17. 03. 2012.

UNESCO - Port, Fortresses And Group Of Monuments, Cartagena, Colombia

Situated in a bay in the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena has the most extensive fortifications in South America. A system of zones divides the city into three neighbourhoods: San Pedro, with the cathedral and many Andalusian-style palaces; San Diego, where merchants and the middle class lived; and Gethsemani, the 'popular quarter'.

Not enough time, not enough budget to do Colombia properly - but the bits I've seen, oh were they lovely! I soooo want to go back...! Cartagena is a beautiful town with an atmosphere of its own <3 One thing about the colombian mail - there is no 'proper' postal service, mail is handeled by private carriers and its all a bit of a mess really. Sending postcards is expensive, but i've read they have better chance arriving than letters cos they cant be opened and compromised..This one travelled a long while but i am thoroughly happy it arrived :D

The Hummingbird And The Donkey, Ecuador

Tracking back to Quito...so happy to find another donkey card :D Actually I've found several, just couldnt post them all...Was sold a set of self-adhesive stamps with awesome images of ecuador <3

15. 03. 2012.

(San Pedro De) Atacama, Chile

San Pedro de Atacama is a small  town at the edge of 'the driest desert in the world'. It is the major tourist hub for visiting Salar de Atacama, Valle de la Luna  and other surrounding sights.
The first people to inhabit the Atacama area arrived at the place by the year 10,000 B.C., at a time when the area had large lakes and mighty rivers on account of the end of the glacial era. The Atacama culture reaches its classical phase during the first seven centuries of the Christian era. The Hispanic urban pattern and architecture, combining the Spanish contribution and native techniques, have also survived. All this and much more is why the place is on the Unesco WHS tentative list.

We walked into the desert as far as we could in one day, which didnt bring us to the most famous spots but i am still thrilled to have done it :))) Valle de la Luna is one of those places where EVERYONE goes and does the same thing. Sometimes its worth it. I wonder about this one. But how to predict?

A nice set of Antofagasta stamps, a port city just west of San Pedro on the Pacific coast. The cards took a while to arrive, i remember being worried about them...All's well that ends well :)))

Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia

Flamingos taking off at Salar de Uyuni

Laguna Colorada
Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve

The postcards I've sent to my home address make me wonder still...I have been to the Salar de Uyuni, but havent sent a proper card to show it..! I have been under the impression of seeing the first flamingos on my way from Potosi to Uyuni, and didnt think I'd see so many still :))) To be honest, I didnt even know there are flamingos on the american continent until I arrived there *embarassed*
(and look at the crooked scans...my scanning 'skills' can be downright appalling..heh)
The whole southwest circuit trip was awesome - now I should do it in dry season :D

Bolivia - The Story Of The Tampered-With Stamps

Indigenous Woman With Donkeys, Sucre

Evo Morales, the 80th President of Bolivia

These two postcards, in my memory sent from the constitutional capital Sucre, seem to have had an interesting journey from Bolivia to my doorstep; I've purchased a gorgeous stamp set with jaguar & puma in Santa Cruz, and  set with the president Morales in La Paz.
*I've used the animal set on the donkey card - the surviving puma stamp was actually enough postage, so someone unglued the jaguar stamp and THEN cancelled it! No wonderment there where the 'crime' happened :)
*It is quite logical then that the 2nd 'crime' was committed by the same perpetrator - I have matched the stamps with the card and used two Morales stamps, one of which was removed and the other put back upside down! Whats more, that someone was conscious enough to add other stamps so the postage would be right..!
Then there is a mystery of the stamp stuck on front of the donkey card...the card was obviously wet at some point, i hope some other card wasnt left stamp-less in the process!!
All in all, I feel happy that the cards have arrived in the end :)))

The Carts Of Paraguay

It was only when I've stamped these postcards that I realised that I could have gone for diversity rather than the same theme! I suppose a part of the reason remains the fear that the cards wont reach me via postal system...Which doesnt seem to happen to me that often..! (3x knock) So I should take more risks in the future, or simply buy two of the same cards :) On the other hand, I've wanted to send a card of Encarnación, and the horse cart was the prettiest one they had :D Both cards sent from Concepción from the lovely lady's office.

Lately I'm becoming to question my love for carts...they do represent something quaint and traditional in most of cases, but when I see them 'in person' there is this feeling of discomfort, as some of the animals are underfed, dirty or simply constrained...but such is the way of the world, and never simply black or white :(

UNESCO - Iguaçu National Park, Brazil

Which side of  the famous falls to see, when you have one day only and a hole in your pocket? I cannot remember why exactly, but we've chosen the Brazilian side...We've actually peeked into Argentina from Paraguay, with a candid intention to snoop around for a week or so...but then we realised the prices have gone up two- and threefold from our last info (read: 2yo-guide) so we just sweeped the north to get to the falls and continued back (can one do so?!) to Paraguay. A shame it is, but then again we wouldnt have seen that much anyway, and a separate trip (Arg, Uru, Bra, S.Chile) is definately necessary and planned for the future!!

