Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Netherlands - Friesland

I like this postcard very much, because it's a multiview with 15 pictures and because of its colors :) It shows the Friesland province in the Netherlands. I only knew there was such province and that a local language was spoken there, but receiving this postcard inspired me to read a bit more :) Here's some information about the Frisian language:

Friesland distinguishes itself from the other eleven provinces through having its own language, West Frisian, which is also spoken in a minor part of the province of Groningen, to the east. Closely related languages, East Frisian ("Seeltersk", which is different from "East Frisian (Ostfriesisch)", a collection of Low German dialects of East Frisia) and North Frisian, are spoken in the Saterland and in North Friesland areas in Germany, respectively. Friesland was a part of the German empire until 1680 when it separated and joined the Netherlands. Part of Friesland is still considered part of Germany (Ostfriesland)
Statue of Pier Gerlofs Donia, the last "King of all Frisians" known for his legendary strength and size and invention of a famous shibboleth

The English language is also closely related to West Frisian. There is a saying about it: "As milk is to cheese, are English and Fries." Another version of this saying reads (in West Frisian): "Bûter, brea, en griene tsiis; wa't dat net sizze kin, is gjin oprjochte Fries", which in English reads: "Butter, bread, and green cheese, whoever can't say that is no upright Fries" (According to legend, the 16th century Frisian freedom fighter Pier Gerlofs Donia forced his captives to repeat this shibboleth to distinguish Frisians from Dutch and Low Germans). The saying plays on the sound differences between the Dutch and Frisian words for "butter, bread, and green cheese", which in Frisian are pronounced almost identically to their English counterparts (showing the original closeness between the two languages), while in Dutch ("Boter, brood, en groene kaas"), these words sound quite different.

Finland - really sweet bunny :) (FI-396926)

Although I collect mainly view cards, finding such ones in my mailbox sometimes is a really nice surprise :) And I love reading quotes in foreign languages (the ones that I can't speak), when I have the translation :) I haven't checked it myself, but I trust the sender, who translater the text on this postcard as: "If you are searching happiness for your life, you should start here and now"
Very nice and true :)


USA - Minnesota (US-286203)

I must admit that I envy Americans a bit, because they have wonderful map cards of each state (at least I think so, because I've already received some of them) :) It's not so easy to find a map card here, in Poland...
This card arrived a bit damaged, but that's not so important :) It's a map of Minnesota state.

Minnesota is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. The twelfth largest state by area in the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with just over five million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state on May 11, 1858. The state is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Those lakes and rivers that gave the state its name, and its forests, parks, and wilderness areas offer residents and tourists a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Nearly sixty percent of Minnesota's residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area known as the Twin Cities, the center of transportation, business, and industry, and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; eastern deciduous forests, also heavily farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods. The state's image of being populated by whites of Nordic and German descent has some truth, but diversity is increasing. Substantial influxes of African, Asian, and Latin American immigrants have joined the descendants of European immigrants and of the original Native American inhabitants.

The state is known for its moderate to liberal politics and social policies, its civic involvement, and high voter turnout. It ranks among the healthiest states, and has one of the most highly educated and literate populations.


Turkey - a painting by Esat Acet (TR-12944)

It's my 1st official postcard from Turkey :) It shows a painting by Turkish painter Esat Acet, painted in 2001. Unfortunately, I haven't found any further information about the artist or about this painting :( I guess it shows a Turkish village at the seaside? :)


UK - Christchurch Mansion

I received this postcard in the Netherlands & Rest of the world RR, written in Dutch, not in English :)) Still, I hope I understood it well ;) According to the sender, the Christchurch Mansion was built in 1548/49.

