Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ukraine - Chernihiv

I received this wonderful card from Helen in the Slavic countries RR :) It shows the Transfiguration cathedral (which is called "The Saviour Cathedral" on the English Wikipedia. I just wonder, which version is correct?) in Chernihiv, which is on my list of Ukrainian cities that I certainly have to visit :) Actually, this list is very long (perhaps it's limited only by the total number of cities and towns in Ukraine) but Chernihiv has been on top of this list for quite a long time. The problem is that I don't know anyone from Chernihiv and that it's too close to Kyiv :) It may sound strange, but I find it much easier to travel between Ukrainian cities, if the distance is something between 400 and 700 kms. Then it's possible to take a night train and to sleep well on the way to another city :) But I'm sure I'll find a good way to go to Chernihiv, as this city is definitely worth visiting :)

Chernihiv, (Ukrainian: Чернігів), is a historic city in northern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Chernihiv Oblast (province). The estimated population of the city is around 299,000 (as of 2006).

Chernihiv was first mentioned in the Rus'-Byzantine Treaty (907) (as Черниговъ), but is considered to have existed at least in the ninth century, as uncovered by archaeological excavations of a settlement which included the artifacts from the Khazar Khaganate. Towards the end of the 10th century, the city probably had its own rulers.

Chernihiv's architectural monuments chronicle two most flourishing periods in the city's history - those of Kievan Rus (11th and 12th centuries) and of the Cossack Hetmanate (late 17th and early 18th centuries.)

The oldest church in the city and in the whole of Ukraine is the 5-domed Saviour Cathedral, commissioned in the early 1030s by Mstislav the Bold and completed several decades later by his brother, Yaroslav the Wise.

USA - Map of Mississippi (US-372995)

I'm still very far away from having map cards of all states of the USA (it's my 5th card showing the map of whole state), but I'm always glad to receive a new one :) This time it's a map of Mississipi state, also called The Magnolia State.
Here some information about the Mississipi state taken from the back side of this card:

Capital: Jackson
State flower: Magnolia
State bird: Mockingbird


Mississippi is a state located in the Deep South of the United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The state's name comes from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, and takes its name from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi ("Great River"). The state is heavily forested outside of the Mississippi Delta area. Its catfish aquaculture farms produce the majority of farm-raised catfish consumed in the United States. The state symbol is the magnolia tree.

The state of Mississippi is entirely composed of lowlands, the highest point being Woodall Mountain, in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, only 806 feet (246 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level at the Gulf coast. The mean elevation in the state is 300 feet (91 m) above sea level.

Finland - Porvoo Cathedral (FI-507799)

I've been receiving a lot of Finnish official cards (just today 3 new ones have arrived here!), so I think I'll have to make updates with cards from this country even more often :) Now I have 10 Finnish cards waiting to be shown on this blog :) Some people complain about receiving too many Finnish landscapes, but, fortunately, I don't have this problem. I'm satisfied with the proportion of landscapes, city views, maps and cards showing people in national costumes in my collection of Finnish cards, which is getting really large :)

This card shows the Porvoo cathedral, which isn't very big (actually, I was surprised to read it was a cathedral), but is quite old - it was built in 15th century (some parts in 13th century).


Porvoo cathedral (Finnish: Porvoon tuomiokirkko, Swedish: Borgå domkyrka) is a cathedral in Porvoo, Finland. It was built in the 15th century, although the oldest parts date from the 13th century. It is used by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and is the seat of the Diocese of Borgå, Finland's Swedish-speaking diocese. The cathedral is also used for services by the Porvoo Finnish-speaking parish, which is administratively part of the Diocese of Helsinki.

The church has been destroyed by fire numerous times; in 1508 by Danish and in 1571, 1590, and 1708 by Russian forces. On May 29, 2006, the outer roof collapsed after arson, however with the inner ceiling undamaged and the cathedral interiors intact.

The Cathedral was the site of opening of first Diet of Finland March 28, 1809 where Finland was declared an autonomous Grand Duchy, with the Emperor of Russia as the Grand Duke of Finland.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Denmark - Jelling Church

It's my first card from Denmark! :) Maybe it's hard to believe, but I hadn't had any Danish card until I received this one, although I've been to Denmark twice. My uncle lives in Copenhagen and I went there with my mother in 1996. I was just 5 years old then, so I don't really remember much. The 2nd time was in 2003, when I visited the Bornholm island on the Baltic sea and I remember it a bit better :) But I still wasn't a postcard collector at that time, so I didn't bring any Danish postcards home.

I received this card from Genek through the UNESCO tag :) The Jelling monuments were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as symbols of the transitional period from paganism to Christianity.

Jelling Church
was built around year 1100 and is the fourth church. Three wooden churches – the first, which was built in the eighth century by Harald Bluetooth as a sort of mausoleum for his father, Gorm the Old, burned down.

The Roman church was built in travertine. In the late Middle Ages, the low western tower was added.

