Saturday, July 26, 2014

French Polynesia

In case you have thought that I may have packed my bags and took off somewhere, nope, unfortunately no...that's not the reason why things have been silent here...but you are rather acquainted with my excuses so I'll skip that part :)

An extended weekend is ahead, that has gone wrong before it even started...I was supposed to go to an astronomy field trip that, of course, didn't happen due to the unfavourable weather conditions...and while waiting and hoping for some weather improvements, i missed another cool event and the opportunity to go to a music festival here in the southern part of the country with some friends..they thought that i was going to the field trip so naturally, they didn't consider me in the plans.....i do believe that everything happens for a reason even though I am not always aware what that reason is...but I have to admit I do feel quite bummed right now =/
Well, I thought that doing something good may make me feel dedicating some time to a neglected blog for example...and here we are :)

Maybe not many cards for today but I hope you'll like them...and the first post has two breathtaking ones coming from that cool place of French Polynesia!

This first one arrived a few months ago for the Vacation RR, showing the probably best known of the islands, Bora Bora. (though Wikipedia disagrees and roots for Tahiti)
The island was first inhabited by Polynesian settlers around the 4th century AD, while the first European sighting was made by Jakob Roggeveen in 1722. James Cook came here around 1770. Bora Bora used to be an independent kingdom until 1888 when its last queen Teriimaevarua III was forced to abdicate by the French who annexed the island as a colony.

The stamp is from a set of 3 tourism stamps issued in 2011, where you can also see the island of Bora Bora! Really neat!

I decided to post the other FP card because the views are of the same kind, even though this one shows another of the FP island, and that is Huahine (first time I hear about it I have to admit).

Huahine s made up of two main islands, the Huahine Nui (Big Huahine)and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine, that are connected by a small bridge, which is probably like one of the main attractions here. The island itself has a population of about 6000

at first glance it may appear that there are two stamps on the card, but it is actually one stamp and a vignette....this one was also issued in 2011, for the Year of the Rabbit.
And this gorgeous Huahine card arrived back in 2011, thanks to JP!
Sometimes, realizations strike me for how long I've known some people, and it seems like it was just last year or so that we've 'met'.

Skamlingsbanken, Denmark

A card that arrived recently as a swap with Hans Jørgen.

The card gives you a glimpse of Skamlingsbanken, which is large hill in Jutland, and famous for this column erected on the memory of 18 people who contributed to the Danish cause in Schleswig-Holstein on Skamlingsbanken's highest point, the Højskamling. The column is 16 metres only before its destruction on 21 March 1864 by occupying Prussian forces during the 2nd Schleswig War.
After the war, the stones were recovered, and in May 1864, and the column was raised again.

a number of stamps on the card...the one on the very right is from a set of 4 Hans Christian Andersen stamps issued in 2012, representing different works of the writer, and this one shows his tale "The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep". The other big stamp was also issued in 2012, showing the central post office. The brown one is a definitive....and this one probably issued in 2010.

Paestum, Italy

Another surprise card from JP, where this one arrived recently.

Haven't heard of this place until I was introduced to it thanks to this card...and it is definitely a great place to visit!
Paestum was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia. After its foundation by Greek colonists under the name of Poseidonia, it was eventually conquered by the Lucanians and later the Romans.
Here you can find some of the most well-preserved ancient Greek temples in the world. However, it is not as famous and not as visited as Pompeii...which is a pity!


the stamp was issued this year, commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the Birth of Martino Martini, (1614-1661, who was an Italian Jesuit missionary, cartographer and historian, mainly working on ancient Imperial China.

Thanks so much JP for the lovely always! :))

Northern Pacific Railway, USA

well, one more card for today...I introduced you this train series last time, so here comes one more, this time from the US state of Montana...

the text is from the back of the card (though I sometimes wish all this was available online so I could just do the copy-paste...yeah, I can get a bit lazy sometimes :))

The NORTH COAST LIMITED, whose title dated back to a summertime operation in 1900, was unquestionably of first-class caliber, with equippage equal to the best in the nation. Its companion was the PACIFIC and TWIN CITIES EXPRESS, both making the 2053 mile trip between St. Paul, Minnesota and Portland, Oregon. In those years electric lights, steam heat and on-board barber and bath were symbols of luxury. Big 4-6-0's were considered adequate motive power then, but all-steel sleeping cars and coaches required 4-6-2's, the last 20 of which, built in 1923, were among the heaviest of that type.

By the end of the 1920's, the NP's two main line passenger trains had outgrown their motive power, a situation which brought the nation's first 4-8-4's into being. Between 1926 and 1943, NP's fleet of these locomotives increased to a total of 49, most of them unsurpassed in total weight at time of delivery. During those years, the NORTH COAST remained the premier consist, its assistant having been THE ALASKAN (3 and 4).

