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.

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