Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SWITZERLAND - Valley of Lauterbrunnen in Bernese Alps


Location of Lauterbrunnen in SWITZERLAND

Lauterbrunnen is a municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland.

The municipality lies in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and comprises the villages Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg and Isenfluh. The population of the Lauterbrunnen village is less than that of Wengen, but greater than that of the others.

Lauterbrunnen lies at the bottom of a hanging or U-shaped valley that extends south and then south-westwards from the village to meet the 8-kilometre-long Lauterbrunnen Wall. The valley of Lauterbrunnen (Lauterbrunnental) is one of the deepest in the Alpine chain when compared with the height of the mountains that rise directly on either side. It is a true cleft, rarely more than one kilometre in width, between limestones precipices, sometimes quite perpendicular, everywhere of extreme steepness. It is to this form of the valley that it owes the numerous waterfalls from which it derives its name. The streams descending from the adjoining mountains, on reaching the verge of the rocky walls of the valley, form cascades so high that they are almost lost in spray before they reach the level of the valley. The most famous of these are the Staubbach Falls within less than one kilometres of the village of Lauterbrunnen. The height of the cascade is between 800 and 900 ft, one of the highest in Europe formed of a single unbroken fall.

According to locals, the name Lauterbrunnen is a combination of lauter meaning many, and brunnen meaning spring, fountain, or well. However, there is considerable dispute about the meaning of 'lauter', with some translating it as louder and others as clear, bright, or clean.


Postcard sent by Pam, as "pami1977"
Private swap - Reference CH001

The Valley of Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Alps

Danke / Merci

ICELAND - Dettifoss, largest waterfall in Europe

Iceland location

Iceland flag
Iceland stamp

Dettifoss location in Iceland

Dettifoss is a waterfall in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park of Northeast Iceland, not far from Mývatn. It is situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which flows from the Vatnajökull glacierwaterfall in Europe in terms of volume discharge, having an average water flow of 200 m3/s. and collects water from a large area in Northeast Iceland. The falls are 100 m wide and have a drop of 44 m down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. It is the largest

The waterfall can only be reached by a rough road. On the west bank there are no facilities and the view on the waterfall is somewhat hindered by the waterfall's spray. On the east bank there is an information panel maintained by the staff of Vatnajökull National Park (Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður) and a maintained track to the best viewpoints.


Postcard sent by Vala, as "vala"

Private swap - Reference IS001

Dettifoss - largest waterfall (at 44 m) in Europe


Saturday, March 27, 2010

PORTUGAL - Lisbon : Torre de Belém

PORTUGAL stamp :

Location of LISBON in PORTUGAL :

Lisbon (Portuguese : Lisboa) is the capital and largest city of Portugal. It is considered an alpha global city and is the seat of the district of Lisbon and the main city of the Lisbon region. Its municipality, which matches the city proper excluding the larger continuous conurbation, has a municipal population of 564 477 in 84.8 km2 , while the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in total has around 2.8 million inhabitants.


Belém Tower (in Portuguese Torre de Belém) or the Tower of St Vincent is a fortified tower located in the Belém district of Lisbon, Portugal. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site (along with the nearby Jerónimos Monastery) because of the significant role it played in the Portuguese maritime discoveries of the era of the Age of Discoveries. The tower was commissioned by King John II to be both part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus River and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.

The tower was built in the early sixteenth century and is a prominent example of the Portuguese Manueline style, but it also incorporates hints of other architectural styles. The structure was built from lioz limestone and is composed of a bastion and the 30 meter (100 foot), four story tower. It has incorrectly been stated that the tower was built in the middle of the Tagus and now sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the Tagus River near the Lisbon shore.

UNESCO World Heritage Site :


Date of inscription : 1983

Standing at the entrance to Lisbon harbour, the Monastery of the Hieronymites – construction of which began in 1502 – exemplifies Portuguese art at its best. The nearby Tower of Belém, built to commemorate Vasco da Gama's expedition, is a reminder of the great maritime discoveries that laid the foundations of the modern world.


Postcard sent by Teresa, as "caracolinho"
Private swap - Reference PT001

Lisbon : view of Torre de Belém, UNESCO w.h.s.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

HUNGARY - Budapest : multiviews

HUNGARY stamps


Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it serves as the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2009, Budapest had 1,712,210 inhabitants, down from a mid-1980s peak of 2.1 million. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3,271,110 people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of right (west)-bank Buda and Óbuda with left (east)-bank Pest.

The Hungarian Parliament Building is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, one of Europe's oldest legislative buildings, a notable landmark of Hungary and a popular tourist destination of Budapest. It lies in Lajos Kossuth Square, on the bank of the Danube, in Budapest. It is currently the largest building in Hungary, and the second largest Parliament in Europe.

