Saturday, June 26, 2010

Three Great Cards

Well, I am back, albeit a little later than expected. It has been a really busy week. I really like saying that, considering the fact , I am retired. I truly don't know where I found time to work. This coming week is shaping up to be another busy one. I just hope I can get a few blog updates in.As bugs Bunny used to say, On With The show.
I have 3 cards to look at today. The countries are Netherlands, Hong Kong and France. Just to let the purists out there know , I know Hong Kong is not a country.
The card from The Netherlands is up first. It shows the Breskens lighthouse. This light is the oldest remaining cast-iron lighthouse in the Netherlands. It was built in 1867. Breskens is a harbour town in south western Netherlands.
I know there are many lighthouse postcard collectors out there. I have seen on different blogs some wonderful lighthouse postcards. When I found this one in my mailbox, I thought ( just for a few minuets ) lighthouses would make a great collection. The thought passed and I'll just stick to planes.
Card # 2 - It's from Hong Kong. It's an interesting card , in that the front picture is formed from a mosaic of Hong Kong stamps. As I write this , I don't know if my scan will allow you to see this, but click on the card and hope for the best. The card actually celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. The stamp on this card is from the 2006 set of 16 bird definitives.
Now, my last card is from France and is compliments of Jean Pierre. The card is a great shot of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. It was built between 1806 and 1808. You can also see through the main arch, the Pyramide du Louvre in the courtyard of the famous Louvre Museum. Jean Pierre used a wonderful stamp from a set of 4 different stamps in a 2010 souvenir sheet issued for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The stamp has a special postmark from the the Exhibition 'Joyaux Philateliques dÁfrique, de IÍle Maurice at de La Reunion ( philatelic jewels from Africa, Mauritius and La Reunion. The show ran from June 2 to June 12, at the Musee de la Poste, in Paris. Included in the show was the One Penny orange-rouge stamp from Mauritius, dated 1847 and considered one of the rarest philatelic items.

I guess that's it for this time. Just one more thing, I found a box of approximately 250-300 old postcards at an antique store. Most date from about 1900 to 1950 and are in mint, unused condition. Around 25 or 30 were postally used , with stamps attached. Of course, I negotiated a good price and bought them all. Take care , and hopefully I can get in another update within a couple days.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Buildings and an Airport

The title of today's update sums up what the cards will be about. The cards are from Macedonia, Romania, Czech Republic, France and The Netherlands.
First up will be the larger card from Macedonia. This vertical card shows The Orthodox Cathedral Church in Skopje. It is the main church in the city and many events take place here , especially at Christmas and Easter. Ana , who has been a great swapper of postcards for more than 3 years, sent this card along. The card has 4 of a set of 6 stamps , issued for the centenary of the modern Olympics, in 1996. These Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA and I have a tee shirt to prove it. Thanks Ana , these are great stamps and were definitely not in my collection .

Our second building, sorry card , is from Romania. It shows Bran Castle , a national monument and landmark in Romania. It is located on the border of Transylvania and Wallachia. It is commonly called Dracula's Castle , however, there is no evidence to support this. There is evidence , however, that Vlad Tepes ( Vlad the Impaler ) used the castle during his raids into Transylvania. Between 1927 and 1948 the castle was the residence of the royal family of the Kingdom of Romania. From then on it has been used as a museum. This card is from Emil , with whom I have started a swap , which we hope to keep up. Emil used 3 stamps as follows, the stamp on the left is from a set of 5 issued in 2009 featuring tramways, the middle stamp was issued in 2010 for Easter and the stamp on the right , was issued in 2009 for Easter. Thanks Emil.
Now we have a card from the Czech Republic , postmarked from the city of Usti nad Labem., located in North Bohemia and 95 km from Prague. It shows Strekov Castle. This beautiful Gothic castle ruin , perched on a 100 meter cliff was built around 1318. This card is from a Postcrosser named Tereza. She used a 2009 stamp showcasing ski jumping. Thanks Tereza.

