Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Snail-mailers around the globe: Portugal

More Snail-mailers are sharing their experiences with us! This time we have Rita from Portugal, a super sweet traveller that answered to my call looking for interviewees to participate here, she shares with us some fun stories and facts from different countries, check it out!

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

How did you became a snail-mailer? 
I was talking with a friend from Belarus about my postcard collection and he told me about Postcrossing and since then I’ve been an active member in the postcard exchange activity.
For how long have you been doing this? 
I’ve travelled since I can remember and from each trip I’d bring some postcards with me, but it's been only a year since I started exchanging postcards. I also exchange postcards with my friends, for example, when we go on holidays.

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

This postcard has a huge meaning for me. It was sent by my 6th grade Portuguese teacher, one of my favourite teachers, when she went on her honeymoon. 

I bought this postcard in 2000 when I went to Santa Park in Finland, where we saw Santa. For many years I thought that Santa was real, I mean he was just in front of me! I also had a great time there. I feel so nostalgic when I look at it.

This one has a funny story. Also in 2000 I went to Sweden with my family. My dad arrives to the car, gives me this postcard and says “Hey Rita I bought this postcard of you.” Being innocent as I was (6 years at that time) I really thought this was me (impossible!) I resembled so much to the person on the card.

How much does it cost to send a postcard in your country? 
For Europe it costs 0.70 euro cents (0.60 for Spain) and for the rest of the world it's 0.80 euro cents (up to 20 grams). 

Do you have any themed collections? If you do, why are you collecting them? 
I collect mostly multiview touristic cards but I also like other topics like postcards related to my favorite films and series for example.

If you are into pen-paling, from which countries do you have pen-pals from? 
That’s a good question! Well I have many penpals hehe, they are from: Canada, Macedonia, Sweden, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Belarus, among others.    

Have you discovered any destination you'd like to travel to thanks to a postcard? 
Oh gosh, I've fell in love with so many places! I discovered the beauty of the Middle East, specially Saudi Arabia. I would also like to go to Papua, New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago. Romania and Bulgaria are definitely on my top 10!

Please share a few facts about other countries you've learned thanks to postcards or letters:
  • That the Hajj is the largest regular human gathering worldwide, receiving around 5 million muslims.
  • Borobudur is the biggest Buddhist temple, it has 1460 relief panels and 504 effigies of Buddha.
  • Temple Bar is one of the most visited sites in Ireland.
  • The dutch word for "pancake" changes every year.

A few fun/strange/surprising facts you'd like to share about your country? 
  • In the XV and XVI centuries, Portugal was one of the riches countries in the world, due to the maritime exploitation of the Indic Ocean.
  • We are known for our wine and our Mediterranean diet.
  • There's a huge arabic influence in our country, most of the words beginning with Al- are from arabic origins, as well as words related to agricuture (Almeida, Almada and laranja).
  • In summer we enjoy eating snails.   

In your opinion, what is it that makes sending postcards and letters through snail-mail special?
Snail-mail gave me the chance to meet wonderful people and learn about their lifestyle and country. Some of them even turned out to be my best friends. It is such a good feeling to receive postcards and see the beauty of other countries, when sometimes we don’t have the chance to go to those places. I like all the process that it's involved, choosing the card, writing on it, hear the reaction of the receiver and seeing another one in my mailbox! 

Obrigada Rita!

The Vatican

Holy postcard! *inser bad joke drums here* It was super exciting to find this card in my mailbox because apparently the Pope is not a postcrosser so The Vatican is not a common place to get cards from, also it's such a famous place it was great to receive this!

Perhaps the Vatican needs no introduction. As the centre of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican City state, along with the surrounding Italian districts of Borgo,Prati and the area around the Monte Mario, is packed with more history and artwork than most cities in the world.
On the card we can see one of the most famous landmarks in the world: St. Peter's Basilica
The centre of the Catholic world, this magnificent basilica with its dome (designed by Michelangelo) has an awe-inspiring interior. This place is huge, but everything is in such proportion that the scale escapes you. 
Aside from going inside, you can take an elevator up to the roof and then make a long climb up 323 steps to the top of the dome for a spectacular view. During the climb and before reaching the very top, you will find yourself standing on the inside of the dome, looking down into the basilica itself. Instead of leaving out the doors you came in, go down into the crypt to see the tomb of Pope John Paul II, the crypt leaves out the front.