The Halászbástya or Fisherman's Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda bank of the Danube, on the Castle hill in Budapest, around Matthias Church. It was designed and built between 1895 and 1902 on the plans of Frigyes Schulek. Between 1947–48, the son of Frigyes Schulek, János Schulek, conducted the other restoration project after its near destruction during World War II. From the towers and the terrace a panoramic view exists of Duna, Margaret Island, Pest to the east and the Gellért Hill.

The Hungarian State Opera House (Hungarian: Magyar Állami Operaház) is a neo-Renaissance opera house located in central Pest, (a part of Budapest), on Andrássy út. Designed by Miklós Ybl, a major figure of 19th century Hungarian architecture, the construction lasted from 1875 to 1884 and was funded by the city of Budapest and by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. The Hungarian Royal Opera House (as it was known then) opened to the public on the September 27, 1884.

The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall (Hungarian "Nagycsarnok"), on Fővám Tér in the 9th district, is the largest indoor market in Budapest. It was designed and built by Samu Pecz . A great number of stalls offer a huge variety of vegetables, fruit, cheese and meat. The roof has been restored to the distinctive Zsolnay tiling.

St. Stephen's Basilica is an ecclesiastic basilica in Budapest, Hungary. It is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975–1038), whose mummified fist is housed in the reliquary.

The Geological Museum of Budapest is the main museum on geology in Hungary. It is located at the Stefánia utca in the western part of Pest. The building was originally the home of the Hungarian Geological Society, which was established in 1869. The building was designed by Ödön Lechner in 1896. It still houses the Geological Institute of Hungary. Its collection consists of minerals, prehistoric footprints, general info on Hungarian geology and its history, and an exhibition dedicated to the building's architect, Ödön Lechner.

Budapest Nyugati pályaudvar (Hungarian for Budapest Western railway station) is a railway station in the northern part of the Budapest City. It is one of the three main railway stations of Budapest (together with Keleti pu and Déli pu) and can be found in the 6th district.The station was planned by August de Serres and was built by the Eiffel Company. It was opened on October 28, 1877.

Buda Castle (Hungarian: Budai Vár, Turkish: Budin Kalesi) is the historical castle complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, Hungary, first completed in 1265. In the past, it was also called Royal Palace (Hungarian: Királyi-palota) and Royal Castle (Hungarian: Királyi Vár). Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, next to the old Castle District (Hun: Várnegyed), which is famous for its medieval, Baroque and 19th century houses and public buildings. It is linked to Adam Clark Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge by the Castle Hill Funicular.

Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassy Avenue

Date of inscription : 1987

This site has the remains of monuments such as the Roman city of Aquincum and the Gothic castle of Buda, which have had a considerable influence on the architecture of various periods. It is one of the world's outstanding urban landscapes and illustrates the great periods in the history of the Hungarian capital.


Postcard sent by Eszter, as "serae"

Private swap - Reference HU001

Multiviews of Budapest : Building of Parliament - Fisherman's Bastion
The Opera House - Grand Market Hall
St Stephen's Basilica - Geological Institute of Hungary
Western Railway station - Buda Castle


Monday, March 22, 2010

JAPAN - Tokyo bay

JAPAN stamps

Location of TOKYO in Japan

Tokyo is the capital and largest city of Japan, and is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. It is located on the eastern side of the main island Honshū. Tokyo's government also administers the twenty-three special wards of Tokyo, each governed as a city, that cover the area that was once the city of Tokyo in the eastern part of the prefecture.

The population of the special wards is over 8 million people, with the total population of the prefecture exceeding 12 million. The prefecture is the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, the world's most populous metropolitan area with 35 to 39 million people (depending on definition) and the world's largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$1.479 trillion at purchasing power parity in 2008.

Tokyo was described by Saskia Sassen as one of the three "command centers" for the world economy, along with New York City and London.

Tokyo is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family.

Tokyo Bay is surrounded by the Boso Peninsula (Chiba Prefecture) to the east and the Miura Peninsula (Kanagawa Prefecture) to the west. In a narrow sense, Tokyo Bay is the area north of the straight line formed by the Cape Kannon on the Miura Peninsula on one end and Cape Futtsu on the Boso Peninsula on the other end. This area covers about 922 km². Tokyo Bay in a broad sense includes also the Uraga Channel. The total area would then be 1320 km².

Tokyo Bay includes about 249 km² of reclaimed land area.

The only natural island in the Bay is Monkey Island, Yokosuka, Kanagawa. There are however many artificial islands that were built as naval fortification during the Meiji and Taishō period.

