December 31, 2011

0087 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / Gelderland) - The Nijmegen road bridge

Behold that Market Garden Corridor (from Eindhoven to Arnhem) start to take shape. After the postcard with the railway bridge from Nijmegen I received it this one, with the road bridge from the same Dutch city (Thanks from the heart, Elsbeth). At the first glance (without claiming to be exhaustive) I ascertain that I would also need the images with the following objectives (of course to the extent that they exist physical nowadays and it were issued the postcards with them): 

December 26, 2011

0083 - CZECH REPUBLIC (Plzeň) - The Benedictine Abbey of Kladruby

For several years I no longer follow the news neither on television nor on the radio, so that events, be they from Romania or from the wider world, reach to me only accidentally, like some echoes. That is why only today I found out of the death of Václav Havel, whom I highly commend as political person, as well as man, because, as Milan Kundera said: "Václav Havel's most important work is his own life". Thank you and God bless you, Mr. Havel, and hats off to the nation which gave birth to such a man. This day is dedicated to the Czech Republic.

December 25, 2011

0082 UNITED STATES (Washington) – The gateway to Alaska


I don't think that I'm the only one for whom Seattle remained forever linked with the grunge. So much touched me the movement in the early '90s, that in 1996 (two years after Cobain's death, because I didn't want to take advantage of it) I wrote a biography of the phenomenon, Nirvana Spirit, which I have edited by myself. Nothing surprising, because the movement was the most important since the punk era and furthermore it came to me, as Romanian, amid a newly gained freedom after 1989.

December 23, 2011

0081 HUNGARY (Budapest) - Saint Stephen's Basilica - part of Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue - Saint Stephen's Basilica (UNESCO WHS)

0081 Saint Stephen's Basilica in Budapest
in nowadays and at the beginning of the 20th century

Saint Stephen's Basilica (Szent István bazilika) is the most important church not only from Budapest, but from the entire Hungary. Completed in 1905 after 54 years of construction, according to the plans of Miklós Ybl, one of Europe's leading architects in the mid to late 19th century, basilica is and will remain the tallest building in Budapest, with 96m (as also Hungarian Parliament Building, the equality symbolizing that worldly and spiritual thinking have the same importance). I said that "is and will remain" the tallest, because the current regulations simply don't allow construction of buildings tallest than that.

December 22, 2011

0080 AUSTRIA (Vienna) - Ball der offiziere 2012

In 1919, under circumstances not very happy for Austria, a group of graduates from the Theresianische Militärakademie (Theresian Military Academy), establish the Asociation Alt-Neustadt (the Old Newstadt). Theresian Military Academy is the oldest military academy in the world and was founded in 1751 by Maria Theresa of Austria. Academy headquarters is in castle of Wiener Neustadt, where he was throughout whole its history except for two short intervals.

December 21, 2011

0079 ITALY (Umbria) - Motor ship Perugia

Today fell the first snow of this winter in my city. Has anything to do the snow  with the postcard that I want to present next? No. But the Christmas is coming, and for me, as for Sheila, winter holidays are closely related to snow. It is a widespread opinion among those living in the temperate zone, although in no case it snowed in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.

December 20, 2011

0078 TAIWAN (Fujian) – Tunnels for ships and cleavers made from bomb shells

Whatever you say, is quite unusual that of the first 50 collectors with whom I swapped, two to be born on the same day as me. That means 4%. A huge percentage. When I found that the 13th postcrosser assigned to me (Mia, from Taiwan) has as the date of birth August 8, I was wincing. After a few days, wanting to thank Sigga, from Iceland, from the postcards send it to me, my eyes have fallen upon her date of birth: August 8. "The owls are not what they seem", I said to myself, and I created a new label on the blog: "Received from those born on August 8". Until now the label contains four postcards (of 103 received, ie about ... 4%), but I'm sure that their number will increase quickly.

December 19, 2011

0077 RUSSIA (Saint Petersburg) - Palace and Park Ensembles of the Town of Lomonosov and its Historical Centre - part of Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

0077 Lomonosov - The Chinese Palace

Oranienbaum (orange tree in German of that era), named Lomonosov since 1948, is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, 40km west of Saint Petersburg, and is the site of an 18th-century park and palace complex. In 1707, four years after he founded Saint Petersburg, Peter the Great gave the grounds near the seaside to his right-hand man, Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov, who commissioned the architects Giovanni Maria Fontana and Gottfried Schädel to built the Grand Menshikov Palace from 1710 to 1727.