In the beginning, the first Danish frescos were found in the chancel, clearly inspired by Byzantine art. They were, however, not found worthy of preservation and were destroyed in 1875 and the same year replaced by Magnus Pedersen copies. In 1926, the frescos were restored by Johan Thomas Skovgaard, who also did the frescos on the south wall.

The churchyard boasts some of Europe’s finest monuments from the Viking period: Denmark’s two largest grave mounds and two runic stones built by the kings Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth in the eighth century.

Uzbekistan - The Monument of Independence & Humanism in Tashkent

Here's the 2nd of 3 cards that I received in a private swap from Valeriy :) It shows the Monument of Independence & Humanism in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. This country is one of the 15 former Soviet republics and it became independent in 1991, just like Ukraine :) Also the name of the capital city's main square (Independence Square) is the same in Tashkent and Kyiv :)

By the way, I've noticed that most of Uzbek cards (I don't mean just the 3 that I have in my collection, but also the other ones that I've seen in other peoples' galleries) seem to belong to the same set. Perhaps there's one large postcards publisher in Uzbekistan, just like in Malaysia :)

The Mustaqillik (Independence) Square is the heart of Uzbekistan. The Monument of Independence and Humanism, erected at the Mustaqillik Square in 2005 upon the initiative and idea of President Islam Karimov, has been created by the renowned sculptor Ilkhom Jabborov. The monument is a unique complex, which reflects the peaceful policy of Uzbekistan, noble aspirations of the Uzbek people along the path of creation and progress, as well as its future. It has become a tradition to lay the flowers to the Monument during the nationwide holidays and other states festive events. The heads of states and governments of foreign countries, the representatives of various delegations and guests of Tashkent during their stay in Uzbekistan also lay flowers to it. The laying of flowers to the Monument of Independence and Humanism o­n the eve of the 16th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s Independence by heads of embassies and foreign countries is also a symbol of high respect to the Uzbek national traditions.

Germany - Bus 100 in Berlin (DE-307971)

This interesting card gives you a good idea on how to sightsee Berlin, if you don't want or don't have enough time to walk around the city :) You can take the Bus 100 to see all the places depicted on this postcard. I've taken a sightseeing bus just once in my life in Brussels, but I still prefer the "traditional" way of sightseeing, even if I can't visit all the interesting sights this way :)

I read that the Bus 100 enters the Museum Island, which is a UNESCO site. I wonder, if any of the pictures on this card show buildings located on that island? I'm just curious if I can label this card as UNESCO :) I'll be very thankful, if you can help me :)

, nine times the size of Paris, is best explored on foot with the aid of the city’s excellent public transportation system. Of particular use to first-time visitors is bus line 100, a double-decker bus that passes by the major sights while connecting the two centers of this formerly divided city. Bus stops are numerous but for a good overview of the Mitte central district of Berlin take the bus all the way to the end terminus and alight at interesting sights on the way back.

You can read more about the route of this bus here, if you're interested in visiting Berlin :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

China - Wu Hill

This wonderful card was sent from Hangzhou city, the capital of Zhejiang province and shows the sunset over Wu Hill. It seems to be a beautiful place itself (I saw some other pictures on the internet), but the rays of setting sun make this view even more breathtaking.
I've noticed that I usually receive Chinese postcards with many different and interesting stamps. I wonder if you always get such variety of stamps without asking on Chinese post or I'm just lucky with Chinese postcrossers, who care to choose nice ones for me :) Anyway, I find one of these stamps really unusual: it's a Chinese olympics stamp showing... another olympics stamp from Portugal :) I wish Polish postage stamps designers had so great ideas too :)

Wu Hill
situates at the end of hills around the lake, is made up of 10 or more peaks.
It stretches for several miles and extends into the downtown. Besides, it is locally called Chenghuang Hill. There are a lot of odd-shaped rocks and inscriptions on the hill. A strange cluster of rocks which is known as the “Twelve Animal Stones” appears like the twelve animals in the Chinese lunar calendar. On the hill, there are many camphor trees . One of them, the oldest one, “Song Camphor”, is more than 800 years old.

On the top of Wu Hill, there is a pavilion where you can have a view of both Qiantang River and West Lake as the hill locates between Qiantang River and West Lake. Recently, Panoramic View Pavilion and Tea Aroma Tower were built on the Wu Hill. Furthermore ginkgo, Chinese sweet gum, pine tree and evergreen camphor were planted all over the hill to accompany the “Song Camphor”. All these create a more attractive appearance of Wu Hill because the new scene blends perfectly with the old.

