Thursday, September 20, 2012

St. Paul, Minnesota

Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota
Bell Tower at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota

From the back of the card: "The Bell Tower is a Macalester landmark donated by the classes of 1927 and 1928. The bell itself was used as a fire bell at the Hope Fire Station and a church bell at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church. It was given to Macalester Founder Edward Duffield Neill in 1856."

Macalester is my alma mater. I was just there in June for my 5-year reunion and bought this postcard at the student store. I can tell you that the bell is also rumored to be the "virginity bell." It is said that you ring it after the first time you know... at Macalester. Which reminds me of this video.

I ♥ Macalester so much.

Kuşadasi, Turkey


Kuşadasi is a resort town on the Aegean coast. The name comes from the words for "bird" and "head," because supposedly from overhead, the shape of the peninsula looks like the head of a bird. I have to say, I don't see it.

This is a good example of the type of card I don't like. In its defense, I did a google image search of Kuşadasi, and it seems these pictures are pretty much exactly what it really looks like. I'm sure I would enjoy having a nice relaxing day on the beach if I were really there... or checking out one of the water parks with white-water slides.

 This stamp is from a 2010 set of sixteen (!) entitled "Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture".

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Autumn Krtek



From the favorites tag... unfortunately I can't read the handwriting of the sender to recall their username!
I love this card. Pears are one of my favorite fruits.

 On the left is a stamp from a 2007 set of two on "the beauty of flowers" - this is a cyclamen (Cyclamen spp).

On the right is a pencil drawing by Czech artist Alois Bubak, from a 2004 set of three works of art on stamps.

Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Schleswig-Holstein: Romantisches Pferdeland

Lovely card, it's just too bad it's a multiview... 
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost German state, bordered by Denmark to the north, Niedersachsen to the southwest, and Mecklenberg-Vorpommern to the southeast. According to the sender of the card, it is known as "land of horses."

The stamp can be seen here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hooker Valley, New Zealand

Southern Alps

From Adriennegarry for the favorites tag. I'm sure you can see why I had this one in my favorites. You can't really tell from the photo, but it's a panoramic card... sooo beautiful!

From the back of the card: A view of the Hooker Valley from high on the walking track to Sebastopol. Mt. Cook (Aoraki) and Mt. Tasman are central, and being struck by a typical southerly front, bringing rain and snow. The alpine mosses and grasses seen are typical in the mountains.

2011 Rugby World Cup stamp. When my roommate saw this stamp, she asked the person who sent me the card for a private swap so she could also get the stamp. :)

Delft Blue

Delft Blue

From Peggy for the surprise me RR. She writes that Delft Blue is a typically Dutch form of art, and that these are traditional costumes not often seen anymore except to amuse tourists. Thanks Peggy for the card and for these old, awesome stamps:

 A stamp from 1996, and one from 1991 showing Pieter Zeeman, nobel-prize winning Dutch physicist.
This one is from 1995 and shows the World Scout Jamboree, which was held in the Netherlands in that year.

Kiev, Ukraine

St. Volodymyr Cathedral, Kiev

UA-147475 from Mariya.
This card shows St. Volodymyr cathedral in Kiev. The cathedral was completed in 1882, built in neo-Byzantine style - with 3 apses and 7 cupolas. Inside, it has a painting of Saint Olga, also known as Olga of Kiev. She ruled a the medieval polity of Kievan Rus in the 10th century after the death of her husband at the hands of the Drevlians (a rival group), as a regent for her young son. Then, according to wikipedia:

The Drevlians sent twenty of their best men to convince Olga to marry their Prince Mal and give up her rule of Kievan Rus. She had them buried alive. Then she sent word to Prince Mal that she accepted the proposal, but required their most distinguished men to accompany her on the journey in order for her people to accept the offer of marriage. The Drevlians sent their best men who governed their land. Upon their arrival, she offered them a warm welcome and an invitation to clean up after their long journey in a bathhouse. After they entered, she locked the doors and set fire to the building, burning them alive.

Wow. And there are further stories about how she held onto her power, which you can read for yourself on wikipedia if you are so inclined.

The stamp shows a clay bull, from a 2007 set of three definitives of ceramics and glass.