Our fourth card is from France and shows the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Daniel , who has checked out this blog, sent the card after commenting on the blog. It is pretty neat how UNESCO is spelled out in lights on the building. Daniel used a 2009 UNESCO stamp featuring a bridge that was issued by France . Thanks Daniel.

Today's final card is from The Netherlands. It shows 6 KLM aircraft at one of the wings of Schiphol Airport. Makes a great picture. Jean Pierre sent this card , while returning to Paris from Curacao. Thanks Jean Pierre.

That's my report for this time. Hopefully I'll have something for tomorrow. Stay tuned. Remember, as always , your comments are welcome.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Prague, Brest, Scheveningen, Mother Teresa, Auvergne and Paris

Well, I think the title of today's update covers just about everything. So I guess I don't really have to write very much. Maybe just about the stamps. Just kidding.The first card today is actually from Ukraine. If I had just left it at Prague, it would have been quite wrong. The card shows a number of bridges in Prague. The city from the view on the card, looks quite beautiful. Mindl, a Postcrosser from Czech Republic, but now living in Ukraine, says Prague has many historical buildings, tasty food, delicious beer, friendly people and beautiful girls. Maybe Mindl should be writing tourism brochures for Prague . The three stamps from Ukraine are all definitives from either 2008 or 2009.The next card, also from a Postcrosser shows the Brest, Belarus Fortress Defence Museum. Olga used 2 definitives from 2008 and 2006.Thanks to another Postcrosser , Geraldine, we have a card from Netherlands. It shows the Pier in Scheveningen. I can only think that it's a Sunday afternoon and the town's people are all out for a stroll along the Pier.
Finally , three cards , all compliments of Jean Pierre. The first one has a nice First Day of Issue , 27 May 2010, stamp of Mother Teresa.
The second card, shows La place de la Concorde, one of the major public squares in Paris. It encompasses 86,400 square metres. Jean Pierre used a 2010 commemorative of La Piscine.
On the last card we see 2 examples of the 2010 stamp showcasing Basilique d'Orcival. Thanks Jean Pierre for these cards.
Take care , see you soon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Libya, South Africa and Mexico

This update won't be my usual. Yes, I do have a few cards to show, but I won't have much commentary about them. First up will be a couple of cards from Libya. All of them are courtesy of Omran. The first one shows a statue of Septimius Severus , a Roman Emperor who reigned from 193 until his death in 211. The other cards all show different architecture in Tripoli. Most important for me on these cards are the stamps that Omran used. As a stamp collector who has a topical collection of aircraft on stamps , these are just superb. They are all from a 1984 set of 16 celebrating the 40th anniversary of ICAO ( International Civil Aviation Organization ) . Thanks to Omran I now have 9 of the 16 stamps in the set. I can only hope to get the others, especially the DC3 and the Constellation.

Next card up is from South Africa. It was sent by a Postcrosser named Natasja. What better day to show a South Africa card than today, the first day of The World Cup in South Africa. The stamp used is from a 2009 mini sheet of 4 showcasing African gemstones, in this case Jasper.
Finally today is a card from Mexico. It shows a Spanish church atop the ruins of a Pre-Columbian pyramid with the volcano Popocatepetl in the distance. Also sent by a Postcrosser, the card has a number of stamps attached. However , I use the term stamps loosely in this case. The large one on the right is certainly a stamp. It is from a 2009 mini sheet if 5 featuring the archeology of Tajin, located near Veracruz. The other three on the left are open to interpretation. They are sold in the post offices in Mexico. I can attest to this from my recent trip to a post office in Acapulco. I even purchased a complete sheet of 50 celebrating 100 years of aviation in Mexico. As I mentioned above, the lady that served me there, also was selling these as individual stamps. I have recently seen this type on other postcards on various blogs. But, I have a feeling they are some type of TB seal, with that red symbol in the right corner. Anyone who has any thoughts on this , I would be happy to hear from you. Leave your comment below.

