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?”

Overview: Postcards in August 2016

In August I received a crazy amount of postcards, particularly thanks to one awesome large swap. I received 86 cards from 20 countries, including lots of new UNESCO cards.

  • Belarus (2)
  • Canada (2)
  • China
  • Czech Republic (2)
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany (42)
  • Hong Kong
  • India (4)
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Netherlands (3)
  • Poland
  • Russia (5)
  • Singapore
  • Turkey
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • USA (14)

I received cards of 53 UNESCO sites:

  • Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina)
  • Península Valdés (Argentina)
  • Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia)
  • City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg (Austria)
  • Flemish Béguinages (Belgium)
  • Belfries of Belgium and France (Belgium)
  • Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex (Belgium)
  • Brasilia (Brazil)
  • Historic District of Old Québec (Canada)
  • Gros Morne National Park (Canada)
  • Rapa Nui National Park (Chile)
  • South China Karst (China)
  • Choirokoitia (Cyprus)
  • Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church (Denmark)
  • Roskilde Cathedral (Denmark)
  • Kronborg Castle (Denmark)
  • Wadden Sea (Denmark)
  • Stevns Klint (Denmark)
  • The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes (France)
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin (France)
  • Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia)
  • Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg (Germany)
  • Classical Weimar (Germany)
  • Berlin Modernism Housing Estates (Germany)
  • Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus (Germany)
  • Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment (Hungary)
  • Keoladeo National Park (India)
  • Group of Monuments at Hampi (India)
  • Sundarbans National Park (India)
  • The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (India)
  • Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Iran)
  • Masada (Israel)
  • Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu (Japan)
  • Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining (Japan)
  • Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly (Kazakhstan)
  • Curonian Spit (Lithuania)
  • Namib Sand Sea (Namibia)
  • Wadden Sea (Netherlands)
  • City of Cuzco (Peru)
  • Historic Centre of Lima (Peru)
  • Historic Centre of Warsaw (Poland)
  • Convent of Christ in Tomar (Portugal)
  • Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (Russia)
  • Singapore Botanical Gardens (Singapore)
  • Vlkolínec (Slovakia)
  • Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian Mountain Area (Slovakia)
  • Maloti-Drakensberg Park (South Africa)
  • Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco (Spain)
  • Golden Temple of Dambulla (Sri Lanka)
  • Ephesus (Turkey)
  • Blenheim Palace (United Kingdom)
  • Dorset and East Devon Coast (United Kingdom)
  • Chaco Culture (USA)
  • Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

With 34 new sites for my collection, I now have cards of 616 different UNESCO sites! Also, for now I have completed the collection for Singapore, which only has one site, and the collection for Austria with its nine UNESCO sites.

Bunker Hill Monument (Travel Theme: History)

Bunker Hill Monument, Boston

Bunker Hill Monument, Boston; © Cloudy_Wings

In my post about the Independence Hall in Philadelphia I mentioned how excited I was to be there, shortly after I finished my degree in American History. The same was true for Boston. Many of the events leading up to the American Revolution took place there. Accordingly, I was looking forward to visiting some of the original locales. The best way to do this if you visit Boston for the first time is to follow the Freedom Trail: A line of red bricks starting at the Boston Common and leading the way through the city past historic locations like the Massachusetts State House, the Old Corner Bookstore, the Old State House and Faneuil Hall, ending at the Bunker Hill Monument.

Along the way you’ll learn about the Sons of Liberty, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride and the Battle of Bunker Hill. In various cemeteries you’ll also find lots of names you may have read about in your history book. For me, the Boston Freedom Trail made my textbooks come alive.

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