The basilica is open daily April to September 9AM-7PM and October to March 9AM-6PM; closed Wednesday mornings for papal audiences. It holds daily masses at 8:30AM, 10AM, 11AM, 12PM, & 5PM Monday to Saturday, and Sundays & holidays at 8:30AM, 10:30AM, 11:30AM, 12:10AM, 1PM, 4PM, & 5:30PM.

Molto grazie (or gratia in latin) Moniek!


Ant this is my first card from Iceland, I love how the card and the stamp depict two opposite icelandic landscapes! 

Gullfoss is a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. 
About a kilometer above the falls it turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 m and 21 m) into a crevice 32 m (105 ft) deep. The crevice, about 20 m (60 ft) wide, and 2.5 km in length, extends perpendicular to the flow of the river. The average amount of water running over this waterfall is 140 m³/s in the summertime and 80 m³/s in the wintertime. The highest flood measured was 2000 m³/s.
As one first approaches the falls, the crevice is obscured from view, so that it appears that a mighty river simply vanishes into the earth.

Together with Þingvellir and the geysers of Haukadalur, Gullfoss forms the Golden Circle, a popular day tour for tourists in Iceland.

Þakka þér fyrir Patrick!


My first card from Slovakia happens to be a super cool multiview with a big artsy stamp!

Bratislava is the capital and largest city in Slovakia. It has a population of almost 415,000 and is the administrative, cultural and economic centre of the country.

Bratislava is a walking city. The center is very small and cosy and you can easily walk from one side to another in a few minutes. It has one of the smallest historical centers around but the charm is more concentrated. The streets have been completely renovated over the last ten years, bringing life back here. Since then a multitude of cafes, bars and restaurants of all kinds have opened here, accompanied by a few souvenir shops and fashion stores
Bratislava has a very pleasant medieval inner city with narrow, winding streets, a hill-top castle next to the river Danube, and many historic churches and buildings to visit. The old town is centered on two squares, Hlavne namestie (main square) and Hviezdoslavovo namestie (Hviezdoslav square, named after a famous Slovak poet). Of a rather different architectural character are some of the communist-era buildings found in the modern parts of the city; a prime example is Petrzalka housing estate, the biggest Communist-era concrete-block housing complex in Central Europe, which stretches on endlessly just across the river. Move further east and there are plenty of rural places to explore. Farms, vineyards, agricultural land, and tiny villages are situated less than 50 km to the north and east. Today, Bratislava and its surroundings form the second-most prosperous region in Central and Eastern Europe.

Ďakujem Martina!

St. Petersburg illustration

On this super lovely card we can see some of Saint Petersburg's important landmarks, I can identify some but I'm not really sure I'm right, so if any russian reader of this blog wants to share with us please write in the comments which landmarks are seen here.
The stamps match perfectly the card, the one on the left (also seen on the right side of the card) features the church of our Savior on Spilled Blood (quite a name huh?) the other stamp features the Winter Palace, today part of the complex of Hermitage Museum (which we can also see in the card).
This cute card has made me want to start collecting illustrations! 

спасибо (Spasibo) Yulia!

Mysore Palace

The Palace of Mysore (also known as the Amba Vilas Palace) is a palace situated in the city of Mysore in southern India. It is the official residence of the Wodeyars, the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, which ruled the princely state of Mysore for over seven centuries. The palace also houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting hall of the royal court). The current palace construction was commissioned in 1897, and it was completed in 1912 and expanded later around 1940. Mysore palace is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in India after Taj Mahal with more than 2.7 million visitors. Although tourists are allowed to visit the palace, they are not allowed to take photographs inside.  All visitors must remove their footwear to enter the palace.

