31. 08. 2010.

Cute Joey

Australia has such an amazing wildlife! I am so happy to have been able to experience it first hand 4 and a 1/2 ago, whilst i was visiting my friend in Melbourne. (I'll go into more detail about that in my forthcoming australian-trip section!) I am always very very happy to receive postcards from down under, and thanks to Heather i have been very very very happy happy this summer as we engaged in private swaps:)

My 1st reaction to this joey postcard was 'ohh my God, how cute is that??!!'. I have never seen a baby kangaroo live and was astounded by this unexpected adorability :)

Why Animals?

Animals are one of my favourite themes - there is hardly any kind that i don't like! well not esp fond of apes and monkeys, but even they can be cute and/or impressive - i guess my dislike comes from all the postcards i have seen with dressed up chimpanzees, and i seriously don't like animals being shown as humans! I always prefer photos of animals in their natural habitat (this is why i am not a big fan of zoo postcards either, depending. Or so called 'funny postcards'). Acquainted with this notion, my sister Marija (who lives in Bavaria, Germany) often sends me cool animal postcads; some of them with educational text on the back, some from the 'funny' category but she senses well what i can handle! heh. I will show some of my favourite animal postcards here :) a nice way to say farewell to august. pa pa!

28. 08. 2010.

From Russia With Love

I have chosen these postcards in offer tags not knowing they can't be sent written & stamped. And for them I abandon the 100%ness of my decision to collect only w&s postcards! There is a wonderful plethora of such postcards which have information on the theme written at the back, in russian and sometimes english.
This graceful portrait shows Elizabeth Petrovna, who was the Empress of Russia from 1741-1762. The word is she actually disliked governing, and adored dancing and new clothes. She owned 15 000 ball-gowns and several thousand pairs of shoes! But I guess she is not historically unique in such royal extravaganzas :)
Thank you Kate (Orangemood) for this addition to my still modest royalty collection!

I was exhilerated to find this Sagittarius in one of the offer albums! Zodiac sign cards are not very common, and i guess it is even more of a feat to find one's own zodiac sign....The text in the back is written in russian, and whereas I can follow some of it a translating endeavour might end up in painful pidgeon sentences..!
Generally, sagittarius in the 9th astrological sign; positive, extrovert , fiery. The ruler planet is Jupiter. It is traditionally depicted as centaurus, a mythical creature which is half man, half horse. They were considered to be wild, savage and lustful! Surely not the characteristics of the astrological sign they represent - well here's hoping! :D The constellation can be seen here in the summer months while looking southwards, just above the horizon.
Thank you Anna (Anutik) for this rare card!

Good Ol' England :)

I feel like i can never get tired of english or indeed british character in any form or view. Ever since i first set my foot on the british soil ( the year 2002 it was ) i knew i was in love - and prior to that i knew i would be. This is why i'm always excited to receive an official postcard from the UK, and the last one didn't disappoint me :) A wonderful view of Bamburgh Castle, sent by David (toucans) on August the 11th. GB-159877

Another great english postcard, this time a private swap (many thanks to Anu/ichabodhides!), showing cast iron signs in the Shropshire town of Bridgnorth. Gloves with frilled cuffs giving you direction - so quaint, love it!

Last Stages Of Summer

Is it really, august finished already..?! Only 3 days to go! This summer season passed by so quickly, I barely felt it. I thought I had all this time to save money, make plans, do preparations and chores for the upcoming winter journey...now it almost feels like its right around the corner and i need more TIME. I sure do hope it won't pass by as quickly once on the road...
The quieter months are ahead and i have best of intentions to start learning spanish. Online. Maybe i better start following one or two of those daytime spanish soap-operas too...heh
During these quieter next couple of months i will also try (TRY!) to slow down with my postcrossing activities. Easier said than done eh? All those RRs, tags, private swaps...= an addiction. And am just starting with some exciting collections! So yea, i have this hunch you will be seeing me still, fellow postcrossers .....

20. 08. 2010.

Official PC Postcards

This monday i went home for a day to see my folks. I was sooo happy to see my nieces and nephew again, to cuddle my two kittens Pixie & Suri (i keep calling them kittens although they are hardly small..!) and yes - to go thru all my received mail. In a week i got 32 postcards, was overwhelmed! Well yes it is a product of many contacts, swap requests, official postcrossing...but I never really imagined such a pile, oh happy day! :)
And on top of the pile THIS handsome fellow! Thanks to Renee :) (US-777635)

I really love this postcard from Thailand, as it is colourful and original and...look at those stamps, aren't they awesome!!! This week reminded me just how much glee a received surprise card can bring to one's life :) Thank you Leela! (TH-50232)

Same with the movie card of a classic: 'It's a wonderful Life'. I concur! The Heidi stamp is no less wonderful, and need i comment on the donkey stamp? Such a thoughtful gesture :) Thank you Nadja! (CH-58176)

13. 08. 2010.

