Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

For the Wordless Wednesday, I would like to add this postcard. I have a collection of them and some are very hilarious! They are also all for trade as my daughter bought 2 copies of the postcard book. She absolutely loved them!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon (or Lisboa in Portugese) is a capital and the largest city in Portugal. I could not believe how old this city is! The archeological findings dated back to Neolithic period are found there! From wikipedia: Since 1200 BC, a Phoenician trading post might have occupied the centre of the present city. Lisbon was under Roman rule from 205 BC, when it was already a 1000 year old town. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city for the Christians and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural center of Portugal.
This card makes me want to go travel to far away lands and unknown places!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

All About Women RR

I have so enjoyed participating in this special Round Robin! Although the name of the group was "Women in groups", all of the cards I received were also black and white! I never thought I would enjoy the black and white cards so much! I always love color, but I am rethinking now...
First card comes from Paris, France. "Can you hear the drums and hear the beat?" asks my sender.
Another card is from the Netherlands. The caption reads: "Eddy van der Veen, 1996/ "Stranddutje!" (which in English means "beach nap"). Nice nap!! I wonder if the gazebo was provided or they brought it themselves??
To continue the theme of elderly people, comes this card from California. I loved the caption MonkeyFlower left me: "I guess these women are having fun. The one on the left does look like she wishes that she was somewhere else".
And on with the sun and nap, this card is from Helsinki, Finland. It is a french card that is copyrighted to Robert Doisneau "The Hairdressers in the Sun, 1966". A bliss!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rungus ethnic group, Malaysia

Through the traditional costumes tag, came this beautiful card from Cikgu Dale. Rungus is an ingenious tribe which inhabits the Kudat Peninsula of Borneo. Here is a bit of info from "The Rungus, a sub-tribe of the Kadazan-dusun people, are the main ethnic group living in Kudat. They are renowned in Sabah as highly skilled artisans who traditionally make local plant seeds and clay. They still maintain the longhouse community system whereby a longhouse which begins as a single apartment built by the father, and when children grow and start their own families, they build similar apartment to their father’s unit, thus creating a longhouse." Very beautiful beadwork! If you would like to read more about his particular costume, please visit this site.
Happy postcrossing!

Sapa, Vietnam

I am sorry for abandoning my blog for a while. My Dad's visit from Russia, my older daughter starting Middle School and a little one going to Kindergarten kept me very busy this month.
I will have to hurry and catch to all the amazing and wonderful happening in the Postcrossing World!
Here is a card I received through an Expat Tag from Jo (RussianRuby). It depicts Sapa (or Sa Pa) - a small picturesque town in Northwestern Vietnam, on the Hoang Lien Son mountain range near the Chinese border. I am especially excited about this card, because it is a home place to one of the minority people, called Hmong. There is a large population of Hmong living in Minnesota after they relocated here as a result of the Vietnam war. If you watched Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino", these are the people in the movie. I love the tranquil look of these terraced fields and hills! But can't even imagine the walking you have to do to work them!!!

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - rare countries

Some of the countries are considered more rare than others among the postcrossers. Most often, the reason is the size of the country, therefore the size of the population. Recently, I had a chance to receive 2 of the cards from more rare countries. One is from Montenegro (14 postcrossers registered) and another one is from Cyprus (only 10 people registered). The card from Montenegro comes via Yelena (vergi) from Russia, who visited the country on vacation this summer.Montenegro ( Montenegrin: Црна Гора/Crna Gora) (meaning "Black Mountain" in Montenegrin) is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It is on the coast on the Adriatic Sea. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica, while Cetinje is designated as the Prijestonica (Пријестоница), meaning the former Royal Capital City. From 1918, it was a part of former Yugoslavia. The independence was declared on June 3, 2006. The population is about 670,000 people, who mostly speak Serbian language and belong to Orthodox Christian church. The town of Bečići is a resort town on the sea.

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Another rare card comes from a Finnish user, who lives in Cyprus. It was actually an official card, so I can consider myself lucky for receiving it, I guess. :)By the look of the ruins in the top picture, I was able to find out that they are located near the city of Limassol and used to a beautiful Temple of Apollo. Apollo Hylates, God of the Woodland, was the protector of the city of Kourion. The cult of Apollo was celebrated here from the eighth century B.C. to the A.D. fourth century. The second picture might be from the ancient Roman city of Salamis in the northern (Turkish) part of Cyprus. Legend has it that one of the heroes of Trojan war, Teucer, built the city and it became the capital of Cyprus as long ago as 1100 BC. The ruins that remain are from the Roman period. Salamis was a very important economic center. The Romans built a lot of buildings with beautiful colorful decorations and columns. Later, the city became base for the early Christianity, as Apostle Barnabas lived and died there. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the location of the third picture. Maybe, one day I could visit Cyprus and find out for myself? I sure hope so!

