Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Finland - Finnish lakes (FI-333552)

This nice card shows the Finnish lakes and ways of spending time there :) There's no further information about it, but the sender wrote some text in Finnish with translation into English, which I really appreciate, because I enjoy reading in languages that I don't understand when I can compare them with one that is understandable for me :)


Germany - Lüneburg Heath map (DE-191745)

I spent the whole day in Germany yesterday (I went there with my friend by train at 5AM and we came back at 11PM), so it was nice to find a German postcard in my mailbox in the evening (with stamps identical with the ones I bought yesterday on German post office) :D
That's already my 2nd card from Lüneburg Heat, but this one is a map card! :) And it helped me to realize that Celle is in that region.
I remember Celle, because I spent there a week on a student exchange, when I was 11 and that was my first trip to Germany. Poland wasn't an EU member then, so it was really something :) Now it's absolutelly different. Yesterday I visited Dresden and Görlitz. I just want to write about Görlitz, because half of this town is in Germany and another half in Poland and the 2 countries are divided by a small river. I've already been there before, but that was also before Poland joined the EU, so you had to have a passport to go to another part of the same town and you were often asked what were you going to do there! Now you an just go through the border bridge (I love border bridges!) ;), of course there's an information that you're entering another country, but people can even swim in the river (I saw children swimming there yesterday) and it's not a problem anymore. It was especially surprising for my Russian friend (that is spending holidays with me now), because she needs a visa to go anywhere. I hope it's going to change someday, too. Isn't that better, when you can just enjoy crossing the border bridge without being asked about anything?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Taiwan - a painting (TW-15211)

That's my first postcard from Taiwan :) Unfortunately, I can't give you any information about it... I know it's a painting... A really beautiful one... And I know that it's from Taiwan Museum of Art... Of course, there's some more information about it, but in Chinese... It's a pity, when I can't read about the postcard. If it's in any of languages written in pne of alphabets that I know (Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew) - there's always a chance to google it. But in this case, the only thing I can do is to put the description of card here. Maybe someone from China or Taiwan will read it and help me to understand something more than just the dates :)

USA - Lake Superior, Michigan

This postcard was a total surprise for me, because I received it from a postcrosser from texas that I've already swapped with :) I just didn't expect another postcard :) The writting "Lake Superior" on this card is quite big, so i couldn't have a doubt that it was a lake, but it looks like a sea :)

Lake Superior is the largest of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by Ontario, Canada and Minnesota, United States, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area and is the world's third-largest freshwater lake by volume.

Thank you very much, Shirley! :)

Bulgaria - Bourgas, Plovdiv, Sofia, Veliko Turnovo

I received this pretty multiview card in a swap from forum member dj_christina from Bulgaria :) It shows 4 Bulgarian cities - Бургас (Bourgas), Пловдив (Plovdiv), София (Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria) and Велико Търново (Veliko Turnovo).
I've been to Bulgaria once (this year!), but I spent only 3 days in Sofia... Of course it's not enough to say that I know this country, because Sofia is very multicultural (it was interesting to see an Orthodox church, mosque and synagogue in one quarter of the city). I also liked the ancient churches (the church of Sv. Georgi was built in 4th century) that aren't shown on this postcard.
I noticed that most of Bulgarian people (at least in Sofia) speak English much better than Poles, but I wanted to pratise my Bulgarian anyway :) That was difficult, because I'm very shy and I was afraid of making too many mistakes. But I was able to understand them and probably they understood them, so it's not so bad :) I'd like to go Bulgaria again someday, at least to check, if my Bulgarian has already improved :)

Netherlands - Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel (NL-89073)

This postcard is my 2nd official from the Netherlands :) Yes, I've received only 2 offical cards from the Netherlands so far. What I like about postcrossing is that you never know, where will your postcards come from. Of course, if you join postcrossing - you'll receive many cards from Finland, Germany and USA. But other countries are always a surprise :) For example, I haven't received any card from Portugal, which is a Top5 country, but I already have some officials from quite 'rare' countries, such as Romania or Thailand.
But, let's come back to the Netherlands :)

HämeeNieuwerkerk aan den IJssel (population: 22,344 in 2004) is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland.

It is situated along the Hollandse IJssel river, across from the town Ouderkerk.

Within the boundaries of this municipality lies the lowest point of the Netherlands: 6.76 m (22.2 ft) below Amsterdam Ordnance Datum (mean summer sea level in Amsterdam).


