Postcard Friendship Friday 085: The footbridge of Saint Servatius

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I’ve been missing Postcard Friendship Friday for — how many consecutive weeks now? I can’t remember. Sorry, friends. Feeling a bit lethargic in this sizzling hot weather.

Yes, it is summertime again here and, as expected, we are experiencing frequent power cuts daily, including evenings. The supply of electricity is not enough to keep up to the demands of the city. Last night, while we were having dinner, the power went out again, hence, the candle-dinner, lol. Throughout our dinner, our conversation ended with a decision to find aa rechargeable batteries in the shops, and purchase them, for our torches and other emergency light sources. So, a bit late again but here is my PFF entry. It came all the way from the Netherlands sent by fellow Postcrosser, Stasele.

If you could see the blue arrow pointing to a very tiny building at the end of the bridge, Stasele said  it is a postcards and souvenir shop where she bought this card 🙂 Thank you, Stasele.

It shows a panoramic view of the Meuse River and the footbridge of Sint Servaasbrug (Saint Servatius). It is a beautiful 13th century arched footbridge that links Maastricht’s Binnenstad district on the west bank of the Meuse to the Wyck district on the east bank. It was built after the original bridge built by the Romans collapsed due to heavy weight from a large procession killing 400 people.

Stasele wrote at the back of the postcard that the Meuse River is their equivalent of the Mekong River. She also said that she crosses this bridge, on her bicycle, every day to work and that the bridge is only open to pedestrians and cyclists. It must be nice to be able to cycle to work and cross the bridge without any other four-wheel vehicles. I like cycling myself but with the recent increase in the number of vehicles and the increase in road accidents, I decided not to, for safety reasons. There’s just too much idiots driving around Phnom Penh these days.

Stasele and I met here in Phnom Penh in December of last year while she and her family were in Phnom Penh for the Cambodia-leg of their Asian holiday.

P.S. Interested in Maastricht Food 101?  Here’s a great postcard showing assorted Maastricht bread intended to tourists and probably expat residents. Also from Stasele.

Sunday Stamps 083: Italy’s national colours and symbols on stamps

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From Italy, I have two stamps that came in recently. The postcard will be featured later this week.

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The stamp on the left is a definitive stamp issued in 2011, if I am not mistaken. It features envelope taking off, leaving behind a trail formed by the colours of the Italian flag. At the top is the Poste Italiane logo…and the word ITALIA and the denomination complete the stamp. The map of Italy is actually  not part of the stamp; it is printed on the postcard. It made it look like the envelope is flying away from Italy, representing the mails that sent from the country 🙂

On the right hand is a stamp categorised by Poste Italiane as an alti-velori, or high-value, definitive stamp. Two squares inside a rectangular frame whose vertical edges are decorated with intertwined sections of ribbon supported by a bar, with the word “ITALIA” on the bottom edge. In the top square on the left, the profile of a woman wearing a towered crown, and on the right, the Italian Republic’s coat-of-arms. In the bottom square, the denomination “1,00” superimposed on the “€” symbol of the single European currency, set against a background of geometric motifs. (Source)

Sunday Stamps 077: Cartoon strips on stamps

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In between upgrading my Ubuntu operating system in my desktop (newly-purchased by my husband, ahem-ahem) and checking my blog stats via dashboard scorecard here, I was able to also search for a bit of background details about my entries for this week’s Sunday Stamps. Is that multi-tasking or what?Without further ado here are my stamps featuring cartoon strips:

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Ik heb de kraan mar laten lopen, dan kun u het lek gemakkelijker vinden.
Translation via GoogleTranslate: I have run the tap in March, then you can easily find the leak.

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Er zat geen cent meer in de schatkist, majesteit. Enzo komt hij nog van pas.

Translation via GoogleTranslate: There was not a penny more into the treasury, majesty. So he comes in handy.

