Sunday, April 27, 2008

Germany and Croatia

Just a small entry today to show 2 postcards that arrived Friday. First up is a card from Grevenbroich, Germany. It was sent as a private swap from Isabelle K. She is a fellow Postcrosser. The card shows her hometown and she says the area is well-known for brown coal . As a result many industries using electricity have established in the area. The stamp on the card is the Astrid Lindgren commemorative of 2007. She is famous for Pippi Longstocking. I have shown this particular stamp in an earlier blog.

The other card is from Rijeka , Croatia. It was sent by Dragan Buskulic of the blog World of Stamps located at . Rijeka is the principal seaport of Croatia. With approximately 144 thousand inhabitants, it is Croatia's third largest city. Rijeka is located on the Adriatic, at a point where the sea has made its deepest incision into the European continent. Dragan has used 2 wonderful stamps, one of which shows Blanka Vlasic, a Croatian high jumper and current world champion. Vlasic, born November 8, 1983 in Split, became a world champion at the 2007 World Championships with a jump of 2.05 m. Her personal best though is 2.07 m, set on Aug 07, 2007.

More tomorrow, tune in then.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Portugal and Finland Postcards

Two postcards arrived in the mailbox today. Both are from Postcrossers. The card from Portugal was sent by Liliana and shows the Dom Luis Bridge in Porto. This bridge is an arch bridge that spans the Douro River between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. At the time of it construction , its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world. Total length of the bridge is 385.25 m and it weighs 3045 tons. The arch measures 172 m and is 44.6 m in height. It was built between 1881 and 1886. Liliana used a March 25, 2008 stamp, 1 of a set of 4 issued for International Year of Planet Earth. A very appropriate stamp , having arrived just 1 day after Earth Day 2008.

I am not showing the card from Finland even though I do want to acknowledge it. It was sent by Maijal Leena . The card shows a Moomin character , about which I have written before. I do want to show the stamp that Maijal used. It was issued on February 2,2008 and is a definitive stamp showing the flower, Sweet Pea. The interesting thing about the stamp is that it has incorporated Braille in the design.The sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus), an annual climbing plant with large blossoms, is the picture theme on a non-value indicator stamp with lettering in Braille for the blind. The Braille lettering on the stamp reads “1 lk. kl.” (1st class) and in the margin of the sheet is “Suomi Finland”. The stamp was designed by Leena Airikkala.

The system of reading by touch was invented by the Frenchman Louis Braille in 1825. The system is based on six dots which can be combined to form 63 different symbols, like letters and punctuation marks. Numbers are formed by combining two or more signs. Braille is taught in all the countries of the world by a decision ratified by UNESCO.

There was also Braille on three Butterfly stamps issued in 1992 in a stamp series for the Finnish Red Cross. It was then the centenary of vocational training for the visually challenged in Finland.

A final note on Braille and stamps . On April 21, 2008 Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp, to coincide with the Montreal Association for the Blind's 100th anniversary , paying homage to the contributions of guide dogs. The stamp denomination appears in Braille.

That everything I have for this time. Enjoy your postcards and stamps.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cards from England and Finland

I have two cards to show today. The first one is from England and was sent to me by Chas Gilbert of Derbyshire, UK. He said on the card that he just stumbled across my blog and decided to send a postcard. Thanks Chas. The card shows a number of miniature locomotives that make up the Steeple Grange Light Railway , near Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Chas used 3 Machin definitives on the card. The larger 1ST stamp on the right was issued in 2006.

My second card for today is from Finland. It was sent by Pertti of Helsinki. The card shows Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki. It was built in 1968-1969 and designed by the architect brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. The church is built into solid rock and is ofter known as the Church of the Rock. This Lutheran Church, visited by about a half million people annually, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Helsinki.
The stamp used by Pertti is 1 of a set of 6 issued in 2004 honoring Jean Sibelius. The one on my card shows Ainola, the home of Sibelius, Finland's greatest composer. The house names Ainola, after his wife Aino, is a destination of pilgrimage for music lovers and admirers of Sibelius. Ainola stands on the edge of the town of Jarvenpaa, 38 kilometres North of Helsinki. The house was built early in the 20th century to a design by the architect Lars Sonck, a leading exponent of the Art Nouveau style.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A St. Vincent & The Grenadines Card

I have just a small entry today. I received in today's mail just one card. It was from St. V incent & The Grenadines. The back of the card was completely blank except for my name and address. I can't tell you who sent the card or why. There are 2 nice stamps on the card. The 30 cent stamp on the right shows 1 of a set of 4 , issued in 2007 , featuring insects. The larger 70 cent stamp on the left unknown to me. I wasn't able to locate any info about it.
The card shows Canouan, one of the islands that make up The Grenadines of St. Vincent. The country is located in the south Eastern Caribbean , 90 miles west of Barbados. Canouan is a crescent shaped island, about 25 miles south of St. Vincent. It is surrounded by wide shallows and coral. A scuba diver's dream.

