30. 01. 2018.

Shamanka Rock On Olkhon Island, Baikal, Russia

If I was given a choice to choose just one trip for the rest of my days, that would def be the continuous rail route from Europe to SE Asia, and with new routes being open or in planning, a return-trip could be quite epic! There is of course the classic Trans-Mongolian Route, which stops at many places in the Russian Federation incl. the WHS Lake Baikal. 
The lake's largest island ( and the world's  fourth-largest lake-bound island ) is the Olkhon, and one of its most prominent spots is pictured here - the Shamanka, or Shaman's Rock. The indigenous Buryats, adherents of shamanism, believe the island to be a spiritual place; they believe that Burkhan, a modern religious cult figure of the Altai peoples, lives in the cave in this rock, one of nine most sacred places in Asia.

I was quite...no, VERY surprised that I haven't posted anything about Baikal yet..! I am sure I have more postcards to show, I must have been waiting for all of them to be in one place. But these views are so calming and reminiscent of 'real winter', I just had to pop them in here. Thank you Angela :)

Baie Sainte Anne, Praslin Island, Seychelles

Another lovely island view, to continue this week's posts with more getaway destinations! As one may suspect, I am not very happy with where I am in my life right now...but fingers crossed for some positive changes. The weather has been too nice ( yes there is such a thing!) lately, sunny and no winds, but the morning/evening fog and the mist don't really make it seem healthy. Also, last night there was a 5-second-thunder feel of an earthquake to be experienced, something not very common in these parts. Well that was a quick update on local going-ons , now lets enjoy this tropical view of the Praslin Island! Sent by Samuel and Visha a few years back, it was a splendid surprise, thank you! :))

29. 01. 2018.

La Galera, Venezuela

Starting off this week with this lovely view of the fishing village La Galera, part of the Juan Griego urban area situated on the north coast of the famous Isla de Margarita. Sent by dear postcrossing friend Luis Alberto, many thanks for this possibly last postcard from Venezuela I'll receive for a while...Things have been extremely rough for the people of Venezuela in the last years, and I can only hope this will resolve soon, with a positive outcome for this beautiful country.

26. 01. 2018.

UNESCO - Kvarken Archipelago, Finland

The full name of the WHS is High Coast/ Kvarken Archipelago, but the High Coast part belongs to Sweden; they are situated in the Gulf of Bothnia, a northern extension of the Baltic Sea. The 5,600 islands of the Kvarken Archipelago feature unusual ridged washboard moraines, ‘De Geer moraines’, formed by the melting of the continental ice sheet, 10,000 to 24,000 years ago. The Archipelago is continuously rising from the sea in a process of rapid glacio-isostatic uplift.
Many thanks to Heli for this swap on FB :)

UNESCO - Stari Grad Plain, Croatia

The ever-elusive Croatian WHS site...Though at least this view is attainable, which offers a partial view of the plain in the back. That said, I had to travel to Hvar myself to get this for my collection - and it was October already, the number of tourists significantly dwindled and in proportion shops were closing down for the season and the choice of postcards was lacking. There was only one souvenir shop that had these postcards and there were only 6 left! So in all, I should count my blessings :D (I believe these days the new Croatian WHS of Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards will be even tougher to find on postcards).

Stari Grad Plain on the Adriatic island of Hvar is a cultural landscape that has remained practically intact since it was first colonized by Ionian Greeks from Paros in the 4th century BC. The original agricultural activity of this fertile plain, mainly centring on grapes and olives, has been maintained since Greek times to the present. The site is also a natural reserve. 

25. 01. 2018.

Sunset At Borobudur Temple, Indonesia

And more of SE Asia sunsets, didn't realise this connection before the actual posting heh. This time the sender is dewi, many thanks :)

I have posted a Borobudur Temple card before as part of my UNESCO collection, but have failed to mentioned there it is indeed the world's largest Buddhist temple. This is an absolutely amazing view. I really hope to visit Indonesia one day...The way things are going now, this may be in a farther future only.