The above cartoon strip on stamps were issued in 1993. There are four in this series.  I’ve never heard of Joost Swarte before and it’s interesting to know more about this artist. I think they are unique stamps, cleverly designed to make it look like a page of a comic book that’s been ripped off from it. Looking at the illustrations on the stamps alone made me see a bit of similarities on the style employed by the artist who made the cartoon character, Tin Tin.  Did you notice it,  too?

Joost Swarte is one of the most popular comic artists and graphic designers from the Netherlands and is best know for his ligne claire or clear line style of drawing which he himself had coined. His illustrations appeared in many magazines in the Netherlands, Belgium and in the USA. He worked for the New Yorker magazine where he created a strip called “We’ll Make It” as well as some of his illustrations landed on its covers.

Postcard Friendship Friday 082: Maastricht Food 101 for Foreigners

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Happy New Year, dear friends. It’s 2013 already, can you believe it? A new year is upon us again. I want to thank my friends who I met via Postcrossing and private exchanges for the friendship that goes beyond postcard/stamp swap, and to my dear readers who come (again and again) and leave comments. I may not reply to each comment but I do value the kind of interaction that goes on here.

I can’t wait to see what 2013 has to offer! So I’m reeling myself back in Postcard Friendship Friday again. I purposedly stayed away from the Internet over the holidays as well as from postcard and swap exchanges to take a breather, at least even for only a few days. For this week’s meme, I am sharing a special postcard from Maastricht, the Netherlands:

The Bakery: The Language of Maastricht for Foreigners. Sent by Stasele Postmarked 12-12-12.
The Bakery: The Language of Maastricht for Foreigners.
Sent by Stasele
Postmarked 12-12-12.

This was sent by Postcrosser Stasele via private exchange. The postcard showing one of my favourite themes, food, bore the special 12-12-12 postmark, and arrived several days after meeting her – here in Phnom Penh – in person! I think she also received my postcard when she returned from her trip.

I have to say that meeting her was one of the highlights of the holidays for me. We met in a quaint coffee shop down at the riverside and spent hours chatting. It felt like I was talking to an old friend that I hadn’t seen for a long time. I guess when you have a common interest, like postcards and snail mail for examples, awkward moments are minimised, if not totally diminished. She and her family were on a holiday trip and it was very nice of her to take time off to meet up with me.  I have Postcrossing to thank for, for introducing me to a new friend 🙂

Sunday Stamps 075: Santa Claus is in town! (and other Christmas stamps)

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Hello everybody! These days we are enjoying a sunny but cool weather here in the city. It’s definitely a welcome change!

Although we are not officially celebrating Christmas in Phnom Penh, a lot of establishments as well as (expat) homes are decorated for the holiday. While looking around a local market and stopping by to check some metal cabinets for sale (for my postcards, stamps and what-nots!), I noticed that a “Merry Christmas” sign was up and one or two salespersons were wearing a Santa hat! Clearly, we are all feeling the holiday fever here.

Which brings me now to my stamps for this week. First up from Portugal featuring the bearded and red-suited Santa Claus holding a present with one of his reindeers.

I hope Santa Claus won't forget to drop by the southern Philippines. That region was recently hit by  Typhoon Bopha and  the children need some cheering up!
I hope Santa Claus won’t forget to drop by the southern Philippines. That region was recently hit by  Typhoon Bopha and  the children need some cheering up!

The stamp is one of the 6 stamps of the Natal set issued by Correios de Portugal in 2009. According to StampNews.com, this set of Christmas stamps were original graphic designs reflecting Christmas exchanging of gifts and/or gift-giving tradition.

Just a thought. I find stamps featuring children’s drawings of Santa Claus (or any other drawings) the most endearing and creative ones. I don’t know why. Maybe there is something special and magical about the way children see Santa Claus (or other subjects, in general) and that is, somehow, translated onto their drawings. I do not own stamps with Santa Claus drawn by children but I want to have some, of course.

I have two more Christmas stamps from New Zealand and Croatia, respectively:

Above is one of the five Christmas stamp set issued in New Zealand in 2011.
Above is one of the five Christmas stamp set issued in New Zealand in 2011.

