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!

#A to Z Challenge: Independence Monument

AtoZ April2015Challenge

I is for the Independence Monument! In Khmer language, it is called the Vimean Eikareach.

Independence Monument, Phnom Penh
This is the Vimean Eikareach, or the Independence Monument, an obra of Mr. Van Molyvann who is Cambodia’s most influential modern architect. Built in 1958 to commemorate those who died during the wars and Cambodia’s independence from France.

The Vimean Eikarech monument is located right smack in the city centre, on the intersection of Norodom and Sihanouk Boulevards. It’s a reddish-brown monument that’s in the form of a lotus-shaped stupa, a style or design that is seen in the temples of Angkor and other historical sites. There is a pedestal in the middle where a ceremonial flame is lit by a royal or high official during important occasions.

From afar, it looks like a giant fireplace. At night, it is beautifully lit and locals stop to enjoy the light show for a moment.  Also, in the above postcard, take note of the tuktuk (left) and the moto-dop, or a moto-taxi (right), in the foreground. They are two of the common modes of transportation here in the Kingdom.

APAD 004 Independence Monument
This photo was taken from my photo blog, Inside Cambodia.

Norodom Boulevard is one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city and it is a rare treat to be able to take a photo of the monument (above) with only a few vehicles coming and going.

Sunday Stamps 088: Centenary or centennial?

sundaystampbutton
They both have the same meaning but the former is used in the UK and the latter in the USA. Anyhoo, here’s one of my favourite mini sheets sent to me several years ago from the beautiful city of Talinn.

Celebrating the Centenary of Estonia's National Opera.
Celebrating the Centenary of Estonia’s National Opera.

Issued by Eesti Post in 27 March 2006, the mini sheet features stamps with perforations running to the edge of the sheet. Featured are the drawings of the Estonia theatre and concert building (Armas Lindgren and Wivi Lönn) and what could possibly be the present-day Estonia’s National Opera in the centre, costume designs for Evald Aav’s opera Vikerlased (Vikings) on the left with its musical notes providing the background of the mini sheet, and on the right is Estonian ballerina Helmi Puur in Tchaicovsky’s Swan Lake.Estonia’s National Opera was opened in 1906, first as a professional theatre called Estonia, founded by the directors and actors Paul Pinna and Theodor Altermann. Initially offering mainly drama, the theatre gradually opened its doors to musical productions. The Estonia theatre and concert building was completed in 1913 but was destroyed in an air raid by the Soviets in 1944. It was later reopened in 1947 after the war and, in 1998, was renamed the Estonian National Opera. (Source) The ceiling was painted in the style of Socialist Realism. Now, I’m curious to see what that looks like.

Postcard Friendship Friday 088: Visiting Angkor Wat during the rainy season

pff-1-

Here’s a view of the Angkor Wat during the rainy season. Rain or shine, visitors still flock to see this World Heritage Site in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
angkor-wat-during-the-rainy-season

I’ve been to Angkor Wat many times already but  they were during the hot, dry summer season. I would love to visit during the monsoon season when, according to friends, the landscape is more lush, and the temples look their best – the colours and hues are richer, the trees around them are greener and the weather cooler due to regular downpours.

Postcard above courtesy of Inside Cambodia Postcards.

Postcard Friendship Friday 085: The footbridge of Saint Servatius

Post card friday pffhtml

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.

Postcard Friendship Friday 083: Cambodia’s King-Father Sihanouk

pff

Today is the first day of the four-day funeral ceremony of the King-Father Norodom Sihanouk. It began with a funeral procession this morning that took the King-Father’s body from the Royal Palace, where it was lying in state for three months now, to the cremation site in front of the National Museum. Thousands of mourners attended the procession and the whole capital was noticeably in a sombre mood.

For this week’s Postcard Friendship Friday, I am sharing with you an iconic landmark in Phnom Penh. This is where I first attended a ceremony where the then-King Norodom Sihanouk attended.

This is the Vimean Eikareach, or the Independence Monument, an obra of Mr. Van Molyvann who is Cambodia's most influential modern architect. Built in 1958 to commemorate those who died during the wars and Cambodia's independence from France.
This is the Vimean Eikareach, or the Independence Monument, an obra of Mr. Van Molyvann who is Cambodia’s most influential modern architect. Built in 1958 to commemorate those who died during the wars and Cambodia’s independence from France.

