Postcard Perfect 040: Finland’s snow lanterns

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From the winter wonderland of Finland comes this snow lantern: 

Sent by Paavaliina
ID No.: FI_680448

Paavaliina loves snow and, as is the tradition in her native Kemijarvi, in the northernmost part of Finland (and the whole country),  they make snow lanterns. Winter-nights in Finland are filled with fairy-like lights from the snow lanterns.

I haven’t been to Finland {yet} but I already have this mental picture of this beautiful country, especially during winter.  Everything is covered in snow and there is not much sunshine because the sun does not go up for many, many hours during this time of the year. I can imagine that night times are very dark with flickering lights provided by translucent piles of snowballs, such as above. Imagine thousands of tiny, flickering lights on a cold, snowy, dark winter night? It must be a magical sight!

Postcard Friendship Friday 060: Autumn in Finland

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This is one of the beautiful sights I have ever seen. Autum in Finland looks stunning.  Looking at this postcard, I have this strange urge to to reach out for my fleece jacket… I realise that I am actually imagining and feeling how cold it must be there at this time of the year.

This is an unforgettable view of Parainen, also known by its Swedish name, Pargas. Pargas/Parainen is a city in the province of Western Finland and the only one in Finland that is surrounded by water on all sides. Parainen is also known for its limeworks {you can see the largest open quarry in the Nordic countries there} and Genuine Island Ginger Biscuits. (Source)

Sunday Stamps 045: The world’s first transparent stamp


And it’s from Finland, where else? They consistently produce really awesome stamps that never fail to awe most collectors, in my humble opinion.

The world’s first transparent stamp. Too bad you can’t see it (transparency) here.
I could not find any other information at the Finnish postal service site so I consulted Mr Google for more info. And I got what I was looking for:
With Christmas soon knocking on the door, Finland’s post Itella has issued a new stamp called Frosty Night. This innovative stamp is printed on a special clear film, and it is believed to be the first transparent stamp in the world.

The Frosty Night stamp depicts the atmosphere of a Northern winter night with a frosty snowflake, twinkling stars and aurora borealis in the background. The stamp is printed with blue shades on a clear filmic self-adhesive material from UPM Raflatac. The card or envelope behind the stamp then gives its own colour to the transparent snowflake and stars. – Source

The Finnish Post Office dubbed this beautiful stamp as the Frosty Night stamp, the first transparent stamp in the world issued in 2008. Too bad you can’t really see it here 🙁

Is it true that no snowflakes are alike? Who would know and how would they know? Oh, well, pardon the curiosity. We do not have snow from where I live and it will take some time before I get to see a real snowflake ^.^

Postcard Perfect 038: Dreaming of Finland

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Why do I have the urge to grab my passport and board on a plane to Finland? The answers, my friends, lie here:

Beautiful sights of Finland for different seasons

Most of us think snow-capped landscapes when we hear the word “Finland” but, in reality, it has a whole lot more to offer, as you can see in the postcard. Aside from the fantastic natural environment, Finland also boasts of its fine architecture, rich culture and people. My dream is to explore Finland’s countryside with the help of a dependable vehicle and a trusty tom tom gps!

With a stunning and unspoilt nature and a sheer possibility to see Santa Claus in his homestead and the aurora borealis – and not to mention the fun of berry-picking every summer – I really wouldn’t think twice, if given the opportunity. Who’s coming with me? 🙂 

Sunday Stamps 026: Flamingo dance on Danish stamps




Here are the stamps used in the Rotskilde Domkirke postcard I featured in this week’s Postcard Friendship Friday (see previous post):

flamingo dance on danish postage stamp


The stamp on the left is a self-adhesive stamp used to accommodate the needs of customers for stamps in supplementary values. It was issued as part of the four set in 2010. The stamp on the right is a special stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of Copenhagen Z00 in 2009.  To mark the anniversary, the Danish Post issued a beautiful booklet disguised in zebra stamps. The booklet included stories and photographs of the Zoo (an important recreational oasis in the city, especially for families and kids) and sheetlets of four beautiful multi-coloured stamps, one shown above, featuring the flamingo dance.