Sunset In Bangkok, Thailand

Another sunset card from the same corner of the earth, and again its Nat :) Interesting self-adhesive stamp with cute elephants!
This view inevitably makes me feet itch...

Sunset In Taipei, Taiwan

Today, a short time after a real-time sunset, I've decided to dedicate to sunset views :) This one thanks to my busy-bee friend Nat.
The most prominent building on this picture is the Taipei 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, a landmark supertall skyscraper in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building was officially classified as the world's tallest in 2004 (509,2 m), and remained such until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (829,8 m) in 2010. In 2011, the building was awarded the LEED platinum certification, the highest award according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, and became the tallest and largest green building in the world.

24. 01. 2018.

Official - Hungry Donkey

Wow I can hardly remember what its like to receive an official postcrossing card...and this one must have been sent aaages ago as the Netherlands number is quite low, very much so..! In any case this is a sweet nibblin' donkey sent by Susanne, and I needed to see something this cute today after a hard day of looking through employment options...:)

23. 01. 2018.

The Magnificent Frigatebird, Barbuda

The magnificent frigatebird is a large, lightly built seabird with brownish-black plumage, long narrow wings and a deeply forked tail. The male has a striking red gular sac which it inflates to attract a mate. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a white breast and belly. Frigatebirds feed on fish taken in flight from the ocean's surface (often flying fish), and sometimes indulge in kleptoparasitism, harassing other birds to force them to regurgitate their food.
The magnificent frigatebird is widespread in the tropical Atlantic, breeding colonially in trees in Florida, the Caribbean and also along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands. It has occurred as a vagrant as far from its normal range as the Isle of Man, Denmark, Spain, England, and British Columbia.

21. 01. 2018.

A Honky Tonk In Nashville

Another whiskey-related card from Bryon...And is apt to post these days. Why? I'll tell ya, in a bit of a promotional sense :)

This week the 34th International Blues Festival took place in Memphis, Tennessee. My 24-y-o niece is a singer in a local blues-rock band, which won the country's Blues Challenge, and was sent off to Memphis. Pretty cool, eh? It was the band's first performance outside Croatia, and my niece's first trip outside Europe, so you can see its all a bit exciting for everyone involved :) The band spent a few days in Nashville, where they visited Jack White's Third Man Studio, and did more extensive recording in the renowned Dark Horse Studio. Without much further ado, here I present the band's first video :)

UNESCO - Prehistoric Sites And Decorated Caves Of The Vézère Valley, France

The Vézère Valley contains 147 prehistoric sites dating from the Palaeolithic and 25 decorated caves. It is particularly interesting from an ethnological and anthropological, as well as an aesthetic point of view because of its cave paintings, especially those of the Lascaux Cave, whose discovery in 1940 was of great importance for the history of prehistoric art. The hunting scenes show some 100 animal figures, which are remarkable for their detail, rich colours and lifelike quality.
Once again I am unsure about the sender :/


UNESCO - Churches Of Moldavia, Romania

Moldavia, or Țara Moldovei (in Romanian Latin alphabet), Цара Мѡлдовєй (in old Romanian Cyrillic alphabet)) is a historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester River. An initially independent and later autonomous state, it existed from the 14th century to 1859, when it united with Wallachia (Țara Românească) as the basis of the modern Romanian state.

There are eight Romanian Orthodox Churches located in Suceava County, northern Moldavia, that have been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1993. These churches, built from the late 15th century to the late 16th century, their external walls covered in fresco paintings, are masterpieces inspired by Byzantine art.

The ones depicted here are Saint John the New Monastery (Romanian: Mănăstirea Sfântul Ioan cel Nou) in Suceava, and the Church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross (Romanian: Biserica Înălțarea Sfintei Cruci) in Pătrăuți Commune. This was a great double swap with Viktor, mulţumesc!

