Thursday, June 27, 2013


Andorra is a small, mountainous country in the Pyrenees mountains in Europe, and is on the Iberian Peninsula, on the border between France and Spain, in Western Europe.
Andorra has become a popular tourist destination in Europe, it has several major ski resorts, including Soldeu/El Tarter and Pal/Arinsal. These are very popular with tourists from Spain, France and the United Kingdom, particularly because their relatively gentle slopes are ideal for less experienced people as well as families. Andorran ski schools are among the largest in Europe. Because it is not a member of the European Union, Andorra is able to sell a wide range of duty free products, including alcohol, perfume and cigarettes (there are about 2000 shops). 
Shrines and festivals are both key attractions to tourists. Romanesque churches and old houses of interest are located in Ordino, Encamp, Sant Julia de Loria, Les Escaldes,Santa Coloma, and other villages. The best known is the shrine of Our Lady of Meritxell, Andorra’s patroness, between Canillo and Encamp. Pilgrims come from France and Spain to pay homage on September 8th, the festival day of Andorra’s patroness. Each of the larger villages has its own festival during which the sardana, Andorra’s (and Catalonia's in Spain) national dance, is performed.

Gràcies Fabienne!

Zvončari of Rijeka

The Rijeka Carnival is held each year before Lent (the observance in the liturgical year of many Christian denominations, that lasts for a period of approximately six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday) in Rijeka, Croatia, it's the biggest carnival in Croatia. In 2008 it celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The Zvončari (the bellmen) is the characteristic folk custom maintained in the region around Rijeka, Croatia. It was added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.
The custom dates to pagan antiquity, and remains typical for this region. The primary task of Zvončari is to scare away evil spirits of winter and to stir up new spring-time cycle. During the Rijeka Carnival Zvončari march from village to village throughout the region, following the same centuries-old route, making an extraordinary amount of noise, fueled in part by the wine provided by the locals en route. 
The standard costume includes white trousers, striped shirt, and a sheepskin throw. In their hands they hold a "balta" or "bačuka"  a stylized mace, and around the waist one or more big brass bells. The costume varies from village to village , for example Zvončari of Halubje and Grobnik wear special stylized masks representing fantastic animal heads (as seen on the small squares right and left of the postcard), while Zvončari of Žejane and Brgud wear "flower hats" (as seen in the square of the middle). 

Hvala Antonella!


Really curious way to put the stamps! 

Bulgaria is a country in the Balkans on the western side of the Black Sea. It is surrounded by Romania to the north, Serbia to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia to the southwest, Greece to the south, and Turkey to the southeast. Being located close to the Turkish Straits means the key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia pass through Bulgaria.

With mild autumns, cool winters and warm breezy summers, Bulgaria is one of the few exotic nations of Europe; due to the fact that it boasts sublime beaches, lovely churches, winter sport opportunities, to name a few. Although it is not regularly visited compared to other European nations, it is a beautiful place, with a wide range of activities for a traveller to do.
Bulgaria’s attractions go from stunning beaches and picturesque bays despite the expansive construction work, networks of well-maintained hiking trails and horse-riding routes that allow you to discover Bulgaria’s lush mountainous and forested landscapes inhabited by bears, lynx, rare birds and other kinds of wildlife now becoming scarce elsewhere in Europe
Here you’ll come across multicoloured monasteries, filled with fabulous icons and watched over by bushy-bearded priests, and impossibly pretty timber-framed villages with smoke curling lazily over the stone-tiled roofs and donkeys complaining in the distance, where headscarfed old ladies and their curious grandchildren still stare in wonderment at the arrival of outsiders. 
The cities go from dynamic, cosmopolitan Sofia with its lovely parks, sociable alfresco bars and fascinating museums, to the National Revival architectural treasures and Roman remains of Plovdiv, and the youthful maritime cockiness of Varna.

Blagodarya Silvia!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Snail-mailers around the globe: Canada

Here's our Snail-mailer for June, Fiona! She is a really lovely Brit who's living in Canada and not only she answered this interview but she also shared some photos you'll get to see at the end.

In what snail-mailing activities do you take part?
Penpalling and card swapping. 