UK - The Watercress Line Steam Railway (GB-67928)

Here's something that I really love - trains! :))) I already have several railways related cards in my collection and I still hope to receive more showing trains (both old and modern ones) from different countries and continents :) Some people claim that the popularity of trains in Europe will decrease and that they'll remain only a tourist attraction, as more and more people have their own cars... But I strongly believe in the further development of raliways. Trains are safer and more comfortable than cars. Travelling by train may be faster than by plane (on distances under 1000km), because railway stations are usually located closer to the city center than the airports and you don't have to come to the railway station 2 hours before your train leaves :) Well, I doubt if anyone is going to try travelling by train just because of reading my blog, but I encourage you to do so anyway ;) And no, I don't work for the Polish railways and I don't get any profits for advertising... I'm just an honest enthusiast :)))


The Watercress Line is the marketing name of the Mid-Hants Railway, a heritage line in Hampshire, England, running 10 miles (16 km) from New Alresford to Alton where it connects to the National Rail network. The line gained its popular name in the days that it was used to transport locally grown watercress to markets in London.

In 1861 the Alton, Alresford and Winchester Railway Company was authorised to build a new railway to connect to the existing London & South Western Railway lines at Alton and Winchester. It was opened on 2 October 1865 as the Mid-Hants Railway. Trains were operated by the London & South Western Railway who eventually purchased the Mid-Hants Railway Company in 1884.

The section of line from Alresford to Alton that can be seen today was successfully purchased from British Rail in November 1975. Some of the structures that can be seen on the Watercress Line today were not part of the original railway infrastructure; they have been added to make the line serviceable again and to recreate the feel of a fully-operational steam railway.

France - Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris (FR-46699)

I was very surprised to receive an official card from France written in Ukrainian! :) It was sent by an Ukrainian lady, who lives in Paris :)
I honestly doubt if I've seen the Sacré-Cœur Basilica during my only trip to Paris and I'm rather sure I haven't been inside it (otherwise I'd remember it). When I saw this card for the first time, I thought it was a very old church, but in fact it was completed 1914, which was not so long ago, as for Europe. It reminds me Orthodox churches a bit (although it's a Catholic basilica) and indeed it was built in Romano-Byzantine style.


The Sacré-Cœur Basilica (French: Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, "Basilica of the Sacred Heart") is a Roman Catholic basilica and popular landmark in Paris, France, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.

Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution.

A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, is among the largest in the world.
The basilica complex includes a garden for meditation, with a fountain.
The top of the dome is open to tourists and affords a spectacular panoramic view of the city of Paris, which is mostly to the south of the basilica.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Finland - Aurora borealis (FI-504940)

I think it's time to show you the 2nd card showing aurora borealis that I've received some time ago :) This one comes from Finland and actually I was almost sure that if I ever receive a card showing aurora borealis, it'll certainly come from Finland (and then I received 2 on the same day - from Finland and from Russia) :)

There's some information on the back side of this card. It says: "When the particles of the solar wind hit the atmosphere of the earth the oxygen of the air flares in green light". I understand the words, but still don't understand how it works. And I don't really think I want to understand it. I think that aurora borealis is beautiful even for people, who understand physics and astronomy very well, but I like the feeling that it's something mysterious, even if I know that in fact there is some scientific explaination. I read that auroras occur occasionally also in temperate latitudes, but I've never been lucky enough to see it :(


Aurorae are produced by the collision of charged particles from Earth's magnetosphere, mostly electrons but also protons and heavier particles, with atoms and molecules of Earth's upper atmosphere (at altitudes above 80 km (50 miles)). The particles have energies of 1 to 100 keV. They originate from the Sun and arrive at the vicinity of Earth in the relatively low-energy solar wind. When the trapped magnetic field of the solar wind is favourably oriented (principally southwards) it connects with Earth's magnetic field, and solar particles enter the magnetosphere and are swept to the magnetotail. Further magnetic reconnection accelerates the particles towards Earth.

The collisions in the atmosphere electrically excite electrons to take quantum leaps (a mechanism in which the electron's kinetic energy is converted to visible light); and molecules in the upper atmosphere. The excitation energy can be lost by light emission or collisions. Most aurorae are green and red emissions from atomic oxygen. Molecular nitrogen and nitrogen ions produce some low level red (pink) and very high blue/violet aurorae. The light blue and green colors are produced by ionic nitrogen and the neutral helium gives off the purple colour whereas Neon is responsible for the rare orange flares with the rippled edges. Different gasses interacting with the upper atmosphere will produce different colors, caused by the different compounds of oxygen and nitrogen. The level of solar wind activity from the Sun can also influence the color of the aurorae.

Brazil - Rio de Janeiro

I received this wonderful card from Renato in the Slavic countries RR :) It shows the cable car of Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, together with the Guanabara Bay and Copacabana beach, which is probably the best known beach of Rio, because even I've heard it's name for many times, even though I've never been to Brazil :) Sometimes I really regret this country is fo far away. And I love the places, where mountains are so close to the sea.

Sugarloaf Mountain
(in Portuguese, Pão de Açúcar), is a peak situated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 metres (1,299 ft) above sea-level, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. However, it is believed by some that the name actually derives from Pau-nh-acuqua (“high hill”) in the Tupi-Guarani language, as used by the indigenous Tamoios.