Grant Whiskey

I was very excited when i tagged *cherity* in an offer tag and realised she has a whiskey-ad card! I was actually aiming at an israeli view or culture postcard, but considering how difficult whiskey cards are to come by i thought i'll just grab the chance :) Awesome stamps too!

More Donkeys, Yay

This was a great surprise from Claire! I have a substantial collection of UK donkeys but am always superhappy about any new addition :D

Another surprise, this time from Goran, sent from his holiday in Zadar :)

My first bulgarian donkey, from the Rhodope Mountains! And a lovely stamp to accompany it :)

02. 08. 2010.

Postcrossing donkeys

Over the years I have collected many donkey postcards, but it is always a special event when I get one via the official postcrossing site because of the surprise factor :) Here are some of my favourites:

FI-466713. The Finnish have been generous with donkeys :) This one was sent by *tsittus* I think I don't have to explain why I love this card!!!

FI-472222. Sent by *Madmango* on 7th of February, 2000. Travelled for 12 days. I love the postcards with people and animals where you can see a certain connection between them. Esp the ones of the more traditional atmosphere...!

FI-486574. Sent by *akkipakki* on the 24th of February, 2009. Its only now that I realise all these were sent in the same month, amazing! This postcard is really, utterly and totally cute :)

IT-19761. Sent by *sardus* on the 29th of June, 2008. One of the first official donkeys, and incredibly cute in all its furryness :)
US-723286. After a considerable period of non-donkyness I was super-surprised with this american little family :) Sent by *zaksmom* on the 12th of June, 2010.

01. 08. 2010.

Alexandria, Egypt

We returned to Egypt via Eilat and settled in a nice bungalow in Dahab - which is a great place to chill out, quite touristy but not in a hectic way. Diving in the Red Sea sounded tempting..! But I have my own fears to tackle first :s
We bussed back to Cairo, where we spent another couple of days as I was caught by a cold and had high temperature (boo). But there was not much time to waste so we headed to Alexandria, where we had a day of exploration before catching a bus to Siwa oasis.  Of course we 1st checked the library! The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2003 near the site of the ancient Royal Library of Alexandria, once the largest library in the world. This one is quite awesome too!

The 1st postcard shows the El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque, which looked stunning in the moonlight...Alexandria must have looked amazing back in the Ptolemaic days - everything was grand, very much like this lighthouse on the 2nd postcard - the Pharos of Alexandria. With its height between 120 and 140 meters it was for centuries the highest man-made building in the world. Sadly it was devastated in the series of earthquakes. In 1480 the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the site.
In the alexandrian post-office I found new stamps, goodie :)
These were posted on the 13th of December on the way back from the oasis.

The Palestinian Authority

While in Jerusalem I've decided to do a day-trip to Bethlehem. We took a mini bus which drove us up to the Israeli West Bank barrier - a huge concrete wall separating Israel from the Palestinian Territory. We were perplexed and didn't quite know where we're going, but after some minutes we caught a sight of a town which turned out to be Bethlehem. Not such a little town as one might imagine! After all it is being visited by millions of tourists every year.
In any case, I was thrilled to find an open post-office in the centre of Bethlehem. To my even greater surprise they had quite an impressive choice of stamps! I was beside myself, I think I must have spent a weekly pocket-money heh. My friend must have 'swollowed a dumpling' watching me do that :D I did stop myself eventually, somewhat lamenting on the stamps left behind, but overly excited about the postcards I was going to send from Palestine!
It took them longer than 2 months to arrive...after being convinced they were lost in transit the joy was...well you should have seen me..! :)

The West Bank Barrier - to my utter shame I wasn't aware of its existance before. Parts of the wall were covered with awesome artistic graffiti, all with the unified message of peace and tolerance.

This postcard shows Palestinian women in their traditional coastal costumes near the entrance of an old house in Old Jaffa. All of these postcards were sent on the 30th of November, 2008.

Views Of Israel

I don't think we reached the decision to go to Israel before staying in Jordan. It was just so close, so tempting...And because of the visa regulations it was possible to go from Jordan, but not from Syria or Lebanon, so a loop wasn't doable. It was an enjoyable week..!
What to say about Jerusalem...so much is said and written about it, but seeing it is in a league on its own. It is another place that I would LOVE to see again :)
Sent on 25th of November, 2008

From Jeruzalem we travelled to Tel Aviv, and up to Haifa to spend a night and visit Nazareth & The Sea of Galilee on a day-trip. Regardless of my current religion status it is mesmerising to look upon the lake and imagine the Bible stories taking place there :) Sea of Galilee & its Ancient Sites is on the Unesco WHS's tentative list, but also are The Galilee Journeys of Jesus & the Apostles.