How did you became a snail-mailer? 
Another fellow Brit who also lives in Canada mentioned it one day, a few weeks later in one of my "I'm bored, what can I look at" internet moments I found the site and that was it... hooked.

For how long have you been doing this? 
Just over 1.5 years

Can you show me 3 of your favorite postcards and make a little explanation on why you like them? 

Russian blue kittens- I'm a crazy cat lady, what more can I say!

I love this card from Bulgaria, the shape, the colors and all the different snippets of Bulgarian life.

This card is from Lichtenstein and the ref number is 234, so not many cards from this country have been sent. This was a "WOW" just because where it's from. The country is 26 km long and 10 km wide and it only takes 30 minutes by car to cross the country.

How much does it cost to send a postcard in your country? 
$1.10 to USA and $1.80 to the rest of the world. 

Do you have any theme collections? If you do, why are you collecting them? 
When I first started I only thought there was "tourist" type cards, I was amazed there were so many other types and styles. Over the year and half my wish list has got longer and longer at the type of cards I like, all due to ones that I have received. I love skiing & winter so anything to do with that. Russian Blue cats - mine sadly died last year so my aim is to get lots of these and get them framed up as one big picture as a momento to her. My husband loves the pin up style girls so he is kept happy! Anne Taintor - I love the humour.

If you are into pen-paling, from which countries do you have pen-pals from? 
England, Netherlands, Czech Republic, USA, Germany & Russia.

Have you discovered any destination you'd like to travel to thanks to a postcard? 
Neuschwanstein Castle & Burg Eltz Castle (Germany)

Please share a few facts about other countries you've learned thanks to postcards or letters:
  • Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi, Finland 
  • Washington is known for its apples
  • I found out what Luminarias (small paper lanterns) are 
  • Tomsk in Siberia can get up to 35ºc (I always imagined Siberia to be freezing cold and covered in snow) 

A few fun/strange/surprising facts you'd like to share about your country? 

  • Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world at 243,977 kilometers – 151,600 miles.
  • The longest highway in the world is the Trans-Canada Highway which is over 7604 kilometers (4725 miles) in length.
  • About 90% of Canada’s population is concentrated within 160 kilometers (100 miles) of the Canada/US border.
  • Canadians like to finish a sentence with the word eh. 
  • The CN Tower in Toronto was the world’s tallest free standing structure until 2007.
  • A black bear cub from Canada named Winnipeg (or “Winnie,” for short) was one of the most popular attractions at the London Zoo after it was donated to the zoo in 1915. Winnie became a favorite of Christopher Robin Milne and inspired the stories written by his father, A.A. Milne, about Winnie-the-Pooh.

In your opinion, what is it that makes sending postcards and letters through snail-mail special?
It's a dying art, no one seems to want or have time to sit and write a letter, its all rush rush rush, now its just quick text messages or emails.  Its wonderful to receive a card from some far flung place in the world, a little snippet of someones life. 

Someone cares enough to go out and buy a card, write it & post it - which isn't cheap! I love sending cards as I hope that I can make the receiver smile.

And Fionna was nice enough to share some photos! 

"This one is the lovely ladies Margo and Andrea at Little Britain Post Office. Margo thinks its so cool seeing postcards from all over the world turning up."

"This is Little Britain Post box"

Thank you very much Fionna! 

Friday, June 21, 2013


Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a lively city of 430,000 people (urban area), nestled in a valley.
Sarajevo is one of the most historically interesting and varied cities in Europe. It is a place where the Western & Eastern Roman Empire split; where the people of the Roman Catholic west, Eastern Orthodox east and the Ottoman south, met, lived and warred. It has been both an example of historical turbulence and the clash of civilizations, as well as a beacon of hope for peace and tolerance through multi-cultural integration. The city is historically famous for its traditional religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries.
Today, the city has physically recovered from most of the war damage caused by the Yugoslav Wars of the 1992-1995. Sarajevo is a cosmopolitan European capital with a unique Eastern twist that is a delight to visit. The people are very friendly, be they Bosniaks, Croats, or Serb. There is very little crime, and the city ranks as one of the safest in South Eastern Europe.

Hvala Jasmin!


