Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Snow Day

Well it's snowing here again in southern Alberta, Canada. It snowed yesterday and temperatures are in your boots. It's just miserable. Where is summer? Oh well, I guess it's a good day for postcards and blogging. Without further ado the cards.
Today's first card comes from Skopje, Macedonia. Of course it has to be from Ana , as I know no one else in Skopje. The card shows the St. Pantelejmon Monastery . This is one of the oldest and most important churches in Macedonia. The monastery was built in 1164 and contains a treasure trove of Byzantine art within its walls. Located 770 metres up Mount Vodno, it offers a superb view of the city of Skopje. Ana used 2 stamps from 2005 which are both new to my collection. They are a set of 2 that features different types of Transport, in this case an automobile and a glider. Thanks Ana , it's always good to get a card from you.

The next two cards are from Slovenia and both were sent as a result of a private swap with a member of Postcrossing. We have also exchanged a few stamps and souvenir sheets and hope to do so again. The first card is a great view of the capital Ljubljana and the river running through the city. The stamps on this card , the left stamps is from a 2007 definitive set of 17 values and the right stamp is from 1 2009 set of 3 featuring insects.The second card from Slovenia shows Triglav National Park. It is the only Slovenian national park . It is named after Triglav, the highest mountain in the park and also the highest in Slovenia at 2844 metres. The mountain is a national symbol and is featured on the national coat of arms and the flag. The stamp on the left is from 2010 and is 1 of a set of 3 featuring flowers. The other stamp , from 2009, is 1 of 2 Europa stamps featuring Astronomy. Thanks for these, you know who you are.

Now a card from Singapore. Here's an interesting question. What do you get when a building in Singapore is designed by an Irishman, working for a British firm, is surrounded by roads with Omani and Afghan names, and was funded by Malays, Bugis, Javanese, Indians and Arabs? The answer of course is Sultan Mosque. It is one of Singapore's oldest mosques. The first Sultan Mosque was built about 1824, however the present mosque as shown was started in 1925 and completed in 1928. This card was sent by Janet, another Postcrosser. The stamp that Janet used is the 2010 Year of The Tiger stamp . Thanks Janet.

Today's final card comes from Romania. It is a postcard of Peles Castle. This is a historical monument situated in the Carpathian Mountains , near Sinaia, Romania. The castle was built between 1875 and 1883. Emil sent along this card and wants to swap cards every now and then. Sounds like a good idea to me. The stamp on the left is from a 2005 definitive set of 7 pottery stamps. The other stamp is from 2007 and is 1 of 4 showing ceramic objects. Thanks Emil and I look forward to other cards from you.

That's my update for today. Hope you readers enjoyed what I had today. Of course , if you don't leave a comment, I'll never know. So come on , tell me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jean Pierre's Day

Today I want to do something a little different. For the past 2 months I have received a number of cards from Jean Pierre of Paris, France. I have shown only one of his cards previously , so today I will only show cards that he has sent. The cards are quite nice and Jean Pierre always seems to use wonderful and different stamps that are new to my collection. Also of note, the postmarks. They are always of somewhere different and special and always quite readable.
Jean Pierre's first card is from Paris, the capital. It shows , among others, Le Pont Neuf or The New Bridge. It is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris. The bridge is comprised of 7 plus 5 spans for a total of 12 and is 232 metres in length. Construction started in 1578 and was completed in 1607. The stamp on the left is from a 2002 multi sheet of 10 ( 5 different designs ) featuring photos . The stamp on the right is from a 2003 set of 6 celebrating novel heroes. And, of course, it's hard not to notice the special postmark.

The next card is also from Paris. It shows La place du Tertre and Montmartre. Montmartre is known as the last village of Paris and Le Place du Tertre is in the heart of Montmartre. Over the years , many pennyless painters , including Pablo Picasso, have lived there. In the upper center of the card one can see the Sacre-Coeur Basilica . The 2 stamps on the left are from a multi sheet of 10 featuring automobiles. The Bugatti and the Citroen are on the two stamps shown. The stamp on the right is a 20 gram priority letter rate stamp of which I know little else. Again, notice the special postmark.
Card number 3 is one that Jean Pierre sent from Auvergne, one of the 26 regions of France. It is postmarked at Vichy. Vichy is known as a spa and resort town. It was in the de facto capital of Vichy France during the World War II Nazi occupation from 1940-1944. The card bears an image of a castle in the Cevennes, a range of mountains in south central France. Jean Pierre used another of the 2000 automobiles set , this time a Volkswagen along with another different 20 gram priority letter rate stamp. Another great and different postmark.