Asino Amiatino, Italy

And good morning to you on this fine drizzly sunday morning, perfect for celebrating the International Sweatpants Day :D And for posting this cutie :) Grazie goes to Luca and Raffaella, who got this card on their holiday in Tuscany.

The Amiatina or Italian: Asino dell'Amiata is a breed of donkey from Tuscany in central Italy. It is one of the eight autochthonous donkey breeds of limited distribution recognised by the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali, the Italian ministry of agriculture and forestry. It is a strong and rustic breed, capable of foraging on harsh marginal terrain. 

20. 01. 2018.

Musk Ox, Norway

The muskox (Ovibos moschatus), (in Inuktitut: ᐅᒥᖕᒪᒃ, umingmak), is an Arctic mammal of the family Bovidae, noted for its thick coat and for the strong musky odor emitted during the seasonal rut by males, from which its name derives. Its Inuktitut name "umingmak" translates to "the bearded one". Muskoxen primarily live in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, with small introduced populations in the American state of Alaska, the Canadian territory of Yukon, the Scandinavian Peninsula and Siberia.

The species was introduced from Banks Island in Canada to the Dovre mountain range of Norway in 1932 before they were hunted to extinction during the Second World War. The animal was reintroduced to Norway in 1947; this population expanded into Härjedalen, Sweden in 1971. An introduction attempt in Svalbard was carried out in 1925-26 and 1929; however, this population died out in the 1970s. They were also introduced in Iceland around 1930 but did not survive.

This somehow makes me sad even though the musk oxen are on the way of population recovery despite the historical overhunting...mostly because of the enforced new hunting regulations. In Norway there are about 300 in the protected Dovrefjell National Park.
I have chosen this postcard just now because this evening we watched a wonderful German documentary Abenteuer Nordsee (North Sea Adventure) which 'visited' all the coastal areas of the North Sea and the underwater in between them. There we saw two musk oxen slamming heads to get a girl. Their fur seems so velvety, I wonder if it is!
Thank you Nore :)

Tea Garden, Taiwan

Taiwan is famous for its tea, which are of three main types: oolong tea, black tea and green tea. The earliest record of tea trees found in Taiwan can be traced back to 1717 in Shui Sha Lian (水沙連), present-day Yuchi and Puli, Nantou County. 
This is also where this tea garden is placed, doesn't it look wonderful? Although I am a definite coffee junky, tea still occasionally finds its place in my life, esp on the cold(ish) winter nights - herbal teas are my favourite. The lovely one we drink these days contains peppermint, lemon balm, chamomile, blackberry leaves, lavander, and then some more.
Teng even matched this card with a tea stamp. 謝謝 !

Hawaiian Moonlight

Another getaway destination...and on stamps the King himself, who used to croon about Blue Hawaii.
Thank you Bryon - I have also continued to receive your postcards over the last year even though I was such a lousy sender myself, you make me feel a bit guilty now..! I have explained some of the reasons here on the blog, but I hope I'll make it up to you, some time soon...or rather as soon as I sort myself out :)

Greetings From The Pitcairn Island

Talking about the isolated places where you can (at least temporarily) hide from the troubles of the world...As I have posted about this territory before, I'll just mention that looking it up I've come across an article stating that despite an open offer of free land noone wants to move to the Pitcairn...perhaps because it is so isolated, or even more likely because to start with you need enough capital to build yourself a house there (though as the population is dwindling surely there'd be properties for sale?) and some sort of income coming your way already (pensioners or strictly online employees?) as jobs are as scarce as..well those pacific islands I guess.

The title of this post is literally all that was written at the back of this postcard, so I don't really know who to thank! After all its been years since this swap and oh well, I have just stepped into my 40s...A big thank you anyway, whoever your kind self is :)

19. 01. 2018.