Neither Europe nor Asia, Azerbaijan is an incredible tangle of contradictions and contrasts. It’s a fascinating nexus of ancient historical empires. Yet it’s also a new nation finding its feet as it emerges from a war-torn post-Soviet chrysalis on a petroleum-funded gust of optimism. Surrounded by semi-desert on the oil-rich Caspian Sea, the nation’s cosmopolitan capital Baku is a dynamic boomtown, where flashy limousines and mushrooming skyscrapers sweep around a picturesque Unesco-listed ancient core. Yet barely a three hour drive away lies an entirely different world: timeless villages clad in lush orchards from which shepherd tracks lead into the soaring high Caucasus mountains. Where Baku is multilingual and go-ahead, the provinces shuffle to the gently paced click of nard (backgammon) on tree-shaded teahouse terraces: women stay home, herds of cattle wander aimlessly across highways, and potbellied bureaucrats scratch their heads in confusion on finding that an outsider has wandered into their territory.

Sağ olun Oleg! 

Belgian beer

Belgian beer is quite famous, there are approximately 178 breweries in Belgium.

Beer in Belgium dates back to the age of the first crusades, long before Belgium became an independent country. Under Catholic church permission, local French and Flemish abbeys brewed and distributed beer as a fund raising method. The relatively low-alcohol beer of that time was preferred as a sanitary option to available drinking water. What are now traditional, artisanal brewing methods evolved, under abbey supervision, during the next seven centuries. The Trappist monasteries that now brew beer in Belgium were occupied in the late 18th century primarily by monks fleeing the French Revolution. However, the first Trappist brewery in Belgium (Westmalle) did not start operation until 10 December 1836, almost 50 years after the Revolution. That beer was exclusively for the monks and is described as "dark and sweet." The first recorded sale of beer (a brown beer) was on 1 June 1861.

Dank Amina! 

Belarusian meet-up

I got this lovely card from a Postcrossing meet-up in Belarus last year, I love meet-up cards! 
On the front you can see a doll in the Belarusian national clothes, it's the clothing from Turau and Mazyr region. 

Дзякую вам (dziakuiu vamPauline!

Friday, June 14, 2013


I am super excited because this his is my first postcard from Africa and I love how colorful the stamps are!!!

Benin is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north.
Benin is a great country to visit on any West African itinerary. You'll find a large quantity of palatial ruins and temples of the once powerful Kingdom of Dahomey (1800s–1894). Moreover, Benin is the birthplace of Vodun (Voodoo) and all that goes with it, to this day Vodun is highly practiced and is an important part of the life of ordinary Beninese. 
The national parks of Benin are also well worth a visit for their wildlife. Benin is also, fortunately, one of the most stable and safe countries of the region for traveling.
On the postcard written in french (the official language of the country) we can read: "Benin a country where friendship, smiles, hospitality and fraternity are experienced otherwise" 

Merci beaucoup Johanna! 


 Lovely canadian map!

Canada is by size, the largest country in North America, second in the world overall (behind only Russia). Renowned worldwide for its vast, untouched landscape, its unique blend of cultures and multifaceted history, Canada is one of the world's wealthiest countries and a major tourist destination.

It's a land of vast distances and rich natural beauty. Economically and technologically, and in many other ways she resembles her more powerful neighbour to the south, the United States, although there are significant differences between the two countries. 
Canada has always been heavily influenced by immigrants from two European nations, the British and the French. 
Domestically, the country has displayed success in negotiating compromises amongst its own culturally and linguistically varied populations, a difficult task considering that language, culture, and even history can vary significantly throughout the whole country. Canada considers and defines itself a mosaic of cultures and peoples. Canadians are used to living and interacting with people of different ethnic backgrounds on a daily basis and will usually be quite friendly and understanding if approached in public. 

I visited Canada in 2008 and I really want to go back! 

Thanks Marie!

St. Bernard dogs

Saint Bernards are my dream breed of dog famous for being rescue dogs specially in snow.
I think many of us associate them with rescues in the Alps mainly and wearing a barrel of schnapps to offer to whoever they rescue, however as Joanna told me in this postcard the barrel is actually more of a thing that was made for tourists and their "viewing pleasure" since they believe in it. 

And I leave a video from Animal Planet's Dogs 101 series featuring Saint Bernards: 

Danke Joanna! 