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

London, England

Through the geography Round Robin, comes this beautiful multiview card with famous sites of London. Wonderful card and amazing views!!!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Alcobaça - amazing monastery

Some postcards seem to be just ordinary postcards. But some hold much more - a new place, and a new story. This postcard comes from a town of Alcobaça in Portugal. The Alcobaça Monastery (Portuguese: Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça) is a medieval monastery located in the town of Alcobaça, in central Portugal.

Some history and a love story:

In the 12th century Alcobaça became the site for the construction of the Portugal's largest church. In the month of March in 1147, the fledgling King, Dom Afonso Henriques defeated the Moors by capturing the city of Santarem. As a suitable memory to this splendid victory he vowed to build a magnificent home for the Order of Cistercians. It took another 76 years before this task was completed. The monarchy continued to endow the Monastery of Alcobaça with further construction, and 60 years later King Dinis built the main cloister but it was only in 1252 that the Monastery was inaugurated within the church.

In the church are the tombs of King Pedro I and his murdered mistress, Inês de Castro. Forced at an early age by royal duty he had to marry Constanza, the Infanta of Castile, in 1336. She died in 1345, and created the opportunity for Dom Pedro to escape with his true love and live in the city of Coimbra. King Alfonso IV, his father, believing that the family of Inês to be a threat to his own kingdom, had her murdered. Shortly after the death of his father, Dom Pedro declared that he had married Inês in a prior secret ceremony in Braganca, promptly taking revenge on the killers in a very gruesome manner and exhumed her body. He presented the embalmed corpse at court with a crown on her head and demanded that all his courtiers kneel and individually pay homage to her decomposed hand. Their ornate tombs have been facing each other for 650 years (!) and on Judgement day, his first sight would be of his beloved Inês."

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Hill of Crosses

Some info from
"The Hill of Crosses, Kryzių Kalnas, located 12 kilometers north of the small industrial city of Siauliai (pronounced shoo-lay) is the Lithuanian national pilgrimage center. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity.

The city of Siauliai was founded in 1236 and occupied by Teutonic Knights during the 14th century. The tradition of placing crosses dates from this period and probably first arose as a symbol of Lithuanian defiance of foreign invaders. Since the medieval period, the Hill of Crosses has represented the peaceful resistance of Lithuanian Catholicism to oppression. In 1795 Siauliai was incorporated into Russia but was returned to Lithuania in 1918. Many crosses were erected upon the hill after the peasant uprising of 1831-63. By 1895, there were at least 150 large crosses, in 1914 200, and by 1940 there were 400 large crosses surrounded by thousands of smaller ones.

Captured by Germany in World War II, the city suffered heavy damage when Soviet Russia retook it at the war's end. From 1944 until Lithuania's independence in 1991, Siauliai was a part of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic of the USSR. During the Soviet era, the pilgrimage to the Hill of Crosses served as a vital expression of Lithuanian nationalism. The Soviets repeatedly removed Christian crosses placed on the hill by Lithuanians. Three times, during 1961, 1973 and 1975, the hill was leveled, the crosses were burned or turned into scrap metal, and the area was covered with waste and sewage. Following each of these desecrations local inhabitants and pilgrims from all over Lithuania rapidly replaced crosses upon the sacred hill. In 1985, the Hill of Crosses was finally left in peace. The reputation of the sacred hill has since spread all over the world and every year it is visited by many thousands of pilgrims. Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses in September of 1993.

The size and variety of crosses is as amazing as their number. Beautifully carved out of wood or sculpted from metal, the crosses range from three meters tall to the countless tiny examples hanging profusely upon the larger crosses. An hour spent upon the sacred hill will reveal crosses brought by Christian pilgrims from all around the world. Rosaries, pictures of Jesus and the saints, and photographs of Lithuanian patriots also decorate the larger crosses. On windy days breezes blowing through the forest of crosses and hanging rosaries produces a uniquely beautiful music."

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All About Women

I participated in a very nice exchange of postcards through "all about women"- colored women round robin.
From Alice Blue_Zamia: "America Dances: Girls fall into sync in a dance class, Washington, DC, 1942. ". Alice writes, "Washington, DC schools were racially segregated through the 50's so these girls would have attended an all black & inferior school. The schools in the city were still horrible when I was growing up in Maryland in the 70s." Thank you so much, Alice!
From Maren in Germany comes this African beauty.
From France, arrived this beautiful card with an Indian woman. "A Rajastani lady in her traditional dress."From Hong Kong, comes this beautiful painting of a Chinese beauty. Thank you, Winnie!