Glacier Tramping In New Zealand

After watching a debate on TV about censoring the hate speech on social media, and then continuing to have this debate amongst ourselves, a relaxing view like this was very much needed. Sometimes I really wish to get away from it all, the human primitivity that still very much exists under a cloak of technological progress. New Zealand definitely springs to mind as the final destination..! Though I'd probably never climb a glacier. My adventures are limited to surviving in my own country.
Once again thanks goes to Tianyi Shi :)

UNESCO - Korean Dolmen Sites

The proper name of this whs is Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites, alas I am not sure which site this relates to, or if its one or two of the three sites. In any case, great addition to my collection, thank you Sehan :) 

The prehistoric cemeteries at Gochang, Hwasun, and Ganghwa contain many hundreds of examples of dolmens - tombs from the 1st millennium BC constructed of large stone slabs. They form part of the Megalithic culture, found in many parts of the world, but nowhere in such a concentrated form.
Usually consisting of two or more undressed stone slabs supporting a huge capstone, it is generally accepted that they were simply burial chambers, erected over the bodies or bones of deceased worthies. They are usually found in cemeteries on elevated sites and are of great archaeological value for the information that they provide about the prehistoric people who built them and their social and political systems, beliefs and rituals, and arts and ceremonies.

17. 01. 2018.

UNESCO - Syracuse, Italy

The full name of this UNESCO site would be Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica which therefore consists of two separate elements, but I have only a postcard showing one of them.
Ancient Syracuse includes the nucleus of the city’s foundation as Ortygia by Greeks from Corinth in the 8th century BC. The site of the city, which Cicero described as ‘the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of all’. Many remains bear witness to the troubled history of Sicily, from the Byzantines to the Bourbons, interspersed with the Arabo-Muslims, the Normans, Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen dynasty (1197–1250), the Aragons and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Historic Syracuse offers a unique testimony to the development of Mediterranean civilization over three millennia.

Even though this postcard was swapped for, I have been lucky enough to visit Syracuse while we were in port in Catania (this was a turbulent cruise due to bad weather conditions, the route pretty much changed as we went - we had to skip Venice, Kotor and Ravenna (three UNESCO spots right there!) and got an overnight in Catania instead) as I had enough free time to catch a train and have a walk around town - though I could have easily spent many more hours roaming the streets of this lovely place. In the end I was still in a sort of a rush...here is the cathedral square, so spacious and neat :)

Piazza Dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy

The name Piazza dei Miracoli was coined by the Italian writer and poet Gabriele d'Annunzio who, in his novel Forse che sì forse che no (1910), described the square as the "prato dei Miracoli," or "meadow of miracles".
 It is better known as Piazza Del Duomo, and I have already written about it here. As I have been here while working on the ship here is a little reminder - as a tour escort I had access to the cathedral but not the tower. There was a tiny bit of free time but not enough to explore the rest of Pisa - and there was a lot to see, judging from what could be glimpsed from onboard a tourist train.
Grazie Chiara :) 

Sagittarius In 2018

Seeing this postcard made me curious what the astrology online cafes say about the new year in a Sagittarius' life...Not that I believe in such a general aspect of a horoscope, but why not..!

The most sensible in a way is the one by a certain John Terry on www.horoscope2018.co.uk
(Call me bias but I was looking through the British rather than the American pages).

'With Pluto slowly wending its way through your sign, you're beginning to understand that you must create your own luck, and that it's your attitude that makes all the difference. As the new year dawns, the natives of your sign, more than any other, stand ready, willing, and able to make whatever evolutionary leaps are necessary in order to adapt, change, grow - and make the grade.'

More than ever I think this is real, and its gonna be a challenging year!
(Look at that, it even rhymes)

16. 01. 2018.

Wooden Angel

One of those unusual postcards worth having in one's collection, and I haven't even swapped for it - it was a surprise lottery card :D Danke Flo!
P.S. Of course I will keep the card intact as nice words are written on the back