Germany (DE-188050)

This official postcard came from a new postcrosser from Germany :)
My German isn't very good (although Postcrossing helps me to practice it) :), but as far as I know (let me know, if I'm wrong), "Du bist es!" means "You're the one!" or something like that :) I like this kind of postcards. Well, when it comes to so called "rare" countries - I prefer receiving typical view cards. But this one is my 10th official card from German and I'm sure I'll remember it better than some German city views :)


Finland - New Valamo Monastery (FI-327329)

This card is an official one from Finland :) The sender writes that it's the Valamo Monastery of Orthodox Church in Finland and the photo was taken by one of the brothers in Valamo. So, of coruse, I decided to read more about it on Wikipedia :)
I was very surprised, when I searched for Valamo Monastery, because...

The Valaam Monastery, or Valamo Monastery is a stauropegic Orthodox monastery in Russian Karelia, located on Valaam, the largest island in Lake Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe.

Russia?! Well, the postcard was definitely sent from Finland. And there were no writtings in Russian language on it :) Later I found information that there's New Valamo Monastery in Finland and that's where this postcards comes from :)

New Valamo (Uusi Valamo in Finnish) is an Orthodox monastery in Heinävesi, Finland. The monastery was established in 1940, when some 190 monks from Valaam Monastery in Karelia were evacuated from their old abode on a group of islands in Lake Laatokka (Ladoga) to Eastern Finland. The old (Valamo) Valaam Monastery was quite soon after the outbreak of the Second World War occupied by the armed forces of the Soviet Union. After a temporary dwelling place the monks decided to settle down in Heinävesi in Eastern Finland. The choice fell on a mansion in Papinniemi, Heinävesi, after the monks had found there, quite surprisingly, an icon of St. Sergius and St. Herman, the founders of Valaam (Valamo) monastery in the 12th century. The monks considered this to be a sign from God. Having received evacuees from the Konevsky (Konevitsa) and Pechenga (Petsamo) monasteries, it is now the only monastery for men of the Finnish Orthodox Church.


Finland - Hämeenlinna

I received this beautiful night view of Hämeenlinna in a swap with forum member TingeZ, who lives there :) Actually, I like all of Finnish postcards that I've received so far, but this one really fits all of my wishes, because it's a night view, because it's a city view (I receive many cards from Finland that show nature or generally the whole country with Suomi-Finland writting, but it's very interesting for me to see , what are Finnish cities and towns like).

Hämeenlinna, or Tavastehus in Swedish, is a municipality and city of about 48,000 inhabitants in the heart of the historical province of Häme in the south of Finland. Today, it belongs to the region of Tavastia Proper, and is the residence city for the Governor of the province of Southern Finland. Nearby cities include the capital Helsinki (150 km), Tampere (73 km) and Lahti (72 km).

The medieval Häme Castle (Hämeen linna) is located in the city.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Japan - Mount Hakkoda (JP-37109)

I received this postcard today from a New Zealander, who works as an English teacher in Japan. And that's my first official card from Japan :) It shows Mount Hakkoda in Aomori, Northern Japan. The tallest peak of Hakkoda is 1584m and is called Odake (big peak). According to the information from sender, it's a great place to hike and to ski during the winter.
I saw the name of my country written in Japanese on the postcard. I wonder, how do they pronounce it? :) Sometimes I feel a temptation to start learning any Asian language, such as Japanese and Chinese, but I know that I would never learn all of their characters... And even if I'd learn them, people might have serious problems with reading it - my handwriting is terrible even when I use Latin or Cyrillic alphabet...


Macedonia - Skopje

This postcard, also sent by Ana, shows Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. The name of this city in Macedonian is Скопје (By the way, I wonder, why do they use "j" instead of Cyrillic "й" in Macedonia - and also in Serbia, if I remember well). Although the site of modern Skopje has been inhabited since at least 3500BC, the city developed rapidly after the World War II. Ana writes that the Vardar River that you can see on this postcard isn't that blue and clear in fact :) Well, I think it's the same with most of rivers in urban and industrial areas, but it's good that at least on the postcard it looks blue :)

Maybe my postcard blog isn't the best place to write anything about politics, but anyway, I use every chance to express my point of view :) I don't know much about Macedonia and I haven't been there, but it always makes me a bit angry when I hear about "FYROM" ("Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"). This strange name appeared because of naming dispute with Greece (if you're interested, you can read more here). Shortly, Greece claims that the name "Macedonia" is part of Greek history and heritage, while people living nowadays in Macedonia are a Slavic nation. Of course, it's all more complicated, that's why I advise you to read the article, because I'm not an expert at all. But I know that my favorite country is Ukraine and I would be really furious if anyone called it the "Former Soviet Republic of Ukraine". I don't know, if there's any good solution of this dispute, but what I'm absolutely sure about is that people should have right to use the correct name of independent country that they live in.

