24. 07. 2011.

Basco Lighthouse, The Philippines

I better show all my cards from the last batch as the new one is coming tomorrow - i am always so excited when the mail comes from the land! I have done lots of tagging recently so i know there will be many great new cards to post here :)))
I got this lighthouse card via private swap with superfluffy - thanks Steph! I do love lighthouses, they are usually surrounded by a stunning setting - or they simply look imposing and strong; our guides to a safe haven. Here accompanied with the classic Philippine jeepney :)
Basco lighthouse is situated in Batanes, the northernmost province of the Philippines. The province is composed of 10 islands and is 162 km north of the Luzon mainland (190 km south of Taiwan). The photos i've found online are quite stunning, reminds me a bit of Scotland!

23. 07. 2011.

Quirky British Road Signs

I've just realised that this is the last official British card that i've received...and it was in september 2010 :(
Am sad even though i havent been on postcrossing throughout the winter so it makes some sense. I was very amused with these 'food' names/signs :=D  received from renheek.

Autumn Colours Of Idaho, USA

I am scanning some official postcards still missing from the album...and I found this where I love the autumn colours! Though its quite possible that its photoshopped...well its still beautiful :)
This card also arrived in August 2010, from Ellen/EllenID, the US.

Moomin, Finland

I have never had Moomins on my wishlist and was never smitten by them, but I thought this card was quite cute (same as one other Moomin I got officially :)). I'd like to have at least one of all the special collection cards - i think it did start with Moomins, but now its so many more like Inge Look, Kaj Stenval, Lalli Riddle...and many more that i keep bumping into and should finally check what they're like!
I've received this card in August 2010 from karpalo, Finland :)

22. 07. 2011.

Aboriginal Australia

The back of the card seys: The Circle Of Life artefacts used by the Aboriginal people of Australia. At one with the Land and belonging to the Earth, the Mother.
Heather is wondering what the seed pods are for, and i cant say that anything remotely logical springs to mind! But i've found some interesting texts about the circle of life in aboriginal culture, it is too complex to put it in a few sentences here but i encourage everyone to look it up :)

Bako National Park, Malaysia

This beautiful sunset photo shows  Bako National Park, the oldest national park in Sarawak, Malaysian part on the island of Borneo. It is one of the smallest but most interesting in the area - there is/are abundant wildlife, jungle streams and waterfalls, secluded beaches an trekking trails. Doesn't that make you wanna pack your bags and fly over straight away?! Among other species it is home to the funny-nosed  Proboscis monkey, that is endemic to the island area.
I have received this card as a result of asianpunk's efforts to introduce the world to his english tuition students/children. I had a swap with Akmal, and really hope he liked my Zadar card :)

Cute Little Things

This cute little mouse was in my favourites, until i received it in the CaCrr as a host - thanks to Stefan/Objektklasse :)

The little wolfie is howling - hopefully just a playful moment! I have tagged this card - thank you Christina/Balito! :)

Animal Map Card, Sweden

I love the Scandinavian countries but they are not that frequent on postcrossing, so i was very happy when lellykate joined my host group :) I have never received an animal map card before...this may even help me learn swedish as all the animal names are in the original language! I also love the stamps with the national flag :))) Huge thanks to Katja for sending me this map card for CaCrr!

21. 07. 2011.

The Romanovs

I think we can all agree how tragic the story of The Romanovs is...I've known the outlines of the story for a while, but only now that i've started receiving these striking portraits have i decided to read more about it.

This card showing Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna was received via CaCrr - big thanks to Angela :) The photo was taken in 1898.
Nicholas was a successor to Alexander III - became The Emperor And Autocrat Of All The Russias in 1894, and abdicated following the February revolution of 1917. He also got engaged to Alix of Hesse in 1894, who had to convert to Russian Orthodoxy for the marriage. Alix /Alexandra was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
They are both known as the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia.

Official Card: RU-381405
This card showing Emperoror Nicholas II and his only son Alexei was sent to me by Julia/Faina.
In 1991 bodies of the executed royal family were supposedly found in Yekaterinburg, but only of the parents and three children. An American scientist concluded from dental and vertebral remnants that the bodies of Anastasia and Alexei were missing (two of the youngest). This mystery may never be solved..!