The Vimean Eikarech monument is located right smack in the city centre, on the intersection of Norodom and Sihanouk Boulevards. It’s a reddish-brown monument that’s in the form of a lotus-shaped stupa, a style or design that is seen in the temples of Angkor and other historical sites. There is a pedestal in the middle where a ceremonial flame is lit by a royal or high official during important occasions. From afar, it looks like an electric fireplace especially when lit at night. Also, take note of the tuktuk (left) and the moto-dop (right) in the foreground. They are two of the common modes of transportation here in the Kingdom.

Too bad I did not really saw then-King Norodom up close because I was very far from the monument 🙁 Since there are no postcards showing the King-Father, let me share with you a stamp issued in his honour.

Rest in peace Your Majesty King-Father. You will  be missed.
Rest in peace Your Majesty King-Father. You will  be missed.

For those following the funeral ceremony of the King-Father, his body lies in state at the cremation site just a block away from the Royal Palace.  The body is scheduled to be cremated on Monday, February 4.

Postcard Friendship Friday 080: Neak Poan Temple

pff

Here’s a late entry for this week’s Postcard Friendship Friday. I was scanning my Cambodia postcards and found one temple that I have never seen yet despite visiting Siem Reap’s Angkor Archaeological Complex several times already. Presenting to you Neak Poan temple:

Neak-2BPoan-2BTemple

Built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, this temple is dedicated to Buddha and Brahmanism.
Neak Poan mean [sic}]‘tire up by the dragon or entwined by the dragon’. In Khmer culture the dragon is represented to the water. So our ancestor build this temple and put two dragons to wrap for protect this temple is the perfect representation on earth and water of our cosmic world,” says Sambo Manara, Historical Professor of Royal University of Phnom Penh. This temple have been used as the holy place for treatment the health care to every people and especially for the soldier before go to the battle field.

The most impressive feature of Neak Poan is there’re four pools which have differences four statue around the big pool in the center that have the main tower of the temple. The curious figure has the body of a horse supported by a tangle of human legs. It relates to a legend that Avalokiteshvara once saved a group of shipwrecked followers from an island of ghouls by transforming himself into a flying horse. Water once flowed from the central pool into the four peripheral pools via condimental spouts, which can still be seen in the pavilions at each exist of the pool, Mr. Manara’s explained. – Source

According to another site:

The central pond (or pool, as the mentioned above),  which you see above, symbolizes the Anavatapata Lake located on top of the Himalayan mountain.  The lake contained spring water and is protected by the Naga and Nagi.  According to the legend, the Anavatapata Lake was the place where all the gods of Mt. Mehru and the heavens take a bath after they had finished their yearly duties. I can only imagine the gods and goddesses enjoying the water. I bet they don’t have a need for raypak pool heater parts in that lake for they can magically turn it into a warm spring water in one swish of their hands. For more details about Neak Poan’s ponds or pools, please click here.

Postcard Friendship Friday 079: Monkeys at Angkor Thom gate

pff

It’s been awhile since I last posted at Postcard Friendship Friday and I feel bad for being so. Fridays just come in and out so quickly. So I’m making it up this week.

monkeys-2Bat-2Bangkor-2Bthom-2Bgate

A Cambodian friend gave this postcard to me as her “Christmas present” to me on my first year in Cambodia. Immediately after our office Christmas party, I set out to Siem Reap with some of my colleagues to see Angkor Wat for the first time. On our second day, while on our way to Bayon Temple, we passed by dozens of monkeys playing along the southern portion of the Angkor Thom gate grounds.

Angkor Thom means the “Great City” and, according to the Wikipedia, it is the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. The city was built towards the end of the 12th century and is renowned for its beautiful temple grounds and the fantastic southern gate.

The sight of passing vehicles excited the monkeys that one of them jumped right on the hood. Much to my surprise, I spilled my drink on the spanking clean dodge seat covers of our rented car. Lol. I am so scared of monkeys, big and small,  and every time I see this postcard I am reminded of that incident.

Sunday Stamps 068: Manor houses in Poland

stampbuttonb[5]

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

Manor-2Bhouses-2Bon-2B-2BPolish-2Bstamps
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!