And thanks Ana for choosing a card with a bit of orange! :) That's my favorite color :)

Macedonia - Struga and Ohrid

I received this postcard from Ana (take a look at her postcard blog, it's much more interesting than this one, because her English is better) :))) It shows 2 Macedonian towns - Struga (Струга) and Ohrid (Охрид), which are both touristic destinations situated at the Ohrid Lake.
Here's some information about the Ohrid Lake:

Lake Ohrid (Macedonian: Охридско Езеро) straddles the mountainous border between the southwestern region of the Republic of Macedonia and eastern Albania. It is probably the oldest lake in Europe, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem with more than 200 endemic species that is of worldwide importance. The importance of the lake was further emphasized when it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979. However, human activity on the lake shores and in its catchment area is resulting in the ecosystem coming under stress.

I don't collect UNESCO cards yet, but I think someday I'll decide to start, so I'll already have one in my collection (actually, I'm sure that I have more of them, but I'd have to check it with the list) :) Thanks, Ana! :)

USA - Texas map card

I received this wonderful map card (I love map cards and I love this style!) from a new postcrosser, who is looking forward to receiving her 1st official card, so she decided to swap a bit too :) Another nice surprise was that this card arrived in just 4 days!

Germany - Berlin

This postcard shows Berlin, the capital of Germany. Sometimes I wonder, why haven't I visited Berlin yet, if I've been to Germany for so many times and Berlin is so close to the Polish border?
By the way, several days ago I read that now Berlin regrets destroying their wall totally, because many tourists want to see it, so now they have to use special guided tour and they can learn, where exactly the wall used to be. Anyway, I think it's much better without the wall.

China - traditional painting

I received this postcard in a private swap from a Chinese postcrosser from Shanghai. I like it very much, although I can't give you any information about it. The sender writes that it was a traditional Chinese painting. But all the information printed on the postcard is in Chinese (and, "surprisingly", I can't read it)... Well, with a small part of it in Latin transcription - "Dai Dun Bang Hua Tang Shi". I tried to google it, but with no result. So, I just enjoy this painting, whatever it is :)

USA - Poster stamp. c.1930 (US-213067)

It's my first poster-card and (although I've never thought of this type of cards before) I like it. I think it's also a specific type of art and I'd like to see more postcards like that. I don't know, what more I could write about this one, because the only information on the postcard is that now it's in Retrograph Archive in London :)


USA - Wisconsin (US-205300)

This postcard arrived from Wisconsin (it's my first one from that state) and it reminds me of rural areas in Poland (and other European countries too). It's nice, because shows soemthing different than just another city :)


Italy - Pianello del Lario (IT-17605)

My first official Italian card arrived after 54 days (well, according to the postmark it travelled only 4 days) from Pianello del Lario. This postcard shows the Como Lake. I've been to Italy once (for several hours, but for me it still counts ;)), but only to Aosta, so I don't know much about this lake. Here is some information about it (from Wikipedia, of course) ;) :

Lake Como (Lago di Como in Italian, also known as Lario; Lach de Comm in Insubric; Latin: Larius Lacus) is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 km², making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At over 400 m deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres (656 ft) below sea-level

Isn't that interesting? I would never learn about it without postcrossing...


Czech Republic - Olomouc (CZ-12906)

That's my first official card from the Czech Republic and also the shortest received distance - only 214km. I think that it would be even shorter from Olomouc, but the card was actually sent from Brno, another city in Czech Rep. :)
I've been to Czech Republic for many-many times. I stopped counting it long time ago :) I live less than 100km from the border and I used to go to Sudety mountains (south from my city Wrocław) quite often. The border goes through these mountains, so I always enjoyed crossing it :) Most of my visits to Czech Republic were only 5-20km away from the border, but I've also been to Prague (from my city it's much closer to Prague than to Warsaw), Hradec Králové and some other cities. When I had to choose a high school, I decided to go to the only one in Wrocław (and one of 5 in whole Poland), where I could learn Czech language. And I don't regret it, because now Czech is one of my favorite subjects and I paticipate in our Czech-language school theatre, which gives me opportunity to go to Czech Republic for free every year :D
I haven't been to Olomouc yet... But hopefully I will go there someday :) Well, it's easier to go to Czch Republic than anywhere else :)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slovakia - multiview (SK-3841)

This multivew is my first postcard from Slovakia :) I like multiviews, especially the ones that have really many pictures (above 15). This one has 18, if I've counted correctly (I'm very weak at maths, so I'm never sure) ;) I've been to Slovakia once in 2005 and I'd like to go there agian to visit more towns, mountains etc. It's definitely a beautiful country and - what is also quite important - I can understand their language without learning it ;) But I'll learn anyway.


