Postcards from Turkey

These bunch of postcards arrived in the mail just a week after my father-in-law’s mega holiday in Turkey in September.  He and his travel companion enjoyed their tremendously.  From Istanbul where they stayed for a few days, they traveled to Kuşadası, Ephesus, then to Fethiye to explore the ancient ruins and majestic temples, the local bazaars and food, the lovely beaches, and just soaking in local culture as much as they can (and as long as their legs could take them!).

Postcards galore!
Postcards galore!

I’m so happy with the gesture and I appreciate that he took time to buy me these postcards.

Merhaba and teşekkür ederim, Dad!

Postcard Friendship Friday 077: Window to the Romanian Soul (Card #2)

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This is the second postcard from Romania that came from the Ferestre spre Suflet Românesc (Windows to the Romanian Soul) collection series.

The postcard shows a beautiful portrait of an elderly – she could be anybody’s mother or grandmother.

I requested Danut over at World, Come to My Home! blog to help me complete all nine postcards in the series. I’m glad he agreed! I’m forever grateful to him 🙂  Just like the first Suflet Romanesc postcard that was sent to me earlier this year, the picture is set on an oversized black border. There are also symbols with the printed words, Suflet Românesc (Romanian Soul). A corresponding folk poem is written in one of the borders. Here goes:

Nu uita-i că suflet zace         
Din pamânt în bradu-i ace     
Din grâu cel sănătos, Până-n cȋnele frumos          
Toate ȋs date, toate-s vii 
Om din lume tre să fii
Să iubeşti tot ce iubeşti
Căci viaţȋmbătraneşi.
At the back of the postcard is the translation to this beautiful poem:

Never forget soul dwells everywhere
Be it earth, be it leaf, anywhere
Be it silky wheat or loyal dog
They all have souls, even a log
You must be a man of this world
And all that loves you must not leave you cold
You should love before life in you grows old.


Sunday Stamps 063: Design Italiano

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Do these look familiar to you? Of course, they are everyday fixtures.

Design Italiano 2000 series. The maxicard and stamp was sent to me by my favourite Italian sisters who collect stamps and postcards. The stamp is part of the  six-Design Italiano series printed in 2000, featuring furniture and furnishings.

Every year there is a huge furniture fair held in Milan, Italy. It is considered to be the biggest in the design-calendar where thousands of designers and visitors eagerly await to buy and sell furniture and to keep abreast of the latest and hottest trends.

All the six stamps in this series depict most famous pieces in Italy.
On this particular stamp, you will see:

Top, left: Fourline chair by Marco Zanuso for Arflex, 1964; steel frame, lightly padded seat and back.
Right: 4825 stool by Anna Castelli Ferrieri for Kartell, 1979.
Bottom, middle: Name unknown tableware (perhaps an icebucket?) by Bruno Munari.
Bottom, left: Tolomeo lamp by Michele de Lucchi & Giancarlo Fassina for Artemide, 1986.

These modern designs are very nice. They have sleek designs and are lovely to look at and have at home – but I wonder whether they are functional and practical for my kind of lifestyle? 
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good design and other aesthetics but there are just some furniture pieces that I find “mind-boggling”, for lack of better word to use. It’s always been difficult balancing between the form and function

Here is  an article by Justin McGuirk in the Guardian.co.uk; he observes a situation unique to the Italian furniture design industry.

Postcard Friendship Friday 076: Riga, The Gem of the Baltics

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My entry for this week is from Latvia. It shows the capital city of Riga:

Riga, the gem of the Baltics.
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 650,468 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population (Wikipedia).

Riga has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the collection of art nouveau buildings that is one of the largest in the world, as well as a city in whose architecture the entire history from 1201 to the present day is reflected (Official Latvian Tourism Portal).

This is my second postcard from Latvia. The first one is a artcard, a reproduction of Villinson’s artwork by Baddog, and one of the most interesting cards in my collection.  Baddog is an advertising company known for reproducing local artists works into postcards that have social messages, ranging from teenage issues to that of messages seen on labor law posters.

Sunday Stamps 062: Romania’s beautiful pottery and ceramics

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Hey there, I’m back again. One week just passed so quickly!

The following stamps came in from one of the postcards sent to me by my good blogger-friend and fellow postcard collector, Danut.

Dan used two stamps from the same series of definitives issued in 2005 featuring Romanian traditional ceramics and pottery. The art of pottery is the one of the oldest in the world. The Romanians have successfully preserved a great diversity of their traditional pottery and ceramics, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. My mother loves this kind of stuff, specifically dishes, jugs and other outdoor pottery kind, and I know she would feel like she hit a jackpot if she ever owns even just one of the above!

