Overview: Postcards in December 2016

I had planned to start sending more cards again in December, but didn’t have much time for it in the beginning of the month. It was only in the last few days that I sat down and wrote as many cards as I could. Some of them reached their destination in only a couple of days, so I could draw some more addresses on New Years Eve to make them count towards the charity campaign of Postcrossing and Deutsche Post. 17 cards sent in December already arrived and 23 more are travelling. If they are registered before the end of February they will count towards the charity, as well.

With the official Postcrossing cards arriving immediately after I started sending again and a larger swap, I received 32 postcards from 10 countries in December.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Germany (2)
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Poland (18)
  • Russia (2)
  • USA

There were cards of 12 UNESCO sites, with two new additions for my collection.

  • Iguaçu National Park (Brasil)
  • Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves (Brasil)
  • Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina (Brasil)
  • Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee (Israel)
  • Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura (Italy)
  • Historic Centre of Florence (Italy)
  • City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications (Luxembourg)
  • Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica (Poland)
  • Lake Baikal (Russia)
  • Levoča, Spišský Hrad and the Associated Cultural Monuments (Slovakia)
  • Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape (South Africa)
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (USA)

Overview: Postcards in November 2016

November started with a good amount of cards arriving, but since I didn’t have time for sending, the postcards also ceased coming in by the end of the month. In all, I received 24 postcards from 8 countries in November.

  • China
  • Germany
  • Indonesia (10)
  • Japan
  • Mali
  • Netherlands
  • Russia (8)
  • USA

Even though there were fewer cards than the months before, I still received 14 UNESCO cards:

  • Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang (China)
  • Classical Gardens of Suzhou (China)
  • Aachen Cathedral (Germany)
  • Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier (Germany)
  • Borobudur Temple Compounds (Indonesia)
  • Prambanan Temple Compounds (Indonesia)
  • Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy (Indonesia)
  • Timbuktu (Mali)
  • Alto Douro Wine Region (Portugal)
  • Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin (Russia)
  • Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl (Russia)
  • Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church (United Kingdom)
  • Statue of Liberty (USA)
  • Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point (USA)

Only two of the are new to my collection which grows to 647 collected sites. December is already two weeks old and I just picked up on sending postcards again, arranging so e swaps and sending some cards on Postcrossing. With the charity campaign of Postcrossing and Deutsche Post going into another round, I wanted to send as many cards as possible. But being quite busy, I could only send a few cards until now. I hope to get some more cards on their way in the next days.

Overview: Postcards in October 2016

I didn’t expect that many postcards in October. On the official Postcrossing site I currently have the Repeated Countries option activated. This means I mostly send cards to Russia that tend to travel slower. So my sent/received stats are almost even with a tendency to more received cards than sent. Still, the cards keep coming in. And I received 65 postcards in October from 20 different countries. Of course, there are plenty of cards from swaps among them, too.

  • China (2)
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland (5)
  • France
  • Germany (8)
  • India (2)
  • Italy (2)
  • Japan (2)
  • Malaysia
  • Netherlands (4)
  • New Zealand (16)
  • Portugal (2)
  • Russia (5)
  • Serbia (3)
  • Slovenia (3)
  • Spain (3)
  • Taiwan
  • Tanzania
  • United Kingdom
  • Ukraine

Among them were cards of 29 UNESCO sites:

  • Tassili n’Ajjer (Algeria)
  • Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
  • Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region (Ethiopia)
  • Aksum (Ethiopia)
  • Bourges Cathedral (France)
  • Mount Athos (Greece)
  • Taj Mahal (India)
  • Kaziranga National Park (India)
  • Meidan Emam, Esfahan (Iran)
  • Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna (Italy)
  • Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area (Japan)
  • Ogasawara Islands (Japan)
  • Hal Saflieni Hypogeum (Malta)
  • Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque (Mexico)
  • Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza (Mexico)
  • Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (Mexico)
  • Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout (Netherlands)
  • Bryggen (Norway)
  • Chan Chan Archaeological Zone (Peru)
  • Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa (Peru)
  • Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (Portugal)
  • Lake Baikal (Russia)
  • Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain (Spain)
  • Kilimanjaro National Park (Tanzania)
  • Amphitheatre of El Jem (Tunisia)
  • Medina of Tunis (Tunisia)
  • Medina of Sousse (Tunisia)
  • Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra (Ukraine)
  • Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Uzbekistan)

19 of those sites are new to my collection which now counts 645 different sites. I also received the third site of Malta and completed that country’s collection for now.

