Friday, February 27, 2009

Brunei - Bandar Seri Begawan (BN-367)

This is the card with lowest postcrossing ID that I've received so far :) It shows the Jalan Sultan street in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei Darussalam. It's one of those countries that I have nearly no idea about... Of course, I know it's a small country located in the Northern part of Borneo island. But I don't know much about it's history and culture :(
The street on this card is decorated for the occassion of Sultan's 61th birthday.


Bandar Seri Begawan, (Malay: Bandar Seri Begawan, Jawi: بندر سري بگاوان ) estimated population 27,285 (as of 2002), is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei.

Habitation on the banks of the Brunei River can be traced back to the 7th century where there had been settlements similar to those in Kampong Ayer, located on areas close to the present site of the Brunei Museum.

Seri Begawan was named after the Sultan's late father Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien on October 5, 1970, its original name being Bandar Brunei. Begawan is a name given to Bruneian monarchs who have abdicated, originally coming from the Sanskrit word for "god"). Bandar, comes from Persian بندر and means "port" or "haven" (bandar means "town" in Malay).

Finland - Turku + strange map of Europe :)) (FI-476530)

When I saw this card for this first time, I didn't notice anything strange :) It's actually a very nice card, giving some idea about Turku and it's location. But...

There's definitely something wrong with this map :))) Look, there's Yugoslavia and Soviet Union... But if you think it's just an old map - you're wrong, because Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are marked as independent countries. Also Czech Republic and Slovakia are separate countries (they divided in 1993, so 2 years after the collapse of Soviet Union), but there's also something wrong with the Czech-Slovak border. Quite a big part of Czech Republic is in Slovakia on this map. I wonder, if someone has drawn such map on purpose or is it just a result of ignorance? :)) Anyway, it feels a bit strange to see a NEW map of Europe without the Ukraine.


Germany - Sanssouci palace (DE-285752)

Here's another card to my UNESCO collection (I've been getting more serious about collecting them, but I know I won't ever have cards showing all the UNESCO sites). It shows the Sanssouci palace in Potsdam. Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990.


Sanssouci is the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, at Potsdam, near Berlin. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in Sanssouci Park. The palace was designed by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfil Frederick's need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court. This is emphasized by the palace's name: a French phrase (sans souci) which translates loosely as "without cares" or "carefree" symbolising that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power.

Austria - Vienna (AT-27157)

I really love this card, because it's my first extreme-multiview ;) I'm too lazy to count all the pictures on this postcard, but there's more than 90 of them :) I've been to Vienna (for a very short period of time - just twice about 6 hours) and I remember many of these sights, but of course I still haven't seen everything. The whole city centre of Vienna is a UNESCO site, so I think I can also label this card as UNESCO - most of the pictures show the city centre :)


Vienna (in German: Wien) is the capital of Austria and is also one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.7 million (2.3 million within the metropolitan area), it is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 10th largest city by population in the European Union, and was listed by Mercer Human Resource Consulting as having the 2nd highest quality of living (as of 2008). Vienna is host to many major international organizations such as the United Nations and OPEC. Vienna lies in the very east of Austria and is close to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 an Economist Intelligence Unit study of 127 world cities ranked it first equal with Vancouver for the quality of life.

Lithuania - Peace flag (LT-26714)

I received this very peaceful card from Lithuania :))) It shows the Peace flag, which is well known around the world. It shouldn't be confused with the Gay pride flag, which is quite similar (to be honest, I thought it was actually the same, but it's not) :)


The Peace flag is a rainbow flag representing peace, first used in Italy at a peace march in 1961. The flag was inspired by similar multi-coloured flags used in demonstrations against nuclear weapons.

In recent years, especially in connection with the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, there has been a surge in popularity of the Peace flag, with the word PACE (Peace in Italian, derived from the Latin word pax) printed prominently across the middle. The flag in its current shape appeared as early as September 24, 1961, in an Italian peace march. It had previously featured a dove drawn by Pablo Picasso.