The stamp on the left (1.00Leu) shows a wedding pitcher from Curtea de Argeş and, the one on the right (50Bani) is a ceramic item from Vlădeşti, Vâlcea.

Curtea de Argeş is a city in Romania situated right at the bank of Argeş River south-central of Romania and was known in the 16th and 17th centuries for the development of pottery. On the other hand, Vlădeşti, Vâlcea, is a commune in Valcea County also in the south-central of the country, one of the    popular ceramics centre in Romania.
I love ceramics and pottery (I, too have a thing about dishes, jugs, etc. – must have inherited this from my mum?) so when I received the postcards with these stamps I enjoyed them tremendously. Thank you, Dan, for opening to me a window to your beautiful country and tradition.


Sunday Stamps 061: The Cross River Gorillas and the Pine Martens

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Animals, domesticated or wild, have been a source of awe and fascinations amongst the young and old. When I was younger, when the subject of animals was brought up into the conversation, the ones from the wilds of Africa automatically came into mind. How wrong I was. The whole world is one big zoo! Sadly, though. with current situation of our world environment, these animals are decreasing in numbers — fast! And we are, in one way or the other, contributing to it.
Animals have graced postage stamps for as long as I can remember so I was glad when Viridian announced the theme for this week. Stamps are great tools for disseminating information about the plights of the animals.
Here are my choices for this week. They are exotic animals and come from far, far away lands:
I have one stamp from Nigeria:

Cross River Gorilla / Gorilla gorilla diehli. I would love to complete the four stamps in this series.

In 2008, the Nigerian Post and the WWF, launched a special stamp featuring the Cross River gorillas. There are two species of gorilla, the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). The Cross River gorilla, on the stamp above, belongs to the western gorilla species and is native to the Cross River area on the border of Cameroon/Nigeria, and is considered to be one of the most endangered primates (classified as critically endangered according to IUCN in 2008) and one of the rarest. Approximately only 300 left in the wild, and just one in captivity at the Limbe Wildlife Centre, Limbe, Cameroon. (Source) Very few have ever seen a Cross River gorilla. Most of the gorillas live outside the protected areas and the major threats to their survival are loss of habitat and poaching 🙁


 Here’s another curious animal from Latvia:

The European Pine Martens are related to the wolverines, otters, and weasels.  The stamp is awesome, I love the colours!
Pine martens are elusive mammals native to northern Europe and are characterised by their creamy, yellow throat bib and are about the size of a domestic cat or a house cat.
Pine martens are known for its beautiful soft fur that in the 1700s-1800s they became almost extinct because their pelts or furs were highly-valued goods because of its soft, luxurious feel. These were were used as a form of payment in the Middle Ages. Hunting martens still occur these days but, thanks to the increasing awareness on fur trade and laws protecting these animals, there is less demand for marten fur nowadays.

Sunday Stamp 061: Al Idrisi and his map of the medieval world

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It’s time for this week’s Sunday Stamp so I set aside my online search for Tysabri reviews so I could concentrate on my entry which is of special interest to me. I have to admit I had a tough time finding suitable stamps but I did manage to find one that I surprisingly liked after doing a bit of research. The theme is stamps that leave you wondering: what is this stamp trying to show? What does it commemorate, etc.?
So this stamp made me scratch my head in bewilderment. Do you see what I mean? What is the design? I thought the dark parts of the stamp look like black ants on a red (clay) surface. And what or who is Al Isidri?

A quick search from Mr. Gugel gave me a wealth of information about this stamp. The picture on the stamp is actually a world map that Al Idrisi made during the medieval ages. That excited me. You know how I love maps.
Al Idrisi was an Arab cartographer and geographer in the Middle Ages whose contributions led to the enrichment of the maritime history of the Indian Ocean and the world. He created the Tabula Rogeriana, The Map of Roger (in Latin), considered to be the most accurate map of the world in the medieval times, which was commissioned by the Norman King Roger II of Sicily.  His great works included a planisphere, or a circular world map,  made of pure silver; a world map consisting of 70 sections formed by dividing the Earth north of the Equator into 7 climatic zones of equal width, each of which was subdivided into 10 equal parts by lines of longitude; and a compendium of geographical information, intended as accompaniment to the planisphere, which was completed in 15 years. The map portrayed on the stamp above is a part in the latter body of work. South is at the top of the map, and, with the map turned upside down (as is customary with the Arabs), the Mediterranean Sea, Europe, Asia, and Africa are easily identified. The Arabian peninsula is in the center of the map (Source:danstopicals.com/alidrisi.htm). 

