Budesti Josani church, the wooden church of Desesti, the Ieud Hill church, the wooden church of Plopis, the Poienile Izei church, the Rogoz church and the Surdesti church

Officially known as the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, this wooden church was built in 1720 and it got the name of Bârsana from the commune that it is located in. The church features some of the most representative baroque indoor murals, its walls depicting various scenes from the Apocalypse or the Last Judgement. 
First mentioned in documents from 1326, the wooden church is one of the tallest wooden churches in Romania with 57 m height, and has been built alongside other churches by craftsmen from Maramures.
Despite being built in 1720, the church was moved on the nearby Jbar Hill in 1806. According to a legend, this hill served as a graveyard for plague victims, and the dead were buried in a rush, without proper religious ceremony. Thus, in order to calm the spirits, the locals decided to move the church on the burying grounds.  in:

Rotterdam - Netherlands

 Last month Leonie, Heidi and Isa met in Rotterdam. It was an opportunity for them to meet, sightseeing, eat and sign a few cards. 

Rotterdam is a city with a modern Skyline. Almost no two buildings are alike, but it hasn’t always been like this. This change in appearance is due to WWII, when the city was bombed by the Germans in a 15-minute raid. Rather than rebuilding a carbon copy city, it was decided to construct a totally new, modern city – something Rotterdam has taken to with great enthusiasm, especially when it comes to its architecture. - in:
- Beurs-World Trade Center is located on the Coolsingel and Beursplein in the centre of Rotterdam. It is a major business centre in Rotterdam with approximately 200 offices. The building is 93 meters high. The construction started in 1984.The green elliptical tower, designed by architect Rob van Erk, was completed in 1987;
- The Euromast is the highest watchtower in the Netherlands and an essential part of the city’s skyline. The elevator takes you to a height of 100 meters in 30 seconds, where the viewing platform and the Brasserie are located. From there you have a 360 degree view over Rotterdam and its surroundings. The Euroscoop, a rotating glass elevator, takes you all the way to the top at 185 meters. The Euromast, designed by the Rotterdam architect HA Maaskant, was built in 1960 on the occasion of the Floriade and was 100 meters high at the time. In 1970 the tower was expanded with a Space Tower; - in: -
- Millennium Tower is a 35-story, 130.8 m (429 ft) skyscraper in Rotterdam, Netherlands design by WZMH Architects and AGS Architecten. It was completed in 2000. The tower was built on Weena in front of the Central station. It is mixed use, the first 15 floors belong to the Rotterdam Marriott Hotel, including 2 restaurants, the other floor are being used as offices. - in: wikipedia


I must confess that I'm not a huge fan of shaped cards and that's mostly because of storage reasons. I definitely prefer the normal postcard format.

NL-5548851, sent by Elsje.
I'm not sure but this could be one of the "Molendriegang", three windmills of Leidschendam. Originally, there were four windmills but the fourth was demolished in 1840. The remaining three windmills (Bovenmolen, Middenmolen and Ondermolen) were taken out of service in 1951. They were no longer need to pump away the water from the polder as this was taken over by electric pumps.
Since the 1980s the iconic Molendriegang of Leidschendam has been in operation on a Saturday afternoon once a month. Unfortunately the windmills are not open to the public. From a distance you can take postcard perfect pictures of these 28-meter high windmills in a typical Dutch landscape with polders. - in:

Thursday, September 14, 2023


Brücke der Solidarität, the Bridge of Solidarity, is a bridge across the Rhine between the boroughs of Rheinhausen and Hochfeld in the city of Duisburg. It's construction started in 1945 and was opened to traffic on 3 July 1950.

DE-13298022, sent by Dagmar.
In 1987, Rheinhausen was present in the media due to the protests against the closing of the local steelworks. On 10 December 1987 the bridge was occupied by Krupp workers to protest against the closure of their plant. During the whole winter of 1987 and 1988 large demonstrations against the closing of the remaining smeltery followed. Rheinhausen became a synonym for steel crisis. 
The Rheinhausen-Hochfeld bridge was renamed to Brücke der Solidarität by the protesting workers on 20 January 1988. On this day, 50,000 steel workers from more than 60 melteries marched to the bridge. The apprentices of the Krupp training workshop manufactured the new name plate overnight. Soon thereafter, the name was officially adapted by the city of Duisburg. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Porta Nigra, Trier - Germany

In 1986 Porta Nigra was designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
Raquel, Anne and Tanja have been to this city and sent me these cards.  Raquel sent me the south view of Porta Nigra; Anne and Tanja the views of the north side.