Germany - Düsseldorf (DE-183214)

I haven't been to Düsseldorf , although I've been at an airport close to this city for several times (but don't remind me about the planes, please).
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is an economic centre of Germany. The city is situated on the River Rhine and also has a high population density - the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area has over 10 million inhabitants alone. The city is renowned for its many events and also for its fashion and trade fairs. Every July more than 4.5 million people visit the Große Düsseldorfer Kirmes fair.


USA - California

I received this nice multiview of sunny California in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR :)

Brazil - Praça da Sé, São Paulo

This postcard came from Brazil in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR :) It shows Praça da Sé (Cathedral Square) in São Paulo and of course the Cathedral, which was built in Neo-Gothis style. The construction began in 1913 and was completed in 1967, so it really took a long time :) Praça da Sé is also the city's "zero milestone" that indicates directions and distances in the whole state.

USA - Art from Alaska

This postcard arrived from Austin, Texas in World Languages RR, but shows the Art from Alaska. It's a woodblock print "Walruses" by Bernard Tuglamena Katexac. The card was written in Polish :)

Croatia - Županja

I received my 2nd Croatian postcard in World Languages RR. It was written in Croatian and fortunately I understood it, although I haven't learnt this language YET (but I'm sure I want to try, because my dream is to be able to speak all of Slavic languages).
So, let Wikipedia help us a bit again...

Županja is a city in eastern Slavonia, Croatia, located 254 km east of Zagreb. It is administratively part of the Vukovar-Srijem county. It is inhabited by 13,775 people (2001), 96.45% which are Croats.

Županja lies on the Sava river opposite Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is the site of a border-crossing bridge with the mostly Croat town of Orašje in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Another border-bridge? Yes, I'd love to visit Županja then ;)

Finland - a sunset

This card came from Finland in World Languages RR and was written in Czech :) Another wonderful sunset :)

Turkey - Istanbul

This beautiful postcard, that I received in the World Languages RR, shows the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul. It connects Europe and Asia. As I've loved all kinds of borders (first it could be simply a province border, now that I can travel more - I enjoy crossing any country borders), I dream of walking through this bridge :) And dreams often come true, right? :)

Croatia - Pula

This is another postcard received in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR and my first card from Croatia :)
I've always been very proud to live in a city, which is more than 1000 years old (actually, 1008), but Pula is 3000(!) years old and is famous for buildings built by Romans. Arena shown on this postcard is one of them. That's a place, when gladiator fights took place. Nowadays it's much more peaceful - concerts and festivals are held there :)

Finland - autumn view

I received this postcard in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR :) It's an autumn view from the northern Finland. The sender wrote that Finnish people call this period, when the leaves on the trees are beautiful and colorful "ruska". I associate this word with Russia, but again - I think that guessing the meaning of Finnish words makes absolutely no sense :)

Germany, Neuss

I received this postcard in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR (which, by the way, was my idea) ;) .
According to the information from sender, Neuss is a city in Western Germany with about 150.000 inhabitants and it's very old (of Roman origin). They really have many old cities and towns in Germany... It's good that I receive so many German postcards through Postcrossing - otherwise I would never have a chance to learn that much about this country.

Thailand, Golden Triangle

Unfortunately, I can't find much information about this place. The only thing I know is that it's located in Chiang Rai Province of Thailand. I'd be glad to learn more about it... But I love this view anyway :)

France - Cognac

This postcard came from my French penpal. Why is Cognac well-known around the world?
The town gives its name to one of the world's best-known types of brandy or eau de vie. Drinks that bear this name must be made in certain areas around the town of Cognac and must be made according to strictly-defined regulations in order to be granted the name Cognac.
I don't drink alcohol at all (yes, really), but I find this town interesting anyway :)

Russia - Saint Petersburg

I received this postcard from my very good Russian friend, who lives in Saint Petersburg. I've been to Russia once (when I finally got the visa), but I visited only Moscow and we met there. i hope to visit Saint Petersburg too (when I get the visa again), because it seems to be completely different than Moscow. And it would be graet to see the White Nights in June... So, maybe next year?

