Saint Petersburg, Russia

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Today I have three cards from Saint Petersburg, Russia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

UNESCO-st petersburg column

The first card is an official Postcrossing card and shows the Alexander column in the Palace Square, in front of the famed Winter Palace. The column was completed in 1834 to commemorate the Russian victory against Napoleon. It was named after the Tsar Alexander I.

UNESCO-st petersburg palace

The second card, also from Postcrossing, shows a lion sculpture on the Palace Embankment, with a view of the Winter Palace in the background. The Winter Palace was the official home of the Russian tsars between 1732 and 1917. Peter the Great, the founder of Saint Petersburg, built the first Winter Palace on the site in the early 1700s. The current Winter Palace is an expansion of the Apraskin Palace that was undertaken by Tsaritsa Anna starting in 1732.

UNESCO-st petersburg

And finally, this card shows the Church on Spilt Blood, built in 1883 on the site of Emperor Alexander II’s assassination. Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Alexander II was known as a great reformer of Russian government, but his assassination greatly set back the reforms and his successors, his son Alexander III and grandson Nicholas II, were much more repressive, leading to the revolution in 1917. Who knows what might have happened if Alexander II had not been assassinated.

There were some new and interesting stamps on the cards, as you can see:

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On the left is a stamp from 2013 showing the Admiralty Building and St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The stamp on the right is from 2010 and shows the Kattashi, a Russian headdress.

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In the second set of stamps, on the top is a stamp from 2011 showing a Russian military aircraft. On the bottom is a stamp from 2009 showing Adolph Theodor Kupffer, a chemist and physicist who founded the Depot of Standard Weights and Measures in Russia.

Pokemon from Japan

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My Pokemon collection is growing, today thanks to magenta from the Postcrossing forum. She sends these two cards:

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This card is a New Year’s card from the Pokemon Center store. In the background you can see Mt. Fuji, a popular New Year’s motif in Japan.pokemon-pika-ball

And this card is an official Japan Post card from a few years ago, showing Pikachu on a pokeball. It came with matching printed postage, shown below:
JAPAN-pika JAPAN-pokemon

Thanks, magenta!

Dutch icons

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Today I have two Postcrossing cards from the Netherlands showing some typical Dutch things:

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This first card shows many typical Dutch things and was designed by the niece of the sender, Femke Roefs. She has only designed two postcards, it seems, but they are both nice.

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And this second card shows some ceramic clogs decorated with windmills in a Delft-style. It doesn’t seem to get more Dutch than that.

Cities of Europe

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Today I have three views of some European cities, the first two are official Postcrossing cards, and the last comes from a Postcrossing forum swap:

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This card shows the Traunstein sword dance, performed every year on Easter Monday. You can read more about it on the town’s website.

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Second is this card from Kalisz, a small city in central Poland. The sender writes that it is a quiet city.

Heidelberg

And finally, a lovely view of Heidelberg, Germany. On this card you can see the bridge over the River Neckar as well as Heidelberg Castle.

Bridges from Around the World

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Today I have a selection of bridge postcards from around the world: two from the United States, one from Canada, and one from Ukraine:

ravenel-bridge

First is this card of the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina. I got this card from a Postcrossing forum swap, but I am not sure who sent it because it apparently got into the mailbox before the sender wrote anything other than “Hi Kate!” I think the sender meant to write more, but accidentally sent it too early.

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This second card comes from Arkansas as an official Postcrossing card. It shows the Broadway Bridge that connects Little Rock and North Little Rock.

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The third card comes as a swap from Jason in Canada, who recently became a follower of the blog. Hi, Jason! It shows the Capilano suspension bridge in British Columbia. The bridge is 200 feet (61 meters) above the Capilano River. The first bridge here was built in 1889 and then replaced in 1903. Today about 800,000 people visit the bridge each year.

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And finally, there is this Postcrossing card from Ukraine. In the background there are the Carpathian mountains. The card says that this spot is the geographical center of Europe.