That's all for today. Take care.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Postcard From 3,440 Metres Up Mt Everest

Hello again. Here I am back with what I said would be a short and sweet update. I have just 2 postcards for today. But both are pretty special. The first one for today is from Nepal. Actually it's from Namche Bazaar, Nepal, located at 3,440 metres up Mt Everest. Namche is a village in Solukhumbu District in north-eastern Nepal. It is the main trading center for the Khumbu region with a 1991 population of 1,647. Namche is the gateway to the high Himalaya. The village boasts a German bakery, internet cafes, a post office and a police station.
How did I come by a card from Namche, you may ask ? Back in March I read about an Edmonton , Alberta nurse who was going to attempt Mt. Everest . Her name is Lucille de Beaudrap. I contacted Lucille and she agreed to send me a card if indeed it was possible, even though sending me a postcard must have been at the bottom of her priorities. To make a long story short, Lucille was very successful in her Everest attempt and summitted on May 7th, 2010. Here is the picture to prove it. Congratulations Lucille, you have joined a very select group of adventurers. Thank you for the postcard and thank you for permission to use the photo of you and Domhnall O'Douchartaigh high atop Everest. ( I hope I got his name right )
The postcard shows Namche Bazaar with Kongde at 6186m in the background. Namche may not be the highest post office in the world , but it is a really great card, and not one that one sees or receives very often. So I am quite pleased to have it and to have received it from a Canadian who reached the top of the world. Thanks again Lucille, you made us all proud. We don't just excel in hockey. Just a FYI- I believe there is a post office at 15,500 feet in Hikkim, India and one at 16,847 feet on Mount Qomolangma on the Tibetan side of the Himalayas. Don't worry, I'm working on those. Lucille used a 2008 stamp celebrating the Golden Jubilee of diplomatic relations with Germany. The postmark indeed shows where it was posted.

Even if I didn't go on to my second card, I would have had a great update today anyway.
But, let's do it because we love postcards. It is a card from the Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic lands ( TAAF ) . The card displays Grande Glorieuse, one of the Glorioso Islands. You can see the 1300 metre airstrip which is located there. FAAT has been an overseas territory of France since 1955. The territory has no permanent population, but has military personnel, officials , researchers and support staff numbering between 140-150 usually. It was great to receive this card from Jean Pierre . It is country or stamp issuing entity number 237 and thanks to Jean Pierre I can cross one more off the list on the left. The 3 stamps to the left are from a 2008 set of 5 bearing the FAAT flag. The larger stamp on the right is from 2010 and shows Patureau House.
Today's update is now complete. Your comments are always welcome.
Take care.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Recent Cruise as Seen Thru Postcards I Mailed

I feel really good about my blog today. Not only do I have a great update today, but my next one will be even better. Today, since all the postcards that I sent to myself have arrived, I want to showcase my recent Panama Canal cruise , that I took with my lovely Teena. Our trip started when we flew from Calgary to San Diego, where we would board our ship, the Carnival Elation. The Elation , with a beam of 103 feet , carries 2040 passengers and a crew of 920. We certainly weren't alone. I didn't post any postcards in San Diego, actually, I didn't think of it. The postcard of the ship was posted in Cartagena, Colombia . If I had posted them on board the ship, they would not have entered the mail stream until we arrived in Tampa, our first US port. The stamps , the left one is upside down, were both issued in 2009. The one on the right features G. Leon Valencia , a local politician , while the other is from a 12 value multi sheet featuring sites and scenes in La Guajiri province. Postage was quite expensive in Colombia , postcards were at the rate of $3.00 USD each , anywhere.

Our first port of call was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The Cabo card shows Los Cabos Arch. This is a natural stone arch located at the southermost tip of the Baja Peninsula. This is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. The end of the peninsula where the land ends is quite striking and quite the place for pictures. While sightseeing in Los Cabos, I tried to find a post office. We had no luck there. I asked our guide about it and he offered to mail my postcards for me. I gave him the money for stamps , which he promised to buy and stick on the cards and drop them in the mail. Sounds easy, but you never know. He had told me he was traveling back to the States in about 10 days, and it looks like he took my postcards with him and posted them in San Diego, Calif. Hence the US stamps, not Mexican Stamps . At least he posted them for me. The stamps are the 2006 Love Birds stamp.