The mountain is only one of several monolithic morros of granite and quartz that rise straight from the water's edge around Rio de Janeiro. A glass-paneled cable car (in popular Portuguese, bondinho - more properly called teleférico), capable of holding 75 passengers, runs along a 1400-metre route between the peaks of Pão de Açúcar and Cara de Cão every 20 minutes. The original cable car line was built in 1912 and rebuilt around 1972/1973 in its current form. The cable car goes from the base, not the peak of the Babilônia mountain, to the Urca mountain and then to the Pão de Açúcar mountain.

Poland - Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

Thanks to the UNESCO tag on postcrossing forum, I've received 2 wonderful cards showing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland :) Actually, I was expecting to receive just one, so it was a great surprise to receive an anvelope with 2 different UNESCO cards! It was a shame to write here about my knowledge of my own country once, so I'm not going to repeat it ;) Writing about it is pointless, because I do absoutely nothing to change it - of course, I could spend my holidays visiting different regions of Poland and learning more about my homeland, but the temptation to go to another country (guess which one) is always too strong :)
I haven't been to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, although it seems to be a very beautiful place, surrounded by forests.

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska park is a Mannerist architectural and park landscape complex and pilgrimage park, built in the 17th century as the Counter Reformation in the late 16th century led to prosperity in the creation of Calvaries in Catholic Europe. It is the best known sanctuary in Poland, after Jasna Góra in Częstochowa. The park, located near the town of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, which took its name from the park, was added in 1999 to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

or Golgotha are the English language/Western Christian names given to the site, outside of ancient Jerusalem’s early 1st century walls, ascribed to the crucifixion of Jesus. The word "Calvary" comes from Calvaria in the Latin Vulgate.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Norfolk Island

Hosting a RR on the postcrossing forum often gives me opportunity to receive cards from very rare countries :) Honestly, I wouldn't believe it if someone told me that I was going to receive a card from Norfolk Island really sent from there. I think I had heard the name of this island before, but I didn't know anything more about it. I've been interested in geography since early childhood, but there are so many small islands on the Pacific Ocean that I just can't remember all of them. I only know the ones that are independent countries, because at age of 7 or 8 I decided to learn names of all independent countries and their capitals... And I still remember them :) But Norfolk Island is an external territory of Australia with population of just 2141 people, so I think it's not very surprising that not everyone knows it :)

This postcard shows the St. Barnabas Chapel, which was consecrated in 1880. According to Jillian, who sent me this postcard, the stained glass windows and the organ were all shipped out from England. It must have been quite a fear to get them onto the island, as there's no harbour!

olk Island (Norfuk: Norfuk Ailen) is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. It and two neighbouring islands form one of Australia's external territories.

The Norfolk Island pine, a symbol of the island pictured in its flag, is an evergreen tree native to the island and is quite popular in Australia, where two related species also grow.

Norfolk Island is located in the South Pacific Ocean, east of the Australian mainland. Norfolk Island is the main island of the island group the territory encompasses. It has an area of 34.6 km² (13.3 mi²), with no large-scale internal bodies of water but 32 km of coastline. The island's highest point is Mt Bates (319 m above sea level), located in the northwest quadrant of the island. The majority of the terrain is suitable for farming and other agricultural uses. Phillip Island, the second largest island of the territory, is located seven kilometres south of the main island.

The climate is subtropical and mild, with little seasonal differentiation. The island is the eroded remnant of a basaltic volcano active around 2.3 to 3 million years ago, with inland areas now consisting mainly of rolling plains. It forms the highest point on the Norfolk Ridge, part of the submerged continent Zealandia.

Germany - Church of Our Lady in Nuremberg (DE-316163)

This wonderful card shows the catholic Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche in German) on the main square of Nuremberg. I used to travel quite often in different West European countries with my dad several years ago and at some moment we started joking that each time we visit a new city, we also visit another gothic cathedral or church :) In fact, some of them are really similar to each other, but this church catched my attention immediatelly, when I received this card. Maybe it's because there are many pinnacles (I still remember some names of architectural details) ;) or because of the nice solar clock? I haven't been to Nuremberg, but it's already my 2nd card from there and I'm convinced it's a very beautiful city.


Emperor Charles IV had the Church of Our Lady's (Frauenkirche) built here between 1355 and 1358 on the site of the destroyed synagogue of the former Jewish quarter (pogrom in 1349). It was the first Gothic hall church in Franconia, constructed as an Imperial court chapel with three aisles. Its builder was presumably Peter Parler, the master builder of the Prague St Vitus' Cathedral. The "Männleinlaufen" ("Running Men" clockwork at noon), created in 1509 by Sebastian Lindenast and Georg Heuß, is reminiscent of the proclamation of the Golden Bull of 1356: seven electors pay homage to Emperor Charles IV sitting on the throne. The main altar is the "Tucher Altar" which was the high altar in the Augustine Church up until 1487. In 1816, the Church of Our Lady's was given to Nuremberg's Catholic congregation.

