Monday, August 25, 2008

Belarus - Minsk

I received this wonderful postcard showing the National Library of Belarus in Minsk in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR :) And it's written in Belarussian! :))) Вялікі дзякуй, Марына!

USA - Massachusetts

I received this postcard in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR, with some text written in Russian :)

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state located in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north. Most of its population of 6.4 million live in the Boston metropolitan area. The eastern half of this relatively small state is mostly urban and suburban. Massachusetts is the most populous of the six New England states and ranks third in overall population density and fourth by GDP per capita.

Massachusetts has been significant throughout American history. Plymouth was the second permanent English settlement in North America. Colonists from England founded many towns and villages in the present-day territory of Massachusetts very early in the nation's history in the 1620s and 1630s. The Boston area became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the ferment there which led to the American Revolution and the independence of the United States from Great Britain. Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to abolish slavery and was a center of the temperance movement and abolitionist activity in the years leading to the American Civil War. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage. The state has contributed many prominent politicians to national service, including the Adams family and, more recently, the Kennedy family.

The Netherlands (NL-97254)

I know that Holland is a beautiful country, because I've been there for many times... But even if I hadn't - this postcard would certainly make me believe it :) Maybe because of the tulips, maybe because of the warm colors... I don't know. But it's one of my favorite official cards so far :)


Finland - Riihimäki (FI-350523)

I was already a bit worried about not receiving any postcards from Finland for almost 3 weeks, but, finally, this one has arrived ;) I don't remember, if I've already written that I'm always glad to receive a city/town view from Finland, because most of Finnish cards show landscapes (which are beautiful, of course), or the whole country :) This postcards shows the church in Riihimäki and a Glass Museum.

Riihimäki (literally "Drying barn hill" in English) is a town and municipality in the south of Finland, about 69 km north of Helsinki and 109 km southeast of Tampere. It is somewhat of a railway junction, since the railway tracks going from different parts of the nation to Helsinki merge there.


Germany (DE-198758)

I've received this sweet postcard from a new German postcrosser today :) It seems to me that I've seen this dog before, but I really don't remember, what's his name :) Anyway, it's nice to find a card like that in my mailbox sometimes...


Friday, August 22, 2008

Belarus - Mahiloŭ

Here's another postcard from Belarus :) I received it from my penpal, who lives there. It shows the Art Museum in Mahiloŭ (Магілёў in Belarussian or Могилёв in Russia). Mahiloŭ is the 3rd largest city in Belarus and the it's the centre of Mahiloŭ region. I haven't been there. But I'd like to :)

Belarus - Baranavichy (BY-4499)

It's my first official postcard from Belarus :) It shows central square in Baranavichy (Баранавічы in Belarussian, or Барановичи in Russian). I was really glad to receive it, because I've been learning Belarussian language for 2 years (although I haven't been to Belarus yet). What makes me sad is that some Belarussian people that I've met told me, that I spoke Belarussian better than most of Belarussians. Is my Belarussian really so excellent? No, it's not. Probably I'm on advanced level, but I'm not sure, because I haven't taken any test. The problem is that most of Belarussian people speak Russian as their 1st language and, as far as I know, there's no university, where Belarussian students could learn in Belarussian language. There are many reasons of this situation - historical and political... and I don't think that's the right place to discuss it... But I hope that at least some people will talk to me in Belarussian, when I finally go to Belarus :)


Thursday, August 21, 2008

USA - Long Island (US-236218)

I really love this card showing Long Island :) Well, I'm not fond of sea and beach, but this card has a special atmosphere, in my opnion. The next thing that I like about this card is that it surprised me :) Long Island is a part of New York, so I would expect a city view with skyscrapers, busy streets etc. This card makes me feel that there are also some calm and peaceful places in NY :)

Long Island is an island located in southeastern New York, USA, its western shores directly across from Manhattan, from which the island stretches northeast into the Atlantic Ocean. It contains four counties, two of which (Queens and Kings) are boroughs (Queens and Brooklyn) of New York City, and two of which (Nassau and Suffolk) are suburbs of that city. Long Island Sound is the body of water between its northern shore and the state of Connecticut.


Canada - Toronto

And here's another card received in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR ;) It came from Canada in just 3 days (!) and was written in Croatian, which I really appreciate :)
It shows the Flat Iron Building (Gooderham Building) in Toronto.

The red brick Gooderham Building (commonly referred to as the Flatiron Building) at 49 Wellington Street East in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is located on the eastern edge of the city's financial district (east of Yonge Street), on the north side of the Front Street (St. Lawrence) neighbourhood wedged between Front Street and Wellington Street, where they join up to form a triangular intersection. Although a prominent landmark both for its colour and shape, it is only five storeys high. It is also the first flatiron building in a major city.