Four years after the last 4-8-4 arrived, seven 3-unit GM-EMD F3-model diesel-electric locomotives took over the NORTH COAST. Then, during the period between April 1949 and early 1950, seven others of the F7-model gradually eliminated steam from NP's main line passenger duties. They were numbered 6507-6513, and on arrival were modified to meet adverse conditions on the NP, as were the earlier F3 units. This included completion of the unit realignment program from cab-booster-booster to cab-booster-cab configuration. The 6507, pictured here, was assigned F3-model booster 1st 6501C, which had originally entered service in January 1947.

When GM's Electro-Motive Division built the passenger units, they were given a paint scheme similar to those in freight service since 1944, differing mainly by the addition of a yellow-bordered green band corresponding with the window placement of the cars. (Most passenger rolling-stock, including the ALASKAN's heavyweight consist, eventually received the new streamlined paint scheme.) Locomotive cab units bore the legend "Main Street of the Northwest" along with the road number, while the boosters carried "Northern Pacific." The two-tone green with yellow (imitation gold) color scheme lasted until mid-1953, following NP's rearrangement of passenger operations the previous year. A year long transition period was then required to change the postwar external decor to a lighter and more simplistic two-tone green with white stripe scheme.

Following WWII, the ALASKAN's schedule and service were gradually cut back from Seattle to operation between Spokane, Washington and St. Paul. By mid-century, the name ALASKAN seemed to have little in association with the NP's passenger business. Hence, when the NORTH COAST received a new faster schedule and train numbers (25 and 26) in November 1952, the transcontinental ALASKAN was renamed THE MAINSTREETER in accordance with the railroad's own motto. The new secondary consist was then assigned the NORTH COAST LIMITED's former schedule (slower due to many station stops), and train numbers (1 and 2).

In this scene, about 35 miles east of the Idaho border at Trout Creek, Montana, westbound No.3 has made a mid-afternoon flag stop. Behind the brand new 6507 is the ALASKAN's composition of RPO, mail-storage and express cars ahead of the coaches, cafe car and Pullman-Standard sleeping car.

....I dont know about you, but I got somewhat lost in all these numbers.....

and here come two more songbird stamps (if you recall, there were two other on the previous train card), and you can also see the Navajo Jersey stamp issued in 2007...and two great stamps one doesn't often see on the US mail.
The first one shows Sidney Lanier, who was an American musician, poet and author. The stamp was issued in 1972.
The other one shows Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was the 36th President of the United States, from 1963 till 1969.

and need I mention who sent this card? or you probably can guess already? :D

Have a great weekend everyone!! till next time!!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mañagaha Island, Northern Mariana Islands

Hello hello! Finally managed to squeeze in at least one June update...though this one was supposed to happen like over ten days ago, it just wasnt meant to's been an extremely busy period..until now..and now hopefully now I can go all the way through it... I already mentioned in my last post on my stamps' blog that my dad installed a roof over our terrace, so now it feels so damn good to sit outside, have some coffee while writing this and feeling the nice summer breeze...yep, for a change, the summer days right now are not as hot and unbearable as they usually are...hope it stays this way..

Well, let's see what's been randomly chosen for this batch....first comes a paradise-kind-of-card from the exotic-kind-of-land of the Northern Mariana Islands!
I posted my first NMI card here, long long ago..and posting another one surely doesn't hurt..esp. when one doesn't get cards sent from there so frequently :)

And it is such such such a beautiful card...with the summer actually being here it just makes me long so much to go somewhere...though I dont really know if there would be such a chance this summer...*sniff*...but well, one can't have it all..

this lovely card shows the Mañagaha island, which is a small islet that lies off the west coast of Saipan within its lagoon. Although it has no permanent residents, Mañagaha is popular among Saipan’s tourists as a day-trip destination due to its wide sandy beaches and a number of marine activities including snorkeling, parasailing and jet skiing.
Well, I surely wouldn't mind spending some days here...and you?

unfortunately, the Northern Mariana Islands use the US stamps...HOWEVER, the cancellation is a proof this has been mailed from NMI directly. It has the famous American Toleware and the American clock stamps, while the third one hasn't so commonly showed up on my stamps and it shows the Wisdom Statue at Rockefeller Center in New York City...the catalogue says it was issued in 2003, but the stamp has the 2008 printed on im a bit puzzled here...and also too lazy to check my older posts to see if I had come across this issue previously...