Christchurch Mansion is a stately home in the centre of Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

The house is surrounded by Christchurch Park, a grand landscaped park featuring many beautiful trees (235 of which were destroyed in the gale force storms of October 1987), rolling lawns and duck pond. The park is around 70 acres in size. The mansion itself houses a collection of pottery and glass, a contemporary art gallery and a collection of paintings by artists including John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. There are rooms preserved as past inhabitants would have known them, complete with original items of fine clothing. The mansion is a Grade I listed building.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ukraine - Orange Revolution

Today is the 22nd of November :) It's a special day for me, because 4 years ago, on 22.11.2004, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine began. Now, after 4 years, many people are disappointed, because they expected much more from the "orange" politicians. To be honest, I knew (although I was only 13 years old then and I didn't know anything about the Ukraine) that people would be disappointed, because politicians are like that - they always promise more than they can really do. And the main problem is that many people change and forget about their ideals, when they finally win the elections. That's sad, but it happens in every country. Especially in the countries, which have been democratic not for a very long time, like Poland or Ukraine. Stabilisation of the political life requires a lot of time. Of course, people are usually not that patient... But I hope that there's a better future waiting for us :)

Still, I think that Orange Revolution was very important for Ukraine. Why? Not because of certain politicians, but because people believed that the situation in their country depends also on them, that they can change something, that they don't have to accept the falsification of elections. I think that's something much more important than disappointment in the leaders of revolution. It's something that should remain.

I've got one more reason for celebrating this day every year :) I became interested in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution. I thought that was just for a while then... But later I decided to learn Ukrainian language, I found friends in Ukraine, I went to this country for the first time... And I'm absolutely in love with Ukraine :) I don't think it's going to change... And although it began because of the revolution, now it has nothing to do with politics. I just love Ukraine, I want to study there and I hope to celebrate the next Freedom Day (22 November) in Lviv... or maybe in Kyiv? :)

Spain - Tenerife

I received this postcard from my dad, who went to Tenerife last week :) As far as I understand Spanish, this postcard shows the Botanic Garden of Tenerife in Puerto de La Cruz. I don't know the name of these trees, but they look very interesting.

Tenerife (previously known and spelled as "Teneriffe" in English, before mass tourism adopted the Spanish spelling), a Spanish island, is the largest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. Tenerife is the most populous island in the Canaries, and the most populous of all Spanish islands.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island and the head of the island government (cabildo insular). It is the second largest city in the Canary Islands after Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and is co-capital of the autonomous community of the Canary Islands alongside that city, sharing governmental institutions such as Presidency, Parliament and ministries.

The island is home to La Laguna University, which was founded in 1792. La Laguna (World Heritage Site) is the second city of the island and the third one of the archipelago. El Teide is also a World Heritage Site.

Singapore - Formula 1 (SG-12649)

I'm not really interested in Formula 1 races, although there's one Polish driver (Robert Kubica), who is quite good :) But I really like this postcard. I wonder if it's a real photo? Are there really such beautiful views near the circuit?

The Marina Bay Street Circuit (otherwise known as the Singapore Street Circuit) is a street-based circuit around the city state's Marina Bay and is the venue for the Singapore Grand Prix. The track is 5.1-kilometres (3.15-miles) long in a harbourside location similar in style to the Monaco Grand Prix and the new circuit in Valencia.

On the day of confirmation of the Singapore Grand Prix in the 2008 Formula One season, a routemap was published. The pit area of the circuit is located in an empty plot of land off Republic Boulevard and beside the Singapore Flyer. A temporary track leads from the pit area and under the Benjamin Sheares Bridge to Republic Boulevard and turns onto Raffles Boulevard. It then proceeds along Nicoll Highway, Stamford Road and Saint Andrew's Road around the Padang, past the City Hall.

The track then goes onto the Anderson Bridge, past the Fullerton Hotel and make a tight left turn to Esplanade Drive beside the Merlion Park. It joins Raffles Avenue and cut right after the Esplanade to the front of the Marina Bay Floating Stadium and return to the pit area via another temporary road around the Singapore Flyer. The track layout is unique in that in between turns 18 and 19, the cars race underneath a section of grandstand of the Floating Platform.


Germany - Augsburg (DE-235690)

I like German cards, because there are many multi-multiviews (I mean the ones with over 10-15 pictures) :) This one has 12 pictures and shows Augsburg. I associate this city mainly with reformation.

Augsburg is an independent city in the south-west of Bavaria. The College town is home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and also of the Bezirk Schwaben and the Landkreis Augsburg. 1906 Augsburg became Großstadt and is nowadays with more than 264,000 citizens the third-largest city in Bavaria. Only Munich and Nuremberg are larger.