The shoreline of Brittany is shown on our next card. Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in north west France. It lies between the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. The coast of Brittany is unusual due to its colouring. Pink granite rock is found here. It is 1 of only 3 places in the world where one finds this pink rock. May artists have painted the coastline and its many villages, including Paul Gauguin, who painted in the area of Finistere , where this card was postmarked. The stamp used here is a 2010 Vancouver Olympics stamp from a set of 2 issued in February. This one highlights figure skating.
The final card from Jean Pierre for today was actually mailed from Scotland. It is a card of the Forth Bridge . The Forth Bridge is a railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in east Scotland. It is to the east of the Forth Road Bridge and 14 km west of Edinburgh. It is currently the longest cantilever bridge in the world for rail transport and the second longest cantilever bridge in the world. It is 2,587.7 meters in length and was opened on March 4th, 1890. The British stamps used include, left to right, from 2006, 1 of 8 issued to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday, from 1987 , 1 of 4 issued to promote safety at sea and from 1987, 1 of 4 celebrating Isaac Newton.
What more can I say except a big Thank You to Jean Pierre and there are cards on the way from Alberta to you. I hope our exchange of postcards can continue. It has been wonderful so far.
Thanks again.

Monday, May 24, 2010

No Mail Today, It's Victoria Day

Today , May 24th , is observed as a National Holiday in Canada. It is Victoria Day, and as such there is no mail delivery. However since I received many cards while I was away , I have no problem finding a few postcards to blog about. I will be looking at 2 aircraft on postcards and 2 others.Alaska is where our first card comes from. It is a card showing a float plane flying by Misty Fjords. Misty Fjords National Monument is a protected area on the Pacific Ocean coast of southeastern Alaska. It covers 2,294,343 acres. It is often called The Yosemite of The North. Kris of postcardkris fame sent this card along. He knows that I like aircraft on postcards cards and has sent along a number of them over the last while. Kris used a 2006 Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina/Tennessee stamp. I have shown this stamp before, so no image today. Thanks Kris.

The second aircraft on card postcard shows a Canadian Airlines International B747 on the ramp at sunset. The paint scheme or livery was altered to include the names of well over 1000 employees of the airline. Sadly , Canadian no longer flies but take my word for it, it was a Great airline. I worked for 5 different airlines over the years but Canadian was the best and its employees were the best. My lovely Teena knows how much I enjoyed that part of my career and came across this card and sent it through the mail to me. Thanks Teena. The stamp on the card is a 2010 Vancouver Olympic stamp showing cross country skiers.
Our next card is from The Vatican . It shows The Gallery of Maps in The Vatican Museum. The gallery is a collection of topographical maps of the whole of Italy, painted on the walls by friar Ignazio Danti. The gallery was commissioned in 1580 and took three years to complete. Jerry and Bev , friends of mine, who were traveling in the area in April sent this card. The Vatican stamp is from 1 set of 3 issued in 2009 for a IFLA conference. Thanks guys.

Finally, the last card is from Israel. It shows the women's section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The card is from Postcrosser Juri, who used 3 stamps, the most interesting of which is the top stamp. It is i of 3 issued in 2004 for the Athens Olympic Games.
That is today's update ,take care.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Five Postcards

Here I am again with a number of cards that arrived mostly while I was away. There was no particular reason for choosing these other than they were in the pile. First up is a card from Burundi. The card shows the Livingstone - Stanley Monument at Mugere, 15 km south of the Burundi capital of Bujumbura. It marks a location where Dr David Livingstone and Henry Stanley spent 2 nights on 25-27 November 1871. However, it is not the spot where Stanley uttered the famous words "Dr Livingstone, I presume ? ". Scratched into the rock can be seen
The card is from Rosel, a fellow Canadian from Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada. She is in Burundi doing missionary word with her family and has a blog of their work at . The beautiful Bird stamp is from 2009 and shows a vulture.
The next card is from Germany. Is shows a circle of United Buddy Bears. They are scattered all over Bear-lin. They are a series of painted life-size fibreglass bear sculptures developed in Berlin that help promote tolerance and understanding among different nations, cultures and religions. The card was sent by SR , a fellow Postcrosser.