That's all she wrote for today. Tune in again tomorrow.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Postcards From The US , Philippines and Luxembourg

I have been a little lax in blogging this past week. Since my last entry on Monday, the 14th I have received a number of cards. I will be showing cards from New Mexico, USA , Philippines and Luxembourg. In addition to these I have also received 3 cards from Zhou Fan in P.R. China all with very nice stamps. My first card today is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It was sent by Jamie, a fellow Postcrosser. She used the 2007 , Okefenokee Swamp airmail rate stamp. The Okefenokee is a shallow, 438000 acre peat-filled wetland on the Georgia-Florida border. I like this card because it shows hundreds of hot air balloons in the sky over Albuquerque.This brings back a great memory for me. It was on July 17th , 1999 that I had my first and only hot air balloon ride. It was a gift from my wife Teena to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my employment with Canadian Airlines International.

The next card is from Jane from The Philippines. She has a postcard blog called Postcards and Places at .The card shows Willy's Rock , just off Boracay Island , Philippines. Willy's Rock is Boracay's most recognizable attraction, an oddly shaped volocanic formation topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary. Boracay is a tropical island located about 315 km south of Manila and 2 km of the Northwest tip of the island of Panay in the Western region of the Philippines. It is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. Jane used a number of 2007 definitives featuring birds and butterflies.

The final card for today is from Luxembourg and was sent by Krista M. She is also a Postcrosser but this card is the result of a private swap between us. The card shows various scens of luxemboourg at Christmas time , with snow on the ground. According to Krista snow is a rare event in Luxembourg. She says that it even snowed 2 days April of this year, a really strange event. I wish I could say snow was strange in April here is Calgary, but I'm sure no one would believe me. Well, believe me when I say it's been snowing here now continuously for over 24 hours, with more snow the next 2 or 3 days. I would estimate about 25 centimeters so far. Oh well, back to postcards and stamps. Krista used 2 nice stamps on her card. The one on the left was issued in 2001 and is 1 of a set of 6 highlighting the Euro. The stamp on the right is a 2005 issue , 1 of a set of 3 butterflies. The one on this stamp is Argyannis Paphia, the Silver -Washed Fritillary- a European species of butterfly.

Thanks to Krista, Jane, Jamie and Zhou fan. I can't do this without you guys.
More tomorrow , hopefully.

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Postcards and Another New Country , Haiti #183

I received a number of postcards today. Four were from Cape Verde, and one each from Japan, Belgium and Haiti. Haiti is the latest new country in my world postcard collection. It is the 183rd country from which I have received a stamped postcard. One doesn't see a lot of mail from Haiti, so I consider myself quite lucky to have received it. It was sent to me by Brian T who lives in Petion-ville, a suburb of the capital Port Au Prince. The card took just over a month to reach me , having been posted on March 12, 2008. Petion-ville is primarily a residential and tourist area. It is one of the most affluent areas of the capital , with many foreign diplomats and foreign businessmen residing within its boundaries. The card shows Cormier Beach in the district of Labadee. Brian used a 1996 Christmas stamp. It is 1 of a set of 6 highlighting paintings. The one on my card is Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano.

Haiti is a French and Creole speaking Latin American country located in the Greater Antilles archipelago on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti has a total area of 27,750 square kilometres and a population of approximately 8.8 million. It is one of the most impoverished nations on earth and the least-developed in the Americas.


The second card I am showing today is from Japan. It was sent by Tuyet Mai who writes the blog Covers and FDCS of the World at She used 2 stamps on the card. The smaller one on the left was issued in 1997 , 1 of a set of 3 definitives, showing flowers and insects that pollinate flowers. The stamp on the right was issued in 2002 , 1 of a set of 4, showing flowers in Niigata, the city where Tuyet Mai lives.
The card shows the front of a temple in Koyasan. Koyasan is the spiritual center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, which was established by a priest named Kukai about 1200 years ago. On this sacred mountain, about 1000 meters above sea level, there are temples, towers and a huge graveyard that houses Kukai's mausoleum. Koyasan has been added to the UNESCO's World Heritage list as part of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain range. Koyasan made the list on July 7, 2004.


