Monday, February 4, 2019

Baku, Azerbaijan

Welcome February! With postcards mainly from last year.

But there is a card overdue that is about time to show... well, there are thousands of cards that are overdue, however, this is new country we are talking about and previously I would post new countries soon after their arrival... however, it has been several months since this one had arrived and it is about time to pay proper attention to it (and funny thing within a short period of time I actually ended up receiving two cards from Azerbaijan, but one at a time :))

This is one of the countries that I would really love to go to, but the prospects about it right now are rather low, leaning towards non-existent. But oh well, there are other options at hand so it is not that bad after all... but no spoilers right now :)

Anyways, the card shows a really lovely night view of Baku, where you can among else see the Flame Towers which is a trio of skyscrapers, including the tallest in the country, with a height of 182 m.
The towers symbolize the long history of fire worshippers that considered Azerbaijan as a birthplace for the prophet Zoroaster. The buildings consist of 130 residential apartments over 33 floors, a hotel tower that consists of 250 rooms and 61 serviced apartments, and office blocks.
Construction began in 2007, with completion in 2012, with an estimated cost of US$350 million)

The Flame Towers consist of three buildings: South, East and West. The facades of the three Flame Towers function as large display screens with the use of more than 10,000 high-power LED luminaires, as you can see in the video below.

The stamp is from a set of two EUROPA stamps issued in 2006, for the 50th anniversary of the first EUROPA stamp.

Maastricht, The Netherlands

And after ticking another country off the list, back to something else now.

I haven't really considered visiting Maastricht.... but after having received this card, my plans kinda changed.
This is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world (according to Alvin, and im pretty sure he is right).
Built in 1294, the cathedral features large open spaces boasting three-story bookshelves. Being that the church contains 1,200 square meters of shopping space with only 750 square meters of floor space, the architects decided to design vertically. They incorporate the modern scheme of the shop without obstructing the religious motifs or structure of the ancient venue. Within the space, there is also a cafe. As a nod to the bookstore’s past-life, there is a long table shaped like a cross in the eating area, which is conveniently located where the choir formerly situated themselves.

How can you not want to visit this place? So if you end up in Maastricht and wanna do something that is not really touristy, this is a great way to spend your time. If I end up in Maastricht, this would be my first destination, for sure!

Two nice stamps on the card. Christmas one on the left, from the set of 10 Christmas stamps issued last year. The other stamp is from 2018, showing the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision - Beeld en Geluid.

Las Vegas, USA

Moving a bit over the pond, where some states experienced real polar temperatures resulting in closed schools, offices, airports.

Nevada fortunately didnt make the list, otherwise Im not sure Glenn would have enjoyed that part of his last trip (and Im curious where else he had headed after the Casino adventures :P

Yeah, as he says, more than enough glitter on this card.. speaking of which, recently I was 'lucky' enough to be showered with LOOADS of glitter at a gig I attended. Still I can find specks in my hair :D

And the stamps are very anti-polar too :) Three seashells from the set of 4 issued in 2017.

Copenhagen, Denmark

And one more card for today which I have in my collection thanks to Genek.... and myself.

You may know or you may not know, in September last year I did a one day trip to Copenhagen. The fact that you may not have been informed about it through a postcard, is the ridiculously high postage rate... probably the most expensive one I have experienced so far (even worse than my last trip, whose postcards are on their way :P)

Anyways, it was great to see Copenhagen and even lovelier to meet Genek, even though the weather did play trick on us. However, that didn't ruin our experience of the Danish capital.
And out of the entire city, the colourful Nyhavn probably was my favourite spot!

Nyhavn, ninja style 

Nyhavn is a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district, stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. It also harbours many historical wooden ships
It was constructed by King Christian V from 1670 to 1673, dug by Swedish prisoners of war from the Dano-Swedish War 1658–1660. It is a gateway from the sea to the old inner city a King's Square, where ships handled cargo and fishermens' catch. 
It was notorious for beer, sailors, and prostitution. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen lived at Nyhavn for some 18 years.
 The first bridge across Nyhavn, which was a temporary wooden footbridge, opened on 6 February 1875. It was replaced by the current bridge in 1912.

                                                                    And, say cheese! 

A nice rose on the stamp (even though Im not a flower person), from a set of 5 stamps issued in 2018.

So, lets close the post for today. Wishing you all a nice week and a nice February!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sri Lanka

So after like 3 weeks into the New Year, I thought it was about time to blow off the dust and bring this place back to life after last year's hiatus.

Don't know if that was like my worst year blogging so far, but certainly not the one I would like to brag about. But what's done is done... and who knows, maybe this year will have a better outcome. No promises though, since they never work (there is nothing that works so badly as a New Year's resolution).