The flamingos that strut around on the DKK 8.00 stamp live in the north-eastern corner of the Zoo. In the wild, the flamingos’ feathers get their pink hue from the microscopic crustaceans and algae that they consume. This is impossible in a zoo, so an alternative source of coloring has to be used. In the old days, the flamingos were fed paprika, but this proved ineffective and a special additive is now used. As soon as the air starts to warm up in spring, the flamingos start to dance. Stretching their legs and raising their heads high, they strut around, flapping their wings and turning their heads from side to side. This synchronized mating behavior ensures that the flamingos lay eggs that hatch at the same time. – Danish Postal Service

What gives this particular postcard more value is (aside from the cutesie smileys) the special red frank mark to the left to the left of the postcard. It’s written in French and the Khmer translation underneath it. It reads:

Journée Mondiale de la Poste (World Post Day)
9th October 1874-2008

I’ll try to remember the date for next year to get this special mark on the postcards for mailing 🙂

Postcard Friendship Friday 042: The Cathedral of Roskilde

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This is my first postcard from Denmark – a snazzy illustration of the Roskilde Domkirke, or the Roskilde Cathedral on the city of Roskilde in the island of Sjælland (Zealand), located in the eastern part of Denmark.


Rotskilde Cathedral, Denmark

Built in the 12th-13th century, this is a cathedral of the Lutheran Church of Denmark and displays a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles in its design. Originally, the Romskilde church was a Catholic cathedral but changed during the reformation period in 1536 to Protestant.


Romskilde was once the capital of Denmark for many centuries until the Danish Royal Family moved it to Copenhagen. Since the Reformation, Rotskilde Cathedral has been the burial site for the monarchs and a few medieval rulers, too.

The Cathedral is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 and, as a tourist attraction, receives hundreds and thousands of visitors every year. The Cathedral is made of bricks and the iconic spires dominate the town’s skyline. Its high, white ceilings are decorated with red crests in each section.  The main attraction is the Chapel of Christian IV. The chapel, which houses his tomb as well as his queen, crown prince Frederick III and his queen, showcases walls painted in lush murals and the ceiling in blue with gold stars reminiscent of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. The altar has a three-sectioned gold altarpiece that was made in Antwerp in mid 16th century is one of the church’s great treasures. It depicts Jesus Christ’s Way of the Cross.


By the way, the Cathedral is home to the world-famous boys’ choirs, the Roskilde Cathedral Boys’ Choir. The sender said  Rotskilde Domkirke is an amazing church and a must-visit when in Roskilde! She bought this postcard from a stall inside the Cathedral.



Wikipedia – fantastic photos here, too.   

Sunday Stamps 017: Folk arts from all over the world



This week was very hectic that my post for this week was somewhat in limbo. I was leisurely surfing the net,  toggling one window with news about the developments of the volcano eruption in Iceland to another window with eyelastin reviews for awhile, when I suddenly realised that my Sunday Stamps draft needs publishing. I was about to hit the publish button earlier today when the power went out, thus, the delay…

I have several stamps that fall under the specified categories for this week’s theme begging to be featured. As much as I’d like to, I’m not going to get carried away this time so I’m limiting my choices to only a few.

I’d like to begin with … FOOD!

The above stamp is a part of the seven-set and souvenir sheet issued by the Portuguese Postal Office in a series called “Sabores da Lusofonia”, meaning, flavors of Lusophony. Lusophony is a collective word referring to Portuguese-speaking countries, so the series features some of the most interesting influences of Portuguese gastronomy  on countries who share the Portuguese language. The above dish is from Africa’s Cape Verde called Do-cozido à cachupa (a stew, basically, of pork, chicken, carrots, potatoes, garbanzos, and many others). I have also another stamp from the same series featuring no caloeira tempura which I featured in the previous Sunday Stamps.

Next… traditional costumes. So many to choose from but here’s what I randomly picked out from the lot:

A part of the 5-set definitive stamps issued in 1994, showing the traditional costumes of Cyprus. This one is affixed in a postcard that was sent to my husband’s Grandma, from a cousin who went to Cyprus for a holiday some twenty years ago. This postcard is now in my possession, having inherited my husband’s grandma’s postcard collection three years ago.


And last,  but definitely not the least… the textiles of Croatia.


In 2008, the Croatian Post launched a five-set postage stamps each representing regional motifs of folk costumes. Sunja, magical flowers that survived from the Baroque altar cloth on the aprons from Posavina and still exude scents; Bistra, corals that have come from the Pannonian Sea and in clinking, dark red rows enrich the blouses from Prigorje; Bizovac, the dialectics of the Slavonian full-empty gold-embroidery; and the thick weave of dark earthen colour – the “interior combustion” of Ravni Kotari. I love these folk arts/handicrafts from Croatia and really commend those who still do this up to now, thus preserving traditional arts and culture.

