This is an image of the Filipino Jeepney, nowadays the most common form of public transportation in the Philippines. They were introduced following World War II. When American troops pulled out of the Philippines, they sold off many of their surplus jeeps to the locals. Filipinos then stripped the interiors to accommodate more passengers and added metal roofs. As they became more popular they also added chrome decor and outlandish hood ornaments to make them immediately recognizable for use as public transportation. The jeepney (believed to be a combination of jeep and jitney) is now produced independently of Jeep, and has become a symbol of Filipino culture. This card came from user Donabel.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
So, I gotta tell ya, I'm having a bit of a hard time keeping up with all these amazing postcards I've been receiving. So I think I'm going to have to reform my formatting scheme here: maybe choose postcards I receive that I'm really interested in and warrant further research. I just have to have to be diligent in keeping up with the blog. I see that I am starting to get more visitors, presumably from the Postcrossing forums - thanks for visiting. :)
I am only posting this card for your viewing pleasure - thanks to ichabodhides. :)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
First, just let me say, coolest stamp EVER - thank you so much to conejo. So! This is Inuyama Castle, one of only twelve castles still standing in Japan predating the Edo period and sometimes said to be the oldest castle in Japan, period. Construction was completed in 1440. It has changed hands many times throughout its long history, and it is the only castle to ever be privately owned and still have national treasure status. It overlooks the Kiso River.
Pamukkale means "Cotton Castle" in Turkish. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been known to man since antiquity. The hot springs are caused by a fault line that runs along the Menderes river basin. The springs produce 250 liters of hot water every second. The water is rife with calcium bicarbonate, or chalk, and as the springs shift due to tectonic activity or dry up, a deposit of chalk is left behind, leaving this remarkable formation. In the late 20th century this site was threatened by real estate developers, and part of the site was destroyed by hotels. Fortunately UNESCO rescued the site, demolished the hotels, and keeps it preserved and in pristine condition today.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 9:27 AM
For a city (of 200,000 people!) that I've never heard of, Erfurt, Germany is a pretty interesting place. It has been mentioned in texts as far back as 742 as Erphesfurt. Quite a few famous people hail from this town, including the family of Johann Sebastian Bach and Max Weber. Pachelbel served as an organist at a church in Erfurt, and Martin Luther earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees here. The symbols of the city are considered to be the Mariendom and Severikirche cathedrals, which stand right next to each other on a high hill in the city. The historic city center is well-preserved, and what is considered to be the oldest standing synagogue in Europe is located here too.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 9:16 AM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This building, Eidsvoll Manor, is where the Norwegian Constitution was signed in 1814. In Norwegian it is called Eidsvollbygningen. The building now houses a museum. It is located in the municipality of Eidsvoll, which has a population of 18,000 and is located in southeastern Norway. Parts of Eidsvoll were included in the site of a minor gold rush in 1758 - this area is still called Gullverket (the gold works). Until recently, the main industry in town was agriculture. This postcard comes from user Millafish after 5 days.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 6:11 PM
Friday, November 7, 2008
This is a thrilling card from the Netherlands! It has every lovely little image that everyone associates with Holland - cheese-making, tulips, windmills, children in wooden clogs...a peeing cow? Anyway, I thought I'd look into Dutch tulips a little bit for this card, since there's a nice picture of them here, and I discovered Keukenhof in my travels. Both the name of the well-known tulip festival and the beautiful gardens that host the festival, this place is beyond your wildest imagination, if you like gardens.
Here I am, blogging about another private swap. But this is another special one. Not only a card from an unusual country from a really, super-nice Postcrosser, but a really lovely card at that. The scanner washes it out, but all of the blues in the card are really brilliant and gorgeous. Many, many thanks to stefka for agreeing to swap with me! Bulgaria has had an interesting history, variously falling under the influence of the Byzantine, Ottoman, and Soviet empires. It is historically a Slavic country. The capital is Sofia, and the nation has about 7.6 million people.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I don't normally do this, but I just had to share one of my private swaps with you here on the blog. I usually reserve this blog for my official Postcrossing postcards, but I thought it'd be nice to share this one. This is an image of the Hindu god Ganesh. The sender of the card describes him nicely and succinctly: "Ganesha is one of the best known and most worshipped deities in Hindu mythology [I think it's interesting that she refers to it as 'mythology']. He is revered as the Lord of beginnings and remover of obstacles. He is a glutton and enjoys food, especially modale, a sweet. His vahana or mount is a mouse." This card comes from India, as you may have guessed, and it's one of my favorites so far.