Chinese Pandas



Vacation RR from Yue

Giant pandas are native to western China. Although they eat meat occasionally, 99% of their diet is bamboo. They are an endangered species, with around 2000 pandas living in the wild, mostly in Sichuan province, where there is a panda protection zone, according to the sender of the middle card above. The Sichuan reserve is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2006. The Sichuan pandas comprise one subspecies; the other subspecies lives exclusively in the Quinling Mountains in Shaanxi province. The Chinese government used loans and gifts of pandas to other nations throughout the 1970s in what became known as "panda diplomacy." Pandas are still loaned to other nations, but with strict terms - US$1 million per year, and any cubs born during the loan belonging to China.

The stamp on the left is in this post.
The one on the right, issued in a 2002 set of two, shows the Ala Shan Redstart (Phoenicurus alaschanicus), a near-threatened bird endemic to China.

The stamps to the left and in the middle, below, are from a 2004 set of four depicting "new look of hometowns of overseas Chinese." The left one shows Xinlong overseas Chinese farm, and the middle one shows Kaiping, a hometown of overseas Chinese.

Finally, below on the right is a 1998 stamp from a set of four on Shennongjia, a forestry district in Hubei province. This one is titled "Primitive Forest."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Moscow Metro Map

Moscow Metro Map

A plan of the Moscow metro, from Xenia for the favorites tag.

Lots of nice stamps! The one on the right is from here. Top row: In the middle we have a stamp from 2005 commemorating the 275th anniversary of the birth of A. V. Suvorov, a military commander. The one on the left is from 1998... predating the info on the UPU website. Bottom row: on the left, a 2000 commemorative featuring chess player Mikhail Botvinnik, and on the right, Schisandra chinensis, or five-flavor berry, a plant native to the Russian far east, from 1998.

Lukang, Taiwan

 Lukang: A Special Historic Spot

I realized that I've hardly posted any touristic cards of Taiwan, which is a pity, since I have many. Lukang is a township in northwestern Taiwan, which was a busy shipping town in the early 20th century. However, it began to decline when no railroads were built through the city, and that has allowed some of these historic spots to remain, instead of becoming victim to modernization. Lukang has more than 400 temples dedicated to folk deities. Perhaps this building is one of them – anyone want to translate the Chinese?

This card is from shui for the vacation RR. She always sends the best cards! :) And decorates them too...

 The middle stamp is familiar to us (here), and the stamp on the right is another issue of the same set, this time Calliandra marginata, or powderpuff plant, from 2009. The stamp on the left shows Aphrodisium faldermannii yuagii (long-horned beetle), from a 2010 set of four beetles.

Helsingør, Denmark

Kronborg Castle, Helsingør

Kronborg Castle in Helsingør.

I recently returned from a long trip to Europe. I spent the most time in Denmark, visiting a dear friend. Denmark is a pretty small country, and I think I hit most of the major tourist destinations, so I'll be posting cards of more of them later on. Helsingør is about an hour north of Copenhagen by train, in the northeast part of the island of Zealand. At the narrowest point of the Øresund (channel between Denmark and Sweden), it guards the entrance to the Baltic Sea. In fact, this was the purpose of the castle: to collect sound dues from all ships entering or leaving the Baltic, and to open fire on any ship that refused. Sound dues were established by King Eric VII in 1429, at which time the castle was a military fortress. It wasn't until Frederick II came into power in the late 1500s that it took on the form of a "magnificent renaissance castle." Over the years, Kronborg was destroyed by fire, rebuilt, captured by Sweden (and most of the royal treasures stolen, although the Swedes have thoughtfully loaned Frederick II's royal canopy back to the Kronborg museum), a dungeon for convicts, and military barracks. Sound dues were abolished in 1857, and now the castle and its grounds, a UNESCO world heritage site, are open to the visiting public.

Helsingør is more famously known as Elsinore, the setting for Shakespeare's "Hamlet." My friend's roommate, upon my return, said "You know that Hamlet didn't actually live there, right?" Well, yes, being a fictional character and all... (however, there is an abbey in Helsingør which boasts "Hamlet's grave" -- apparently so many tourists wanted to visit Hamlet's grave that they decided to create one!) Every summer there's a Hamlet festival where they perform the play on the castle grounds. Unfortunately I was 2 days too late to see it.

 Two stamps of 2012 featuring illustrations of stories by Hans Christian Andersen. On top is "Hvad fatter gør, det er altid det rigtige" ("What The Old Man Does Is Always Right") and on the bottom is "De vilde svaner"("The Wild Swans").