The seven-color peace flag is not to be confused with the similar six-color Gay pride flag which does not have turquoise , and has red at the top instead of the bottom.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Serbia - The Flag

I received this card (together with one more flag card, which I'm going to show you later) from Ana as a total surprise :) Thank you very much! :)

This card shows the flag of Serbia with a small Coat of arms.
I love flag cards, although they're quite hard to find, much harder than the map cards. In my city, which is quite popular tourist destination, you can find at least 100 different postcards (probably more), but no normal map or flag cards. I travel quite often, so I can say that in some cities and countries you can easily find a map card (for example in Belgium), but you can rarely find a flag card showing nothing else but the country's flag. This makes me even more grateful for this surprise :)

The flag of Serbia is a tricolour with Pan-Slavic colours, with three equal horizontal fields, red on the top, blue in the middle and white on the bottom, which is really the flag of Russia upside down. The same tricolour, in a number of variations, was the flag of Serbia throughout history, and is the National flag of Serbs. On the State flag there is a small Coat of arms of Serbia centered vertically and located left of center by one-seventh of the flag's length.

The Coat of Arms of Serbia is the same as the coat of arms of the former Obrenović dynasty (first adopted in 1882; re-adopted in 2004) and features the white bicephalic eagle of the House of Nemanjić (which in turn took on the eagle from the Palaiologos dynasty of the Byzantine Empire). An ermine cape of the style once worn by kings is featured in the background. The double-headed eagle has been used since Byzantine times, the Serbian cross has been used since the 12th century.
Small coat of arms of Serbia is also known as kokarda.

South Africa - Camps Bay (DE-285077)

This card was sent from Germany, but shows the beach in Camps Bay, a suburb of Cape Town in south Africa. The sender of this card has been there and wrote that Africa was a really overwhelimg experience. I can just try to imagine it :) Especially South Africa seems to be so far away... Probably too far away to go there. But, I think that's one of the main advantages of postcard exchanging - it lets you see the places that you'd probably never visit :)


Camps Bay is an affluent suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. In the European winter it is a hotbed of European tourists as well as local South Africans down for a beach holiday. It hosts beach volleyball tournaments as well as a refreshing nightlife.

Camps Bay is named after an invalid sailor, Ernst Friedrich von Kamptz, who settled there in 1778.

The back of Table Mountain, the Table Mountain cableway and the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range form a backdrop to the Camps Bay family beach. The surf is strong here and there is no resident lifeguard, but a rescue helicopter patrols regularly. The grass verge flanked by the Camps Bay tidal pool offers shady, wind-free barbecue spots. Trendy Shops, restaurants, a hotel, chemist, banks and police station are close to the beach.


I received this wonderful card in the Slavic countries RR :) It seems to me that I've seen some of these places, but I'm not sure, so I won't try to name them :) I've been to Switzerland twice - once to Basel (actually, I was spending holidays in France with my dad, but we went to Basel for one day to improve my "visited countries stats") ;) I really liked it and I especially enjoyed swimming in the Rhine river (it's allowed, probably the river isn't very polluted there).

The 2nd time was also just for one day, but in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, near the border with France and Italy. I visited the city of Martigny then and I saw one of the tallest dams in Switzerland (it was the Mauvoisin dam, if I remember well). The view of artificial lake between high mountains and the 250 m high dam was breathtaking :)
So, I don't really know Switzerland well, but I've been there and I hope to visit some other Swiss cities and towns :)

Finland - Porvoo (FI-457547)

This beautiful card consists of 4 photos taken by the sender (everytime I receive this kind of self-made card, I regret not being able to photograph so well). I really like especially the winter views (even very common trees look so unusual with a lot of snow on them) :)


Porvoo (Swedish: Borgå), is a city and a municipality situated on the southern coast of Finland approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of Helsinki. The town received its name from a Swedish earth fortress near the river Porvoonjoki which flows through the town (Swedish Borgå, borg meaning castle and å river). Porvoo is one of the six medieval towns in Finland, first mentioned as a city in texts from 14th century. Porvoo is the seat of the Swedish speaking Diocese of Borgå of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

Germany - Laboe Naval Memorial (DE-257190)

It took this card over 2 months to arrive from Germany to Poland, at least that's the official travelling time on postcrossing :) It shows a memorial, which was first dedicated to the German sailors, who died during the World War I, but now is dedicated to sailors of all nationalities. It's located near Kiel in Northern Germany.


The Laboe Naval Memorial is a memorial located in Laboe, near Kiel, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Started in 1927 and completed in 1936, the monument originally memorialized the World War I war dead of the Imperial German Navy, with the dead of World War II being added after 1945. In 1954, it was rededicated to commemorate the sailors of all nationalities who died during the World Wars.