December 17, 2011

0076 BULGARIA (Varna) - The Stone Forest

As neighbors we are, even if some Latins and others Slavs, Romanians and Bulgarians had much in common throughout history, whether it's about the closely related ancestors (Dacians and Thracians), about the migratory that often passed through both territories or have settled on them, about the influence or domination firstly Byzantine and then Ottoman and eventually Russian. In Romanian Dobrudja (and not only) live also Bulgarians, Vlachs still live south of the Danube...  The Romanians have mountains (Carpathians), shore to the Black Sea and access to the Danube, the Bulgarians have mountains (Balkan and Rhodope), shore to the Black Sea and access to the Danube. True, we clashed with each other, for example in the Balkan Wars or in WWI, but which neighbors don't argue from time to time?

December 15, 2011

0074 UNITED KINGDOM (Scotland) - Ramsay Gardens - part of Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (UNESCO WHS)

0074 The Ramsay Garden and the Edinburgh Castle

The Ramsay Garden is a block of sixteen private apartment buildings developed into its current form between 1890 and 1893 by the biologist, botanist and urban planner Patrick Geddes (the inventor of the term conurbation). Designed by the architect Stewart Henbest Capper, it was build by Sydney Mitchell, who had also taken over as architect, the result being a combination of traditional Scottish domestic architecture and a rather fanciful proliferation of balconies, towers and eaves.

0073 CANADA (Ontario) – Toronto's Union Station

"You build your stations like we build our cathedrals", said Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, during the official opening of Toronto’s Union Station, on August 6, 1927. He received the first ticket sold at Union Station, to Alberta for a cost of $71.20, which today would cost over $1,100.

Union Station, located in the heart of the City on Front and Bay street, is the central hub for all inter-city transit in Toronto, and the busiest passenger transportation facility in Canada, serving approximately quarter of a million passengers each day. The building of the station came as a result of the great fire in 1904, which demolished 14 acres of the downtown manufacturing and warehouse district. The Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk Railways negotiated with the City of Toronto for control of some of this land, and construction began in 1914, but the WWI and the collapse of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1919 delayed completion until 1921.

Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, it was the largest and most opulent station erected in Canada. Monumental in design, the great Hall features a coffered vault ceiling of Gustavino tiles. The shape of the ceiling is echoed in the four-storey, barrel-vaulted windows on the east and west walls. Mid-way up the north and south walls are carved names of the cities that were then serviced by the Canadian Pacific Railways and the Canadian National Railways, the government-owned railway that replaced the Grand Trunk. The list alternates from side to side, naming the cities from east to west.

The interior walls are of Zumbro stone from Missouri; the floors are Tennessee marble, laid in a herringbone pattern. The exterior walls of the station are Indiana and Queenston limestone. Each of the 22 Bedford limestone columns weights 75 tons and is 40 feet high. In front of the station, as seen in the photography realised by Tim Peters, is an iron sculpture celebrating Christopher Columbus.

Union Station has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada since 1975.

About the stamp I wrote here.

sender: Pompilian Tofilescu

December 14, 2011

0072 COLOMBIA (Bolívar) - Márquez’s Cartagena

A postcard from Macondo, the town where it rained for four years, eleven months and two days, would be undoubtedly the most important piece of my collection. But since such a thing will not happen, at least not in this world, I very much want a postcard from Aratacama, the city where saw daylight Gabriel García Márquez and which became later, in his imagination and his writings, Macondo, the mythical space in which is conducted, during a hundred years of solitude,  the Buendias saga. 

December 13, 2011

0070 ICELAND - The Turf House Tradition - Árbær farm (UNESCO WHS)

After two postcards with more or less active volcanoes, behold I received from Iceland a totally different picture, more earthly and more friendly (thanks a lot, Sigga). On the back writes this: "The turf church at Árbær farm dates from 1842. It is situated among many other refurbished houses to re-create the flavor of a small icelandic village. This living museum features staff that dress in period clothing and demonstrate various old-time craft and farming practices."

0069 UNITED STATES (New Jersey) - New Jersey map

The fourth U.S. state entered into my collection is the fourth smallest, but is also the most densely populated one. New Jersey, since to him I refer, is among the thirteen original states of the Union, but may be considered the third in order of admission, because it was the third which has ratified the United States Constitution on 18 December 1787. The two goals expressed in the state motto, Liberty and Prosperity, are so comprehensive that hardly you could add something next to them.

