Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Egypt

here comes another update..yeah, that's quite soon you may say...well, it is indeed...and it's not like that is a bad thing now, is it? :)
but my fingers feel itchy, my mind feels anxious (in a strange way) and on Friday I am going away for a few days to the astronomy camp, so the next few days would be rather hectic as well, so I thought I'd post something now, otherwise it won't happen until some time next week...if then

just a short disappointing message first...there are NO postcards where I am going...there is actually not even a store or a small market...NOTHING...just houses and a small campsite...we are bringing all the food and even water with us since nothing can be bought there (there is water but it is just not drinkable)

based on the experience from last summer, one can easily survive in such conditions as long as he is well-prepared...and hopefully I will be =)

so, with that cleared up, lets take a look at a few cards for today..

First comes a map card from Egypt...


...and as Maria, the sender says 'No pyramids for you as you asked' :P yeah, I asked for anything but the pyramids cos the majority of the Egyptian cards I have (even though not many) have a pyramid or two on them..so no more pyramids please! And she did a great job here by sending me a map card...my first and only map card sent from Egypt so far! Love it!

a country I haven't yet visited, though I'd love to (when it is not too hot). There were protests and a revolution a few years ago and things got quite scary, but I think dust has settled down by now....well, I think...


the stamp is a definitive issued in 2011 showing a pharaoh

well, may not be entire Egypt shown, but it is a map card...and it is from Egypt, so I thought I'd include this postcard showing the Cairo Subway lines...



not many lines though for a city with over 10 million people..but I guess it works for them...personally I'd like to take that Railway line to Alexandria - though I had a few doubts after watching this video (note just that this is in the opposite direction, from Alexandria to Cairo), but hell, why not...it's gonna be an adventure, that's for sure :D

 

Lviv, Ukraine

I just realized that for today I've picked another country with political unrests and all...not to mention that story about the Malaysian plane crash in Ukraine not so long ago..but my choices were surely not intentional with the idea to talk about politics and solve disputes and blah blah...you know I hate that...

here I have two cards related to the Railway Station in Lviv...and, hmm, now before I say a few words about the cards and the stamps, I wanted to mention something else which this card reminded me of...and that is somewhat related to Ukraine and Lviv, and in a few sentences, this train station (no, I haven't been there yet :))

Anyways, there is this book I read recently and really loved it, so just wanted to tell you about it...and its plot is set mainly in Lviv, so this post seemed really appropriate to mention the book as well..even though it is still in Macedonian only, hopefully in the near future it will be translated in a few other languages and will be available to the wider audiences...I highly recommend that you read it...cos come on, how many books can you say you have read by a Macedonian author? hm? =)

the book's name in English is "Gargle", as its equivalent Macedonian translation...you find out why..written by the young and aspiring Macedonian author Igor Stanojoski.
For me it was one of the books that kept my attention throughout its entirety, gave me emotional turmoils, and once I finished it I was in the 'what am I supposed to do with myself now' kind of mood..reminded me of Murakami at times...
Feel free to browse through the website dedicated solely to the book..besides in Macedonian, you can read some sections in English, Polish and Russian....hoping that I've intrigued you somewhat by now, just click on the link below ;-)

http://www.gargara.mk/english/index.html


aaaand now down to the postcards


First comes a card from Vita, showing the exterior of the Railway Station in Lviv.
Built in the Art Nouveau style,  its construction had started in 1899 and has been into service since 1904, handling over 1 million passengers per month! Such numbers always bring to mind OUR railway station..I think it would take a number of years to actually handle that many passengers...the commodity and the reliability of the service is a different story...



and how lovely when someone sending me a train/railway card, attaches some matching stamps...and at least Ukraine isn't short of fantastic train stamps! These two are from the 2010 set of 4 locomotives.


The following card - I received it TWICE! Within a month's distance! (back in 2011)
Yeah, receiving your favourite cards works in a funny way sometimes...you just wait for sooo long to receive some, and then eventually at least two or three people send it to you...but I don't mind it, cos it is just soo beautiful...the stamp-image just gives some additional charm to this one.
UA-99350

One copy arrived from Viktoria as part of  a swap, and another one from Olya as an official....and here you can actually see the interior of the Lviv Railway Station...just so beautiful! And I cant help but wonder where these two trains are going to...


yesss..two train stamps again from the 2010 set...plus one more coming from a set of 8 definitives issued in 2008 - this one is showing a spinning wheel



the other card came with three copies of this definitive, also issued in 2007, showing a kumanet

PS. I still can't possibly pronounce Lviv properly...I just CAN'T!

Sayram Lake, China

yeah, this is like one of the most fantastic and absolutely breathtaking cards from China I have received...EVER EVER EVER...the fact that there is so much blue in it is like a cherry on top!