Lake Tegernsee

Lake Tegernsee (Postcard Theme: Mountains)

Lake Tegernsee

Lake Tegernsee; © Cloudy_Wings

In September I asked for postcards of mountains. Living in Munich, I’m actually quite close to the mountains. On a clear day you can see the Alps, provided you’re on a tower or some other place where you’ll get an unobstructed view. Despite this proximity I haven’t been hiking in a long time. During the summer, at least, we got as far as Tegernsee. It’s a town by the lake of the same name, about an hour outside of the city. The lake lies in the foothills of the Alps and the surrounding area offers plenty of easy tours for beginners. We started with a simple two-hour hike along the lake with only a minor elevation rise. Now that winter is approaching, we probably won’t do another tour – I’m not a skier. But maybe we’ll get to go to the mountains more often next year. I finally want to go to the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain.

The postcards I received in September showed mountains from all over the world. There were the Blue Mountains of Australia, the Table Mountain in South Africa, Machu Picchu in Peru, the beautiful rock formations and canyons in Utah, the High Tatra in Poland and cards of the Saxonian Swiss (a mountainous area in Germany) and the Czech Swiss (its equivalent in the Czech Republic). And then there was a painting of a fantasy landscape, a deep canyon surrounded by steep cliffs, carved into the rocks by an acidic river.

Overview: Postcards in September 2016

After a really exceptional number of postcards in August, September was a lot quieter. Yet, I still received 41 postcards from 17 different countries:

  • Australia
  • China (6)
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland (2)
  • France
  • Germany (4)
  • India (4)
  • Indonesia (3)
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands (2)
  • Poland
  • Russia (5)
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • United Kingdom (3)
  • USA (4)

Among them were cards of 18 UNESCO sites:

  • Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra (Albania)
  • Greater Blue Mountains Area (Australia)
  • Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (China)
  • Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom (China)
  • Amiens Cathedral (France)
  • Great Living Chola Temples (India)
  • Hill Forts of Rajasthan (India)
  • Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda, Bihar (India)
  • The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (India)
  • Historic Centre of Urbino (Italy)
  • Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama (Japan)
  • Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė) (Lithuania)
  • Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (Peru)
  • Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (Portugal)
  • Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (Russia)
  • Bardejov Town Conservation Reserve (Slovakia)
  • Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (South Africa)
  • La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning (Switzerland)

I also received 10 new sites, including my last missing UNESCO sites of Albania and Portugal.

Jasmund National Park, Rügen, Germany

The White Cliffs of Rügen (Postcard Theme: Islands)

Jasmund National Park, Rügen, Germany

Jasmund National Park, Rügen, Germany; © Cloudy_Wings

After the beach theme in July I asked for island cards in August. Both requests were related to my island and beach vacation in July. I spent a week on the beautiful island Rügen in the Baltic Sea. Besides the wonderful (but very crowded) sandy beaches the famous white chalk cliffs are a good reason for a visit to the island. The white rocks offer a spectacular sight, and the lush greenery on top is National Park Jasmund, part of the UNESCO site Ancient Beech Forests of Germany. Naturally, I bought a stack of postcards for my collection.

Having been on Rügen once as a child, I vaguely remember looking at the cliffs from a viewpoint in the park. This time I chose a different perspective, looking up from the ocean during a boat tour along the coast. The boat can’t get too close, though, as the cliffs are always in danger of breaking off. That’s why it’s not a good idea to walk along the beach below the rocks, either. Or anywhere close to the edge. As beautiful as they are, the cliffs are best viewed from a distance.

As for the island cards I received in August through Postcrossing, they were a nice and interesting mix. I got cards of exotic island paradises with turquoise water and white beaches, islands in the middle of a lake, even a tiny island in a lake in the park. And also a card of Seattle, not technically an island as far as I know, but at least framed by a lake and the ocean, so it’s close enough.

Postcard theme: Islands

Postcard theme: Islands

Watching the USA from the Bus Window (Travel Theme: Transport)

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming; © Cloudy_Wings

I’ve travelled a lot on my own, usually sticking to city trips where I could easily get around on public transport. Not wanting to go to remote areas by myself, but still wanting to see more of the countries I visited, I came to love guided bus tours. This way I got out of the city, met some nice people and learned a few things along the way, without having to worry about organizing the trip.

Whenever it seemed feasible, I tried to spice up my solo adventures with a few group journeys. Of course, while staying in the USA, a bus trip seemed the best option to visit all the national parks I had in mind. So I did day trips from whatever city I was staying at (e.g. Yosemite from San Francisco) and longer round trips joining a travel group. One of those brought me to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone and all the way to Mount Rushmore before returning to Salt Lake City. Another took me from San Francisco along the coast to Joshua Tree National Park and then on to the Grand Canyon, through Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon and Zion to Las Vegas.

I was covering quite some distance on board of buses, soaking up all the views passing by the window. And while we made plenty of photo stops along the way, I still felt the need to take a few shots out of the bus window to capture some of the beauty I was seeing. Always knowing that these snapshots with a blurry foreground and window reflections disturbing the view could never match the real thing. So mostly, I just relaxed and enjoyed watching the landscape glide by. When you go on a bus tour in the USA, there’s plenty of time for that.

For more on Travel Theme: Transport visit “Where’s my backpack?”