Izmir, Turkey

next card comes from a recent swap with Didem and is my first card from least on the blog......

the card shows (according to the correct definition), the esplanade in Izmir..personally, my first guess would have been that this is a port, but when i take a better look, I would say it is a promenade...well, promenade, esplanade, more or less it is the same...and in case someone comes across the word 'esplanade' for the first time (as I have), here is the definition: It is a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water, where people may walk. The original meaning of esplanade was a large, open, level area outside fortress or city walls to provide clear fields of fire for the fortress' guns. In modern usage the space allows people to walk for recreational purposes; esplanades are often on sea fronts, and allow walking whatever the state of the tide, without having to walk on the beach

as long as bicycles are allowed, I dont have any problem with esplanades, or promenades or whatever :)

unfortunately, no stamp...I think the Turkish cards rank quite high on my list of cards with no stamps but labels/red prints instead...pity

Denver & Rio Grande Western, USA

Lately I've been under a huge-train-cards attack...need I mention the striker? I dont think so :P

It is such a fantastic series of cards!! Absolutely love them!
And so much text on the backside...makes all the research so easier...since I do not really have to do any in the first place :D

So here is what it says:

Denver & Rio Grande Western

Passenger service between Denver and Salt Lake City, to say nothing of Chicago-Pacific Coast passenger traffic on Rio Grande rails, was not one of the Denver & Rio Grande's early corporate objectives, Its organizers were thinking more of building a narrow-gauge railroad from Denver to Mexico City, and enhancing their fortunes by selling land in new communities adjacent to the track. However, a series of unexpected events turned their attentions to the west. The Santa Fe railway had blocked southward expansion into New Mexico, and the mineral wealth of Colorado's southwest corner and Leadville provided impetus to construct trackage in those directions. Midway between the two lines, D&RG track crossed the Cintinental Divide at Marshall Pass, terminating at Grand Junction. Meanwhile, in Utah, the D&RG people had been busy buying up short lines and connecting them with short lengths of new track, eventually extending that little system eastward and joining D&RG trackage in Colorado in 1883.

This narrow-gauge route between Denver-Salt Lake City was 735 miles long, and the journey required almost 34 hours. The Pacific Express departed Denver at 7:30 am, crossed Marshall Pass at dusk, and took the entire next day to traverse Utah. Short stops for meals were made at South Pueblo, Sargentis, Green River and Provo, supper being had at Salt Lake City following a 5:10 pm arrival. The accommodations were hardly luxurious by modern standards; Pullman buffet-sleeping cars and (new) attractive emigrant sleeping cars, plus ordinary coaches formed the train's equipment. Open-top observation cars were added for that part of the trip though the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas River and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. It wasn't fast, but the journey must have been interesting and restful.

By 1890 this narrow-gauge routing had been replaced by one of standard gauge. The California Fast Mail left Denver daily at 9 am and ran over three rail tracks to Leadville, thence on standard-gauge (converted from narrow-gauge) as far as Rifle. New standard-gauge track was then used into Grand Junction, beyond which was a short stretch of converted narrow-gauge line. More new standard-gauge track, replacing a long segment of unsuitable narrow-gauge, was used to reach White House, while the remainder across most of Utah was converted narrow-gauge line. Meal-stops were made at Palmer Lake, Pueblo, Salida, Green River and Provo, with Salt Lake City arrival scheduled at 4:35 pm (of the following day) in time for dinner. Pullman buffet-sleeping cars and tourist-sleepers, destined for Los Angeles and San Francisco, were included in the train's consist.

The route remained unchanged for almost half-a-century, but the overall time had been reduced to less than a day. And, the equipment had been vastly improved (including the addition of dining cars, in 1899). But all this was to change drastically in 1934. The Rio Grande built a short connection between the Denver & Salt Lake railroad and its own rails, shortening the Denver-Salt Lake City run to 750 miles. Over this line ran the Panoramic on a  15, 5 hour schedule, with Chicago-San Francisco sleeping cars included. The Panoramic became the Exposition Flyer in 1939, and a decade later it was superseded by the California Zephyr.

The picture on the card shows the California Zephyr during its 11:46 am stop for a crew change at Grand Junction, Colorado. The diesel-electronic locomotive in charge of No 18 is a 6000 horsepower three-unit set of PA1/PB1 models built by Alco-GE in 1947.

Yep, that's quite some history to get to the actual moment on the card, but to me it was a great read...I mean, it is trains we are talking about after all ;-)

and quite some recent stamps here...all issued in the very left you have an Abraham Lincoln stamp, that is said to show his statue, composed of 28 blocks of white Georgia marble.
The other two stamps come from a set of 10 songbirds' stamps....I think that by now I have received all those 10 stamps on different cards sent by Bryon :) On this one you can see the Scarlet Tanager (on the left) and the Mountain Bluebird (on the right). So lovely!

And a huge huge huge thanks to Bryon (again)!! :)