The Rainbow Bridge is a suspension bridge crossing northern Tokyo Bay between Shibaura Pier and the Odaiba waterfront development in Minato, Tokyo, Japan.

Construction started in 1987 and was completed in 1993. The bridge is 798 metres (2,618 ft) long with a main span of 580 metres (1,903 ft). Officially called the "Shuto Expressway No. 11 Daiba Route - Port of Tokyo Connector Bridge," the name "'Rainbow Bridge" was decided by the public.

The towers supporting the bridge are white in color, designed to harmonize with the skyline of central Tokyo seen from Odaiba. There are lamps placed on the wires supporting the bridge, which are illuminated into three different colors, red, white and green every night using solar energy obtained during the day.

The bridge can be accessed by foot from Tamachi Station (JR East) or Shibaura-futō StationYurikamome) on the mainland side.


Postcard sent by Masayo, as "MASAYO"
Private swap - Reference JP002

Aerial view of the Tokyo bay area and the Rainbow Bridge

Monday, March 15, 2010

USA - California - San Francisco : aerial view


The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 12th most populous city in the United States. San Francisco is also the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the larger San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.4 million people.

In 1776, the Spanish established a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for Francis of Assisi on the site. The California Gold Rush in 1848 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth, increasing the population in one year from 1,000 to 25,000, and thus transforming it into the largest city on the West Coast at the time. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. During World War II, San Francisco was the port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States.

Today, San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination, renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars, and Chinatown. The city is also a principal banking and finance center, and the home of over 30 international financial institutions, helping to make San Francisco fifteenth in the world's list of cities by GDP and eighth in the United States.


Postcard sent by Alex, as "ajfrogner"
Postcrossing - Reference US-622108

Aerial view of San Francisco looking down Market Street
with Oakland and the East Bay in the distance


SLOVENIA - Celje : Gosposka Street

Slovenia location

Slovenia flag
Slovenia stamp

Celje location

Where the Voglajna joins the Savinja River as it turns abruptly south toward the Sava, we find Celje, the third largest city in Slovenia. Its cultural legacy testifies to rich and turbulent centuries. Originally "Keleia", a Celtic settlement where Noricum coins were minted, in the period of Emperor Claudius it developed as "Celeia" into the most important Roman borough and a most important economic and military center. Celje became the capital of a principality when the Counts of Celje were elevated to the status of princes in 1436. Allied with the German Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg, they struggled ever more bitterly ther Hapsburgs for political supremacy in Central Europe. When Count Ulrik II was assassinated in Belgrade by his Hugarian rivals in 1456, the cry "the Counts of Celje today and never again" marked the end of their dynasty and the city came under Hapsburg rule. Celje defied natural disasters and enemies such as floods and the Turks and continued to develop its flourishing trade and commerce to strengthen its position as one of the most important cities in Lower Styria. The railway brought industrialization in 1846, which marked the end of the old times and the transition into a new exciting century in which Celje became a city with a lively cultural and tourist beat, a highly developed social life, a commercial, trade and fair center, and attractive surroundings.


Postcard sent by Lea with profile "furla"

Postcrossing official - Reference SI-21172

Picture of CELJE in the past :
Gosposka Street with the Cathedral of the Prophet Daniel in the background


Saturday, March 13, 2010

RUSSIA - Moscow : the Monument to Pushkin

RUSSIA stamps :

MOSCOW location in RUSSIA :

The Monument to PUSHKIN

At the crossing of Tverskoy boulevard and Tverskaya street there stretches out one of the most popular squares of Moscow – Pushkinskaya square. And here, in the square, there is a monument to the first poet of Russia – Alexander Pushkin, that was erected by sculptor Alexander Opekushin.

The monument is standing in the center of Moscow, and this is the place where lovers like to date; here different politicians hold meetings, and poetry-lovers arrange improvised concerts.

Unveiling of the monument in June 1880 turned into a three-day popular festival... As the monument was erected not for the state money, but the money of the people who collected it by subscription.

The overall height of the monument is 11 meters. The pedestal (architect I.S. Bogomolov) bears the poetry lines of Pushkin. Nationwide love to the monument turned to be the best witness of artistic success of the sculptor.

The place for the monument was not selected by mistake either: many pages of the poet's life have been linked with Tverskoy boulevard – here at the ball he met his would-be wife – a beauty Nataly Goncharova.