UNESCO - Himeji-jo, Japan

As i am a huge fan of Japan and all things Japanese i was only too happy to catch a spot in the Choose a Country RR (which i abbreviate to cacrr ;)) with this great result: a stunning view of Himeji Castle under a full moon. Thank you Saori, and for the great stamps and cute little stickers!!! :)))

As i started watching Kagemusha yesterday (am seriously falling behing with Kurosawa filmography!) I have recognised it as a setting for some of the movie's scenes :) It is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture. It comprises 83 buildings with advanced defensive systems, and dates back to the year 1333 when it was only a fort on top of Himeyama hill. It was extended for many centuries, (most notably in 1581 when three-storey castle keep was added), up to the early 17th century. For over 400 years now the castle remaines intact, even throughout the extensive bombing in WWII and the great 1995 earthquake.
In 1993 Himeji Castle was registered as one of the 1st whs unesco sites in Japan :)

20. 07. 2011.

The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch: top: News Carver, Kid Curry.
                          bottom: The Sundance Kid, The Tall Texan, Butch Cassidy.

I have tagged this card in one of the offer tags - I love the stories of the Wild West and finding an 'original' picture of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was an exciting moment for me!
As most people, what i know about this duo is what i've seen in the famous movie with Paul Newman and Robert Redford - and the uncertainty of how their story really ended. The speculations i.e. the most plausible narrative is very interesting, alas too long to write here...
But here are some of the details: Butch's real name was Robert LeRoy Parker. He became a criminal in his teen years; he formed the notorious Wild Bunch Gang when he was 30 y.o., and his partner-in-crime Harry Longabaugh aka The Sundance Kid joined him soon after. They are believed to have gone hiding to South America in 1901, which lead them to the Bolivian town of San Vincente. They met their deaths in a shoot-off with the Tupiza police.
One of the things i regret missing on my trip to SA is visiting the alleged place of their demise. I remember advertised tours, which would have been simple enough but we avoided tours cos they are expensive and impersonal - and there was no time to do a detour on our own...boo.
Anyways, this is a great card, and big thanks to Denise/HickreeNut! :)

July Donkeys

 I absolutely love this card, which i got from private swap with Tanja from Finland :)
Tanja was on a holiday in the beautiful Azores and totally recommends it - she also purchased some beautiful cards, and i was lucky to find this donkey among them and that she was willing to trade. Thank you very much Tanja for another great swap! :=D

These Irish donkeys were sent to me by dear Kim as RAS.
Thank you so much for this great surprise! :))) and the stamps are as gorgeous as always!

This lovely card is from Lotty's Animal RR, the Cats Vs Donkeys group. It is a double but recently i've decided not to worry about that :) The stamp is really cute too! I love the fact that i get so many finnish postcards and yet i hardly ever get stamp doubles. thank you Suvi!

Map Of Bermuda

My 1st w&s card from Bermuda, thanks to Ash :)
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the Atlantic, off the east coast of the United States (North carolina being the nearest state). It was discovered in 1505 and settled by England in 1609, making it the oldest and most populous remaining British overseas territory. It covers the area of 53.2 square meters and current population is ca 68000. The capital is Hamilton, the currency Bermudian Dollar.
I am again amazed Ash keeps managing to find maps for me! :))

Jetoy Cat As Little Red Riding Hood

Last week i got many great postcards, and this is one of them - my 1st jetoy Cat card :)
I've arranged this private swap months ago, and it was indeed sent on the 22nd of April; I was sure it got lost for good! I'll have to admit, most of the Jetoy cards are just too cutsie for me...esp the ones with the bling-bling heh. But i really like this one, it takes you a second to realise she's the Red Riding Hood, and a pensive one at that..! Recently I won another Jetoy Cat card in a lottery, am keen to find out which one!
I was really surprised not to find Jetoy in wikipedia...it has been mentioned so much on postcrossing, surely it deserves a spot?! There is a web-site not very comprehensive for the westerners - so all i can say is that Jetoys are Korean :)
big thanks to vicky/metroandro, for great stamps too :=D

19. 07. 2011.