And the most proper way to start this year would be of course with cards received in 2019, which may not be much but are just enough for one blog post. :)

 The very first one is this lovely train card that Kiran sent me from his trip in Sri Lanka.
Dont know exactly which line this is, but it says that Taking the train is a great and inexpensive way to get around, the train journeys are real cultural experience and the most scenic routes will be highlights of your visit - in particular the wonderful journey from Colombo to Kandy and up into Tea County, and the coastal train ride from Colombo to Dutch colonial Galle.
British visitors will find the stations, signal boxes and old red semaphore signals very familiar.

Ok, I guess the rest of us will feel completely lost and puzzled then, wondering what kind of objects are those...

Kiran used two lovely stamps to match the card, issued in 2017 as part of the World Post Day.
The actual sheet is really fabulous btw...

Brussels, Belgium

By now some of you probably know already where I had spent my New Year holidays. May seem like an odd choice, but when you find cheap tickets for a place you havent been to before, you just grab the opportunity and make the best out of it, and I must say the trip was really fantastic.

The best thing about Brussels? Our AirBnb, which included 5 cats and one dog. Endless joy! One of the cats would scratch on our door every day to let him in, and he would just climb on the suitcase and fall asleep, waking only to the rustling sounds, knowing it was probably food. (Make a wild guess which one was the frequent visitor :D)

Brussels itself is nice, just too crowded for my taste. But it was nice to see it. It didnt make the list of places I would never really like to go back to again, so thats a plus.

the place shown on the card is called Mont des Arts (meaning Hill/Mount of the Arts) which probably makes it one of the best places for taking pictures, cos the view is really stunning (however when your personal photographer cannot really grasp the idea of a good picture, you will end up without one with you in it...)

Not big fan of spending time in museums, at least not those standard types of Art and History ones, but I do love some unique ones, esp if related to my interests and Brussels has this super cool Comics museum, where if nothing else, you will realize how ignorant you actually were about the comics' art cos it is not all Tin Tin and Smurfs and stuff...

and of course, Belgium wouldnt be Belgium without the waffles, but to my surprise and to the disbelief of many I got to eat only two...but they were real good!

and probably just the best nachos I've ever eaten, so if you are in Brussels, and feel like having nachos, go to the O'Reilly's Irish Pub - their food is just fantastic!

so all in all a great stay in this small county and would like to visit it again and explore more of it (aside from Brussels, we also got to see Brugge, Ghent and Leuven, so not bad, eh? :))

the only downside is the lack of cancellation (or as in case with my card, it was upside down) on just all the cards sent but when I think about it, that is way better than some pen scribbles.

There is one of the birds' definitives (not sure which year it was issued), and two stamps from a set of 10 issued in 2003, under the name This is Belgium. Different places across Belgium are represented, and on these two stamps it is Vilvoorde and Turnhout, where the latter is obviously known for its playing cards industry, hence the playing cards' symbols.

Cats of Malta, Malta

A cute card that arrived from Silvan the other day (and I also have a copy sent by dear Marta last year). Well, one can never get enough of cats :)

Colonies of stray cats can be found all over the island. In Malta you will be struck by the lack of starving cats on the streets that you unfortunately see in many other countries. Most of these cats are looked after by the whole community whose efforts ensure that the stray cats in Malta are happy, healthy and well fed.

this is the Christmas stamp from 2018 from a set of 3 showing Baby Jesus.

the stamp from Marta's card, which is from the set of 2 Think Green EUROPA stamps issued in 2016.

Thank you both!! <3

Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg

And more card for today, again, thanks to myself. Yeah, that trip to Belgium included also a one day trip to Luxembourg, however I apologise for the lack of cards from there, but time was really limited.
However, when I saw this cemetery card, I just knew I had to send it to myself. For a while I even thought that this may be just some cemetery dedicated to the American soldiers, elsewhere, but it is indeed in Luxembourg, so yeah, nice catch :)

Unfortunately, we didn't manage to visit it, but hopefully another time. Luxembourg is really cute plus they plan on introducing free public transport for all (buses, trams, trains...) so why not use that chance and explore more of it.

The cemetery was established on December 29, 1944 by the 609th Quartermaster Company of the U.S. Third Army while Allied Forces were stemming the enemy's desperate Ardennes Offensive, one of the critical battles of World War II. The city of Luxembourg served as headquarters for Gen. George S. Patton's U.S. Third Army. Gen. Patton is buried here.

5,073 service members lie here, many of whom lost their lives in the Battle of the Bulge and in the advance to the Rhine River.

As for Luxembourg itself, I guess it would be more appropriate to talk about it and show you pictures with some actual touristy view card :)

and yay, a cancellation! The stamp is a SEPAC issue from 2018, showing spectacular views (this one shows the Beaufort Castle located in Eastern Luxembourg)

And well, that would be it for today. Not too bad after so much silence!
Hope this 2019 had started well for you and has already brought you some lovely cards in the mailbox!

Till next time...