St. Vitus Cathedral

I love croatian stamps! 

St. Vitus Cathedral located in the city of Rijeka is the only Baroque rotunda of monumental dimensions built on Croatian land. The construction of this church began in 1638 based on the design of the Jesuit architect G. Brian. The eminent Venetian church, Santa Maria della Salute, served as s model. An elevated spot was chosen for the construction of St. Vitus church at the heart of the then medieval urban tissue. Initially there was a small church of the same name located on the same site, dedicated to the city’s patron saint. The Jesuit order, as creator of the project, immediately decided to use the cult of the wooden Magic crucifix from the original church, which popular legend says began to bleed when a certain Petar Lončarić, threw a stone on it in fear after losing at gambling.

The cathedral is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 100 kuna banknote, issued in 1993 and 2002.

Here you can also see some other places of interest in Rijeka:
Hvala Antonella!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


This card was issued by the cuban mail for mother's day. It has the following quote of Honoré de Balzac: "You will never find better, deeper, selfless, real tenderness than your mother's" 

Gracias Aime!  

Swedish Royal family

This portrait from the swedish family along some really cool stamps came from my swap buddy Katja

On this postcards we can see the king and queen and their three children. According to the Swedish Government, the Royal Family includes the following:
  • The monarch and his spouse:
    • His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf 
    • Her Majesty Queen Silvia 
  • The King's children:
    • HRH Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland (Future queen of Sweden)  
    • HRH Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland
    • HRH Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland
  • The King's grandchildren:
    • HRH Princess Estelle, Duchess of Östergötland (Daughter of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel)
  • The King's son-in-law (husband of the Crown Princess):
    • HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland
  • The King's sister:
    • HRH Princess Birgitta, Princess of Hohenzollern

Tack Katja! 

Sunday, June 02, 2013


Pamplona (Basque: Iruña) is a city in Navarra, Spain. With a population of nearly 200,000 inhabitants and an overall metropolitan population of 320,000 it is the capital of the region of Navarra. 
Most famous world-wide for its San Fermín festival each year from July 6th to 14th, "The Running of the Bulls" features a daily bull run or encierro in Spanish. This festival was depicted in the writings of Ernest Hemingway. 
Pamplona is a green city. There are many interesting things to do and explore in Pamplona for the traveler since it is the first main city on the route of St. James (Camino de Santiago). Furthermore, Pamplona has a beautiful medieval city centre, several museums, an impressive citadel, great gastronomy and wines and lots of parks. The Arga River runs through it. There city has two universities: Universidad Pública de Navarra (Public) and one of the four Universidad de Navarra (private) campuses.

Gracias Sonia!

Hong Kong

A vibrant night view a long some really cool stamps, specially the one in the middle that is part of a  series featuring the zodiac and Taurus happens to be my zodiac sign!

Hong Kong (Fragrant Harbor in Cantonese) is a place with multiple personalities, as a result of being both Cantonese Chinese and under a more recent contemporary ex-British influence. Today, the former British colony is a major tourism destination for China's increasingly affluent mainland population. It is also an important hub in East Asia with global connections to many of the world's cities. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia's World City.

While "legally" part of China, Hong Kong is secluded from mainland China as a dependency with a high degree of autonomy. The former colony has its own constitution which lays out its own government, own laws, separate immigration controls, financial system, own passport and is officially bi-lingual (Cantonese and English). 

Do-jeh May!


Great to see some different spanish stamps!

Zaragoza is a warm and inviting city strategically located between Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia and Toulouse. In people's haste to see the big cities, this gem is often passed without so much as a second look. The city welcomes visitors with its rich culture, shopping, eating, and sightseeing. Its more than 2,000 years of history makes the city one of the greatest historical and artistic legacies in Spain. Zaragoza is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragón, Spain. It is situated on the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, near the centre of the region, in a valley with a variety of landscapes, ranging from desert (Los Monegros) to thick forest, meadows and mountains.

The city is famous for its folklore, a renowned local gastronomy, and landmarks such as the Basílica del Pilar, La Seo Cathedral and the Aljafería Palace. Together with La Seo and the Aljafería, several other buildings form part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fiestas del Pilar are among the most celebrated festivals in Spain.

Gracias Eva!