Netherlands - Tilburg

Tilburg is a city in the North Brabant province of the Netherlands. I've been very vlose to Tilburg (on a highway) for many-many times, but I've never visited the city. On the postcard, it doesn't seem to be very old, but the first documents mentioned Tilburg in 709! (Yes, 709, not 1709) :)

Brazil - Praia do Forte (BR-37811)

Praia do Forte is located in Bahia state, in northeastern part of Brazil. Yes, Brazilian people are really lucky with beautiful beaches and nature. I doubt if I'll ever be able to go to Brazil (well... never say never), because thanks to postcrossing I know that it's about 9-10 thousands km away from me, but at least I can take a look at such postcards :) I think it's going to be especially useful during the winter...


Irish postcard with Belgian ID :) (BE-17590)

It's always a bit confusing for me, when I receive a postcard from one country, with another country's ID :) For example, I don't know, which label should I put on my blog (so I put both, of course) ;) This one came from Ireland, with Irish stamp, but with Belgian ID. It was sent by a Belgian postcrosser, who was spending his holidays in Dublin. Actually, I don't mind it, because I visit Belgium several times a year, while I haven't been to Ireland and it's harder to get a postcard from there.
There are really many Polish people working in Ireland, but I'd like to go there just as a tourist, I wouldn't like to work abroad. Now travelling is much easier than even 10 years ago, so I believe it's possible.
By the way, I'm glad that Irish became the official language of EU. Maybe it will help to save this language?

Finland, Saarijärvi (FI-320256)

First I thought that this postcard was a painting :) But in fact it's a photo, taken by a man from Saarijärvi, Western Finland and shows morning fishing. According to the sender, fishing is very popular in Finland, especially during the summer, but also in winter - through the ice.

I tried fishing only once in my life, without any success, maybe that's because I find it a bit boring. But I guess it must be a great way to relax yourself. And a great reason to be on a beautiful postcard :)


Thailand (TH-7288)

My first official postcard from Thailand shows beautiful orchid flowers in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand (well, at least that's what is written on the card, so I think we can believe them about the city) ;) This card travelled for nearly 2 months, but it was wroth waiting :)


USA - Boston, Massachusetts (US-206505)

Boston is the capital and largest city of Massachusets. It was founded in 1630 by Puritan collonists (so I guess it's old as for America?). I like especially the bridge on this postcard.


Romania - Bucharest (RO-2172)

I haven't been to Romania. I don't like Romanians. But receiving a postcard from a new country, which doesn't have many active users is always fun :) That's The Patriarchate in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. After receiving this beautiful postcard I decided to read a bit more about Romania and... maybe someday I'll break my stereotypes about this country. But I can't promise it :)


France - Entraigues (FR-28794)

Entraigues is a town in Southern France. There are several towns with this name, but this one is in Vaucluse departement. Unfortunately, I can't find much information about this one, but it looks nice, at least on the postcard :)


Germany - Bayreuth (DE-180246)

Bayreuth is a city in northern Bavaria, which is known for its asociation with Richard Wagner, who lived there. They have Richard Wagner Festival every summer, but, as the postcard's sender writes, they have to wait 10 years to get a ticket!


Finland - map card :) (FI-316454)

I'm not even trying to guess the meaning of the writtings on this postcard, probably it's something about Finland (yes, I'm that clever) :D Anyway, it's a very nice multiview, very nice map and definitely one of my favorite postcards.


UK - St Magnus Cathedral

The St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall is the most northerly cathedral on British Isles and is a fine example of Norman architecture. Its construction commenced in 1137 and it was added to over the next three hundred years.

The stamp on this postcard has exactly the same picture :)


China - a Hutong of Old Beijing City (CN-17752)

What is a Hutong? That's what Wikipedia says:
Hutongs are narrow streets or alleys, most commonly associated with Beijing, China.
In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan, to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods.
Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history.
The sender of this postcard writes that the living enviroment of common people in Beijing was very bud, but now it's completely different.
My first Chinese postcard :)


Estonia - National Symbols (EE-25234)

My first Estonian postcard :) I didn't know that these were the national symbols of Estonia... For example, Estonian people traditionally believe that barn swallow brings happiness to house. Well, whatever brings the happiness, it's always good :)


Finland (FI-311511)

This postcard was sent from a postcrossing meeting and signed by 5 people :) Isn't that nice? It's a pity that we don't have so many active postcrossers here...


Finland - Savonlinna (FI-311296)

Savonlinna means "Castle of Savo" (it always difficult to guess, what do Finnish words mean... Again, Wikipedia is very helpful) ;) So, as you already know (and as you can see on the postcard), there is a castle, built in 15th century :) The city Savolinna hosts a famous opera festival every summer.


Finland - Karkku museum (FI-311010)

This photo of ladies having their "Coffee time in the garden" was taken in 1909. Now it's in Karkku museum in the Land Of Postcards ;)