Agriculture is the main export industry in New Zealand. Dairy accounts for 21% of all exports, and other important exports include meat, wood, fruit, and fish. Wine is also an important export. New Zealand's largest company, Fonterra, controls one-third of the world's dairy trade. I also thought it was interesting that 70% of New Zealand's electricity is produced through renewable resources such as hydropower and geothermal power. This card comes from user Lauren_NZ after 24 days of travel.
The back of this card, which comes from user estrella77, says "Konig Ludwig II. von Bayern (1845-1886) Erbauer der Konigsschlosser Neuschwanstein, Linderhof und Herrenchiemsee," which I believe translates to "King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886) Builder of Royal Castles Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee." I don't know much about King Ludwig II, but I do know that Neuschwanstein is one of the most well-known castles in the world. People speculate that Disney's Cinderella Castle is based on that famous and lovely castle.
I do get quite a few cards from Finland. But that's okay! I just love my postcards, each and every one. Since I hear from the good folks of Finland pretty frequently, let's talk about that great nation a bit.
1. The capital is Helsinki.
2. Official languages are Finnish, Swedish, and regionally, Sami.
3. The form of government is semi-presidential republic. (They have both a president and a prime minister.)
4. Finland became an independent nation in 1917.
5. It joined the EU January 1, 1995.
6. It is 130,558 square miles and home to 5.3 million people.
7. It has the 12th highest per capita income, at $35,349.
8. Its Finnish name, Suomi, means "Our Land."
My first card from the United States is a magnificent success! This beautiful painting is entitled Emigrants Crossing the Plains by Albert Bierstadt. It is located at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The sender of the card, Thedeb, is currently traveling around the country in an RV. Is that cool or what? The museum where this is located is the home of over 28,000 Western and American Indian art works and artifacts.
Krakow, Poland deserves a great deal of recognition as a city of historic importance. It is over one thousand years old. Wikipedia calls it the "spiritual center" of Poland, and the sender of the card, arti, says she loves the city because it "has its own soul." Those are really magnificent claims. Krakow has a population of about 750,000, and its historic city center has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to Wikipedia, there is evidence to suggest that settlements have existed on Wawel Hill (the current site of the historic city center) since the Stone Age. Legend attributes the founding of Krakow to the mythical ruler Krakus, who built the town above a cave which was home to a dragon, Smok Wawelski. Knights attempted to defeat the dragon in battle, but Krakus eventually eradicated the dragon by feeding it a poisoned breakfast. Then Krakus was able to establish his city on the hill. The bones of the dragon are displayed at Wawel Cathedral in the city center.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 8:25 PM
This incredible specimen of a volcano is located on the North Island of New Zealand. Its original Maori name is Mount Taranaki, but it was also called Mount Egmont by Captain Cook. It is a quietly active volcano standing at 8261 feet. According to Maori legend, Taranaki once lived in the middle of the North Island with all the other volcanoes. The beautiful Pihanga was coveted by all the mountains, and a great battle broke out between them. Tongariro eventually won the battle, inflicting wounds on the side of Taranaki. Taranaki fled to the west, towards the sea, until the sun rose and petrified him into his current state. When Taranaki conceals himself with rainclouds, he is said to be crying for his lost love, and during spectacular sunsets, he is said to be displaying himself to her. In turn, Tongariro's eruptions are said to be a warning to Taranaki not to return. Thanks to user cathrs for this gorgeous card.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 8:16 PM
This pretty little card comes from, you guessed it, the Netherlands. The town is called Wervershoof, which is apparently such a small village that it doesn't warrant its own article on Wikipedia. Yes, I can confirm this after a visit to the town website - it is home to 5500 people. This card is from user Lindadepinda.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 8:05 PM
This fascinating adcard comes from Nokia, Finland, sent by user Riki. Nokia does, in fact, lend its name to the famous telecommunications company, which was founded in Nokia, Finland. But I don't want to talk about Nokia, I'd prefer to discuss Riki's insights about the celebration of Halloween in Finland. She describes Halloween as less of a holiday, more as a "red-letter day," as she describes it. Children have costume parties at school, and there are sometimes costume parties in bars for adults. There is no custom of trick-or-treating, but there are horror movies shown on TV. Riki says that the following day, All Saints' Day, is a much more important holiday, during which people take candles to the graves of their relatives, and the "graveyard looks beautiful with thousands of little lights." Thanks Riki.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 7:55 PM
This card comes from user _Buba_. The lower image shows the Helsinki Cathedral, which she cites as one of her favorite places in the city. Originally built for Czar Nicholas I and called St. Nicholas' Church, it was changed to Helsinki Cathedral after Finnish independence in 1917. Construction of the church lasted from 1830 to 1852 and is considered neoclassical style. The cathedral is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki, bringing over 350,000 visitors every year. Another church once stood in this spot, the Church of Ulrika Eleonora, a former queen of Sweden.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 7:45 PM
