Tuesday, June 30, 2009

#64 - Tebessa

Tebessa, in Northern Algeria, became part of the Roman Empire in 146 A.C. You can find many ruins which were designed with the classical Roman architectural styles, including the Gate of Caracalla, and remains of the Basilica of St. Crispinus.

In this card, you can see the Temple of Minerva on the very left hand side, and some other unknown ruins. If you know what they are, please let me know!

#63 - Museum of Padre Toledo

In the small town of Tiradentes, Brazil, you can find the home of Padre Toledo. He was a priest who supported the Inconfidencia Mineira, the rebellion against Portugal led by Joaquim José da Silva Xavier.

Today, the home of Father Toledo has been converted to a museum to honour the memory of this great political leader.

Thanks to Karina for the educational card!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

#62 - A multiview from Andorra

Everything you need to know about Andorra in 3 minutes:

- It's a small landlocked country; Spain on the South, France to the North

- The capital is Andorra la Vella

- For 715 years, from 1278 to 1993, Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality, ruled by the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgel. In 1993, this system was modified.

- The national language is Catalan

- Has the second highest life expectancy in the world (first is Macau).

- And the best thing, there's no income tax in Andorra!

#61 - The Bran Castle

Deep in the Carpathian Mountains, in the heart of rural Romania is Transylvania, where perched atop a rocky peak, there has been a fortress of some kind for nearly 1,000 years and the fortress that stands here today is now known as Dracula's Castle (the actual Castle Dracula is in ruin on a secluded site near the Arges River).

Bran Castle was originally a stronghold built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order in 1212. At that time it was called Dietrichstein. (Thank goodness they changed they name cuz there's no way I can say..Die..Dietrichstien. Never mind, I just said it!)

As residents changed throughout the years, one has gained significant importance: Vlad Tepes III or "Dracula" which translates to "Son of the Dragon". (Vlad's father was known as The Dragon).

It is believed that Bram Stoker based his character and story Dracula, upon the life of Vlad Tepes III.

#60 - Port Erin, Isle of Man

The Isle of Man, is a tiny island which lies between England and Ireland. Many believe it is a part of the United Kingdom, but it is not.

The two official languages are English and one if it's dialects, Manx English. Some random words in English and Manx Enlish:

chimney - chymlee
drink - jough
Isle of Man - Ellan Vannin

#59 - Virgin Gorda

Christopher Columbus was sailing around the Caribbean Sea when he spotted an island in the far distance; he thought the island's profile resembled a fat woman, lying on her side.

And that's how Mr. Columbus named the island Virgin Gorda or The Fat Virgin; it is one of the many islands that make up the British Virgin Islands.

Thanks to Thorsten for the great view!

#58 - Sisak

Zeljko sent me a view of his hometown, Sisak, Croatia. This European town
was founded nearly 2500 years ago; it was first a Celtic town, later to be
conquered by the Romans.

The city of Sisak is located southeast of Zagreb where the rivers of Odra and Kupa,
and Kupa and Sava meet. Its geographical location and natural beauties influenced
the development of the city. Because of this, Sisak became the center of one
of the biggest counties in Croatia.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

#57 - Varadero Beach

I first heard of Varadero from my grade 9 and 10 math teacher, Mrs. Graham. She went to Cuba it every year and always told the class about the great beaches, music and people.

And looking at this view, I can certainly understand why she was in love with Varadero.

It's a small town, mostly known for the 20 km of white, sandy beaches. It's a perfect place to relax, de-stress and of course, get a great tan.

For the most part, Varadero was used as a docking station by the Spanish Army Fleet. The earliest mention of Varadero, comes in 1555. However, the area was not developed until 1887.

At this time, ten families obtained permission to build their vacation homes in the Varadero area. And that would be the beginning of this great resort town.

Gracias Nestor!

#56 - Mercure Grand Hotel

Check this out. It's the Mercure Grand hotel in Bahrain, which is a small island kingdom close to Saudi Arabia.

And let's say you happen to be in the neighbourhood and would like to visit Bahrain and have a one night stay at the Mercure, it will only cost you....$353 US.