First colonized by the Dutch, from who the British took it by force, New Jersey (and not only it) reached in 1661 in the hands of two friends, Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley of Stratton, who received large grant of land in American colonies as a reward for loyalty to King Charles II during the English Civil War. That part of New Netherland was named after the largest of the Channel Islands, where George Carteret had been born. I admit that I didn't know this until I received the postcard from Jersey.

În 1673, Berkeley sold his half of the colony to Quakers in England, who settled the Delaware Valley region as a Quaker colony. In 1680 George Carteret died, and two years later East Jersey was also sold at auction to twelve men, one of whom was William Penn. The price paid was £3400 sterling.

During the American Revolution many major battles were fought here making it pivotal in the ultimate victory of the American colonists. Instead in the Civil War was not fought any battle within New Jersey, the last northerner state that has abolished slavery and the only one which rejected Abraham Lincoln twice in presidential elections. Even after a hundred years, racial tensions hasn't disappeared, exploding in riots in 1964 and 1967.

On the map, in addition to the state bird (the gold finch), the state flower (the violet) and neighbors (New York, Atlantic Ocean, Pennsylvania and Delaware), appear (as on any such map) sights and activities representative for the state (from top to bottom or from North to South, if you want):

● High Point Monument (550m), in Montague
● Mountain Creek Ski Resort, in Vernon Township
● Ringwood State Park, in Roingwood
● Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, in Readington Township
● Delawar Water Gap
● George Washington Bridge, connecting Manhattan (New York City) to Fort Lee (New Jersey)
● MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford
● Meadowlands Racetrack, a horse racing track in East Rutherford
● Red Mill Museum Village, in Clinton
● Nassau Hall at Princeton University
● Windsurfing
● Kingda Ka, the roller coaster from Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson
● Barnegat Lighthouse
● Adventure Aquarium (formerly the New Jersey State Aquarium), in Camden
● Pine Barrens
● Delaware Memorial Bridge- Casino of Atlantic City
● Cap May Lighthouse

Two of the stamps are new First-Class Forever, issued in December 1st, 2010, and feature world-recognized symbols of the United States: the Statue of Liberty and the American flag. They were designed as a se-tenant pair by Terry McCaffrey who used existing photographs to create the designs: the photograph of the Statue of Liberty was taken by Raimund Linke, and the photograph of the U.S. flag is by Ron Watts. About the third stamp, The American Clock, I wrote here.

sender: Barb Campbell (walltype)

December 11, 2011

0068 INDIA (Tamil Nadu) – Let us plant One Tree

I like campaigns like this, even if I doubt of their immediate effect. If, however, are sufficiently numerous and well supported, can form a current of opinion, even a mentality, which isn't such a small thing. I haven't planted any tree (it would be difficult and useless now, given that in Romania is winter and the temperature began to drop below zero at night), but I promise to do it in the springtime. Thanks, Swaminathan.

I thought that the temple in the image of the top wasn't chosen at random, so I searched and finally I found it: is the Shore Temple, the earliest important structural stone temples of South India, built in 8th century on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal, at Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram), a village south of Chennai (ex-Madras). It's part of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, which contains nearly forty monuments of different types, inspired by the Pallava Art, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

December 10, 2011

0066 BANGLADESH (Chittagong) – Sangu river

Yes, Safa, I got the postcard in one piece, even in a better condition than others. Thanks a lot. Over time I concluded that the technical level of equipment and logistic organization of a postal operator affect only how quickly is delivered the mail. The condition in which it reaches its destination depends on the conscientiousness and seriousness of the personnel who manipulates it. It's enough one single asshole along the route and the postcard reach damaged. Asshole which can be in Romania, in Bangladesh or in United States, because such people are everywhere.

So. Bangladesh (which means Country of Bengal in Bengali language) is a very young state, which gained the independence only in 1971, by separating from Pakistan, which split in turn from India in 1947. Bangladesh and indian state West Bengal makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. Bangladesh is in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta, where the medieval European geographers have placed the paradise.

Most parts of Bangladesh are less than 12m above the sea level, which means that about 10% of the land would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1m. The highest region of Bangladesh is in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the only hill intensive area of the country, divided in 1984 into 3 disctricts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. The postcard received by me is from Thanchi, a remote upazila parishad (county subdivisions) of Bandarban, practically located along the river Sangu. More about this picture I couldn't find.

The stamps are excellent. The first on the left belongs to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 set, consist of 4 stamps with the same denomination (20 taka), which shows bowling (this is on the postcard), batting, fielding and wicket keeping aspects of Cricket.