UNESCO - Piazza del Duomo, Pisa, Italy

Standing in a large green expanse, Piazza del Duomo houses a group of monuments known the world over. These four masterpieces of medieval architecture – the cathedral, the baptistry, the campanile (the 'Leaning Tower') and the cemetery – had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century.
I got this lovely RAS card from dear postcrossing friend Tina, which she sent from her holidays in Toscana. It shows the famous leaning Tower of Pisa during the St. Ranieri Festival.
The Festival in honour of St. Ranieri, patron saint of Pisa, takes place annually on the 16th of June. The whole waterfront of the Arno river, buildings, towers and bridges are decorated with numerous lights - and the thousands of sparkling points of light can be seen on the mirror-like water surface.
I think that must be a truly gorgeous site - than you Tina for this lovely card! :)

18. 07. 2011.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Here is another long/panoramic card that i want to share :) I love panoramic cards - but the sad thing is they regularly get damaged in the mail...you can see creases on all the geo cards and this one. But some cards you just gotta have :=D

When i visited Scotland a few years ago i didnt have much time to see all the things that i wanted to see - and this gorgeous site is one of them. Eilean Donan is a small island in Loch Duich in the western scottish highlands - the castle that dominates the scene was originally built in the 13th century as a defence against the Vikings. It was demolished by three Royal Navy fregatas in 1719 when fighting against a Jacobite Uprising of the Spanish, and only restored in the early 20th century. Eilean Donan is now the home of the Clan Macrae, and has the population of only one person.
What i couldnt pull off for months in London i got lucky with in Edinburgh - i found stamps other than 'queen's heads' in the local post office! This one is one of four in the souvenir sheet 'Celebrating Scotland'. I was also very happy with the cancellation cos sadly many cards i sent from the UK had none.
A very dear addition to my Scotland/UK collection :)))

17. 07. 2011.

Animal Kingdom With GEO

My dear sister is still sending me the GEO postcards, and i still find them equally brilliant :) I have so many already, i sure do hope there are still many to be sent! let me introduce to you these wonderful, unique creatures:

The Celebes Crested Macaque.  Foto: Stefano Unterthiner
This species of primates lives only in the northeast of the Indonesian island Sulawesi, as well as the small islands nearby. This fellow with a recognisable long hair tuft is highly endangered, because his natural habitat is the disappearing rain forest.

Ethiopian Wolf.  Foto: Vincent Munier/www.vincentmunier.com
The puppies peek curiously out of the hole, in which they were born some three weeks before. They do look more like foxes, but indeed belong to the rarest wolf species - the ethiopian wolf of the eastern afro-alpine region. (also known as the Abyssinian wolf, Abyssinian fox, red jackal, Simien fox or Simien jackal)
If you ask me, these pups are one of the cutest creatures out there!

Kodiak Bear.  Foto: Getty Images
Salmon have to jump up the cataracts to get to their spawning place - they are a welcome source of fat for the Alaskan Kodiak Bear before the hibernation.What a great shot! :)

Polar Bears.  Foto: Kennan Ward/Corbis
Polar bears at sundown on the Canadian pack ice: it is a rare thing to see half a dozen of these solitary predators at one place - an unfortunate result of the receding ice due to global warming. As much as it's beautiful, it is also infinately sad...

Cheetah.  Foto: Kennan Ward/Corbis

16. 07. 2011.