The monument consists of a 72-metre high tower with an observation deck atop the tower. The deck stands a total 85 m above sea level. A hall of remembrance and the WWII-era German submarine U-995, which houses a technical museum, both sit near the foot of the monument, and the site is a popular tourist venue. U-995 is the world's only remaining Type VII U-boat.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chile - Torres del Paine National Park (CL-1771)

Here's my first card from Chile! :) And my first card from South American country other than Brazil :) It shows the beautiful nature of Torres del Paine National Park. There's a lot of information in Spanish on the back side of this card, which I obviously don't understand. And only 2 sentences in English: "Magallanes: The greatest variety of wildlife in Chile. 25 species of mammals and 105 species of birds live in the National Park." Magallanes is a region in South of Chile, where the National Park is situated.


Torres del Paine National Park
is a Chilean National Park encompassing a mountains, glacier, lake, and river-rich area in southern Chile. The Cordillera del Paine is the centerpiece of the park. It lies in a transition area between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes. The park is located 112 km north of Puerto Natales and 312 km north of Punta Arenas. Bernardo O'Higgins National Park is its neighbour to the west, while Los Glaciares National Park is located to the north in Argentine territory.

Belarus - Belarusian State Open Air Museum

I received this card from a Belarusian girl as a thank-you for official cards that I sent her before (maybe it's not very fair that I always send more than 1 card, when I get addresses from certain countries, but it's not prohibited, is it?) ;) It was a really nice surprise :)

This card shows the Belarusian State Open Air Museum, where you can see, what was the life of Belarusian people like in the past. The houses shown on this card were bulit in the beginning of 20th century and come from different regions.

The Netherlands - Haarlem (NL-138088)

This card shows the amazing (although not very old) Cathedral of Saint Bavo in Haarlem. I haven't been there (actually, I've visited only Amsterdam and a few other towns in the Netherlands, mostly at the seaside). According to the sender, this church is the biggest building in Haarlem.


The Cathedral of Saint Bavo
, was built in Haarlem, the Netherlands by the Catholics from 1895 to 1930 to replace
the former Waterstaatskerk St. Joseph. That church was itself a replacement for the Sint-Bavokerk, that had been converted to Protestantism from Catholicism in 1578. The Cathedral of Saint Bavo now serves as the main cathedral for the Catholic diocese of Haarlem. Within the Cathedral, the former sacristy has been converted into a small museum (schatkamer) containing historical artefacts from Haarlem's Catholic past.

Lithuania - Kėdainiai (LT-23428)

It's my first official card from Lithuania :) I'm always glad to send or receive an official card to / from a new country, even if I already have many cards from there. For example, I was extremely happy to receive my first official from Ukraine, although I have about 100 Ukrainian cards in my collection :) I'm still waiting impatiently to send my first official card there... ;) But let's some back to Lithuania :)
This card shows the old town of Kėdainiai in central part of Lithuania.


Kėdainiai is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania. It is located on the Nevėžis River. First mentioned in the 1372 Livonian Chronicle of Hermann de Wartberge, its population as of 2008 was 30,214. Kėdainiai old town from the 18th century is one of the largest in Lithuania.

The former Town Hall, the House of Rectors, the Church of St. George, the Calvinist Church, and the House of Scotch Merchants are notable architectural sites. It was a custom that everyone arriving in Kėdainiai had to bring a stone for the construction of the town. Kėdainiai is also the location of the only minaret in Lithuania. In all, Kėdainiai have two synagogues, one Ortodox church, one Lutheran church, two Catholic churches and one Calvinist church.

Finland - Lapland (FI-440415)

When I found this card in my mailbox, it seemed a bit familiar to me... Later I understood that it was because I already had a card showing the girl, which you can see on the 3rd picture from left in the top line. I really like it, because it gives me wider view of Lapland and people that live there. By the way, I didn't know that reindeers where so white :))


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Croatia - Budihovac island

Here's the last of 3 beautiful postcards that I received in a swap from Croatia. It shows the Budihovac island in Dalmatia. Wikipedia says nothing about it, but the sender wrote that Budihovac is uninhabited islet in the vicinity of the larger island of Vis.

If someone told me that it was an island in some exotic country, very far away from Europe - I would believe, really :)

Portugal - Feira Medieval (PT-69555)

This postcard is something totally new in my collection - it shows the medieval festival, which is held in Santa Maria da Feira (Portugal) each summer. Unfortunately, I couldn't find much information about it, I only learnt that the festival's name is Feira Medieval. I know there are also similar festivals and tournaments in Poland, but I haven't seen any yet.