Czech Republic - Kroměříž

I received this beautiful night view in the Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR (Do you think it'd open a RR, if I didn't want to join some groups myself?) ;)

Kroměříž is a town in the Zlín Region of the Czech Republic. The town's main landmark is the Baroque Kroměříž Bishop's Palace, where some scenes from Amadeus and Immortal Beloved were filmed. The adjacent Lustgarten, or Pleasure Park, is one of the World Heritage Sites.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aruba :)

I was really happy to receive this card from Aruba as a thank-you for my official :) Well, actually I think it's not fair to ask postcrossers from "rare" countries to send you a card just because you sent them an official, because then you receive twice more cards... But I'm not like that :) I just offered a swap, so I also sent 2nd card. I think it's OK then.

Aruba is a 33-kilometre (21 mi)-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, 27 km (17 mi) north of the Paraguaná Peninsula, Falcón State, Venezuela. A country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba has no administrative subdivisions. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm sunny weather. It has a land area of 193 km2 (75 sq mi) and lies outside the hurricane belt.

I think that being outside the hurricane belt is especially important ;)

Germany - Erfurt (DE-198816)

That's already my 2nd official card from Erfurt and 2nd showing the Krämerbrücke. But they're different and I like both of them :)

Krämerbrücke is a bridge crossing the narrow Gera River. The bridge is covered with inhabited buildings. It was built in 1325 with a church on either bridgehead, one of which still functional.

Czech Republic - Plzeň (CZ-13989)

I'm lucky to receive Czech cards from cities that I haven't been to! :) This one shows Plzeň (Pilsen), which is known for the Pilsener beer ;) But there are some other interesting facts about this city (at least for me they're more interesting, as I don't drink beer) :)

"The most prominent sights of Pilsen are the Gothic St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, founded in the late 13th century, the tower of which (102.26 m / 335 ft) is the highest in the Czech Republic, the Renaissance Town Hall, and the Moorish Revival Great Synagogue in Pilsen, the second largest synagogue in Europe, after the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. There is also a 20km historic underground tunnel/cellar network, among the longest in Central Europe. Part of this network is open to the public for tours of approximately 750 metres in length and up to a depth of 12 metres."


USA - Michigan (US-214314)

This card, called "On the road in Michigan", shows some typical for this state views and things. Although it's not a typical map card, I let myself count put this label too, because there's a map of Michigan (or at least a part of it) in the background :) I really like this card :)

Michigan is a Midwestern state of the United States of America, located in the east north central states, as defined by the United States Census Bureau. It was named after Lake Michigan, whose name is a French adaptation of the Ojibwe term mishigami, meaning "large water" or "large lake".

Bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair, Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Belgium - The Belgian coast (BE-18807)

This is my 2nd official card with Belgian ID, but the 1st one which was actually sent from Belgium (the previous one was from Ireland) :)
It's a map card (I always appreciate it, when people try to fit my wishlist, so I was really happy to find this card in my mailbox) of Belgian coast :) I visit Belgium at least 2-3 times a year and of course I've been to some of towns shown on this postcard. It's nice to see places that I've been to :)


Japan - Nagoya Castle (JP-38363)

My 2nd official card from Japan is a beautiful night view of Nagoya Castle. Of course, I had no idea about it before, but Wikipedia is always very helpful ;)

Imagawa Ujichika built the original castle around 1525. Oda Nobuhide took it from Imagawa Ujitoyo in 1532, but later abandoned it.

In 1610, Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered the various daimyo to help with the building of a new castle on the site. This new castle was to be the new capital of the existing Owari Province and many of the materials used were sourced from the smaller Kiyosu Castle, including Kiyosu castle's tenshu, which was located in the existing provincial capital of Kiyosu. Nagoya castle's construction was completed in 1612.

During the Edo period, Nagoya Castle was the center of one of the most important castle towns—Nagoya-juku—in Japan and the most important stops along the Minoji that linked the Tōkaidō with the Nakasendō.

Until the Meiji Era, the castle was the home of the Owari Tokugawa clan of the Tokugawa family. It was destroyed by fire in World War II, but the donjon has been rebuilt.

During World War II, the castle was used as the District army headquarters and as a POW camp. During the bombing of Japan, the castle was burnt down in a USAF air raid on May 14, 1945. Due to the destruction caused by the air raid, most of the castle's artifacts were destroyed; many of the paintings inside, however, survived and have been preserved to this day. The rebuilding of the donjon finished in 1959. Today the donjon is a modern concrete building with airconditioning and elevators. In addition, there are plans to reconstruct the Hommaru Palace, which was also lost to fire during the war. Many of the paintings from this palace were also rescued, and replicas of these paintings will be placed in their appropriate locations within the restored palace. Until then, many of the objects formerly in the Hommaru as well as replicas of sliding shoji doors and the reconstructed Noh stage can be seen in the Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya.


Russia - St Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg

This postcard also arrived in the Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR (I don't think it's cheating, when people agree to send each other 2 postcards, is it?) ;)
It shows the St Isaac's Cathedral (Исаакиевский собор) in Saint Petersburg.

Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor in Saint Petersburg, Russia is the largest cathedral (sobor) in the city and was the largest church in Russia when it was built (101.5 meters high). It was dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great who had been born on the feast day of that saint.
The church on St Isaac's Square was ordered by Tsar Alexander I, to replace an earlier Rinaldiesque structure. A specially appointed commission examined several designs, including that of the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand (1786–1858), who had studied in the atelier of Napoleon's designer, Charles Percier. Monferrand's design was criticised by some members of the commission for the dry and allegedly boring rhythm of its four identical pedimented octastyle porticos. It was also suggested that despite gigantic dimensions, the edifice would look squat and not very impressive. The emperor, who favoured the ponderous Empire style of architecture, had to step in and solve the dispute in Monferrand's favour.
The cathedral took 40 years to construct, under Montferrand's direction, from 1818 to 1858. Under the Soviet government, the building was abandoned, then turned into a museum of atheism. The dove sculpture was removed, and replaced by a Foucault pendulum. During World War II, the dome was painted over in gray to avoid attracting attention from enemy aircraft. With the fall of communism, the museum has closed and regular worship activity has resumed in the cathedral, but only in the left-hand side chapel. The main body of the cathedral is used for services on feast days only.

Russia - The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg

I received this postcard in Slavic countries & Rest of the world RR :) It shows the Winter Palace (Зимний Дворец) in Saint Petersburg.
I haven' t been to Saint Petersburg yet, although I have a really good friend there (and we spent the last 2 weeks travelling together in Poland, Germany and Ukraine). So, if I get a visa, I'll go there for sure :)

Here's some information about The Winter Palace:
Located between the Palace Embankment and the Palace Square, the Winter Palace or Zimniy Dvorets (Russian: Зимний дворец) in Saint Petersburg, Russia was built between 1754 and 1762 as the winter residence of the Russian tsars.

Designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the Rococo-style, green-and-white palace has 1,786 doors and 1,945 windows. Catherine the Great was its first imperial occupant.

The Palace is now part of a complex of buildings known as the State Hermitage Museum, which holds one of the world's greatest collections of art. As part of the Museum, many of the Winter Palace's 1,057 halls and rooms are open to the public. The Military Gallery, opened in 1826, accommodates 332 portraits of military leaders of the Russian army during Napoleon's invasion of Russia.

After the February Revolution in Russia, the Winter Palace was the headquarters of the Russian Provisional Government.

The assault of the Winter Palace by Bolshevik forces was the official milestone of the October Revolution.

Russia - "Minusinskaya step'" painting by V. I. Surikov (RU-21605)

This is my first official card from Russia :)
Fortunately, I can speak Russian, so this time I won't have to ask for help to understand, what it is :) This card shows a "Minusinskaya step'" ("Минусинская степь") painting by V. I. Surikov (В. И. Суриков), was the foremost Russian painter of large-scale historical subjects. His major pieces are among the best-known paintings in Russia. This painting is now in Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

Finland - "Good afternoon, sir" by Kaj Stenvall (FI-336866)

It's my first postcard of Kej Stenvall's painting. In fact there are no stripes on this card, probably there's something wrong with my scanner, but that's not so important :)
The sender writes that Kaj Stenvall was one of the most popular artists in Finland and he's very known for his duck-paintings.
It's something new for me, but I really like it :)

Germany - Pegnitz (DE-192866)

Pegnitz is another nice German town that I haven't heard of before. I think that Postcrossing will soon help me to learn abotu most of German cities and towns :) That could be the same with Finland, but most of the Finnish postcards that I've received so far show landscapes or nature.
Pegnitz is a town in Upper Franconia, Bavaria. The city Bayreuth (that I alrady know from anotyher official postcard) is nearly 27km to the north :)

Germany - Wald-Michelbach im Odenwald (DE-191746)

After a short break I'm here with you again :)))
This postcard shows a German town Wald-Michelbach im Odenwald. To be honest, I haven't heard anything of Odenwald before, but now I already know a bit more ;)

The Odenwald is a mountain chain in southern Hesse, northern Bavaria and northern Baden-Württemberg. The name may have been derived from Odins Wald ("Odin's wood"). However, "Forest of Odes" appears to be a more accurate translation.

The Odenwald is bounded by the Neckar River in the south and the Main River in the east, while it gradually slopes away to the north and the west. The highest peak is the Katzenbuckel (literally "cat's hump") at 626 m (2,054 feet). The Odenwald is known as a leisure destination easily accessible from the urban areas of Mannheim and Frankfurt. It is known for its clean thin air and was once known for its health sanitariums. There are many marked hiking paths through the rural areas. Wild blueberries, strawberries and mushrooms are to be found in the forests.

Several small towns are particularly picturesque with Weinheim on the Bergstraße and Michelstadt in the center of the Odenwald being particularly good examples. Its cobbled streets and medieval architecture create an idyllic atmosphere. The region is relatively unknown to mass-market tour companies, though the mild climate of the area is well known. Urban sprawl and pollution have become problems at some fringes as small local service train networks (DB Schienenbus) have been abandoned and more people commute to the Mannheim / Frankfurt metropolitan areas by car.