Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Canary Islands, Spain

I got this card for the June Jubilee round robin last year. The Canary Islands are a part of Spain, but are located off the African coast, about 100km west of Morocco. The name Islas Canarias came from Latin for "Island of the Dogs." The Romans may have been referring to monk seals (now extinct from the islands), which are called "sea dogs" in Latin. The islands are volcanic, and the only volcanic eruptions in Spain during the modern era occurred here.

A February 2007 stamp, one in a set of two on the theme Sciences of the Earth and the Universe.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heart Reef, Australia

My roommate sent me this postcard when she was in Australia last spring. The top photo shows Heart Reef, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. This looks like a great place to go diving - you can see all kinds of fish, turtles, and the 2-meter-long Giant Queensland Groper. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to meet that on the subway... just kidding. Actually it's just a big fish and the symbol of Queensland.


The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef, and is even visible from space! Along with all the fish, there are also 30 species of marine mammals including dugongs. I think dugongs are awesome. When I did a google image search for "dugong," I found this:

I do NOT have this stamp - I don't have a postcard from Vanuatu - but if I ever get a postcard from there, sent from the underwater post office, with this stamp, I think I will go into a coma of happiness.

The Great Barrier Reef was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1981

Monday, February 14, 2011

Karnak, Egypt

Some of you may know why I chose Krakow and Egypt for today... it wasn't totally random, that much I will say. And these cards even both start with k, although that isn't why I chose them either, but I guess it fits.

Karnak is the largest ancient religious site in the world - a massive site of ancient Egyptian architecture located about 500km south of Cairo. This area was "the most selected of places" for the gods of the people of Thebes. This card depicts the Hypostyle Hall, a hall containing 134 columns 10 to 21 meters heigh and 3 meters in diameter. The architraves (things on top of the columns) are estimated to weigh 70 tons.

The Hypostyle Hall was visited by Lara Croft in one of the Tomb Raider games, and was the site of the final battle in the Transformers movie.

I dug up this card in the thrift shop inside the building where I work, and as such isn't stamped or written.

Krakow, Poland

This is an official card I received last May, showing the Kociuszko Mound. Kociuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian soldier. He received military training in Poland as a young man, but emigrated to France to escape civil war in 1768, and somehow ended up in America by the time 1776 rolled around. He was named head engineer of the Continental Army, eventually becoming known as the best engineer in American service. He was granted American citizenship and some land in 1783, but returned to Poland the following year, leaving all his American property to the cause of ending slavery. Sadly, it was never used for that purpose. In Poland he contributed to political reforms (particularly those ending serfdom) and fought for his country in the Polish-Russian War of 1792.

Kociuszko is considered a national hero in both Poland and the United States, although I had never heard of him before receiving this card...

The mound was erected as a memorial to him between 1820 and 1823. Polish people of all ages and classes volunteered money and labor in order to build it. Now it is a major tourist attraction.

The stamp on the left is from the Polish Cities issue of 2005, commemorating the city of Sieradz. On the right is a Europa 2010 stamp celebrating children's books.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Magnesia Litera

This is a card from the Czech Republic that I got in the ad card offer tag. It's a card for voting in a poll about the best Czech book of the year. The sender said she didn't vote because she hadn't read anything for a very long time.

Here's what Google Translate has to say about the text on the card:

knižní klub cena čtenářů
book club readers

nejlepší české knihy roku 2010
Czech best books of 2010

zapojte se i vy
join the

The stamp, issued in 2010, is one of two commemorating the 150th anniversary of Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphons Mucha's birth. The title of the painting is "Zvěrokruh," or "Zodiac."