Received it last year from Di for the Choose a Country RR.
Here you can see the Sayram Lake of Xinjiang.
It is the largest alpine lake in Xinjiang (458 km²) and also the highest(2,070 m).
In the Kazakh language Sayram means 'blessing'.
It is said that it was composed of the tears of a couple of Kazak young lovers. A beautiful girl and a young man were deeply in love. One day, a cruel devil was captivated by the girl's beauty. He captured the girl and confined her to his residence. The girl took a chance to escape, but the devil found out very soon and went after the girl. She was forced to jump into an abyss. Later, her boyfriend heard of this and he was so sad that he jumped into the abyss to be reunited with his lover. Their painful tears flooded into the abyss and formed Sayram Lake
Legends are always nicer than the actual scientific stuff..even though rather cheesy sometimes :)



look at those gorgeous cat stamps!! Issued in a set of 4 cats' stamps in 2013. Love them!!
Next to it is a stamp representing Dai Architecture, issued in 1998 in a set of 4 stamps...and then you have the small green one representing the environment - a definitive issued in a set of 2 stamps in 2002

The Atomium, Belgium

A card I received for the Surprise Group in Andy's Vacation RR just last week...



Looks really impressive, don't you think?
This is the Atomium in Brussels, originally constructed for Expo '58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair.
Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m tall. Its nine 18 m diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.
Tubes connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose escalators and a lift to allow access to the five habitable spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels.

CNN named it Europe's most bizarre building.

Seriously CNN?? SERIOUSLY??  I bet there are at least a few buildings over here that can take the crown of 'most bizarre'...


and yeah...another coffee incident just a few days ago..it was one of those days when everything goes wrong, so karma tried to kick in from all sides...well, I dont know how many things suffered...I honestly dont even want to know...life goes on....King Filip got to taste a bit of the Nescafe 3 in 1 strong...hope he liked it.
Issued in a set of 3 in 2013

South Korea

alright, lets squeeze in one more for today...I promise it will be short...started with a map card, lets end with a map card...




and this is probably like my only map from South Korea...and it is just soo adorable!! Though if this one should serve as my personal map around the country, I will surely get lost...cos besides the picture, I cannot possibly understand anything else...




the stamp on the right is from a set of 9 stamps issued in 2013, representing National Beauty and Historical Sites..couldn't figure out which site this one is showing.
The flower stamp is a definitive issued in 2006, showing a Crinum asiaticum var. japonicum Baker.

Well, that was the final card for today...enjoy the rest of the week and see you soon! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Northern Ireland

After a failed attempt to go to sleep, I thought that I at least use the time somewhat wisely, instead of just watching a movie or something...and at an hour past midnight, I don't really have the focus for reading...I feel that I am not fully 'armed' for rambling either, so I guess that's a good sign :P Let's just see if I'm up for going through all the cards I've foreseen for today...

I'll start today's update with a country long time neglected, even though Alvin sent me this card back in 2012...her majesty of Northern Ireland



What I really love about it is the colours, esp those violet tones..and everything feels like in harmony.

from the backside: Northern Ireland within its compass, incorporates arguably the most diverse array of inherent natural beauty in Western Europe. Its magnificent mountain ranges, fascinating river scenery, barren plains, glens and rolling hills, have down through the years, earned the country a mystic fascination which has no precedent.

Yeah, I have this inexplicable fascination with Northern Ireland too...might have to blame it on Belfast Child...one of the most emotionally powerful songs like EVER! The black and white video just adds to it...

now that I've mentioned it, I may just as well add it for you to enjoy...such a pity though they didn't play this one at their concert here a few months ago...and I so much hoped they will...







no NI stamps of course, so just the usual Royal Mail ones, with the inevitable Queen :) and a great Paralympics stamp issued in 2012 in a total of 33 different stamps, representing Gold Medal Winners - this one shows Neil Fachie and Barney Storey who won Great Britain's third gold medal of the Paralympic Games track cycling programme in the tandem one-kilometre time-trial at the London 2012 velodrome.

Thanks Alvin!!

Latvia

seems like this is the only map card I have of Latvia...but I love it!


LV-129973

Received it as an official at the beginning of January...and is says to be a postcard from the series of drawings by Latvian artist Ansis Cirlulis, published by photographer Jānis Rieksts. 1919
The map represents Latvia in 1914, so exactly 100 years ago, saying it had 2.552.000 inhabitants in an area of 64.299 square km.



First is a cute Christmas stamp from a set of 4 issued in 1995. Next to it is one from 2007 representing the Krustptils Castle, while below it are two Coat of Arms stamps...the red one issued in 2012, showing the CoA of the Kurzeme region, while the blue one is from 2013, for the region of Zemgale.