Old Jaffa is gorgeous! Such a contrast fom the busy and urban Tel Aviv, and very picturesque. I made a wish on the Wishing Bridge touching my zodiac sign and facing the sea, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was..! Many many cool cats sunbathing on the coastal strip from Jaffa to Tel Aviv :D

And yay, in Tel Aviv I found a shop with stamps, old postcards and such. I have bought a few items but had to give up on the rest while biting my elbow...uff.

Amman To Jerash, Jordan

It is not enough to say I LOVE Jordan! I wish I could have stuck around for another week at least, but alas there was no time...If an opportunity ever arises I will gladly fly back!
First we crossed the border from Egypt by ferry, and went straight for Wadi Musa where we would spend the night in a nice little hotel. I was amazed to see how swollen my feet were from a day's waiting at the ferry dock..! But nothing would stop me from discovering the poetical Rose-Red City of Petra. Yes, I have read about it, I have seen some photos...but I still lost my breath! And not just once!!! With a strong certainty I can exclaim - it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Amman was such a pleasure to visit, there was a certain feel of easiness and comfort. We stayed there for a few days, enchanted by the islamic calls for prayer (Adhan) or rather by the mellow and smooth voice of the local muezzin. From Amman we went for day trips to Jerash, Ajlun Castle and Mount Nebo.
The main post office had a philately section, I was lucky enough to find a small but cool variety of stamps :)

Jerash is now a modern town with more than 30,000 inhabitans; in the olden days of antiquity it was known as Gerasa, whose Greco-Roman ruins stay preserved to this day to witness its splendour. Jerash is considered to be one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East. Walking among the ruins was magical! No wonder its on the Unesco WHS's tentative list :)
This postcard was sent on the 24th of November, 2008.

Ramesses II And Nefertari, Egypt

The first day in Cairo was a bit of a shock - firstly, the honking of the horns out on the streets never seemed to cease! Secondly, I realised its a gamble to cross the street. It took a little while but I managed to perfect the method of evasion by leaps :)
Soon I realised Cairo is a great city with lots to offer. Of course one of the main sites was the Egyptian Museum, which is so vast its impossible to see all the interesting stuff in one day - apparently some 120,000 items are stored there...Such a rich history and so much left to be seen...

Mini Middle-East Travels :)

Two years ago, after my first year working as a receptionist, I wondered what journey to undertake...I had saved enough money to visit another continent, but which one? I have considered USA, Japan and Sri Lanka as destinations...but my friend was in Africa and just about to finish his circle. 'Would you meet me in Egypt?' I asked. 'Well of course!'. Hurray! I cannot think of a better person to travel with so I was thrilled we are meeting up, in a place totally new to me.
So I asked my sis to book me a flight from Munich. I bought a new, proper backpack, travel towel, locks, Lonely Planet Middle East...and was on my way.
Of course I had a totally different itinerary on my mind when at home; then yet another on the plane; and another when landed in Cairo...even another when we crossed the border to Jordan! It was time versus money thing, and although I wish immensely that I was able to see Syria and Lebanon, we've decided to leave it for another journey and to pop down to Israel. No regrets there! I spent altogether a month in these three wonderful countries and regret nothing - well actually I do. Two things. I didn't ride a camel, or had a swim in the Dead Sea! Hm something tells me I should go back...;)

August, the Mother of Ferragosto

Good morning August, I have been waiting for you...We are officially ahead of the busiest month of the tourist season, and I better learn some basics of italian. hm. But oh what a better way to start the day and the month but with a message that I won a lottery, yay! Time to think of one on my own...Only my resources are limited. As some may know, I am working at a marina reception in the National Park Kornati. It is a 5-month job which requires adaptation to specific modes of living: this has become my 2nd home. There are no residences here except for the marina staff, and the amenities are basic. The electricity is produced by the power generators and is not available in the afternoon hours or during the night; water is brought here from land in tankers; free days are once a month in average when I get to go home by a company-or a supplying boat. All that said, people here are great, easy to get along with, and I feel lucky meeting them all!
And how is this affecting my postcrossing? I have brought with me a bundle of postcards from my offers album (and then some) and when I get home I stack up on different stamps and aim at combining them. Unfortunatelly the philately shop in Zadar has closed down recently :( I am at the mercy of post-offices, where workers can be quite unhelpful; but generally if I go to the old post-office in Šibenik i get a good service :)
Sometimes I get so carried away (like last week!) that I run out of stamps much sooner than planned! Then I order some as usually someone from the crew here is on land and able to go to the post. That has its disadvantages though - I cannot choose stamps. Lately it doesn't make a difference as for Europe postcards they only sell this one stamp of Rijeka that they obviously have hoards of and want to get rid of it! This way I apologise for not being able to send different stamps...though I do try.
Ah and how did I come to telling this story...As receiving mail here is more difficult to send it! I can send mail by the company boat but cannot receive it the same way as its port is not my hometown murter. So it gets sent occasionally by the supplying boat - and today is one of those days! I am eagerly expecting my next 'shipment' :))) In the meantime, I will introduce you to my postcrossing middle-east journey.