The last card for today is one from Belgium. It was sent by Postcrosser Heidi. It shows the town of Tienen. Tienen is known in Belgium as the center of sugar production. It has a population of approximately 32000 people and is also know for its summer rock festival Suikerrock. Heidi used a 2007 stamp , a definitive featuring His Majesty, The King of The Belgians, Albert II.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Country # 182

Today I received 3 postcards from Cape Verde, increasing my country collection to 182. The cards were sent by Kaka Babroza, a blogger in Cape Verde. The Republic of Cape Verde is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa. The islands were discovered in the fifteenth century and attained independence in 1975. Cape Verde is named after Cap Vert in Senegal, the westernmost point of continental Africa. The cards received showcase Sao Vicente, Maio and Fogo, 3 of the 10 main islands that make up Cape Verde. Fogo is the only one of the islands to have an active volcano. It's last eruption was April 3 , 1995 and it covered the island with a cloud of ash. Many residents were evacuated as their homes were destroyed. Mount Fogo is the highest peak of Cape Verde, at 2829 metres above sea level.
The stamp that Kaka used is a 2007 issue showing the eruption of Mount Fogo.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lots of Postcards Today

I received 6 postcards in todays mail. Three were from Belgium, two were from Kosova and one was from People's Republic of China. The Belgium cards were from Tine W of Vosselaar , Belgium. The Kosova cards were sent by Artur who lives in Prishtina, Kosova. The PR China card was sent by Zhou Fan of Fujian .The stamps on all the Belgium cards were all the same. It is a 2007 definitive issue showing a Dahlia. The first card shown is of a fort in the South of Belgium, in Namur. It shows a men's folklore group on stilts. The other card shown from Belgium shows the Saint Cornelius Chapel in Beerse. This is a municipality located in the Belgium province of Antwerp. Beerse has a population of approx 16500.

I want to show just one of the Kosova cards. It pictures again a men's folklore group dancing. The stamp on the card again is The Independence Day stamp which I blogged about previously.

The PR China card is a smaller than normal postcard. It measures 125X78 cm. It appears to be an advertising card for China Telecom or China Net. It is a pre-stamped postcard to which Zhou Fan has added 3 additional stamps. The small one near the center is a 2002 definitive highlighting the environment. It is 1 of a 4 value set. The large stamp on top left was issued in 1997 ,1 of a set of 4 featuring Literature. The bottom left stamp was issued in 1998 , 1 of 8 values in a Souvenir Sheet, featuring tropical fish and issued for a postal congress.

No new countries today, but I'm always trying for them. By my count I have 70 more to get. The battle continues.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Banner Postcard Day

Today I received 2 postcards in the mail, both of them from new countries in my collection. They make countries # 180 and 181. The countries in question are Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK North Korea) and the world's newest country , Kosova, which attained independence on 17Feb2008. First I will talk about the DPRK card. Back in March of 2006 when I started collecting postcards I felt that it was near impossible to receive a postcard from DPRK. I felt that a complete collection from every stamp issuing country or entity was probably just a dream. Well today , April 04, 2008, just a little over 2 years later, my dream just got a little closer to completion. I have received a postcard from North Korea. Thank you Hannah. She knows who she is, so I can leave it at that. I am actually impressed with the post service on this card , also. Hannah wrote the card on 26March , it was postmarked in Pyongyang 29March and arrived in my mailbox in Calgary, Canada 04April. That's not bad at all from North Korea to Canada. The stamp that Hannah used is 1 of a set of 12 definitives issued in 2002. I am a little surprised that it doesn't have The Glorious Leader on it, but it is a nice stamp just the same. The postmark reads DPR of Korea, 2008 03 29, Pyongyang . The front of the card shows an Air Koryo aircraft inflight. Air Koryo is the state owned national air carrier of North Korea. The aircraft shown is a rather old Soviet built Ilyushin-62. Just a wonderful addition to my collection.

The 2nd card today is from the new Republic of Kosova. Kosova declared independence on February 17, 2008. The card was sent by Artur of Pristina. The stamp used was issued March 19, 2008 to mark Kosova's Independence. The Independence Day Stamp is dedicated to all those who have contributed by their hard work, as well as sacrificed their lives for the liberation and announcement of the independence of the country of Kosova.