Start saving those pennies ladies and gentlemen...until then, I'll enjoy the view from this postcard sent by Ariffin.

#55 - Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Gorgeous. There really isn't any other word to describe this, is there?

The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Brunei, was built in 1958 and named after the 28th sultan of Brunei.

Unlike other mosques, it incoporates traditional Arabic and Italian architectural styles and designs.

Thanks to Alfie for sending this wonderful view!

#54 - Novy Svet

Mail from Anatoly arrived today!

It's a view overlooking the Black Sea from Novy Svet, Ukraine.

As you may already know, this indland sea is marvel for many scientists; it has two very distinct layers: an oxygenated upper layer, about 200m deep, brimming with diverse life, and a `dead' lower layer, where until recently nothing was thought to be able to survive

And there's your science lesson of the day from Miss Trupti!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#53 - Home Sweet Home

Dundurn Castle is located in Hamilton, Ontario and oddly enough, here's a place that I have visited several times!

Hamilton is home to McMaster University which just happens to be the university that I attended.

While I was a student, I made a few visits to Dundurn Castle including one trip for an archaeology class. At the time, they were digging for arrowheads on the property of the Dundurn Castl.e Neat huh?

Thanks for the flashback in time Carole :)

#52 - El Candilejo Street

El Candijelo Street can be found in Cartagena, Colombia. The area was founded originally by Aboriginal peoples, as early as 7000 BC. During the Spanish takeover, the city was surrounded by 11 km of walls.

Cartagena is an interesting city; in fact it has not one, but SEVEN different nicknames.

The Heroic City
The Door of the Americas
Capital of the Caribbean
The Mother City
The Walled City
The Key of the West Indies
The Fort of the Kingdom
Best Fortified City of the Americas

I think they should lose some of the nicknames...like six of them! Nobody is going to remember all those; am I right Diego?

#51 - Takht-E Jamshid

This is a view from Persepolis, Iran; a World Heritage Site that was constructed around 515 BC. It's name means "The City of Persians".

This is my first postmarked card from Iran and to be honest, normally I would be ecstatic and thrilled about receiving a rare postcard but I can't help but feel sadness and worry over the current political situation in Iran. My concern and worry for the people of Iran, trumps the thrill of getting a rare postcard.

The current situation is a remnder that most of us are extremely lucky to live in peaceful countries, where political strife and turmoil is unheard of.

Keeping Iranians in my thoughts and prayers, especially the family of dear Neda.

Thank you ipucukthen.

#50 - Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkeys in Southern Thailand are well known for searching tourist bags for food and stealing hats.

These tricksters also play an important role in Thai culture due to the Indian epic, The Ramayana. One of the key characters is Hanuman, the "monkey God" who saves Sita, a woman who was kidnapped by demons. Like India, monkeys are allowed to roam free due to the significance of Hanuman.

Thanks Thamowan for sending me this awesome postcard!

#49 - The Spice Island

Here's a fantastic multiview of the capital of Grenada, St. George.

Grenada is located north-east of Venezuela and it was first discovered in 1498 when the British tried to conquer the island.

To assert their power and presence, the British placed red telephone booths all around the country. Well, the British never managed to conquer Grenada; the French did that in the 1650's.
And the first thing they did, was paint all the red phone booths to pink.

#48 - The Village of Heidi

The postcard says Maienfeld but in reality, it's the village of Heidi. Do you know Heidi?

She's a character in the book series, Heidi, written by Johanna Spyri. She lives in the Swiss mountains, yodels, and eats lots of good yummy chocolate and gets many cavities. ;)

Must be tough to live in Maienfeld, waking up to that gorgeous view...every..single....day. Well, I guess someone has to do it right? Thanks Jutta!

Friday, June 19, 2009

June 20 - World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day; a day to bring awareness to the millions of people who are forced to flee their homes due to political strife, natural disasters or ethnic tensions. Many refugees in Africa are forced to live in camps; the stay can be for a few weeks, a few months, or even, a few years.

