Tuesday, July 27, 2010

São Paulo, Brazil

University of São Paulo, Pirassununga Campus.
I got this card as an official from Dani, and the picture shows her university, the largest higher education and research facility in Brazil. Pirassununga is the largest of seven campi and is actually a farm, housing the Faculty of Animal Science and Food Engineering, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science. The picture shows the lake in front of the Animal Science and Food Engineering building.

Dani went to great pains to find "real stamps," and the one on the right is a commemorative, sixth in a series of "Exuberant Brazilian Birds," here the blue-naped chlorophonia, a bird common in the forests of southeastern Brazil. The stamp on the left is from the Profession series, showing a seamstress.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bad Segeberg, Germany

I'll admit I was a little weirded out by this card, which shows a bunch of German people dressing up as cowboys and Indians (Native Americans). I got it for the June RR, and I think it was chosen for me because it has horses on it. And the horses are pretty... but it's still weird.

Bad Segeberg is a town in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and is primarily known for its annual Karl May Festival, which is pictured on this card. Karl May was a prolific German writer of the late 19th/early 20th century, who wrote several stories set in the American West. Ironically, although May believed that all people should live together peacefully and his characters usually avoided killing others, Adolf Hitler was a big fan of his books, and had them distributed to German soldiers at the front in World War 2. Okay, maybe that also explains why I find this card slightly disturbing.

The stamp on the left shows the world's largest dinosaur skeleton and the 3,000-animal "biodiversity wall" at Berlin's Museum of Natural History, commemorating its bicentennial.
I cannot for the life of me find the stamp on the right anywhere on the Deutsche Post website nor on Google image search for any likely combination of keywords. Can anyone help?

Mt. Merapi, Indonesia

Mt. Merapi, located on the island of Java, is the most active volcano in Indonesia. "Api" means "fire" in Indonesian. Smoke can be seen emerging from the top at least 300 days out of the year, and Merapi has been designated a "decade volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology: particularly worthy of study due to its history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to the city of Yogyakarta (pop. 511,744). I got this card from Shinta for the mountain and forest tag.

These stamps are (obviously) from the issue commemorating Indonesia's hosting the 2009 World Ocean Conference. On the right is Goldback Anthias (Pseudanthias evansi), and on the left anemone shrimp (family Hippolytidae).

Friday, July 23, 2010



Moomins are characters from the series of children's books by Finnish author/illustrator Tove Jansson. This card pictures Moominpapa, wearing his signature top hat, writing about his adventures in a book called "Memoirs". He once commented that because so many adventures happen to him, he might never finish the book.

Matching stamp!!! From a booklet of six stamps called "Summer in Moominland."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Belgium Monuments Map

BE-55230 from Theo. It's a map of Belgium, and for each named city or town there is a tiny picture of a monument from that place. At first I was going to hunt down info on every monument on this card... and then I changed my mind because there are 49 of them.

The stamp shows the Notre Dame cathedral in Tournai, from a set of 5 stamps of Belgian UNESCO sites.

Gujarat, India

Gujarat is a state on the western border of India, home to major sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, and birthplace of many Indian independence leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi.
I received this card from Palak for the June 2010 RR. She writes that many villagers in India get water only 3 or 4 times per week, and sometimes travel 10-12km in search of water. The pictures shows a woman carrying a water pot on her head.

Great stamps!! The two on the left are from the 2010 issue featuring astrological signs, here pisces and virgo. The one on the right is of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, an Indian activist, one of the first from the "untouchable" caste to graduate from university in India. According to Wikipedia, he received India's highest civilian award, and is regarded as a bodhisattva by Indian Buddhists.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


"We are all so complicated."
PL-66557 from Jakub.

The two identical stamps on the left are from the 1997 series of Polish Manor Houses. This one shows a typical manor house in the village of Lopuszna; this manor is now a museum of gentry life. The other two stamps are from the Polish Cities series. The one in the middle shows the All Saints Collegiate Church in the city Sieradz, and the one on the right shows the cathedral and coffin with relics of St. Adalbert in the city of Gniezno.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dutch Cows

NL-383557 from Christha in Arnhem, Netherlands.
This card was waiting for me when I got home from Vancouver on Sunday night. I'm not normally a big fan of cows, but I love the perspective and the bright contrasting colors on this card.