The Christmas stamp from NZ portays the Nativity scene, a Christian story told countless times from generations to generations all over the world. Here in the stable, Mary and Joseph cradling  the Infant Jesus who was wrapped in swaddling clothes. I love looking at the adoring gaze of Mary and Joseph. I also love the metallic colour incorporated in the dominantly blue theme.

And last but not the least, a Christmas stamp featuring one of Croatia’s greatest painters ever.
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Christmas has been a source of inspiration to many artists. It is the most wonderful time of the year, in my opinion. Families gather, forgive each other and renew ties, and celebrate the real reason for the season.

With a flickering Christmas tree in the middle, with the most beautiful meal of dreams on the table, with good, tame and patient things, with the chairs facing us and awaiting us, Emanuel Vidovićreminds us that our home is the church.” – Hrvatske Pošte

And on this note, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Feliz Natal! Joyeux Noël! Sretan Božić! Maligayang Pasko. Среќен Божиќ. Craciun Fericit! ¡Feliz Navidad!

May we all remember the reason for our celebration this coming Christmas.

Postcard Perfect 055: The Return of the King of Clay

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It’s been a long while since I last participated here at Postcard Perfect. But, as always, I make sure to come back whenever I can. Great thing that today isn’t as busy as it was in the past months.

Everyone’s busy making their wishlist now. I’m one of them. You know what I’ve been meaning to buy for myself? What’s on top of my list is a brand new speaker stands. And why you might ask? Well, it’s only 35 days to go before the Australian Open… aaaaand… it’s because this guy is coming back to the professional tennis tour after being sidelined for many months due to injury…

Muchas gracias mi querida. Rafa es el mejor tenista!
Muchas gracias mi querida. Rafa es el mejor tenista!

Rafael Nadal. More than six months of being off court, I sure wouldn’t want to watch his much-anticipated comeback match only to be marred by a lousy sound system. This a Touchnote card sent to me by mi querida Ana. And you know how we both love seeing Rafa like this – smiling, relaxed, oh-so-guapo!  And don’t get me started on that dimples!

Sunday Stamps 071: International Year of the Earth

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I had been putting off my Sunday Stamps post since yesterday because I was so engrossed in looking  at (and admiring) really beautiful websites on the net. How I wish I have the design skills to be able to give my blog, this blog, a full makeover. Since I do not have the moolah to hire one of the best website makers there is around, I’m going to take it upon myself to do the makeover on my own, slowly. But I don’t think the result would satisfy me, lol. However, if someone asks me what I want for a Christmas pressie, this is definitely what I will say without batting an eyelash!

It’s becoming hotter and hotter now in the city and there had been power interruptions the past couple of weeks. The road repairs in the Penh were rushed and were completed just in time for the ASEAN  (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit in Phnom Penh that started this morning. Aside from the heads of our ASEAN neighbours, the newly-reelected US President Barack Obama and the Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin is in town. They are also joined by Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh of India and Wen Jiabao of China for this high-profile meeting. So you could just imagine the preparations  made by the Cambodian government for this mother of all ASEAN summits!

Okay, on to the stamp. I have this simple but symbolic stamp issued by the Correios de Portugal in 2008:
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It is a one in the set of four issued to commemorate Ano Internacional do Planeta Terra or the International Year of the Planet Earth (IYPE), in line with the UN General Assembly’s declaration of 2008 as the IYPE, under the auspices of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). It’s main objective, encapsulated in its slogan, Earth Sciences for Society, is to promote the importance of Earth Sciences to society at large and to raise awareness of the role of geo-sciences in solving the many problems that mankind faces.

Here are all the stamps in this series:

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This stamp issue represents the four elements, set in circles, to remind us of the importance and beauty of the environment, and that which it is our duty to preserve, not only for ourselves but above all for future generations.

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Sources:
StampNews.com
Episodes.co.in

Sunday Stamps 070: From the River of Woe to the River of Fun

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I was down again with flu for the second time this year. I think my immune system is getting weak – and I only have myself to blame for it. I haven’t been physically active much of this year so I guess that’s why my health is so messed up.