The Netherlands - Summer snowflake (NL-149230)

Christiane from the Netherlands sent me a card connected with her job. She works at the Utrecht University and the part of it are the botanic gardens. This card is something absolutely new in my collection and it made me search for some information about Leucojum aestivum (though I prefer it's English name - Summer snowflake) :) I can't tell you if I've ever seen such flowers, but I like the small, bell-shaped flowers very much :)


The snowflakes are native to southern Europe, from the Pyrenées to Romania and western Russia, but they have been introduced and have naturalized in many other areas, including the east coast of North America. They have narrow, strap-like, dark green leaves. The flowers are small and bell-shaped, white with a green (or occasionally yellow) spot at the end of each tepal. They have a slight fragrance.

Leucojum aestivum (Summer snowflake)
has a natural range, taking in Europe, southwest Asia and northern Iran, and growing in wetter habitats including damp woodland, riversides and swamps. Despite its common name it also flowers from March to May, though slightly later than the Spring Snowflake. It is a taller plant than Leucojum vernum, growing to around 60 cm (2 ft), but its flowers are smaller and are carried in an umbel of between three and seven.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thailand - The Temple of Dawn in Bangkok (TH-17979)

The last time I received Thai postcards was in summer, so I was happy to find two new ones in my mailbox within a short period of time :) This one comes from Bangkok and shows the Buddhist temple (wat) in Bangkok called Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn). It looks magnificent on the postcard and it's indeed great - it's height is reported by different sources as between 66,80 m and 86 m (I just wonder what's the reason of 20 m difference between those sources).

There are numerous followers of Buddhism and other Eastern religions in Poland, but the places where they meet for prayer usually aren't any special buildings. I doubt if there are any real Buddhist temples in my country, so receiving such postcard, apart from enriching my collection, lets me learn more about this religion.


Wat Arun (Thai: วัดอรุณ, Temple of the Dawn) is a Buddhist temple (wat) in the Bangkok Yai district of Bangkok, Thailand, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The full name of the temple is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahavihara (วัดอรุณราชวรารามราชวรมหาวิหาร).

The outstanding feature of Wat Arun is its central prang (Khmer-style tower). It may be named "Temple of the Dawn" because the first light of morning reflects off the surface of the temple with a pearly iridescence. Steep steps lead to the two terraces. The corners are surrounded by 4 smaller satellite prangs. The prangs are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.

Have I already told you that I love the Thai writing system? No, I can't read it and I don't think I'll ever be able to learn Thai language, but these letters look just like flowers :)

Belarus - Nyasvizh Castle

As many of my official cards got stuck last month, I decided to finally try tagging on the postcrossing forum :) UNESCO tag has immediatelly become my favorite one and I've already received several wonderful cards this way :) My goal of receiving cars showing 100 different UNESCO sites seems to be a bit closer ;)

This card comes from Belarus (And was written in Belarussian! I rarely have any opportunity to practise this language, so I'm always glad about it) and shows the main tower of Nyasvizh castle, which has been a UNESCO site since 2005.

Nesvizh Castle
(Belarusian: Нясьвіскі замак, Niasvižski zamak) is a residential castle of the Radziwill family in Niasviž in Belarus.

The estate was owned by the Radziwiłł magnate family from 1533, when it was awarded to Mikołaj Radziwiłł and his brother Jan Radziwiłł after the extinction of the Kiszka family.

In 1582 Mikołaj Krzysztof "Sierotka" Radziwiłł, the Marshal of Lithuania, started the construction of an imposing square three-storey chateau. Although the works were based on a pre-existing structure of a mediæval castle, the former fortifications were entirely turned into a renaissance-baroque house. Construction was completed by 1604, and they added several galleries half a century later. The château's corners were fortified with four octagonal towers.

In 1994, the castle complex was designated the national historical and cultural reserve. Twelve years later, the castle complex was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Finland - People from Lapland in national costumes (FI-503381)

I'm glad to receive more and more cards showing people in national costumes :) Not surprisingly, most of them come from Finland and especially from Lapland, because this region is probably considered to be the most interesting one, when it comes to indigenous peoples' folklore and traditions.
In most European countries people don't wear the national costumes anymore, even in the villages. There are some groups of people, who want to save the unique folklore, so they wear their traditional costumes for some holidays and events. I wonder, if it's the same also in Lapland? Or maybe the old traditions are still and important part of Sami peoples' life?