Mosquitoes are drawn to these camps; the living conditions are ideal for the pesky bugs to spread the virus. In turn, refugees have a very high probability of acquiring malaria and thus, it comes as no surprise that malaria is the number one killer of refugees in Africa. It kills about half a billion people annually; that's half the people in India, or China...

Economically, the cost of treating and caring for malaria patients, costs the African government about $12 billion a year.

But here's the good news. Malaria can be prevented with the use of mosquito bed nets. With education, and the use of this simple net, families can be saved.

For example, in 2006, malaria caused 33% of all illness in refugee camps in Kenya. Now it accounts for just 8%. A very significant drop and clearly, we can definitely reduce this to 0%.
And that is why it's important to keep working at the issue; we can't stop now when the goal is within our reach.

#47 - Mouro Island

Here's a view from Northern Spain, highlighting the rugged coast of Mouro Island. This flat and rocky island can be found in the Bay of Santander.

In the background, you can faintly see the Mouro Island lighthouse. Built in 1860, this lighthouse is still operational and flashes 3 white lights every 21 seconds...not every 20 seconds, but every 21 seconds. Who thought of that bright idea? Hope it wasn't you Mario!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

#46 - Tatry Mountains

The Tatry Mountains are situated along Poland's border with Slovakia. They're actually the highest mountain range in the Carpathian mountains.

This is just a small view of the entire mountain range; for a panoramic view of the Tatra Mountains, check out this photo from Wikipidia.

Thanks for the card Sylwia!

#45 - Tallinn

If I got a $1 for every time I received this postcard, I would have....$5. (I even went through my collection to check). Not that I'm complaining Rita, I love vies of Tallinn :)

The Old Town of Tallinn seems to be a very popular view from Estonia and it should be. It's a UNESCO site featuring an Old Town Hall that has remained in tact since 1404. It is the last Gothic Town Hall in all of Northern Europe.

Pretty impressive I say.

#44 - Taal Volcano

Annette sent me this card with a little bump in the middle of the water. It looks like a small hill but in fact, it's Taal Volcano in the Philippines. It's known as the smallest volcano in the world, it's height coming in at 400 m/1312 feet.

To give you some idea of how small it is, the tallest tower, the Burj Dubai, measures 818 m.

But don't let it's size fool you. Although unactive since 1977, the volcano is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of 5000 - 6000 people.

#43 - Emily Bay

This tiny, itty bitty island is located between Australia and New Zealand. In fact, the total area of Norfolk Island is 34.6 km2.

One of the distinguishing tree species on the island is the Norfolk Island Pine which you can see in this card quite clearly. It's even on the their flag...

Thanks to Jillian for this view of Emily Bay; maybe if I'm lucky I'll make it some day ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

#42 - Mandai Orchid Garden

It's quite common to see rose, tulip and sunflower gardens in North America but this orchid garden in Singapore is like heaven for a gardener like myself.

Three years ago, my friend gave me an orchid plant for my birthday. It was so beautiful...but it died in a few months. I had a hard time getting more blooms and getting the plant to succeed.

That's alright. I'll enjoy the orchids in this card from Sheree :)

#41 - The Old Town of Kaunas

I used to have a penpal fro Lithuania when I was 15 years old so I'm very familiar with this country, including the city of Kaunas. It is the second largest city in Lithuania, and as you can see here, it has many old and historic buildings.

That's because the city was founded around 1030 AD, making it just under 1000 years old.

How does a city celebrate it's 1000 year anniversary anyway? I mean, if your city is turning 1000? That party better be amazing. I mean, forget fireworks and cake. That party has to be the best thing the city has seen...in a 1000 years.

There needs to be like 90 Amazonian parrots singing the Lithuanian anthem, and 100 elephants doing the macarena to make that party memorable.

Am I right? or Am I right? Cake and fireworks just won't do! Thanks to Mojne!

#40 - From The Holy Land

I'm convinced that I must have some good karma because the cards that I'm receiving are unbelievable. I received another awesome card from Yuri in Israel, showing the wonderful ship of the desert, the camel.

I rode a camel in India when I was 7 years old. It was a fun experience and hopefully I'll get to ride one again, maybe this time in Israel :)