Aleksandr Sergeyevich PUSHKIN

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкин) (June 6 [O.S. May 26] 1799–February 10 [O.S. January 29] 1837) was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.
Pushkin pioneered the use of vernacular speech in his poems and plays, creating a style of storytelling—mixing drama, romance, and satire—associated with Russian literature ever since and greatly influencing later Russian writers. He also wrote historical fiction. His Marie: A Story of Russian Love provides insight into Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great. Pushkin pioneered the use of

Born in Moscow, Russia, Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation from the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo. Pushkin gradually became committed to social reform and emerged as a spokesman for literary radicals; in the early 1820s he clashed with the government, which sent him into exile in southern Russia. While under the strict surveillance of government censors and unable to travel or publish at will, he wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov, but could not publish it until years later. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was published serially from 1825 to 1832.

Pushkin and his wife Natalya Goncharova, whom he married in 1831, later became regulars of court society. In 1837, while falling into greater and greater debt amidst rumors that his wife had started conducting a scandalous affair, Pushkin challenged her alleged lover, Georges d'Anthès, to a duel. Pushkin was mortally wounded and died two days later.

Because of his political views and influence on generations of Russian rebels, Pushkin was portrayed by Bolsheviks as an opponent to bourgeois literature and culture and a predecessor of Soviet literature and poetry. In 1937, the town of Tsarskoe Selo was renamed Pushkin in his honor.

Great-Grandson of Abram Petrovich Gannibal, Aleksandr Pushkin is considered by some to be the best-known and high-profiled African-Russian.


Postcard sent by Katia
Private swap - Reference RU001

The monument to Pushkin


Friday, March 12, 2010

FINLAND - A moose, typical wild animal of the country


MOOSE range map

The moose (North America) or common European elk (Europe), Alces alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a "twig-like" configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates.

In Europe, moose are found in large numbers throughout Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Baltic States. They are also widespread through Russia. Small populations remain in Poland (Biebrza Nat. Park), Belarus and the Czech Republic.

Scientific classification :

Phylum : Chordata
Classe : Mammalia
Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Cervidae
Subfamily : Capreolinae
Genus : Alces


Postcard sent by Helka, as "elo-veena"
Postcrossing - Reference FI-760554

The card is showing a moose, typical wild animal in Finland.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

POLAND - Gdansk : the Old Town View

Location of GDANSK in POLAND

Gdańsk, formerly known by its German name Danzig, is a city on the Baltic coast in northern Poland, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.

Gdańsk is Poland's principal seaport as well as the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship. It is also historically the largest city of the Kashubian region. The city is close to the former boundary between West Slavic and Germanic lands and it has a complex political history with periods of Polish rule, periods of German rule, and two spells as a free city. It has been part of modern Poland since 1945.

The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay (of the Baltic Sea), in a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdynia and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trójmiasto), with a population of over 800,000.. Gdańsk itself has a population of 455,830 (June 2009), making it the largest city in the Pomerania region of Northern Poland

Gdańsk is situated at the mouth of the Motława River, connected to the Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the nearby Vistula River, whose waterway system supplies 60% of the area of Poland and connects Gdańsk to the national capital in Warsaw. This gives the city a unique advantage as the centre of Poland's sea trade. Together with the nearby port of Gdynia, Gdańsk is also an important industrial centre. Historically an important seaport and shipbuilding centre, Gdańsk was a member of the Hanseatic League.

The city was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which, under the leadership of Gdańsk political activist Lech Wałęsa, played a major role in bringing an end to CommunistCentral Europe. It is also the home and birthplace of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is of Kashubian origin.


Postcard sent by Ania, as "Arneksa"
Postcrossing - Reference PL-75233

The card is showing a great panorama of the Old Town of Gdansk.


Monday, March 8, 2010

CHINA - Picture in Chinese style

CHINA stamps


Postcard sent by Xinzi , as "sanchi1213"

Postcrossing - Reference CN-160338

Card with coloured picture in Chinese style


Thursday, March 4, 2010

CANADA - Provincial and Territorial flags of Canada

Canada location
Canada flag

Canada stamps

Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three territories. In turn, these may be grouped into regions : Western Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada (the latter made up of the three territories Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut). Eastern Canada refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together. Provinces have more autonomy than territories. Each has its own provincial or territorial symbols.

The provinces are responsible for most of Canada's social programs (such as health care, education, and welfare) and together collect more revenue than the federal government, an almost unique structure among federations in the world. Using its spending powers, the federal government can initiate national policies in provincial areas, such as the Canada Health Act; the provinces can opt out of these, but rarely do so in practice. Equalization payments are made by the federal government to ensure that reasonably uniform standards of services and taxation are kept between the richer and poorer provinces.


Postcard sent by David, as "blu_i_husky" - Postcrossing - Reference CA-94574

The card is showing all the provincial and territorial flags of Canada.

Thanks / Merci