Royal families

OTMA (cyrillic ОТМА) was an acronym sometimes used by the four daughters of Russian emperor Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna as a group nickname for themselves, built from the first letter of each girl's name in the order of their births:

Ольга - Olga Nikolaevna Romanova (15 November 1895 - 17 July 1918)
Татьяна - Tatiana Nikolaevna Romanova (10 June 1897 - 17 July 1918)
Мария - Maria Nikolaevna Romanova (26 June 1899 - 17 July 1918)
Анастасия - Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova (18 June 1901 - 17 July 1918).

In childhood the grand duchesses came up with ОТМА as a sign of sibling closeness and affection for one another, writing it in their diaries. The girls were great granddaughters of Queen Victoria and although "thoroughly Russian," grew up speaking both fluent English and Russian among themselves. Whilst the family was in captivity after the Russian Revolution of 1917 they were allowed to send few letters, so the sisters often signed this nickname on cards they had written together for loved ones and friends.According to the official website of the Swedish monarchy, the Royal Family includes the following:

The King and Queen:
HM King Carl XVI Gustav (since September 15, 1973). Born on April 30, 1946.
HM Queen Silvia (since June 19, 1976). Born on December 23, 1943.

Their children:
HRH Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland. Born on July 14, 1977.
HRH Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland. Born on May 13, 1979.
HRH Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland. Born on June 10, 1982.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Little My from Moominvalley

I received two new postcards with another of Moomin Trolls. Here is a little bit of her story from wiki:

Little My (Swedish: Lilla My, Finnish: Pikku Myy) is a character in the Moomins series of books by Tove Jansson. She first appears in the fourth book, The Exploits of Moominpappa. She is a small, determined and fiercely independent Mymble. When she wants something done, she does it straight away. She is very aggressive, mischievous to a fault and totally disrespectful, but can be a good friend when she wants to. She has a brash personality. She is the Mymble's Daughter's younger sister. She is eventually adopted by the Moomin family.

The name Little My originated from the Greek letter μ (Mu); in Swedish, [my] is the phonetic pronunciation of the word "my".

The popularity of the character has led to the personal name My being borne by more than 3000 women and girls in Sweden.


I received two postcards from Malaysia this week. One came through July Round Robin, another is a private swap. I never knew that Malaysian postcards are so nice! They are very detailed, well-made and just so beautiful! I am including the amazing stamps as well. Thank you
to my senders for such treasures!
"Trishaws are easily available within the vacinity of famous landmarks of Melaka (Malacca)."
Wat Chayamangkalaram in Penang is the Thai buddhist temple which houses the 3rd largest (33 meters) reclining buddha in the world.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Festival of Postcards, #3 - SIGNS

For the July entry in the Festival of postcards, I have a few cards. The theme of the Festival is Signs, which is fun but a bit difficult! I have a single card featuring ONLY a sign, but I also have a few with signs on them. :) It was very hard to pick which ones to put on this blog, so I picked my most favorite cards and places that I have seen myself.

From our most recent trip to Florida, come two cards with signs. The Universal Studios' Islands of Adventures is a large amusement park, that is located in Orlando, Florida. Back reads, "Take an amazing journey through five awe-inspiring islands, each one featuring new and exciting adventures that bring your favorite stories to life. Explore Seuss Landing, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, Toon lagoon, and Marvel SuperHero Island, where the world's most technologically advanced rides and attractions challenge you to Live the Adventure!" This is an actual SIGN in the front of the Park. It was an exciting park to visit, especially if you have teen or preteen children. They are also opening a new Harry Potter "island" in 2010! We can't wait to go back!
Another postcard comes from my favorite EPCOT World Showcase in Disney World, Florida. I am not sure whether this sign says "The China Pavilion" or "The Temple of Heaven" (the blue building right behind the gates). It is located in the front of the China Area.Our local Science Museum of Minnesota has a lot of signs in the front of it! It is a very nice and large Museum. They have an Omnitheater and lots of permanent and traveling exhibits. Right now, you can visit "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition".

From our travels to the Bahamas, comes this little house. "The Gable House is a prime example of old Bahamian architecture."

We loved the town of Puerta Vallarta on the Pacific side of Mexico. The main street of town is located along the shore and looks like a promenade, called "El Malecon". There are a LOT of signs on that street! During the day, there is an open air market with sellers coming from different regions of Mexico. Come there at night and you will see town come to life in a different way! It seems like everybody is there, strolling, talking, eating, watching the painters, clowns, performers, and dancers. Every night, there was a different troupe entertaining the public.
This is a vintage reprint card from a small town on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin, Stillwater. You can definitely see the SIGNS of celebration on the Main Street! On the back, it reads, "Traffic control for Stillwater's downtown Main Street does not seem to be a problem in 1913, photo looking south". I would have loved to be there for the 4th of July! And the SIGN of soon approaching Christmas in Salzburg, Austria, is the Christkindlmarkt - "The Christmas Fair". My friend, who lives in Salzburg, visits it every year and usually gets lots of nice Christmas decorations and gifts at the Fair.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Postcard Scavenger hunt #5, Night/Lights

I love participating in the Postcardy's Postcard Scavenger hunt! This months hunt is for the modern cards featuring the night scenes from someone's hometown or recent travels. Since Postcardy and I share hometown (Minneapolis), I have only a few cards to add. Most of them are from Saint Paul, together with Minneapolis they are often called "Twin Cities". Also, I would like to add a couple from our travels in the US.