By the way, are these animals reindeers? I've never seen a real one, although I used to dream of meeting them, when I still had no doubts in existence of Santa Claus :)))

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Zealand

Believe me or not, it's my first card from New Zealand! :) I think it's just perfect, because it gives me some idea about the country's beauty and variety. I also love this type of multiview cards without borders, so that it seems to be one picture at the first sight :) I find New Zealand really fascinating because of it's maginificent landscapes and also because of the 17 000 kms distance. Maybe there are some small islands farther away from Poland, but New Zealand is definitely the farthest country. Here's the information from the back side of this card:

Beauty of New Zealand: This beautiful land of contrast, from snow clad mountains, fertile plains, magnificent fiords, perfect beaches, lush forest and active volcanoes is a paradise for those who want to visit her shores.

Oh yes, I'd love to visit New Zealand and I know many people who dream of going there even more. I just hope that someday travelling overseas will be easier and cheaper, like it's now between the EU countries. I'm still very young, so I hope this day will come :))

Unfortunately, I don't have any information about the places depicted on this postcard (maybe someone could help me?), but I know that this sweet creature in the down left corner is kiwi - a bird that can be found only in New Zealand :)

A kiwi is any of the species of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand of the genus Apteryx. At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites and lay the largest egg in relation to its body size. All kiwi species are endangered. The kiwi is also a national symbol of New Zealand. Kiwi are shy and usually nocturnal. Their mostly nocturnal habits may be a result of habitat intrusion by predators, including humans. In areas of New Zealand where introduced predators have been removed, such as sanctuaries, kiwi are often seen in daylight. Once bonded, a male and female kiwi tend to live their entire lives as a monogamous couple. During the mating season, June to March, the pair call to each other at night, and meet in the nesting burrow every three days. These relationships may last for up to 20 years

Germany - Bamberg (DE-310457)

I have a lot of reasons to love this card :) First of all, it shows the town of Bamberg, which is a new UNESCO site in my collection (as I promised, I'm going to tell you, when I have 100 of them, but I still don't think it's going to be soon). It is also a map card and my first one with a city map. Morover, there's a beautiful train on the stamp. Last but not least, it's very orange :)))

I think I've already written it for hundreds of times, but it's always very pleasant to receive a card fitting my wishes so well not only because it enriches my collection, but also because it's nice to feel that people, who don't know me at all and get my address randomly care to make me happy :)


Bamberg is a town in Bavaria, Germany. It is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz, close to its confluence with the river Main. Bamberg is one of the few cities in Germany that was not destroyed by World War II bombings because of a nearby Artillery Factory that prevented planes from getting near to Bamberg.

The Old Town of Bamberg is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage, primarily because of its authentic medieval appearance. The city established a documentation centre in 2005 to support World Heritage activities.

Estonia - Koguva village on the Muhu island

I received this beautiful card from Janek in the World Labguages RR, written in Czech :) Koguva is one of the villages on the Muhu island (called Muhumaa in Estonian), which is the 3rd largest island of Estonia, with area of 198 km².

Together with neighbouring smaller islands of Kesselaid, Viirelaid, Võilaid and Suurlaid it forms Muhu Parish, the rural municipality within Saare County. The municipality has a population of 1,822 and covers an area of 206.12 km². The population density is 8.8 inhabitants per km².

was first mentioned in 1532 by Wolter von Plettenberg in document to grant freedom for peasant called Hansken and his son and their descendants. Hansken descendants became called by surname Schmuul later.

Koguva is a small, very peaceful rural village. There are many buildings that are centuries old, dating back to feudal times under Swedish rule, and are still in use today. The northern shore of Muhu, which is claimed to have the clearest water anywhere in the Baltic Sea, is only a short distance away.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy Easter! :)

Actually, I wanted to make an Easter update on my blog on the day, when it was celebrated by the huge majority of Christians around the world, but it was impossible, because I decided to spend my Easter holidays in Ukraine :) But at least I have an opportunity to tell you that I celebrate Easter today :)

I know it may be a bit confusing, but I'll try to explain it :) Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches still use the Julian calendar. In Catholic and Protestant countries, this calendar was replaced by the more correct Gregorian calendar introduced by the Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The reason for this change was that Julian calendar gains a day every 134 years, which means that now the difference between the 2 calendars is 13 days (and it's going to be 14 days after 2100). The Julian calendar was used in Russia until 1917 and that's why we learn about the October Revolution, even though it was in November :) But the old calendar is still used by church and that's why we celebrate all the holidays with fixed dates 13 days later (for example, Christmas is on 7th of January and I can always take an additional day off then - sometimes it's good to belong to a minority) ;)

The situation with Easter is a bit more complicated, because it has to be on Sunday. That's why you can't just add 13 days to the date of Catholic/Protestant Easter to get the date of Orthodox Easter. The way of counting it is quite complicated and I don't want to bore you, so I'll just tell you that in 30% cases we celebrate Easter on the same day as West Christians, in 45% cases (like this year) it's one week later, in 5% cases it's 4 weeks later and in 20% cases it's even 5 weeks later. 2 or 3 weeks difference is impossible.