Also 4 stamps with the same value (5 taka) forming the Traditional Musical Instruments of Bangladesh set, desingned by Anowar Hossain & Jasim Uddin and issuedd on July 21, 201. From this series Safa has used for the postcard two stamps.

sender: Safa Mohammad (direct swap)

0065 FINLAND (Pirkanmaa) - Nokia 9841

"Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications corporation that is headquartered in Keilaniemi, Espoo, a city neighbouring Finland's capital Helsinki." I see. For the last 8 years I using only Nokia mobiles. "On September 2011, Nokia has announced it will lose another 3,500 jobs worldwide, including the closure of its Cluj factory in Romania." Why? "Nokia's factory in Cluj was seized by the Romanian government in November 2011 to prevent a sale of the assets, after Nokia had accumulated a tax liability of US$ 10 million." No comment.

December 8, 2011

0063 EL SALVADOR (Cabañas) - San Miguel Arcangel church from Ilobasco

Affectionately called Pulgarcito de America (the Tom Thumb of the Americas), El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America, and the only one in the area that doesn’t have a significant African population, those more than 6 million inhabitants being mostly mestizos.

About Señorío of Cuzcatlán (The Lordship of Cuzcatlán), Mayans and Spanish conquistadors I will write when I will have a postcard with the pyramids of Tazumal or San Andrés. About very commendable but failed attempts to form a republic of Central American countries, when I will have a postcard with San Salvador. About Farabundo Martí and La matanza (The Massacre), when I will have a postcard from one of the provinces affected by the peasant uprising of 1932. About La guerra del fútbol (the Soccer War), when I will have a postcard from Honduras. About the civil war that devastated El Salvador 12 years (1980-1992), when I will have a postcard with Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador (the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador), where was buried Archbishop Oscar Romero, killed by a member of the death squads. About volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, when I will have a postcard with one of many volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc.

Now I have a postcard with ethereal Iglesia Parroquial San Miguel Arcangel (Parish Church Saint Michael Archangel) of Ilobasco, located 48 km northeast of the capital, San Salvador. The church building began in 1880 and lasted 8 years. The town celebrates its patron saint festivities on September 22nd to 29th in honor of San Miguel Arcangel.

But this town is best known for its pottery, made from local clays, which include the miniatures, no bigger than 2 inches tall. Of all, the most preferred ones are the sorpresas (surprises), small egg shaped figurines covered by a sort of cap that when opened reveal a daily activity of the town. Ilobasco is also known for its moliendas (production of dulce de atado).

Thank you, Guillermo, for this postcard, the first of my collection not only from El Salvador but also from America to the south of Rio Grande.

Hardly I have found some information about the stamps. The first belongs of the special set issued by Correos de El Salvador on June 7, 2011, with the occasion of celebrating the Bicentenario del Primer Grito de Independencia de El Salvador 1811-2011 (Bicentenary of the first cry of independence of El Salvador). On the 8 stamps of the series are presented iconic characters of El Salvador: the Priest José Matías Delgado, General Manuel José Arce, an allegorical image to the First Cry of Independence, photo of the Angel of Independence, and the bell of the church La Merced (the last one it's on the postcard). The paintings were completed between 1857 and 1959 by Chilean artist Luis Vergara Ahumada, who was advised by salvadorian historian Jorge Lardos y Larini.

The second stamp is also a commemorative one, issued on 2009 with the occasion of celebrating 150 years since the establishment of Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

The third I believe that is part of a series, Villa Palestine, dedicated to the improving of the quality of life and issued also in 2009.

sender: William Guillermo Romero Martinez (direct swap)

December 4, 2011

0060 RUSSIA (Saint Petersburg) - Smolny Monastery - part of Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

The Smolny Convent, or Smolny Convent of the Resurrection, is located on Ploschad Rastrelli, on the bank of the River Neva in Saint Petersburg. Built by beautiful and vivacious Elizabeth, favorite daughter of Peter the Great (from whom she inherited not only the strength of character, but also the leaning toward culture and art), it consists of a cathedral (sobor) and a complex of buildings, originally intended to be a convent. After she was disallowed to take the throne, Elizabeth opted instead to become a nun, but gave up this idea after she became empress in 1741.

December 1, 2011

0057 SPAIN - The map of the country

I said here, referring to the set of stamps Civic Values issued by Correos España this year, that "I have now three of the four stamps of the set". My friend Eric noticed this and sent me a postcard that has on back even the stamp which I lacked, Mantén limpia tu ciudad (keep your city clean). Now I have the complete set. Warm thanks, Eric, and you to know that I'll make you also a surprise.