From Jürgen in Germany comes this awesome card showing the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin full of Christmas market stalls – one of the most famous in the country. It’s safe to say that Germany is famed for its wonderful Christmas markets where one can find all sorts of delicious foods and intricate treasures. Lovely seasonal card, thanks Jürgen!
From my wonderful friend Maija who was visiting her family back in Latvia comes this awesome card showing Gauja National Park – the largest national park in the country, earning its name from the Gauja river which flows through it. Maija visited the town of Sigulda, from where all the park administration is dealt with. Here you can see Sigulda Medieval Castle – which dates to 1207 – and the Turaida Castle – translating to ‘Thor’s Garden’, a recent reconstruction of a medieval castle which burned down in the 1700s. The area is renowned for having the greatest concentration of castles in the whole of eastern Europe, due to the importance of the Gauja river during the Crusades. Wonderful card! Thanks Maija!
I felt seriously lucky when this surprise arrived through my door from my friend Alison on holiday in Myanmar (Burma). When I received my first ever card from the country – also by coincidence showing the site of Bagan, I was convinced it would be the only one I would ever get. Alison is a good friend from university who also studied archaeology and she made interesting contrasts between this site and the Maya sites in Yucatan, Mexico. Bagan was originally known as Pagan and was the capital of the Pagan empire from the 9th to the 13th centuries. There are 2200 temples and pagodas still standing today, which may sound a lot until you realise there were originally 10,000! Unsurprisingly, this is the biggest tourist attraction in the country and you can definitely see why! Alison – who has also sent this with a Burmese stamp – the first in my collection as my last card was sent from a Thai post office – tells me that at the top of the large temple on the left, she met a guy called Tun who asked her for a euro to add to his currency collection. When he showed her his collection, his most prized piece was a Jersey pound note because ‘no one knows that country exists’ (Jersey is also where Alison and I both did our archaeological fieldwork on our degree). Well, Tun, what would you do with a Guernsey pound note? I just love this card so much, thanks Alison!
This pretty card comes from Russian Anna on holiday in Thailand. The boy in the eye is a novice Buddhist monk and he is wearing traditional monk attire. It is not uncommon for men to become monks in Thailand and it is considered a very sacred profession. Interesting card.
From Ichigo (whose name means strawberry) in Japan, comes this awesome card. Now, you might just think this is a quaint, average, Japanese rural building. Wrong! It is Okayama Castle, originally built in 1597 and whose name gave rise to the city of Okayama around it. Although it has been destroyed and neglected over the years and then somewhat unthoughtfully reconstructed in concrete in the 1960s (yes, it seems the 60′s loved concrete no matter where in the world you were), it still stands rather beautifully today as a reminder of the history of the city.
This card exhibiting some of Canada’s finest scenery (and this poor model who seems to have the unfortunate luck of having a postcard-photographer for a friend!) comes from Ramona, who has chosen this card for its contrast to Guernsey scenery – definitely true! This guy here is a member of the Royal Canadian Mountain Police who are both a federal and national police service. The service itself dates back to 1920 and the uniform dates to the days when they really were all mounted, but for the most part, horses are now just ceremonial. Very cool card.
This amazing card comes from Kamran in India and shows the ancient cave paintings of Bhimbetka. And when I say ancient, I mean 30,000 years! Although, the cave systems themselves actually show the earliest traces of life on the Indian subcontinent, with evidence of homo erectus living there c.300,000 years ago. Wow! Now, my degree was in Archaeology, so this sort of thing really quickens my heartbeat – I just love the connection these little drawings have with time, for the last 30,000 years! Although these caves have had clear significance throughout history, the paintings were actually only discovered in 1957, since then 243 such rock shelters have been discovered in the area. Amazingly, these shelters were used for art-practice not just 30,000 years ago but throughout prehistory and history until Medieval times, although considering the abundance of natural resources in the area, this is perhaps unsurprising. Fantastic card!
Here are two lovely cards from Glen in the USA and my first postcards from Illinois. At the top is a beautiful Christmas card, a picture called ‘a spill out on the snow’ and perhaps my favourite (or in my top 3 at least) Christmas postcard of 2013. It really tells a story. Below is Chicago, the third most densely populated city of the USA. Glen tells me that the water is Lake Michigan, the very tall building the John Hancock centre and in the distance the Willis Tower. Fantastic cards!
From Susanne in Germany came my first officially Christmas-themed postcard of 2013. Of course, this arrived in November and I’m seriously behind in updating my blog, so forgive the Christmas theme on the day before epiphany (today, incidentally is the 12th day of Christmas, 12 drummers drumming and all that!). So passing on Susanne’s greetings to you all and wishing you a belated happy new year, and of course Christmas and for those of you who celebrate on 6th January, enjoy!
This awesome card from Jeff in Ireland was sent to me on his trip to New York and is my second awesome card sent from the UN building, which has its own stamps, postmark and of course, postcards. Very cool! This card shows a view of the UN headquarters and the Midtown Manhattan skyline from across the East River. The UN headquarters has been situated in Turtle Bay since 1952 and stands 155m tall.