This card from Kosova now completes the European part of my world collection. So all in all this is certainly a banner day, a landmark day in this collectors postcard quest.

Take care and visit again soon.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Postcards, Postcards, and more Postcards

Again today I have three postcards to show and write about. They come from 3 different areas of the world. From the hot desert island of Bahrain, to the snow and cold of Greenland, to the sand and sun of Mauritius. First up is the Bahrain postcard. It shows The Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is a 400 year old mesquite tree in Bahrain which is considered a natural wonder. This unique tree stands alone in the desert about 2 kilometers from Jebel Al-Dukhan, the highest point of land in Bahrain. The source of water for this tree still remains a mystery, because it stands in a place completely free of water whatsoever. Truly a mystical wonder. This card was sent by a Postcrosser who goes by the name of Sheyma the Humanette. She has sent me a number of postcards for which I am quite grateful. Thanks Sheyma. The stamp used is 1 of 16 different values in a multi-sheet from 2002, all bearing the likeness of The king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.

The second card from Mauritius was sent by Beth Taylor, who actually lives in Saudi Arabia. Mauritius is an island nation off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean , about 900 kilometers east of Madagascar. Mauritius , in 1847, became the 5th country to issue postage stamps.The two types of stamps issued then, the red penny and the blue penny are probably the most famous stamps in the world, being very rare and considered to be among the most valuable. Beth used a couple of very nice stamps on this card. They were issued in 2006 as a set of 4 showing traditional games for children. The games consist of marbles, as shown on the card, hop-scotch, kite flying and sapsiwaye ( something like hacky sack). I'd certainly like to have the complete set of 4.

The final card for today is from Greenland . It has 2 different stamps , one a definitive from 2002 showing Margrethe II , Queen of Denmark and the other is 1 of a set of 3 issued 2006 showing eatable mushrooms. The card was sent from the Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat, which is located 250 km north of the Arctic Circle in Disko Bay at the west coast of Greenland. Ilulissat is Greenland's most popular tourist destination on account of its proximity to the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Hertitage Site. Greenland, the world's largest island, is a self-governing Danish province located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

That's all for today, more tomorrow , hopefully.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jersey, Uruguay and Bhutan Postcards

Three postcards to show and write about today. First up is a card from Jersey. This postcard is quite interesting . The scene on the card shows St Ouen's beach on Jan 30, 2005 when 5000 people stood together to spell ''Side by Side " to symbolize Jersey's support for regions devastated by the tsunami. It is important to note that all proceeds from the sale of this postcard went to the British Red Cross.
The Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. Together with the Bailiwick of Guernsey it forms the grouping known as The Channel Islands. Jersey is not park of the UK, nor the European Union, but is rather a separate possession of the British Crown, much like the Isle of Man.
The stamp used on this card is the highest value in a set of 6 issued in 2006, featuring postal history - in this case Royal Mail Delivery vans. The one on this stamp is a 1969 Morris Minor.

The second card is from Uruguay. The card shows Suspiro's route. It is a very narrow stoned paved street. At both sides are typical houses belonging to the first half of the 18th century. Salto is the second city of Uruguay with a population of 99072 in 2004. It is situated 496 km Northwest of Montevideo on the Uruguay River, opposite the Argentine city of Concordia. One of the attractions of Salto are the thermal ponds nearby. They are kept at over 38 degrees C. year round.
A couple of stamps were used to mail this card. The small stamp is a 2007 issued overprinted value stamp showing a giant armadillo. The larger stamp , issued 2006, commemorates 250 years of Salto city.
My last card today is from Bhutan. It's not often one sees mail from there, but I was lucky enough to have a postcard sent. The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked nation state in the Himalaya Mountains, sandwiched between India and Tibet. The Bhutanese call their country Druk Yul ( land of the thunder dragon). Bhutan is one of the most isolated and least developed nations in the world. Nevertheless survey data from the country suggest it is also one of the happiest on Earth. In March 2008, Bhutan held its first democratic elections.
The stamp on this card shows a Takin. The Takin is a goat like antelope found in the Eastern Himalayas. The Takin is also the National Animal of Bhutan. They stand 110-120 centimeters at the shoulder and can weigh up to 350 kg.

Tune in tomorrow for more words of wisdom.