I couldn't find any info on the stamp, although I did find it on the TNT Post site... it's the definitive for the outside-Europe airmail price of 95 eurocents.

Vancouver, Canada

I was in Vancouver last weekend for the folk music festival which was AWESOME. I didn't want to leave and I'm not happy to be back at work, so I'll pretend I'm not and post this card from Vancouver.

Canada Harbor Place, Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver's World Trade and Convention Centre, looking out over Burrard Inlet, Stanley Park, and North Vancouver. Apparently this place was awarded "World's Best Convention Centre" twice. I personally don't think it's as pretty as the view from Jericho Beach over English Bay and the mountains... but it's still a nice card. :P

The Flowers definitive for the US rate, showing giant helleborine, a Canadian orchid.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hualien, Taiwan

According to the tourism board of Hualien County, this scenery, on Taiwan's eastern Pacific coast, is what prompted Portuguese explorers to call Taiwan Formosa (meaing "beautiful"). If Hualien looks anything like this card, the Portuguese were making a pretty big understatement...

Rocky Mountain Sixty of Taiwan's Hualien County
(from Yen for the mountains round robin group 15)

Hualien was originally known as Kilai, but the Japanese changed it to Hualien during their occupation, because Kilai sounds like "I hate it" in Japanese. (No joke, it really does.)

On the far right is a stamp celebrating the Girl Scouts centennial! The R.O.C. Girl Scouts organization, which is now known as the Girl Scouts of Taiwan, was established in 1919. It became a tenderfoot member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 1963 and a full member in 1966.
In the middle is Murraya paniculata or orange jasmine, one of a set of four flower stamps issued in 2009.
On the left is Dicrurus aeneus or bronzed drongo, a subspecies endemic to Taiwan, immortalized on this 2008 definitive stamp.

Mysterious Russian Print

RU-107251, received from Janna in Orel, Russia.

This is a self-printed card of a picture by one of her favorite artists. She writes that this work is called "An extraordinary affair in the house of baron von Kuhelklopf." There are zero Google results for that title, and all I'm getting for "Kuhelklopf" is a band by that name. Anyone have any light to shed on the situation?

On the left, two 2008 definitives, elk and bear. On the right, the 2009 "Happy New Year" stamp.

Saarland, Germany

This was one of my first official cards from Germany. It's a multiview of the German state of Saarland. Multiviews mean more work for me to post on this blog... plus I usually like single views better. But I like this one.

Beautiful Saarland.
The top photo is a bend in the Saar River (for which the state is named) near the town of Mettlach. Bottom left you can see Schloss Berg, which is either a castle in Luxembourg, or a fancy hotel chain in Germany. It's hard to tell from a cursory glance through Google. If anyone else wants to try their hand, all I have is this picture from the card, and the text "Schloß Berg in Nennig." I'm leaning towards saying this is the hotel, because its presence on the card implies that it's in Saarland...

Bottom right is Ludwigskirche in Saarbrücken (the capitol of Saarland), one of the most important Protestant churches in Germany, commissioned by Prince Wilhelm Heinrich von Nassau-Saarbrücken, designed (along with the surrounding square, which you can see in the photo) by Friedrich Joachim Stengel, and built in 1762-75. It was severely damaged in World War II, with only the outer walls left standing, and there was a subsequent disagreement about whether the interior should be restored to an approximation of its original Baroque design, or rebuilt and modernized.

On the left with the happy cats is a stamp designed by New York artist James Rizzi, proclaiming "All the best!" On the right is "Still Life With Cherries" by the late 16th/early 17th century Moravian painter Georg Flegel, from the "German Painting" series of stamps.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Kuranda, Australia

I guess I posted a card from Australia not so long ago, but I need to post this card today.

"A baby joey enjoying the morning sunshine," proclaims the back of the card. Isn't "baby joey" redundant? The card also says that this wildlife is courtesy of Kuranda Rainforestation, which Google tells me is in the middle of 100 acres of World Heritage rainforest, so I guess this is also a UNESCO card! Thank you Lindsey.