On to this week’s Sunday Stamps. I missed several weeks already – sorry Viridian – and I don’t want to miss some more so here’s my entry for the theme, water.

In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron  is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld.
In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron  is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld.

Looking at the image on the stamp, there is a beautiful serenity about this mythical river.

However, rivers are more than just what they are. Rivers, in Greek mythology, separate the underworld  (Hades) and the land of the living in most part by five primary rivers: Styx, Lethe, Cocytus, Phlegethon, and Acheron.

The River Acheron (Ἀχέρων) is located in the Epirus (Ήπειρος) region of Northwest Greece.  It is a wide, swampy body of water.A large number of poets and writers of the ancient Greek tradition referred to Acheron as the river whose name was inextricably linked with the transition of the society of dead souls. 

Acheron is the first river that Dante and Virgil must cross in Dante’s Inferno, and it divides the truly suffering souls from the neutral ones. Acheron translates as the “River of Woe” where, in Greek mythology, Charon, the boatman, ferried the newly dead souls (those that can pay him, anyway) across into Hades. This brought to mind a scene from the movie Troy where the Greek soldiers placed coins on the eyes of their dead. It is a practice by the ancient Greeks with the belief that the coins will be used to pay Charon so they could cross the river.

Mythological references aside, the Acheron river attracts many local and foreign tourists because of its sheer beauty and flowing water. It has now evolved – from the supernatural  place where souls travel to their final destination in the underworld to that of the popular natural attraction, with its beautiful springs, hiking trails, and placid waters ideal for many water sports. Which is why in June 2012, the above commemorative stamp was issued (in a series of six; click here to see all stamps) to promote outdoor activities under the theme, Touring Greece.

I want to thank my very good friend, Macel, for sending me the postcard during their holiday in Skiathos. The postcard will be posted soon, promise ;).

Sunday Stamps 068: Manor houses in Poland

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Below are two beautiful stamps from Poland that were issued in 1997 and 2001, respectively:

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Here you can see the postmark of Krakow super-imposed on the stamps.

The stamps in these series, including the past years, feature mansion-houses that are now transformed into museums. The common factor amongst them is the fact that they’re all located in Warsaw. The mansion house on the 2001 stamp on the right, according to thePoczta Polska, is a late Baroque wooden mansion house reconstructed at the beginning of the 20th century according to a design of architect Kazimierz Skórewicz. It was moved from Moniak near Urzędów in the years 1977-85. At present it is the seat of the Museum-Castle in Janowiec on the Vistula River. Several wooden construction monuments from the 19th century were placed there as well. The mansion on the left is from Lopuszna. I do not have any other information about this mansion house though.

Just a thought, there are so many old colonial houses in Cambodia that lie in ruin. Sadly, preservation of old buildings is not a priority here. Old buildings are torn down to make way for something new, not necessarily beautiful buildings. If only government authorities would follow what the Polish did…

The Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral

From Vienna, Austria here’s a postcard of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral:

Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, in Vienna, Austria.
Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, in Vienna, Austria.

I’ve met a few young Austrian backpackers before when I was in Siem Reap (home of the Angkor Wat) and asked them what’s the famous landmark in Vienna. All answered the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. According to them, it is a landmark not to be missed. It is the heart of Vienna and has been It is quite an impressive structure, a combination of Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles. This Catholic cathedral houses a treasure trove of artworks – the red-marble sepulchre of Emperor Frederick III, the gothic stone pulpit made by Anton Pilgram, the gothic-winged altar-piece of Wiener Neustadt, and the tomb of Prince Eugene of Savoy.

I’m amazed at how well-traveled this youngsters are. They leave school for year, also known as gap year, and their parents sort of provide debit cards for teenagers to see the world while they’re still young. If only my parents were that rich and let us do the same as these Western kids, it would’ve been the best gift they could ever give to me!