Sunday, June 19, 2011


An official, GB-196044 from Rosemary, showing 1) Cairngorms National Park, 2)Forth Bridge, 3) highland cow, and 4) Castle Stalker, Argyll.

Cairngorms is the largest national park in Great Britain, boasting
  • 5 of the 6 highest mountains in Scotland
  • the largest area of arctic mountain landscape in Britain
  • the cleanest lochs and marshes in Scotland
  • 25% of the UK's threatened animal and plant species
Forth Bridge, "the one immediately and internationally recognized Scottish landmark," (according to The Collins Encyclopedia of Scotland; I have to disagree since I can't recall ever having seen it before) connects Edinburgh with the county of Fife across the Firth of Forth. Try saying that five times fast.

Highland cattle, or kyloe, are an ancient Scottish breed of beef cattle.

Castle Stalker is located on a tidal islet near Port Appin in the Argyll region. It was featured in the final scene of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail as Castle Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhh.

Queen's head definitive from sometime or other.

Onsaya Coffee


I found this ad card at The Market in Okayama, Japan. It can be hard to find really interesting cards in Japan, and most commercial cards are very expensive, so I was happy to find a nice selection of cool ad cards for free here. This was my favorite one, so I kept it.

The Market was a little vegetarian cafe between Okayama Station and the international center, and I would go there most free days with Bue, Chris, and Stefan when we were all at Sogenji. I went back last spring when I was visiting Sogenji. Their avocado "juice" was as intense as ever, but it was kind of lonely.

The Market blog.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kaunas, Lithuania

This is an official card, LT-93764. It's kind of confusing that Lithuania is "Lietuva" in Lithuanian. I always see that and think Latvia. Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania. According to legend, Kaunas was founded by Romans fleeing the wrath of the emperor Nero.

The card shows Kaunas' Old Town neighborhood. It sits at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers. I believe the white towers on the left side are the Kaunas Town Hall. The shorter tower with the red roof in the middle of the card is Kaunas Cathedral Basilica, and the large tower in the middle belongs to Vytautas' the Great Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary, both dating to approximately 1400. Vytautas the Great vowed to build a church next to the river that he swam across to escape from a defeat in battle. It has suffered flooding, burning by French troops in 1812, and being used as barracks in World War I. It's hard to tell from Wikipedia, but I think it now serves its original purpose as a Catholic church.

On the left is a stamp from 1997. On the right is a 2009 stamp from a set of two on the topic of astronomy, this one showing Galileo.

Mazatlán, Mexico

I went to Mexico to visit my dear friend Enen and her husband Gentai last November. Now that it is June we are still having November weather here (54 degrees and raining at the summer solstice parade) and I am daydreaming of Mazatlán.


I sent almost a dozen beautiful postcards written and stamped with gorgeous commemorative Mexican stamps. Not a single one arrived. This is one I bought in the airport on my way home.

The cliff divers hang out right here all day and most of the evening, it seems. They wait until they get a big enough crowd of tourists, then dive and collect tips. I never actually saw them dive, but I have a very similar picture only with the person standing on the edge, as if about to dive.

Enen and Gentai live right on the water in the old part of Mazatlán, and you can see these cliff divers from their rooftop. I cannot express in words how beautiful their place is.
This is their front yard:

The view from their rooftop. (This is looking northwest. The cliff divers are southwest.)