The stamp is Russell Falls again which you already saw with Nan Tien Temple.


New Zealand Extreme

I received this card today for the mountains round robin group #15, from Wildfire in New Zealand, who writes, "I imagine that this guy/girl has a fantastic view of the mountains - me, I prefer to look at the mountains from down here on the flat - and maybe have just enough snow to play in a little." A good card for today since it's once again insanely hot here in Seattle, and I wouldn't mind a little snow myself...

Three awesome stamps. The big one at the top is celebrating Maori New Year, or Matariki 2010, featuring a traditional Maori kite–"manu tukutuku"–which is produced and flown during Matariki. It's one of a set of 4 in various denominations, this one depicting "manu patiki".

Down on the right is Tolaga Bay. Located on the North Island’s east coast, Tolaga Bay is well known for its wharf – the longest in New Zealand, at 660 metres. The wharf was built in 1929 to accommodate large coastal trading vessels, but it fell into disuse as improved roads and motor vehicles offered more efficient transport options.

On the left, Lake Coleridge, one of Canterbury’s most popular lakes, enticing visitors from near and far. Set in the eastern foothills of the Southern Alps, Lake Coleridge is a natural paradise – with glacial blue water, breathtaking scenery and abundant marine life. Located near the Raikaia River, Lake Coleridge is the site of New Zealand’s first hydroelectric power scheme, which was completed in 1914 and continues to run today.

These are both "scenic definitives," Tolaga Bay from 2009 and Lake Coleridge from 2007.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kittilä, Finland

It's 81ºF right now, so I need to post a card with snow to combat the weather. This card, FI-656493, is one of the first cards I received. It was kind of mysterious since it had only a short message on the back from the sender and no explanation of the photo on the front.

However, my Google-fu has shed a bit of light on the situation. Kätkänpesä is apparently a lodge at the Levi ski resort in Kittilä, in Finnish Lapland. (By the way, in case you are wondering how to get the "ä", type first option-u, then "a".) According to someone much more knowledgeable about this place than I am, if you ever find yourself at Levi, you should:
  • Visit a reindeer farm, husky farm too.
  • Discover the many art galleries and museums including the Galleria Raekallio, the art gallery of painter Reijo Raekallio and the Sarestoniemi Museum.
  • Marvel at the beauty of the Arctic light by day; wonder at the aurora by night, if you are lucky.
  • Venture out on snowshoe and snowmobile safaris near Levi.
  • Consider spending Christmas in Levi.

The stamp is from a set of four "With Greetings" stamps. This one depicts a cup of coffee and a letter.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Yuanyang, China


"Terraced Fields in Yuanyang"
The Yi and Hani ethnic groups live on the mountainsides of the Ailao Range in Yuanyang County, Yunnan Province. Their terraced fields, cultivated for at least the past 1300 years (and pictured in historic bronzeware) stretch 2000 meters from the mountain top to the valley below. The Chinese government submitted this area as a potential UNESCO site in 2008 but it was not awarded world heritage status.

The sender of the card states that her hometown is Yunnan, but she currently studies in Beijing, and it was postmarked in Beijing. (I should be glad, because I received the card today; if she had sent it from Yuanyang, it would probably still be in the mail for another month.) I think the stamp says "Happy New Year."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Himeji Castle, Japan

This card came as an official, JP-98872, and was waiting for me the day I returned from my Asia trip this spring. I had bought this exact card in Japan and sent it to someone as an official from there a week earlier...

Himeji Castle in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is sometimes referred to as the "White Egret Castle" or "White Heron Castle," and you can see why. It is considered the finest remaining example of 17th century Japanese castle construction and is the most-visited castle in Japan.

First built in 1346, Himeji Castle housed and protected various daimyo (regional rulers of feudal Japan) for the next 500 years. After the Meiji Restoration in 1867, the new Japanese government sent the Okayama army to shell the castle with blank cartridges and drive its occupiers out. It was then sold at auction for the whopping price of 23 yen (approximately US$1100 in today's money).