What we refer to as folk art is the outcome of longer, slowed-down time. History has always been created by individuals, and this also applies to art. However, art has only slowly been deposited in the awareness, resting rolled up for a lot longer than the passage of events, in mutually unconnected mounts and vales, across seven rivers and seventy seven mountains. What used to be enduring and persevering – dialects, fashion, surnames, customs, meals, tools, jobs and days… – all of these were local, unique, different and individual; all of these have nowadays become assimilated into a universal mass in the communication cauldron. —  Croatian Post Inc.

Summertime fun!



Summer is here and the sun is proudly showing off every day.  So today, I want to share my friend Sari’s postcard – it’s one of the first postcards I’ve received from Finland that has no snow!

Sari said she had difficulty in finding a mapcard for me – my apologies, Sari. I would’ve accepted whatever you sent me, anyway, and so I really, really appreciate your effort. Nice people like her who go the extra mile without asking something in return are what I call Pecious Presents from the Big Guy up there. They’re definitely keepers in my book!

Sari is from Kemi, a town just below Tornio, but is not shown in the map. Kemi, although a small community about 25kms to the Swedish border, is quite “international”. I can only imagine the border crossing activities between Sweden and Finland.

The postcard shows the beautiful Finnish  nature come summer time. Absolutely beautiful and clean, very green, and peaceful. When the sun comes out after the cold, dark winter months in Finland, that’s when people shed several layers of clothings and people go out to enjoying the weather and engage in outdoor activities. They go fishing, camping, everything!

Back here in Phnom Penh, a lot of families, locals and expats alike, troop to the beach towns of Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kep and Koh Kong to escape the summer heat on weekends. Some go the opposite direction, to Siem Reap where there are other exciting things to do aside from temple hopping – such as riding in Hot air balloon flights! I can’t imagine myself hopping on a hot-air balloon and spend several minutes floating above the ground. LOL. And please, do not dare me to go

Skydiving. YET. I haven’t gathered enough guts and courage YET to jump off a plane thousands of feet above the ground. I get sick thinking about hot-air balloons, how much more skydiving? But I’m the adventurous type and these two are in my bucket list. It’s just a matter of time before I’d be able to conquer my fear of heights, I know.

Anyways, whatever it is you decide to to do this summer, just do it! We are in the middle of hot summer now but we didn’t have the chance to go to any beach yet. Let’s see  next month. Summer doesn’t last long so do what you’d like to do before the summer sunshine ends.

Before I end (promise) I just want to share a part of a popular song from John Travolta’s Grease:

Summer lovin’ had me a blast – summer lovin’, happened so fast
I met a girl crazy for me – I met a boy, cute as can be
Summer days driftin’ away, to uh-oh those summer nights

Enjoy your summer!

Postcard Friendship Friday 028: The brown bears of Finland





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Weekend Mailbox 

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Here is another special souvenir from Finland…

… with signatures of the men and women members of Postcrossing in Finland.

Not all, of course. Only some of them who joined one of the regular Postcrossing meet ups in Finland in  September 2009.

Just so you know, the Swedish word “Helsingfors” ( or Hellsingefors) is the original official name of the city of Helsinki.
The brown bear is the national symbol of Finland. There are believed to be about 1,000 left all over Finland, especially in the taiga forests near the Russian border.

Hence, bear-watching is a popular past-time and tourist-attraction.

The stamp is a definitive issued in September 2009 featuring elegant Gustavian antique pieces – clock, candle-holder, and table.

Postcard Perfect 003: Winter in Finland

This postcard arrived this week, from a postcrosser from Finland who arranged for a private swap. This is one of the two postcards she sent. The other one is a Moomin car (woohoo! my first Moomin!) and will be featured in the coming posts.

Sent by Marika Rosten
Postmarked 22 February 2011
Tampere, Finland

Marika comes from Tampere, the third largest city in Finland and the most populous inland city in any of the Nordic countries. My friend and former work colleague, Katja, is also from Tampere. Katja is now working in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental 🙂

Anyways, Marika said that the temperature the morning she sent this postcard was the coldest they’ve had so far at –31C.  Lots of snow and took her a long time to come back home. Even though her house has a very good heating system, Marika and her cats, all five of them, love to huddle over the fireplace.

The bird, I’m not sure if they’re warblers or not. If they are, they are said to be common in Finland. I will get back to update this post on the kind of bird when I get the information.

And here’s the nice cancelation mark and stamp that was used in the postcard:

Winter in Finland stamp and postmark