The name of the city dated from the Roman settlement Augusta Vindelicorum. The city was founded by the Roman emperor Augustus 15 BC as a castra. Therefore the "Fuggerstadt" is the second oldest city in Germany after Trier.


Finland - Flags (FI-396689)

Here's a postcard showing many flags of Finland (also known as The Land of Postcards, especially on Postcrossing) ;)

The flag of Finland (Finnish: Suomen lippu, Swedish: Finlands flagga), also called Siniristilippu ("Blue Cross Flag"), dates from the beginning of the 20th century. It features a blue Nordic cross on a white background. Blue represents lakes and the sky, and white represents snow and the white nights of the Finnish summer. The state flag has a coat of arms in the centre, but is otherwise identical to the civil flag. The swallow-tailed state flag is used by the military. The presidential standard is identical to the swallow-tailed state flag but also has in its upper left corner the Cross of Liberty after the Order of the Cross of Liberty, which has the President of Finland as its Grand Master. Like Sweden's, Finland's national flag is based on the Scandinavian cross. It was adopted after independence from Russia, when many patriotic Finns wanted a special flag for their country, but its design dates back to the 19th century. The blue coloring is said to represent the country's thousands of lakes and the sky, with white for the snow that covers the land in winter. This color combination has also been used over the centuries in various Finnish provincial, military, and town flags.

As a coincidence, the flag of Finland is the same as the flag of Shetland with the colours reversed.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Thanks to Leslie, my collection of Turkish cards keeps on increasing :) And they're all very beautiful! This one shows a small map of Turkey (so, there are 7 regions/provinces in Turkey?) and some Turkish art. It's very different from what you can see in other European countries and I think it Turkey will always be closer to Asia. I think there's no need to change it, because culture of Asian countries is really fascinating and there's no point in trying to make people more "European". I've already heard different opinions about Turkey and Turkish people (I mean especially their attitude to women, is Islam still very important in their life etc). I haven't been to Turkey, so I only know the stereotypes, but there's no doubt that Turkey is a beautiful country with interesting history and culture.

Finland - Hämeenlinna

That's already my 2nd card from Hämeenlinna, but the previous one was a multiview of the city, while this one shows just the Häme Castle. Thanks, Sabrina, for this beautiful card! :)

Häme Castle (Hämeen linna in Finnish, Tavastehus slott in Swedish) is a medieval castle in Hämeenlinna, Finland. The castle is located on the coast of lake Vanajavesi in the city center. The castle was originally located on an island.

The castle's age is disputed. Traditionally the construction of the castle has been connected to the legendary Second Swedish Crusade which would date the castle in the mid-13th century. However, there are no finds from the castle that can be firmly dated to a period earlier than 1320s. Also the contents of the crus
ade legend have been seriously contested. An earlier fortification from about 1300 only some 20 kilometers away in Hakoinen also makes a 14th century dating for Häme Castle more probable. Only one castle ("Tauestahus") is listed in Tavastia in a royal document from 1308.

Germany - Bielefeld (DE-228337)

This official card from Germany is a good example of why it's not so good to exclude self-made cards from your wishlist. This one was printed on a normal photo paper, but is much more beautiful than many "real" postcards (at least in my opinion). I've always enjoyed reading old maps and comparing them to the new ones. Another reason to like the old maps is that there's something special about the old paper... This postcards makes even a better effect because of the sepia picture. Certainly one of the best official cards I've received so far :)


Canada - Ottawa (CA-42283)

This beautiful postcard shows he cathedral in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. It was built in neo-Gothis style between 1839 and 1885 (it took a really long time) :) It's the oldest surviving church in Ottawa.
The interior of church is brightly painted and decorated with carved features, exquisite stained gladd windows and hundreds of statues or various religious figures.
Although there are many much older churches even in my city, I think this one is a really good place to forget about the world, which is outside and to pray or just think about something... But I've never been to Canada, so I can't be sure if my impression about this cathedeal is right :)


Portugal - Fafe (PT-63054)

It's a pity, when I'm not able to give you any information about the card I've received... I can just tell you that it's quite a funny monument in Fafe, Portugal. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any further information about it. I really wonder, what it could be :) But I like the card - my 2nd official from Portugal :)


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Estonia - Tallinn

I received this postcard in the World Languages RR, written in Russian :) It shows the Orthodox cathedral in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an orthodox church in the Tallinn Old Town, Estonia. It was built to a design by Mikhail Preobrazhensky in a typical Russian Revival style between 1894 and 1900, during the period when the country was part of the Russian Empire. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is Tallinn's largest and grandest orthodox cupola cathedral. It is dedicated to Saint Alexander Nevsky who in 1242 won the Battle of the Ice on Lake Peipus, in the territorial waters of present-day Estonia. The current Russian patriarch, Alexis II, started his priestly ministry in the church.