Traditional Clothing Of Mariovo, Macedonia

This lovely postcard of the Macedonian traditional clothes was sent to me by a very dear postcrossing friend Ana from Skopje :) Complete with the brilliant stamps showing ancient coins with the images of Alexander the Great and his father Philip II of Macedon. Thank you Ana for this great 'package'! :)
The national clothes is from  Mariovo, the mountainous area in the Macedonian south. Its a sparsely populated countryside with picturesque villages that nurture their tradition and folklore. It sounds like a perfect place to visit to get away from the urban chaos :)

A Knight at the Crossroads, Russia

I fell in love with this painting at once! I wish i possessed the right language to explain its effects on me in a way that it makes it justice...but you'll have to suffer a laical exposition! What i love about this painting is the way the atmosphere of lost hope oozes out of it...there is nothing positive about the crossroads the weary knight faces  (tombstone, human bones, ravens as carriers of ill omens) and yet there is something oddly beautiful about it - the colours of the setting sun...or may it be the sun is rising, bringing new hope..?
The author of this work is a Russian painter Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926) who specialized in mythological and historical subjects. He is considered a key figure of the revivalist movement in Russian art. During his Moscow-stationed  period in 1870s he concentrated on illustrating Russian fairy tales and bylinas (oral epic narrative poems) - this painting being among them. As i've found one depiction: 'the knight has stopped at a sign at the roadside which reads 'noone shall walk, ride, or fly this road' - to the hero of an ancient epic poem, such a sign would prove irresistible.'

15. 07. 2011.

UNESCO - Historic Fortified City Of Carcassonne, France

I immediately fell in love with this view of the fortified french town of Carcassonne! My brother went for a trip with his university mates a few years back, and sent me this card that amplified my already-existent love for France :)
Carcassonne is situated in the Aude department, in south-central France. In the 6th century BC the hill site of Carsac became an important trading place, and it was fortified by the romans around 100 BC. The fortifications were expanded throughout the years, and were thoroughly restored in 1853 by the architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. In 1997 it was added to the whs unesco list :)

Cheetah, Namibia

As it sez on the back of the card 'over 90% of namibia's cheetah, which need a very large range and do not breed well in captivity, are found on commercial farmlands.' such a beautiful, graceful animal! as most people already know, cheetah is the fastest land animal and can achieve speed of 120km/h (75mph)...! another interesting characteristic is that it is the only felid with non-retractable claws, which disallows gripping.
A completely new realisation for me is that there is the subspecies Asian Cheetah, which is critically endangered and can be only spotted in Iran (with reported rare sightseeings in Pakistan). I am always so sad to learn about the dying-out species.....
Big thanks to Anja for her choice of a card from her holiday :)

Vintage Donkeys - Venezuela

It was quite the story with the ebay-donkeys...i only expected to see the 'usual' countries: Spain, Greece, Italy...so i had this pile in my hands, and was going thru it, and was really happy :) and then the last card came along and i had to rub my eyes to believe the surprise: a vintage w&s card from Venezuela! After sobering up and checking the front, another quite bizzare surprise - the person the card was addressed to is Agi!!!
This card was sent on 15/11/73 to an address in Germany :)

13. 07. 2011.

Vintage Donkeys - Italy

The lesson for today is - Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples. Its area is 46 square meters and population ca 62 000. Mount Epomeo is its highest peak at 789 m. It errupted last in  the year 1302 - quite some time ago!
I enjoy the views of donkeys in their habitat and interaction with people :)))
The card was sent on 09/10/72

Vintage Donkeys - Yugoslavia

I just loooooooooove vintage donkey cards!!! And if they happen to be 'used' and have old stamps and cancellations...wonderful. This is why from time to time i search for used cards on E-bay. Unfortunatelly there is no croatian e-bay so i rely on my dear sister who lives in germany and is an avid user of e-bay herself :)
Last month i've discovered a bulk of 40 donkey&mule cards on sale - and we won the bid! (it is not always the case - sometimes i am surprised at how many people bid for donkey cards heh)

Here is a very handsome yugoslavian donkey - or perhaps i should say slovenian! As i've discovered, Kozina is a small settlement in the Littoral region of Slovenia, close to the italian border (and de facto to the croatian border as well :)). The stamp doesnt have a title or description, i will have to look for it online...
The card was sent on 03/09/65

Simpson Bay And Map Of Saint Martin

This time a real postcard with the map of Saint Martin,  and the view of the Simpson Bay which is situated on the south-western part of the island - the line separating the southern Dutch from the north French part runs through it. Looks lovely doesn't it? :)