I would love to go to the Toronto Zoo. According to Wikipedia, the zoo is the third largest in the world and home to 491 distinct species of animals, totaling 16,000 creatures altogether. The zoo opened in 1974, and since its inception has been an exciting place for zoology. In the past decade, there have been polar bears, tigers, zebras, orangutans, gorillas, snow leopards, cheetahs, sloths, kangaroos, giraffes, and more born at the zoo. This card comes from user beaningpole, who had just gotten home from the zoo before sending me this card. She originally comes from the Philippines.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 7:35 PM
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 7:29 PM
I encourage you to click on the picture to the left to get a larger view of this incredibly ornate church, the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Saint Petersburg, Russia. What a very interesting structure this is! Construction occurred from the years 1883-1907, ordered by Czar Alexander III as a memorial to his father, Alexander II, who was mortally wounded on the site of the church. Although most of the architecture in Saint Petersburg is of the Baroque and Neoclassical styles, this church reflects medieval Russian architecture, or romantic nationalism, in the style of the famous St. Basil's in Moscow. The interior of the church has 7500 square meters of mosaic artwork. During the Russian Revolution, the church was looted and badly damaged. It was closed by the Soviets in the 1930s, and then used a storehouse for food during WWII. Finally, in 1970, restoration of the church began and lasted for 27 years! It is open today as a mosaic museum, but has not been reconsecrated as a church, and therefore does not perform worship services. Thanks to user ata1976, who patiently waited 33 days for this card to arrive!
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 6:17 PM
This is a really cool card featuring the traditional garb of the Sami people of northern Scandinavia. This is my first card from Norway, coming from the #1 Postcrossing user of all time, Britt. The Sami people are considered to be among the first groups to inhabit Europe, and it remains one of the largest indigenous groups in Europe, with a population of about 100,000. The Sami traditionally earned a livelihood from fishing, trapping animals for fur, and most famously, herding reindeer. Only 10% of remaining Sami people are involved in this profession, but in the countries where the Sami still live (mostly Norway, but also Sweden, Finland, and Russia), the profession is reserved solely for the Sami by law. Any person who had a great-grandparent who spoke Sami at home can be considered part of that ethnic group. Cool card!
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 6:08 PM
This card hails from Koog aan de Zaan, Netherlands. This is a small town of 12,000 that was incorporated into the municipality of Zaanstaad in 1974. This is the first homemade card I received; it came from user flyers on October 17 after 3 days in the mail.
Posted by Katie Hocevar at 6:01 PM
Friday, October 24, 2008
Vaasa, Finland seems like a nice town on the west coast of Finland. It's a bilingual town, with a quarter of the population speaking Swedish. I'm getting that Sweden has had a huge impact on the history of Finland, which I didn't know before beginning this postcard project. Vaasa has about 52,000 residents. An important event in Finnish history took place in Vaasa during the Finnish War, The Massacre of Vaasa. The Swedish troops were defeated by the Russian troops occupying Vaasa. As punishment for taking up arms against the Russians, Russian soldiers were allowed to pillage the city for several days, killing 17 people and generally wreaking havoc. This was in 1808. Things seem a little more peaceful now. This postcard arrived October 16 from user Xpaula after 4 days of travel.
I am so excited to get a card from Kiev, Ukraine! Kiev has a population of 2.6 million, and it is approximately 1500 years old. I wasn't aware of this, but apparently the Ukraine has its own Slavic language, but Russian is the more commonly spoken language in the city. During its long history it has been an important city amongst the Slavic nations, and it has changed hands among empires many, many times. This card came from user oksanka on October 16 after 17 days of travel.
This card arrives from the fascinating little town of Scherpenheuvel, Belgium. The town is located in the Flemish region of Belgium, which I believe is nearer to the Netherlands than France, and has been a very important Roman Catholic pilgrimage spot since the mid-16th century. Scherpenheuvel literally means steep hill, and perched atop this steep hill was a crucifix-shaped tree that was an important idol from times of pagan worship. As more conversions to Christianity occurred, the tree remained an important religious symbol. The virgin Mary is said to have visited this spot and performed a miracle, and since then other miraculous events have occurred, including a statue of the virgin weeping blood. Thanks to user Dimige for this fascinating card from Belgium!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This is the first card I received on my second Postcrossing account! I decided I wasn't sending and receiving as many postcards as I really wanted to, so I created a second account under the alias "Charlotte May." This is really just to differentiate postcards so I know which account to register them under. After much to-do and Google translation of the info on the back of the card, I discovered that this is a postcard image of a red elderberry. The sender, Vellu, comes from Kuopio, Finland. The city has 91,000 inhabitants and is well-known for its kalakukko, a traditional Finnish fish pastry. This postcard arrived on October 10 after 4 days of travel.