Now for a nice animal card from Kenya. It is a pair of African Lions. Bhavin, a reader of this blog, sent the card along. He used a number of stamps including 3 bird stamps from a set of 13 different definitives issued in 1993. Also shown is a hexagon shaped stamp from 2009 commemorating 100 years of the East Africa Natural History Society.

Italy is the origin of our next card. The Cathedral in Milan card was sent along by another Postcrosser. This building took 5 centuries to complete and is the fourth largest church in the world. The real reason to show this card is that I wanted to show the value of the postage used. 0.02e seems quite low to me. It is the equivalent of .026 Canadian cents. I don't know about postal rates in Italy or Europe but from Canada it takes 170 Canadian cents to post a postcard internationally. That's $1.70 CAD. Considering how many postcards I send, I just wish I could send them off with a couple of cents postage, but I know they would just end up in the dead letter office somewhere.

Finally , a card from the Philippines. The card shows a popular, traditional game called palosebo. The goal of the game is to climb the heavily greased bamboo pole for the prize sitting on the top. ZJB, the Postcrosser who sent the card wrote that most of the time pig fat is used on the pole. The stamp on the left is from 2010 and shows a pheepoy or postman. The other two are from a 2009 bird set of 40 .
As they say in the movies, " that's all folks". Hope you enjoyed this update and that you check in again soon. Take care, and comments if you please.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mount Athos, stamp issuing entity # 236

Well, it's been 5 weeks since my last update. I was away for 19 days , on vacation. I flew to San Diego and picked up a 15 day cruise through the Panama Canal. We stopped at ports in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico , then Acapulco, Mexico, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, then the Panama Canal transit, unto Cartagena, Colombia, George Town, Cayman Islands, Tampa, Florida and finally Mobile, Alabama. Overnighted in Mobile, then another night in Houston and finally flying home to Calgary.
As you can see I had ample opportunity to send postcards. I would think the lucky recipients should start to receive them soon. And speaking of postcards, which is the main focus of this blog, my mailbox on my arrival back home, held exactly fifty postcards. With all these new cards , I have ample material for the blog for quite some time. It was also great, as a long time stamp collector, seeking out the post offices in Acapulco, Puntarenas, Cartagena and George Town. As you might expect I picked up a selection of current stamps from each. Now on to the postcards, I have three to have a look at today.
First is a very wonderful and exciting card to receive. It is from Mount Athos in Greece. This is the world's newest stamp issuing entity and that makes it country or entity # 236 in my collection. Mount Athos is a mountain in northern Greece. Politically it is known as the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1988 and is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox Monasteries. Mount Athos is only accessible by boat and while visitors are restricted , only males can enter. The card shows Simonos Petra Monastery . It is built on a huge single rock , hanging from a cliff 300 meters over the sea.
As I mentioned earlier, Mount Athos is the world's newest stamp issuing entity. In May of 2008 the Hellenic Postal Service started issuing stamps for use only at the two post offices of Mount Athos ( Karyai and Dafi ). One set of 5 stamps was issued at that time. A second set of 5 was issued in June 2008. In 2009 4 sets of 5 stamps were issued and now thanks to Bob Lamb, I am lucky enough to own a single Mount Athos stamp. The stamp on the right is a Mount Athos stamp from 2009 . The other stamp is a Greek stamp used just to make up the new postcard rate. It's funny but I had only learned of Mount Athos as a stamp issuing entity about 5 or 6 weeks ago and had contemplated how to go about getting a postcard from there. Unbeknown to me, a card was already on the way. Thanks again Bob.My second card is from Germany. It shows an Air Canada A320 decked out in Toronto Raptors colors. Sent by Igor of It will make a great addition to my aircraft/airlines on postcards collection. Igor used 2 stamps from 2010. The top stamp is from a set of 2 issued for the winter Olympics and Paralympics. The bottom stamp is a greeting stamp issued in a set of 2. Thanks Igor.

The final card today is from Monaco. It shows the Monaco Royal family. The 2009 stamps were issued to celebrate the 80 years of the Grand Prix Autos. This card is from Jerry and Bev, good and longtime friends of mine , who cruised across the Atlantic and were touring parts of Europe. Thanks guys.

That's my report for this time. It is good to be back and I'll be here again soon.

Take care, and as always, your comments are welcome.