This year I've received just one Easter card (in Poland sending Easter card is just as popular as sending Christmas cards, but probably in other countries it's not) and it's a nice official from Hungary :)

I want to wish Happy and Blessed Easter to everyone, who celebrates it today! :) I hope that those of you, who celebrated Easter one week ago also enjoyed their holidays and spent them in a nice atmosphere :)

Христос Воскрес!
Христос Воскресе!
Хрыстос Уваскрэс!
Честит Велигден!
Wesołych Świąt Wielkiej Nocy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ukraine - Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv

I'm sorry for not updating my blog for over a week :) I think I'll have to (and I want to) update in daily now, because I've been receiving many wonderful cards, many of them coming from absolutely new countries in my collection, so I just feel like making very frequent updates :)
So what was the reason of my absence? :) Maybe you'll try to guess? ;) ... OK, I know it's not a very hard task, because I'm really crazy about one certain country and I go there each time I have at least 4 days off (less than 4 would be not enough, because I live about 520 kms away from the border and I always go there by train). The Easter holidays in Poland last for 6 days, so I decided to go to Ukraine :) But this time I have a serious reason to justify myself - as I'm planning to study in Kyiv since September (I still can't believe I can do it, although I've been told at the university that I had great chances, just because I can speak fluent Ukrainian) so I had to go there.

I spent just one day in Kyiv this time, but I enjoyed this time very much and spent it as well as I could thanks to Katya, who is my new friend :) I received an official card from her in March and then we started corresponding and talking on Skype. I was very happy and thankful, when Katya offered to help me to find the right university building in Kyiv and to show me some interesting places in the city that I haven't seen yet. Here's one of the cards that I've received from Katya :) It shows the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, which is a UNESCO site.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv
(Ukrainian: Собор Святої Софії, Sobor Sviatoyi Sofiyi or Софійський собор) is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. Today, it is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The first foundations were laid in 1037, but the cathedral took two decades to complete. The structure has 5 naves, 5 apses, and (quite surprisingly for Byzantine architecture) 13 cupolas. It is surrounded by two-tier galleries from three sides. Measuring 37 by 55 meters, the exterior used to be faced with plinths. On the inside, it retains mosaics and frescos from the eleventh century, including a dilapidated representation of Yaroslav's family, and the Virgin Orans.

Finding the office for foreign students at the university was not so easy, as it might seem to be, because they had moved just a week before I came to Kyiv and first nobody wanted to tell us, where should we go... But then I went a bit angry ;) and I said that I travelled 1000 kms and that it was very important for me, so I finally got the right address :) I learned that I should come to Kyiv on 28th of August... It means that I'm going to have a really long summer (more than 3 months), but of course I'll be worried until they accept me there. I've been living in a big city since I was born, but Kyiv is just enormous for me (there are 3,5 mln inbitants in Kyiv, so it's twice bigger than Warsaw, the capital and largest city of Poland). Now I feel I could get lost there very easily, but I'm sure I'll get used to living there if I have such opportunity.

By the way, my new avatar is a photo taken next to the main post office of Kyiv on the Independence Square :))

Spending last Friday in Kyiv convinced me that postcrossing is not only a great project which lets you receive wonderful cards from around the world, but it also helps to meet very nice people and to make friends :) For me that was the first time to meet someone that I know from postcrossing in so called "real life" and that was a great experience :)

Катя, я не знаю, чи ти заглядаєш на мій блоґ, але якщо ти це читаєш - я хочу ще раз подякувати тобі за твою допомогу та за чудово проведений час у Києві :) Сподіваюся, що у нас ще буде нагода повторити це, можливо не лише у Києві та не лише в Україні ;) Мені справді дуже пощастило, що я познайомилась з тобою :) ДЯКУЮ! :)

Malaysia - Rubber plantation

I received this interesting card in the Slavic countries RR. I love cards showing something typical for the country, which isn't a typical tourist attraction. According to Lay Hoon, who has sent me this card, Malaysia used to be the No. 1 rubber exporter in the world. I guess that now most of rubber we're using is synthetic, because it must be cheaper and easier to produce it. Working at such plantation is very hard, because the rubber tappers have to remove a thin layer of bark along a downward half spiral on the tree trunk each night or early in the morning, before the temperature rises. If it's done carefully and with skill, this tapping panel will yield latex for up to 5 years.

Rubber tapping is the process by which rubber is gathered. An incision is made in the bark of a rubber tree, which cuts through the latex vessels that flow between the bark and the cambium. The latex then drips into a vessel. This industry is prevalent in areas of tropical rainforest, such as Brazil in the Roraima area or Malaysia and generally grows within a band 10° north or south of the equator, which offers optimum growing conditions. In the rubber tree's native habitats, it is less destructive to the environment and rainforest and provides a renewable source of wood which can be used within the furniture industry. However, in Southeast Asia where it is non-native, it is grown in monoculture plantations created by felling large areas of rainforest.. Large scale plantations operate on a 20 - 25 year planting cycle to optimise the latex yield.