UK - Cheshire (GB-60554)

I received two wonderful map cards from England as officials during my winter holidays :) It's funny, because I hadn't had any map cards from UK at all and then I received 2 from areas, which are really close to each other :) This one shows the Cheshire county.


Cheshire (also known, archaically, as the County of Chester) is a county in North West England. The county town, and the location of the county council, is the city of Chester, although Cheshire's largest town in terms of area and population is Warrington.

The ceremonial county has an overall area of 2,344 square kilometres (905 sq mi) and has a population of about 993,200.

The county is mostly rural with a number of small towns and villages that support an agricultural industry. It is historically famous for the production of Cheshire cheese, salt, bulk chemicals and the weaving of silk.

Germany - Berlin Bear (DE-269395)

I'm really glad to receive this kind of cards at least sometimes :)) I used to collect teddy bears, when I was a child, I had almost 100 of them and each had his/her own name and story :) I used to write whole stories about their life, they had their own country (which divided into 2 countries later, when some bears wanted democracy instead of monarchy) :) OK, don't laugh at me, I was about 10 then :)) Anyway, all the bears are still with me, it would be too cruel to throw them away :)

This card shows the "Berlin Bear" drawn by Phil, the local artist.


USA - Boston (US-321256)

This postcard shows the North End neighborhood in Boston. According to the sender, there's a large Italian population and many wonderful restaurants. Yes, it really seems to be a nice place to eat something and to drink coffee :) Here's the information from the back side of the postcard:

Opened in 1932, Polcari's Coffee is a neighborhood institution located in Boston's Italian-American North End. The storefront is a gathering place for the elder statesmen of the neighborhood who spend sunny days in lawn chairs advising tourists, listening to the Red Sox, and debating local politics.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Ukraine - Alupka, Crimea

I promised to show you some postcards that I brought from my last trip to Ukraine, but this one I received from Anatoliy :) I still haven't been to Crimea, but I'm quite likely to be able to go there this year :) I'm just not sure about it yet and I don't have any precise plans... I still have several months to think about it :)

The Vorontsovsky Palace (Ukrainian: Воронцовський палац; Russian: Воронцовский дворец) is an historic palace located in the town of Alupka, Ukraine. It is situated at the foot of the Crimean Mountains.
The Vorontsovsky Palace was constructed from 1830-1848, to be used as a summer residence of the governor-general of the Novorossiysky Krai, Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov.

The palace was built according to a project by English architect Edward Blore (1789-1879). The architect did not visit Alupka, but was well informed about the area's mountainous landscape. When construction began, it was discovered that a foundation and the basement of the first portion of the building was already in position, as the palace was first supposed to be constructed on different plans, by architects Francisco Boffo and Thomas Harrison.

Finland - The Arctic Circle (FI-435941)

I really love this card! :) First of all, because I've been interested in geography since early childhood :) It's always been interesting for me, why in the Northern- and Southernmost parts of Earth the night can last even half a year :) Of coruse, now I just understand it, but still, I think it's something worth seeing, not just understanding.
Here's the information about the Arctic Circle from the back side of this card:

The Arctic Circle - A border where the sun does not sink in the summer nor rise in the winter on its northern side - for at least one day a year. While quietly proceeding, the Arctic Circle fluctuates during its journey of 250 kilometres one or two meters every day - swinging back and forth, but nevertheless reaching each end alonf the way at interims of 40 000 years.


Austria - Wachau (AT-27169)

This card shows the beautiful Wachau valley in Austria, which is also a UNESCO site. I've been to asutria, but only to Vienna. There are still so many places to see... I love old castles on hills/mountains. Especially if they're almost completely ruined :) You can see some examples of what I mean on this card :)


The Wachau is an Austrian valley with a landscape of high visibility formed by the Danube river. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations of Lower Austria, located precisely between the towns of Melk and Krems. It is 30 km in length and was already settled in prehistoric times. A well-known place and tourist magnet is Dürnstein, where King Richard the Lion-Heart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V.

The Wachau was added to the UNESCO list of world heritage sites in recognition of its architectural and agricultural history.

Japan - Sumo (JP-54301)

I think that anywhere around the world, if you ask, which sport is typically Japanese, you'll get the same answer: sumo! :) Of course, there are sumo wrestlers in other countries (as far as I know, there are also sumo tournaments here, in Poland, but it's not very popular). I wonder, if this sport has rather positive or negative influence on health and do the wrestlers try to lose some weight, when they stop training sumo?