From our most recent trip to Orlando, Florida, we brought a lot of nice cards. :)

If you ever visit Disney World, make sure to stay for the amazing fireworks/light show at the Epcot park.

And a picture of "old" America. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, Governor's Palace. It was home to seven royal governors and the firsst two governors of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Patrick henry and Thomas Jefferson.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bratislava, Slovakia

Another great card from a June Round Robin. When I was little, my father traveled a lot in the so-called (back then) Socialist block of countries. Then, it was Czechoslovakia, of course. I had a set of beautiful cards from there with old buildings, parks with huge trees and churches. I used to look at them and dream about going to see all those places one day. I was told that it might never happen... But look at me now, living in the States and travelling as much as possible! Nobody would have been able to imagine such a fortune back then! I think that is why lots of Russians like to travel. We were told that we wouldn't be able to... ever... Only "special", distinguished people had a chance.

Here is some info on the city: Bratislava — historically Pozsony and Pressburg — is the capital of the Slovac Republic and, with a population of about 429,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Most historical buildings are concentrated in the Old Town. Notable cathedrals and churches include the gothic St. Martin's Cathedral built in the 13th–16th centuries, which served as the coronation church of the Kingdom of Hungary between 1563 and 1830. (we can see it to the right on the card)

The square castle on the card is "Bratislava Castle, on a plateau 85 metres (279 ft) above the Danube. The castle hill site has been inhabited since the transition period between the Stone and Bronze ages and has been the acropolis of a Celtic town, part of the Roman Limes Romanus, a huge Slavic fortified settlement, and a political, military and religious centre for Great Moravia. A stone castle was not constructed until the 10th century, when the area was part of the Kingdom of Hungary. The castle was rebuilt in 1649 in the baroque style. Under Queen Maria Theresa, the castle became a prestigious royal seat. In 1811, the castle was inadvertently destroyed and lay in ruins until the 1950s, when it was rebuilt mostly in its former Theresan style."

Klaipeda, Lithuania

After a long hiatus, I am back home :) We went on vacation, so by the time I got home, my little Post box was pretty full! Very exciting!

I will try to post some of my absolute favorite cards within next few days. There are a lot of them now, as I participated in the large monthly Round Robins.

This card arrived from Lithuania, from a town called Klaipeda. The sender explained that it is a third largest town in this Baltic country and in the middle of the card, one can see the water gates into the Baltic Sea.

From Wikipedia: Klaipėda (German: Memel) is a city in Lithuania situated at the mouth of the Curonian Lagoon where it flows into the Baltic Sea. As Lithuania's only seaport, it has ferry terminal connections to Sweden and Germany. Somme of its older buildings have picturesque half-timbered construction, similar to that found in Germany, France, England, Denmark and southern Sweden.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Edersee, Germany

From Wikipedia: The Edersee is a large reservoir created by the construction, from 1908 to 1914, of a rock and concrete dam across the Eder river, near the small town of Waldeck in northern Hesse, Germany, to generate hydropower and regulate water levels for shipping on the Weser river. It lies at the northern edge of the Kellerwald.
Another card I received through "Your Hometown" RR, another interesting place I have never heard about. Michelle was sweet to write about the history of this area: "That's the Valley where I live. It's a famous area with many tourists. The reservoir was built in 1908-1914 and destroyed in 1943 (*Operation Chastise, by special bombs dropped from British Bomber plane*). The water destroyed many villages and killed many people. But it was rebuilt and today, it's a very nice place. There are many castles in this area which are great to visit. There lived princes from 1137 until 1692. I love this area!"

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Wezep, the Netherlands

Another card from a small town, this time in the Netherlands. It came by the way of June Round Robin, from Wim. He writes,"Wezep is a little village of 13,500 inhabitants. You can see two farm houses, a mansion, a church, and our very nice swimming pool." Looks like a nice place to live!

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Friday, June 19, 2009

A tranquil Setting

This card arrived through "Your Hometown" Round Robin from Morris, Connecticut. Morris is a small town with population of ~2400 people. They are celebrating 150th anniversary of their town this year! Congratulations! I'm sure such a small town doesn't print many postcards. :) So, the nature view is an appropriate card. There are no views of the town on Google Maps, either.

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