Our next port of call was Acapulco, Mexico. The card from here shows the world famous cliff divers of Acapulco. A major tourist attraction. I learned that if you are a diver, then chances are that your father was also, and your son will probably be one also. The business of diving seems to be kept in the family. Teena and I walked , for not too long, and found a post office. So, I posted my cards here and at all other ports on the cruise. The stamps on this particular card are from 2008 and highlight the 50th anniversary of the Ariel. It has long been considered Mexico's most prestigious film award.
Next we move on to Costa Rica. Our port here was at Puntarenas, a city of about 102,000. As we did in Acapulco, after the sightseeing, we went and found a post office. Let me tell you, it was HOT, and we felt it. The card shows The National Theater in San Jose, the capital. The lady in the post office was quite helpful and in addition to the stamps on our postcards , I managed to pick up a few other items for my collection. The stamp on the postcard is not really a stamp but some sort of sticker , doing the work of a stamp, even though it has the postage amount printed on it. It has been in use since 2007.
After leaving Costa Rica, we sailed towards Panama and The Panama Canal .We entered the Canal at 0630 and it took exactly 9 hours to transit from Pacific to Atlantic Ocean. We didn't actually stop in Panama so my Panama cards were posted in Cartagena, Colombia, our next port of call.
I have a few interesting Canal facts to share. 1 - a ship saves 7,892 miles using the canal instead of going around Cape Horn. 2- The toll for transiting the Canal varies, the most expensive toll was on May 16, 2008 , $331,200 for the Disney Magic and the least expensive was $0.36 and was paid by Richard Halliburton who crossed the Canal swimming in 1928. 3- The maximum dimensions of ships that can transit are: 106 feet in beam, 965 feet long and 39.5 feet of draft.
Enough facts, on to more postcards. I picked up 2 cards . The first one shows The Bridge of the Americas. It crosses the Canal at Balboa, near Panama City. Completed in 1962 the bridge connects the North and South American land masses and is a part of the Pan-American Highway. The stamps I used here are from 2010 and are part of a beautiful bird set. The others in the set are coming up later on another card. The second card from Panama shows 3 scenes of ships passing thru the locks of the Canal.
I hope I'm not losing anyone because of the length of this update. I really didn't want to break it up , but the cruise was a long one, 15 days . So, bear with me, please.
After clearing the Canal and sailing into the Atlantic, we arrived at Cartagena, Colombia. Cartagena is a really nice city. The colonial architecture is quite impressive and so is the eleven kilometer wall around the city. Built to withstand pirate attacks, hundreds of years ago, it is really something to see. You can see the wall and a clock tower on the first of 3 Cartagena postcards. The wall and the San Felipe Fortress are the reasons Cartagena was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1984. The second card shows the Don Blas de Lazo Monument at the bottom of San Felipe Castle. He successfully defended Cartagena against the English in 1741. The 3 stamps I used on this card are the others from the 2010 bird set. My final card from Cartagena is one again showing San Felipe Castle , but from another view. This one has a sculpture of a pair of large boots , sculpted in 1957 by Hector Lambana Pineres. Again I used a set of 3 bird stamps from 2010.
After departing Cartagena, we made for George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
Again, we located the post office , as you can see from the photo. It was great to be able to buy some stamps there, just as I did in Cartagena, Puntarenas and Acapulco. While on a tour, we ended up on Hell Rd, as you can see.
This led us to Hell, Grand Cayman. I always knew there was a chance of my ending up in Hell, but I didn't expect it so soon. As seen in the picture, the Hell Post Office is a little run down, but you can still mail your cards from Hell, which is the important thing.
The stamp I used in Hell is from a 2009 set of 6 showing different Cayman Island views. Note the Hell postmark.
After leaving Grand Cayman, we sailed on to Tampa, Florida and then Mobile, Alabama where we disembarked.

Well, that was my cruise. I hope you enjoyed my postcard recollection of it and that it wasn't too, too long. It was great , we had a great time and I picked up some great postcards and stamps along the way. What more could a man want ?

Take care and as always your comments are welcome.

Remember, tomorrow's update will be a good one, but much shorter.