(相撲) is a competitive contact sport where a wrestler (rikishi) attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring (dohyo) or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. The sport originated in Japan, the only country where it is practised professionally. The Japanese consider sumo a gendai budō (a modern Japanese martial art), though the sport has a history spanning many centuries.

The sumo tradition is very ancient, and even today the sport includes many ritual elements, such as the use of salt for purification, from the days sumo was used in the Shinto religion. Life as a rikishi is highly regimented, with rules laid down by the Sumo Association. Professional sumo wrestlers are required to live in communal "sumo training stables" known in Japanese as heya where all aspects of their daily lives—from meals to their manner of dress—are dictated by strict tradition.

UK - London (ES-33635)

This card was sent from Spain, but shows London, the capital of England. It's not my first card from this city (although it's my first multiview from London and I like it very much), so I think I've already mentioned my school trip to London before :) That was nearly 5 years ago, which seems to be a lot at my age, so I don't remember much (well, I remember some places, but not the city as a whole).


London is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom, and the largest metropolitan area in the European Union. An important settlement for two millennia, London's history goes back to its founding by the Romans. Since its foundation, London has been part of many movements and phenomena throughout history, including the English Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the Gothic Revival. The city's core, the ancient City of London, still retains its limited medieval boundaries; but since at least the 19th century, the name "London" has also referred to the whole metropolis that has developed around it. London is one of the world's most important business, financial and cultural centres and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion and the arts contributes to its status as a major global city.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pakistan - Hunza (PK-450)

I'm sorry for not making any updates for almost a month. I had my winter holidays and spent them... guess where? ;) Yes, of course, in Ukraine!!! :))) The number of my Ukrainian cards has increased very rapidly and I'm going to show you at least some of them soon :)

I was very surprised to receive some official cards from so called "rare countries" during my holidays :) This one is my first official from Pakistan (and I can tell you that this one isn't the card with lowest ID that I've received) :) It shows the Hunza valley and Rakaposhi mountain in Pakistan.


Hunza Valley (Urdu: ہنزہ) is a mountainous valley in Gilgit in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The Hunza valley is situated at an elevation of 2,438 metres (7,999 feet). The territory of Hunza is about 7,900 km² {3,050 mi²). Karimabad (formerly called Baltit) is the main town which is also a very popular tourist destination in Pakistan because of the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains like , Ultar Sar, Bojahagur Duanasir II, Ghenta Peak, Hunza Peak, Darmyani Peak, and Bublimating (Ladyfinger Peak), all 6,000 m (19,685 ft) or higher.

Rakaposhi (Räkapoşi) is a mountain in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. It is situated in the Nagar Valley approximately 100 km north of the city of Gilgit. Rakaposhi means "shining wall" in the local language. Rakaposhi is also known as Dumani ("Mother of Mist"). It is ranked 27th highest in the world and 12th highest in Pakistan, but it is more popular for its beauty than its rank might suggest.

Macedonia - Nevestinsko dance

I received this interesting card from Ana :) It shows Macedonian women dressed in national costumes, representing one of the Macedonian folklore dances called "Nevestinsko", which can be translated as "Bridal". I remember that P.E. teacher at primary school tried to teach us some Polish folklore dances, but for me it's been impossible to learn any dance... Anyway, I like folklore and I enjoy traditional dances, songs, costumes, even if I don't really know much about them :)

Germany - Munich (DE-245058)

This card shows the Chinese tower in English garden in Munich, Germany :)) Yes, it seems to be very international :) It's one of the most popular beer gardens in Munich.


France - Notre-Dame de Paris musical (FR-42369)

It's my first card about a musical:) I haven't watched any musical, even on TV (really), but maybe it's time to change it :))

Notre Dame de Paris is a French-Canadian musical which debuted on 16 September 1998 in Paris. It is based upon the novel Notre Dame de Paris by the French novelist Victor Hugo. The music was composed by Riccardo Cocciante (also known as Richard Cocciante) and the lyrics are by Luc Plamondon.

Since its debut, it has played throughout France, South Korea, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada. A shorter version in English was performed in 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA) and a full-length London production, also in English, ran for seventeen months. The show has also been translated into Italian, Korean, Russian, Catalan, German, Czech, Polish, Spanish, Lithuanian and Belarusian. It has also been translated independently into (but never performed in) Swedish and Armenian.


Finland - Degerby (FI-449793)

This postcard shows the Degerby village in Finland. Unfortunately, I haven't found any further information about it, but, according to the sender, it's only 50km away from Helsinki, the capital of Finland.