Saturday, April 2, 2011

Swallow's Nest, Ukraine

The Swallow's Nest is a "decorative castle" on the Crimean coast of Ukraine. The Baltic German Baron von Steingel had it constructed in 1911. It served various purposes over the next several years, including housing a restaurant, a reading club, and simply being a tourist attraction. Then in 1927, the cliff it stands on was seriously damaged in an earthquake, and the Swallow's Nest was closed for the next forty years. In 1968 the cliff was reinforced with concrete and the castle was renovated and reopened.

I got this card from helen_orlova for one of my vacation RR groups.

The stamp is a 2007 definitive showing an inkpot.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kotovasiya In Space

I used to not like cats; now I do. I used to not like cat cards; then I discovered Kotovasiya.
I love this as much as Krtek!

Awesome stamps!!

The little one on the left is second in a set of two on Coats of Arms issued in 2010, this one being that of the Yaroslavl region: a bear rampant with a halberd on his shoulder. Legend has it that the original inhabitants loosed a bear on Yaroslavl the Wise, trying to drive him away. Instead, he killed the bear and founded the city.

Top right is, of course, Belka and Strelka, the Russian canine cosmonauts, the first living creatures to come back from outer space alive. This stamp was issued last October to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their voyage.

Bottom right is a stamp from 2000. This predates the info on the UPU website, but I think this is from the series "International Co-operation in Space," here the "sea take-off point" international space project. Judging by the flags on the top of the stamp, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Japan, Norway, USA, Netherlands, France, UK, Russia, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and Germany were the countries involved.

This card and stamps totally made my day. Actually, my week. Huge thanks to Peregrina on the forum, for the favorites tag. :D

Pura Besakih, Indonesia

I got this from a friend traveling to Indonesia. Thank you Caitlin! It shows Bali's largest Hindu temple, Pura Besakih, on Mt. Agung, which is the principal volcano of Bali. Mt. Agung erupted in 1963, killing over 1500 people, but missing this temple by meters. This was taken as a signal from the gods that they wanted to demonstrate their power, but not destroy the monument the faithful Balinese had erected. It was nominated as a UNESCO site in 1995 but hasn't been given world heritage status. Whoever decides these things ought to read this guy, who's been there:

By then, I had enough of Pura Besakih. Divine intervention had me that I was not up for it. When the guide offered to bring me to a pura devoted to Dewa Iswara (or God of Lightning), I politely refused and insisted on returning down to the parking lot. Enraged the God of Lightning probably was that it rained cats and dogs as soon as I stepped out of the Besakih complex. I got myself drenched and had only my indifference to blame.

"Ucapan Selamat" means "greetings," but I can't find any information on this particular stamp. Unfortunately Indonesian cancellations always seem to be so hard that they often damage the card on the other side! It's not too bad on this card - but even though you can see the imprint of the cancellation on the picture side of the card, you can't really see the ink of the cancellation on the stamp!