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.
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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
visiting my family, the Twilight series, the moment you get into the car to go on vacation somewhere, a short day at work, warm spring days, the moment I get home from work and see Vince
The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.
The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).
Fun Stuff: 1. Have at least one postcard in the mail forpostcrossing.com at all times. 2. Learn a new language. 3. Crochet the purple skirt that I've been wanting since last year. 4. Learn to knit. 5. Find and join a great book club (or start one). 6. Pick up birdwatching again. 7. Go rollerskating. 8. Participate in Gimme Your Stuffat least one time. 9. Visit the Carnegie Art Museum. 10. Eat at a tapas restaurant. 11. Go to a hockey game. 12. Go deep sea fishing. 13. Pitch a tent in the backyard and spend the night outdoors with Vince. 14. Finish two small cross-stitch projects, and give one as a gift. 15. Take at least two community courses to learn or improve a skill. 16. See a ballet. 17. See an opera. 18. Participate in Flickr's 365 project. 19. Read at least three books that Vince recommends to me. (1/3) 20. Attend at least one rehearsal of a local choir and join it if I like it. 21. Suck it up and sing karaoke at least one time. 22. Take photos of 100 things that make me happy and make a beautiful scrapbook with the photos. 23. Try an ethnic cuisine I've never had before. 24. Read 101 books. (68/101) 25. Master a new song on the piano (must be a challenging song). 26. Go to a specialty knitting store and buy high-quality yarns for a project I'm excited about. 27. Create at least one pencil sketch that I am proud of. 28. Buy some incredibly awesome new fish for our fish tank and name them all. 29. Download and re-watch the entire Veronica Mars television series.
Financial Stuff: 30. Open a savings account and add $50 every week. 31. Make 250 dollars for Vince on Ebay selling household objects. 32. Learn more about the stock market and invest a small amount. 33. Pay off at least 50% of credit card debt. 34. Do not touch credit cards for the entirety of the 101 things project. Health Stuff: 35. Get under 130 lbs. 36. Complete the Couch to 5k Running Plan. 37. Drink only water for two weeks on three separate occasions. (0/3) 38. Eat no candy for one month. 39. Get over my fear of the dentist and start going regularly. 40. Follow Vince's teeth-cleaning regimen for one month. 41. Touch my toes without bending my knees. 42. Ride my bike three times per week for one month. 43. Eat one fruit and one vegetable each day for one month. 44. Be able to do 50 push-ups in a row.
Professional Stuff: 45. Write a new piece of short fiction and get it published. 46. Write another piece of short fiction and submit it to the Pitt literary publication. 47. Graduate from college. 48. Design business cards and get them printed. 49. Complete the Artist's Way creativity program. 50. Investigate the commitment necessary in contributing to the University of Pittsburgh newspaper, and contribute if possible. 51. Do writing exercises every day for one month. Loved Ones: 52. Finish Vince's afghan. 53. Make the CD collection for my mom that I have been meaning to do for years now. 54. Make all Christmas gifts one year. 55. Visit my nieces once each year. (2/3) 56. Slow dance with Vince. 57. Call my father at least once per month. (27/32) 58. Send my mother flowers for no reason. 59. Create a family cookbook to give to my mom as a gift. Travel: 60. Travel out of the country. 61. Go to the Erie wine region and sample the delicious wines. 62. Go camping with Vince. 63. Investigate and visit breweries within a day's drive. 64. Renew passport. 65. Go on vacation away from family for Christmas one year. 66. Stay at a bed and breakfast. 67. Visit a state I've never been to. 68. Visit family in Cleveland. Personal Indulgence: 69. Seek out the perfect little black dress and find an occasion to wear it. 70. Stay in a nice hotel alone for one weekend. 71. Get a professional massage. 72. Find and use a signature scent. 73. Invest in a quality piece of jewelry. 74. Go out for a girl's night at least once every two months. (8/15) 75. Buy five pairs of inexpensive all-purpose earrings for everyday use. 76. Buy one great pair of black heels and one great pair of brown heels. If this list is completed in full, also buy one great pair of heels in an unexpected, slightly ostentatious color (turquoise, yellow, red...etc) 77. Dye my hair in some way, shape, or form. 78. Learn more about wine and discover one red and one white I can drink anytime. 79. Buy an expensive bottle of champagne and drink the whole thing myself. Everyday Improvements: 80. Send all birthday and occasion cards on time. 81. Buy a new or used car. 82. Change online passwords so they are all the same. 83. Buy an address book and fill it up with pertinent information. 84. Get my PA drivers license. 85. Establish one utility bill in my name for residency purposes. 86. Set up an effective temporary storage solution for all our linens. 87. Set up a space for myself in the back bedroom where I can go to relax (i.e. piano, desk, chair, books, clothes, etc) Doing Right: 88. Donate my time for one whole day to a charitable cause. 89. Sort through clothes every six months and donate things that I don't wear, that don't fit, or make me feel ugly. 90. Vote in the presidential election. 91. Renew my CPR certification. 92. Get over my fear and donate blood. 93. Replace light bulbs with CFLs.
95. Walk into Barnes & Noble at the Waterfront without fear of condemnation. 96. Pay for the person behind me at the drive-through. 97. Write letters to five authors I admire. (1/5) 98. Create a time capsule to be opened when I am 50. 101 Things: 99. Regularly post to the blog with photos to give updates on the progress of this list. 100. Put $10 in my savings account for every item I don't complete on this list. 101. Celebrate the completion of this list on May 30, 2011.