Every autumn, the Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival, during which leading artists perform on a stage set up in the palace grounds. On the tenth day of the festival Vijaya Dashami, a parade with caparisoned elephants and other floats originate from the palace grounds. The Dasara festival is celebrated in the months of September and October of each year.
The festival celebrates and commemorates the victory of the great Goddess Durga, after she slew the demon, Mahishasura, and thereby, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil according to Hindu mythology. Some call her Chamundeshwari. 
To celebrate this festival the Palace of Mysore is illuminated with more than 96,000 lights during that two-month period.

धन्यवाद (Dhanyavād) Rizwan!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Finland meet-up card!

In case you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I love cards from postcrossing meet-ups and I've decided to start a collection with them, I never upload the back of my postcards because I think that's a connection that should remain only between me and the sender (yes even tough I know mailmen and postal workers can read them...) but eventually what makes the meet-up cards special are the signatures behind them so for this ones I'll be sharing the back with you ;) 
Also I've created a new tag to have them all together so you can see the ones I've received so far here 

Now, about the card... I love it!!! A little map with finnish flora and fauna and a bunny stamp that fits perfectly!

Kiitos Kasi and all the ones who signed the card!


The country, not the USA state... An unexpected card from another "hard to get" country that gets me closer to accomplishing my Europe collection! 
The back of the card reads: Miracle Park, Batumi, Georgia 

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus. It lies at the eastern end of the Black Sea, with Turkey and Armenia to the south, Azerbaijan to the east, and Russia to the north, over the Caucasus Mountains.
Georgia is a land filled with magnificent history and unparalleled natural beauty. Archaeologists found the oldest traces of wine production (8000 BC) in Georgia. For those of us in the West, we unfortunately get precious little exposure to this stretch of land between the Black and Caspian seas.
Imagine cities with narrow side streets filled with leaning houses, overstretched balconies, mangled and twisted stairways, majestic old churches, heavenly food and warm and welcoming people. All of this with a backdrop of magnificent snow peaked mountains, and the best beaches of the Black Sea. Georgians have exceptionally strong traditions of hospitality, chivalry, and codes of personal honor.

გმადლობ (gmahd-lohbt) Maria!

Personalities from Prague

This is a very original card I happen to like very much because it's about history, we can see very interesting people that are connected to Prague in different periods of time, from the Austro-Hunagrian empire, to Czechoslovakia to the Czech Republic. 

This are the people we can see and a little explanation I made of who they are: 
  • Jan Neruda (Czech writer and poet)
  • Svatý Václav (Considered the patron saint of the Czech state)
  • Karel Čapek (Czech writer) 
  • T.G. Masaryk (Politician, founder and first president of Czechoslovakia) 
  • Václav Havel (Politician and writer, last president of Czechoslovakia and first of Czech Republic)
  • Alfons Mucha (Czech painter, one of the most important exponents of Art Noveau) 
  • O. Kokoschka (Austrian painter, I think his connection comes from the time Prague was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire)
  • Princezna Libuše (She's considered the founder of Prague and an ancestor of the Přemyslid dynasty) 
  • Josef II (Holy Roman Emperor from the Habsburg monarchy, he was king of the czech region of Bohemia) 
  • R.M. Rilke (Czech Poet) 
  • Franz Kafka (Czech writer) 
  • Janáček (Czech composer)
  • Smetana (Czech composer)
  • Dvořák (Czech composer)
  • Martinů (Czech composer)
  • Tycho Brahe (Danish astronomer, he went to Prague as Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II's royal mathematician and eventually died there) 
  • J. Kepler (German astronomer, he worked with Tycho Brahe and became royal mathematician for Rudolf II after him) 
  • Jan Hus (Czech priest and philosopher) 
  • Švejk (He's the main character of a famous novel written by Czech author Jaroslav Hašek)
  • Karel IV (First king of Bohemia to become Holy Roman Emperor, during his reign Prague became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire)  
  • Rudolf II (As I mentioned before, he was a Holy Roman Emperor)
  • Golema Rabi Low (The Golem from jewish folklore) 
  • W.A. Mozart (One of the most famous composers we all know)  
Dekuju Zuzana!