Himeji Castle's architecture incorporates many defense techniques, including loopholes for archers to fire through, angled chutes for dropping stones or boiling oil on attackers, and a confusing maze of paths towards the main keep, so that any attacking force could be watched and fired on for its entire journey inwards. While the castle was never attacked in this manner and thus the system was never really field-tested, even today with the route clearly marked, many visitors have trouble navigating the castle complex. (According to wikipedia.)

The stamp shows a scene from The Tale of Genji, the world's first novel, written by a Heian Period noblewoman.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Now that I've started posting for today, I don't want to stop!

Dikke smakkerd voor jou = Big kiss for you!

This card came inside a package I got from Kim in the Netherlands for the "20 things" tag, so it's written, but not stamped. However, she also sent me a bunch of used NL stamps in the package, so I'll post some of those instead. "Denk groen doe groen" = "Think green, make green," a series of stamps (apparently - I'm extrapolating from the Netherlands Post Office website, which is entirely in Dutch, with help from Google Translate) celebrating sustainability, with these three depicting green energy, organic food and drink, and carpooling. Click the photo for a link to the Netherlands Post Office page about these stamps.

Carson Valley, Nevada

I saw my dad today for the first time in many years, so I felt like I should commemorate the occasion by posting the cards he sent me from his home in Nevada.

Winter in the Carson Valley
Carson Valley is between the Sierra Nevadas and the Pinenut Mountains. The big mountain on the right is Jobs Peak, in the Carson Spur of the Sierra Nevadas, which my dad climbs several times a week as a training exercise. He lives at the base of the mountain, more or less behind that barn. The peak itself is actually in California (though right on the border with Nevada, obviously), according to Wikipedia.

Carson Valley
"The Carson Valley's rustic charm is reminiscent of the old west," according to the back of the card. Well, my dad said he wants to get a dog, but he is afraid of predators. Coyotes, mountain lions, eagles, and bears are all common in that area.

It came with just a normal forever stamp, but in case that's a novelty for any international readers, I'll go ahead and post it. This non-denomination stamp shows the Liberty Bell. The forever stamp will always be valid as first class postage, even when the first class rate increases.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Nan Tien Temple, Australia

This card came as an official, AU-66726. When I first saw it, I thought it must have been from China, because that's definitely Chinese written on the front of the card. The largest characters I can even read (in Japanese anyway): 南天寺 ("southern paradise temple"). However, it was definitely mailed from Australia, as you can see if you scroll down and look at the stamps.

Nan Tien Temple, located in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, according to the back of the card. Pictured is the seven-story pagoda, constructed in Chinese architectural style. The temple complex also incorporates styles from elsewhere in Asia, including Tibetan monastic architecture in the main temple buildings and a Japanese garden surrounding the pagoda. You have to remove your shoes before entering the temple buildings.

Lady Gaga visited Nan Tien Temple on her Monsters Ball tour in March 2010.

And the stamp. This one shows Tasmania's Russell Falls.
For some reason, the postal cancellation is on the picture side of the card, not on the stamp. Weird.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fort Portal, Uganda

I have to go to bed soon, but since I finally created this blog I've been meaning to for a long time (thanks to Ana's encouragement :), I think I need to post at least one card tonight. This card comes as a private swap with Katja in Kampala, Uganda. Needless to say, this is my first card from Uganda. I'm particularly glad to get this country because my mom lived in Uganda for a while when she was growing up, and I love to hear her stories about "when we lived in Africa."

Top 10 Scenic Places of Uganda
#5 Fort Portal Highland Tea Plantations

I couldn't find much info about this online. Fort Portal is a town nestled in the Rwenzori Mountains in the middle of the Toro Kingdom, about 200 miles west of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. Most of the Google hits seem to be stops on safari tours. According to Wikipedia, most of the Rwenzori Mountains are part of a UNESCO site, but I don't think it stretches to accommodate the tea plantation shown on this card.

And it is stamped and written!
The woman on the stamp is Dorcus Inzikuru, a Ugandan athlete and gold medal winner at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

When my mom looked at this post, she sent me a link to her sister's online photo album of scanned prints taken when they lived in Africa in 1958-1960. My mom is in the center. Click on the photo to go to the complete gallery.