By the way, I've noticed that many Malay cards (from different regions) belong to the same set with white frame and writting "Malaysia" with the country's flag. I wonder, how many cards are there is this set and are they really so popular around the country? Maybe they're some kind of "official" Malay cards? I already have 2 such cards, my mother received other 2, when she was trying postcrossing and I've seen much more of them in other peoples' collections :)

Finland - Teijo church (FI-501032)

This card shows the altarpiece of Teijo church, located in Salo region of Finland. I thought it would be impossible to find any information about it, but I found out that it was probably the smallest stone church in Finland. It was completed in 1830. And it was sent with a very nice Easter stamp :)


I like magnificient cathedrals, because they're interesting from the historic and touristic point of view. But I prefer the atmosphere of small churches, because it's so much easier to think, pray or just calm down there. I don't know, what does the whole Teijo church look like, but knowing it is a small stone building I suppose I would feel really good there :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Brazil - Barra Lighthouse in Salvador

Here's one of the 3 postards that I received in a swap from Karina yesterday :) I could choose them myself and this one was the first, which caught my attention and I immediatelly decided that I would like to have it in my collection :) I love this card especially because of it's contrast between the sea and land. And I like lighthouses, although they're not on my wishlist (I just don't want it to be too long). This lighthouse (Farol in Portuguese - I'm starting to like this language ;) First "salina" then "farol"... really nice words!) is located in the Barra neighborhood on Salvador city (the capital of Bahia state).

By the way, I'm glad I could choose the cards myself :) Sometimes I think I should create my own album with cards for trade. But the problem is that I actually rarely travel in Poland, so most of the cards would be from just one city (Wrocław) and from Ukraine :)) To be honest, I don't even keep many cards from Wrocław at home. I always have some typical city views for people that don't have any specified wishes, but in the other cases I'm trying to choose a card fitting someone's wishes after I get his/her address. I used to buy many cards and stamps at time, but later I decided that I prefer choosing the cards and going to the post office nearly everyday :)) But I'd like to know your opinion - do you prefer swapping with people that have albums with cards for trade?

Barra is a neighborhood located in the southern zone of Salvador. The Barra is one of the neighborhoods most traditional of Salvador, the capital of Bahia, belonging to Administrative Region VI, of the same name. It has a unique geographical location in the world, where you can see both the birth and the sunsets at sea, it occupies the apex of the peninsula is where the city. Salvador's "postcard" neighborhood, Porto da Barra boasts a mix of old and new Bahia.

Barra has good shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, residences, green areas, events and historic monuments. The neighborhood is subdivided in the following areas: Jardim Brasil, Porto da Barra, Chame Chame, Jardim Apipema, Avenida Centenário, Ladeira da Barra. Barra concetrates a large number of old people and persons from many parts of Brazil and the world.

The neighborhood of Barra is confined to the districts of Victoria, Grace and Bar Avenue (North), Ondine and Call-Call (the east), the Atlantic Ocean (the south) and the Bay of All Saints (east). This location makes the bar is one of the only places in Brazil where Continental is the sunset at sea.

France - Bourges Cathedral (FR-45552)

This beautiful card shows the Bourges Cathedral, which has been a UNESCO site since 1992. I used to think that the gothic cathedrals in Poland are really great, until I went to Belgium and France and saw really enormous and magnificient churches. Actually, it doesn't mean that I like them more than the ones in Poland, because I still feel better and find it easier to pray in small churches. Anyway, when I travel, I always want to visit the cathedrals or other churches to see, how different they are in other countries. I haven't been to Bourges, but if I go there someday, I'll definitely visit the Saint Stephen Cathedral. I'm not good at architecture, but looking at this card I have an impression that this cathedral doesn't seem to be "heavy", even though it's really big. I'm not surprised that it was inscribed on the UNESCO list :)

Bourges Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges) is a cathedral, dedicated to Saint Stephen, located in Bourges, France. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Bourges. Construction of Bourges Cathedral began in 1195, the same time as Chartres Cathedral. The choir was completed by 1214 and the nave was completed in 1225-1250. The west façade was finished in 1270. The architect was Paul-Louis Boeswillwald and the master builder was Philip Berruyer. The cathedral was added to the list of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1992. Bourges is notable for the unity of its design, seen in no other cathedral of the High Gothic era. It features two distinct horseshoe aisles that wrap around a central nave and choir). The inner aisle has a higher vault than the outer aisle. Each ambulatory/aisle has its own portal at the west end. The five portal entrance necessitated more careful design to create a more coherent façade. This also eliminated the usual cross-shaped transept design. The gallery is absent; instead the inner aisle has been raised. This gives the cathedral a pyramidal shape under the buttresses. The flying buttresses are very structurally efficient (particularly compared to those at Chartres, which is a contemporary structure) as the steep angle channels the thrust from the nave vaults and from wind loading more directly to the outer buttress piers.