Another great view of the Iguacu Falls, this time from the forum i.e. the favourite RR. Thank you Anita/hanitles for reminding just me how gorgeous these falls are! And the stamp reminds me of another memorable day on my trip, visiting Itaipú Dam.:D

Old Train Station In Asunción, Paraguay

Former train station in Asunción, nowadays serving as a rail museum.

We did not go straight for Asunción, but it was the 1st place I found postcards...We spent some days further north prior to, in a small town on Rio Paraguay called Concepción, which for certain had boats going up the river :) But the tickets for cabins were sold out and we had to book them for next week - i was actually happy about that cos otherwise we might have spent less time in this awesome country! There were no real postcards (we were shown a local photo-shop to buy some, but they only sold their photos as postcards!), BUT a very friendly lady at the local PO who sold me different stamps and chatted about Paraguay :D
Edit: this may possibly be an Unesco tentative site, under the 'Carlos Antonio López Railway System'.

Toucan In Pantanal, Brazil

From La Paz on we have taken a somewhat irrational route heh. The decisions were made along the way - all I really knew is that I wanted to see some native animal (wild)life. So I read the Pantanal is a heaven on earth in that sense, but from Paraguay side its both cheaper and less touristy. We've taken a train to the Brasilian border as my friend was so certain we can catch a ride on Rio Paraguay from there - though it wasnt mentioned anywhere! :P We came to Corumbá and found nothing of the sort - only blank looks and ads for the Brasilian Pantanal touristy tours. So we moved on south to Pedro Juan Caballero on the border of Paraguay.

I really wanted to send a card showing toucan, this awesome and cool bird that I only used to see in the encyclopedia..! Until that lovely day while waiting for the train in San José de Chiquitos, when i spotted a pair flying over the station. They look so funny when flying! :D

13. 03. 2012.

Bolivian Donkey

Quechua girl hugs her animal with affection

You can imagine my ecstasy upon finding a donkey card in Bolivia, AND an awesome set of animal stamps!
My initial days in Copacabana had no postal significance - in fact i saw no pretty cards and thought that might be the case for the whole country. Then came La Paz, and its amazing central PO on the main avenue with postcards shops and a friendly philately office <3
Together with the clear round cancellation i've come to have a perfect postcard..!

From Trujillo To Huaraz, Peru

The Moche civilisation in northern Peru existed between ca 100-800AD, and was noted for sofisticated gold and ceramics work, as well as monumental structures and irrigation systems.
Remains of an ancient Moche capital Cerro Blanco include Huaca de la Luna/Temple of the Moon, which is a large adobe brick structure presumably used for ceremonial and religious purposes.

Trujillo is a great base for exploring Moche temples (only 20% uncovered and already impressive!), as well as the Chan Chan archaeological site (Unesco).
I was amazed with all the history of Peru, which includes so much more than just the famous Incas! At the time i didnt yet collect unesco cards so have missed on sending cards like chan chan...but on the brighter side the lady at the post office was most friendly and helpful :D got some awesome stamps that i was afraid using in fear of losing thm, but these football stamps are just as cool (and applied by the postal lady, hence the upside-down overlap heh)

Another place not immediately associated with Peru, the grand Cordillera Blanca
(33 peaks over 5500 meters!)

We have stayed in Huaraz, the capital of the Ancash State - it is the 1st time i've noticed i'm short of breath cos of the high altitude, as the town is situated at over 3km-height. But we have gone higher from there: the beautiful Llanganuco lagoon in Huascaran National Park, and another WHS - Chavín de Huántar (Chavín culture dates to a millenium BC!). On the way to the latter the bus climbed to a mountain pass over 4km high, and on the other side we were greeted by an enormous statue of Jesus - one of the more surreal sights of the whole trip...
The local PO had new, fish stamps for me, yay :D

One more card i remember sending and that never arrived is from Lake Titicaca in Puno :( Sent another one to my friends back home on the same day from the same place, I do wonder how they got theirs and mine got stuck...:/ Of course I wish I was able to send many, many more cards, as we've also been in Lima, Cuzco and Arequipa...but this is brilliant too :))

UNESCO - City Of Quito, Ecuador

Four months had to pass until my update...not really an update, but since i'm away from home i've decided to at least show cards that i have stored in my netbook. Cards long overdue really! My trip to South America took place last winter, and these are the cards i've sent to my family :)

Gorgeous church, parts of which were restored at the time of visit. Very elaborate inside, which always causes dual emotions..! As part of Quito Old Town on Unesco list.

La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (The Church of the Society of Jesus) is a Jesuit church in the historic center of Quito, among the best-known ones because of its large central nave, which is profusely decorated with gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings.
Ecuador is a country that i really enjoyed visiting, and because there is so much left to see i wish to go back one day..! uhm not only for seeing, but for buying too :D I loved the markets there, but there is only so much you can buy when on a serious budget travel, and carry when you travel for four months. The choice of postcards was really great; and although it took me a while to find the PO with philately, i was rewarded in the end with various stamps too :))


Colourful traditional clothes, always enjoy seeing those! Alas i havent seen these particular ones during my trip...but there were other colourful robes to compensate :D