USA - The Legend of the Sea Star (US-273658)

I think this card doesn't need any comment :) I love the legend and I love the colors of this card. I can just add that this card was sent from Tampa, a city in Florida, where I spent 3 weeks in 2004 :) That was my only trip to America so far.


Germany - fresco in Roggenburg (DE-228370)

This cards shows the fresco in the church in Roggenburg, Germany. I like old churches with frescoes, although I usually don't pay enough attention to certain paintings, I just like the general impression. There are many churches built in barocco style in my city, so I can enjoy it whenever I want to :)


The Netherlands - national costumes

I received this postcard in the Netherlands & Other countries RR :) In one of the previous posts I wrote that national costumes from different countries seem to be very similar in my opinion (probably because I'm a 100% ignorant) ;) But Dutch national costumes are so typical that I can easily distinguish them from any others :) Unfortunately, I haven't seen people dressed like that in the Netherlands :(

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Portugal - Lisbon

Thanks, Martinha, for this wonderful postcard! :)
I've chosen this one myself :) It shows the Discoveries' Stone Monument in Lisbon. It celebrates the Portuguese discoveries in the 15th-16th centuries. The statues on the monument are important people of that times.

Canada - Calgary

I've noticed that Canadian postcards are usually of really good quality and with really nice pictures :) This one shows the Olympic Plaza in Calgary. I received it in the World Languages RR, written in Russian :)

The Olympic Plaza is an urban park and gathering place in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Located around Macleod Trail and 7th Avenue S., it was created as the venue for the medal ceremonies at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. In 2004, over 30,000 people packed the plaza to celebrate the Calgary Flames run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.

Olympic Plaza serves as a meeting place, and an outdoor event area, hosting concerts and festivals. In the winter, it is used as a public ice skating area. The plaza is accessible by Calgary's C-Train system at the Olympic Plaza and City Hall stops.

China - West Lake in autumn

This beautiful postcard shows the West Lake in Hangzhou in autumn. I really love sunny days in autumn, when it's quite warm and I can observe the colorful leafs :) But autumn in China is not only colorful, but looks also quite exotic (at least for me, because I haven't been there). The sender wrote that she loves the autumn in Hangzhou because of the aroma of the Osmanthus fragrans flowers. I don't know, what do they smell like, but I'm sure it must be a very pleasant aroma :)


I received this postcard in the Netherlands & Other countries RR and it was written in Dutch :) I can't speak it, but I understand at least basic words, because I visit Belgium several times a year and because Dutch is quite similar to German.
Out of 6 Belgian cities that you can see on this card, I've been to Brussels, Antwerpen, Brugge (which is probably the most beautiful city in Belgium) and Namur. I hope to go to Belgium again this year, maybe to the Taizé European meeting to Brussels :)

Finland - Turku Castle (FI-393077)

This postcard shows the interior of Turku Castle. More precisely, that's the chapel in the castle :)

The Turku Castle, (Finnish: Turun linna, Swedish: Åbo slott) dating from the 1280s, is a monument of Finnish history. Together with the Cathedral of Turku, Turku castle is one of the oldest buildings still in use in Finland. Turku castle is the largest surviving medieval building in Finland, and one of the largest surviving medieval castles in Scandinavia. This national monument standing on the banks of Aura river has experienced many stages for more than 700 years.

A start was made on building the castle in 1280. It was originally designed as a military fortress. During the next two centuries its defences were strengthened and living quarters were added. The castle served as a bastion and administrative centre of Eastland, as Finland was then know during it's time under Swedish rule. Turku Castles significance as a defensive fortress and administrative centre varied throughout the ages according to the political situation. Today the castle is once more experiencing a hayday as it has achieved the status of being one of Finland's most visited museums.