 The Porta Nigra is a magnificent 2nd-century Roman city gate in Trier. It was given its name (which means "black gate") in the Middle Ages because of its weathered color. 

Foto: Jeiter
The oldest defensive structure in Germany, the Porta Nigra was erected in about 180 AD when the Roman city was surrounded by walls. Trier was a Roman colony from the 1st century AD and then a great trading centre beginning in the second century. It became one of the imperial capitals under the Tetrarchy at the end of the 3rd century, and became known as the "second Rome."

The Porta Nigra is the only one of four Roman gates that still stands in Trier; the others were gradually pillaged for their stone and iron. The Porta Nigra survived because it was used as the humble residence of a hermit monk named Simeon for seven years (1028-35). After his death he was buried in the gate and the structure was transformed into the two-story Church of St. Simeon (lay church on the bottom, monastery church on top).
Napoleon destroyed the church in 1803, but the 12th-century Romanesque apse survived and the entire structure has been restored to its medieval appearance. - in:

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Cáceres - Spain

The spanish community of Extremadura was one of my options for my summer trip and Cáceres was one of the city I wanted to visit. However, I decided to fly to Faial island instead. 
There're plenty of reasons to visit this city. Narrow cobbled streets, mansions, Renaissance palaces, churches crowned by storks’ nests and much more. Cáceres was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986 because of the city's blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture.

Plaza Mayor is the traditional meeting point of the people of Cáceres. This space started to be used after the Reconquista as a city market centre, being urbanized starting in the fifteenth century.
The Town Hall presides over it, built in 1869 by Ignacio María de Michelena. In it, you can see  emblematic monuments like the La Hierba Tower, one of the Pulpits, and, especially, the Tower of   Bujaco next to the La Paz Hermitage. - in:

© Fotógrafo: Modesto Galán
St. Matthew Church was built on the ruins of an Arab mosque in the 16th century.  It was built in  late Gothic style, called Spanish Plateresque.

 Ed. Pergamiño
Right next to St. Matthew's Church, there's the Torre de Las Cigüeñas - Stork Tower, an example of a Renaissance building in the city. It was built in the late 15th century by Diego de Cáceres. The tower offers spectacular views over the city.

Photo by: Modesto Galán
I'm pretty sure Óscar chose this card because of the old lady. She's walking along one of the adarves, which are the streets adjacent to the wall. In Cáceres five streets retain the name of Adarves (Father Rosalío, Santa Ana, Estrella, Bishop Álvarez de Castro and Christ), although when speaking of "the adarves", usually refers to the first three. This one on the image is, I believe, Estrella.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

PT RR - Surprise Group * August

 I usually participate in this RR by sending 3 postcards and in return I receive another 3. I only have 2 here, sent by Ana Cláudia and Tiago but Nídia also sent me one, which I already had, the same windmill card that Paulo sent me in June 2019.

Photo by: François Kollar

This is a photo of a miner and his lamp, in a mine in Saint-Etienne, France, in 1931. 
The lamp was not only used for lighting, it was also used to detect the presence of methane which, in contact with oxygen, in closed environments, can form an explosive mixture that detonates easily in the presence of flames or sparks, and constitutes a great danger in coal mining. These safety lamps, in which the flame was protected by a metal screen, served as an indicator of the presence of the explosive mixture, as in this case the flame changed its appearance. The metal screen dissipated the heat of the flame so that the gases outside did not reach the necessary temperature to ignite.

Jaca is a small town in the Spanish province of Huesca and is known as the capital of the Aragonese Pyrenees. It is a tourist center that attracts visitors thanks to its historical heritage, the Camino de Santiago and winter sports.