Al Idrisi was a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. He was born  Abu Abdallah Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abdallah Ibn Ildris al-Qurtubi al-Hasani in 1099 in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in Morocco and studied in Cordoba, Spain. He is also a doctor, a pharmacologist, and a connoisseur of Latin and Greek. In 2006, the Correos de España issued the above stamp as a tribute to him.

The postmarks only messed the stamp so, for comparison purposes, here’s a clean copy of the stamp:

Stamp nicked from Correos de España site.

I tried to look at the stamp upside down but I got more confused, lol. Tell me what you see. This is one example of stamp that definitely made me say… hmmmm, I didn’t know that.



Postcard Friendship Friday 075: Santiago de Compostela

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Guess what I got from the Post Office today?!? A beautiful postcard direct from Santiago de Compostela! This is a souvenir from one of my dear blogger-friends, Sheila over at A Postcard A Day, who was on holiday there with her husband a couple of months ago. Muchas gracias mi querida amiga. This surely cheered me up as I am experiencing a postcard drought of sorts these days.

The magnificent Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Many thanks, Sheila!

Santiago de Compostela is a World Heritage Site and a world-renowned pilgrimage town in the northern part of Spain where, legend has it, the remains of the apostle James is buried. Sitting at the heart of this city is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. As you can see in the postcard above, it is a very impressive structure bearing the Romanesque-Baroque style of architecture. 

The 1,000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is known as the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James. Every year, hundreds and thousands of visitors from all over Europe and around the world arrive in the city through the different pilgrimage points in Europe. Sheila described atmosphere there vividly as wonderful with an amazing spread of diverse people – school groups, visitors, cyclists, and the pilgrims.
In 2004, my then-single husband embarked on cycling tour that included the camino pilgrimage. The camino part of his tour he said was the best cycling trip he has ever done. He camped along the route or stayed at refugios or hostels if there are available. He also said that it’s a trip that is truly life-changing. 

Postcard Perfect 052: The Free State of Saxon, Germany

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A mapcard showing the whole entire Freistaat Sachsen, or the Free State of Saxon, in Germany.

The map card also shows the two cities of the Free Saxon state, Leipzig and Dresden (which is also the capital of the state), as well as the different places of interest spread across its ten districts.

Here are interesting information about the Free State of Saxon:

The Free State of Saxony (German: Freistaat Sachsen is a landlocked state of Germany, bordering Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with an area of 18,413 square kilometres (7,109 sq mi), and the sixth most populous of Germany’s sixteen states, with a population of 4.3 million. Located in the middle of an erstwhile German-speaking part of Europe, the history of the state of Saxony spans more than a millennium. It has been a medieval duchy, an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, a kingdom, and, from 1918 to 1952 and again from 1990, a republic. – Wikipedia

The Free State of Saxony represents an area of unrivalled natural beauty, a rich cultural landscape, and centuries old traditions. In addition to world famous craftsmanship from the Ore Mountains, people also maintain Sorb traditions, and the Vogtland dialect. – Source

Postcard Perfect 051: A vintage horse tram in Kraków

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This postcard came in via private swap with a fine young lad named Sebastian. The postcard features one of the pleasure rides in Kraków, a vintage horse tram.

I think riding this vintage horse tram adds romance when sightseeing in Kraków.

Kraków is Poland’s second largest and one of its oldest cities. As a matter of fact, online travel sites say Kraków is one of Europe’s most beautiful and historic cities. 

The city is a treasure trove of centuries-old landmarks, specifically of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Landmarks  include its elegant Old Town and medieval market square, cathedrals, castles and dungeons, the vibrant Jewish quarter Kazimierz (where the Schindler’s Factory is located)  – all of which were included in the first UNESCO WHS list in 1978 as Kraków’s Historic Centre. In the same year, by the way, the Archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyła, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II.


All of these above-mentioned landmarks are within walking distance from one another and the bulk of 
Kraków’s Historic Centre was turned into a pedestrian area. Getting around is easy and not a big fuss. Visitors can go on foot or rent one of these vintage horse trams, which is my choice of transpo if ever I go visit Kraków. As you can see it looks lovely and comfy and it is properly ventilated so ceiling fans are not necessary. It definitely ups the romance factor.