The only new stamps came on Jason’s card:

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On the left is a 1994 stamp celebrating 100 years of the Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League. On the right is a 1982 stamp for the International Philatelic Youth Exhibition.

Indonesian Independence Day 2014

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Today is Indonesia’s Independence Day, and to commemorate it I have two UNESCO site cards from that fine country, both from shinta on the Postcrossing forum:

UNESCO-sangiran

First, the Sangiran Early Man Site, home of Java man, located on the island of Java. It was inscribed in 1996. Excavations between 1936 and 1941 uncovered many early hominid fossils, including fossils of Homo erectus dating from 1.5 million years ago.

UNESCO-sumatra

And second is this card showing the giant flower Rafflesia arnoldii, also known as the “corpse flower” for its awful stench. It produces the largest flower in the world, producing a flower up to 1 meter (3 feet) in diameter. The flower is endemic to the rainforests of Sumatra, protected by UNESCO since 2004. The flower is also one of Indonesia’s national flowers.

Shinta uses lovely stamps, and these cards are no exception:

INDONESIA-owls

From left to right: 2014 issue for the Year of the Horse, two BirdLife International stamps from 2012 showing the Siau scops owl and a male Aethopyga duvyenbodei, a type of sunbird.

INDONESIA-drums

And these stamps are from a  2014 series featuring traditional instruments of Indonesia.

Pripyat and Cispus Rivers

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Today I have two Postcrossing official cards showing two different rivers:

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This card shows the Pripyat River in southern Belarus, near the town of Luninets. The Pripyat River flows from Ukraine into Belarus, then through southern Belarus for about 500 km (300 miles), and then back into Ukraine before draining into the Dneiper River. The Pripyat River also flows through the Chernobyl exclusion zone and sediments in the river still contain a lot of radioactive material.

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This card also comes through Postcrossing and shows the Cispus River in the state of Washington, only a few hours’ drive north of my home. However, the card was sent from Germany. The sender visited Washington in 1989, when I assume the card was bought. The card has had a long way back to the West Coast. The Cispus is close to Mount St. Helens and drains into the Cowlitz River, which in turn drains into the Columbia.

That’s all for today!

Transportation and Maps

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Today I have some maps and transportation options from around the world.

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This is a map from a Postcrosser in Germany. It shows the eastern part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state in Germany. The ferry lines say in little print that they go to places like Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

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This second card shows an electric tram or trolley from Russia. It comes from a swap with Nastya in St. Petersburg. The front says “трамвай” which is Russian for “tram.”

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Here is another Postcrossing card, this time from Taiwan. It shows the Maokong Gondola, opened in 2007 in Taipei. The Gondola goes between the Taipei Zoo and Maokong, a suburb known for tea culture.

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And finally, this map shows a part of London’s Underground, or Tube, system. The iconic Tube map was designed in 1931 by Harry Beck. Beck designed the map in his spare time. It is notable for not being geographically accurate, but for being much easier to read than a geographically accurate map would be. The card comes from Beckie, who lives in Yorkshire.

Here are the stamps:

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This stamp was released this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Norman McLaren, a Scottish animator. The stamp shows a frame from his 1938 film “Love on the Wing.”

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The Russian stamps are Europa issues from 2005 and 2014. The 2005 theme was “gastronomy,” the Russian stamp depicts caviar, crepes, and other Russian foods. The theme this year is “musical instruments,” hence the singing and dancing in the stamp.

Moomin Saturday

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Today is not a Moomin Monday, because I scheduled it to fall on the 100th anniversary of Moomin author Tove Jansson’s birthday. And I have four Moomin cards to share with you, some from Postcrossing officials and some from the forum.

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First is this Moomin card in celebration of Tove Jansson’s 100th birthday. The card says “Celebrate with us!” in Finnish, Swedish, and English. Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki in 1914, but studied in Stockholm and spoke Swedish. The Moomin books were originally published in Swedish.

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This card shows a scene from Trollkarlens Hatt (1948, Finn Family Moomintroll in English).

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This card shows the Little My and is a Valentine’s Day card. The text says “You have a secret admirer… me!”

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And finally, a shaped card of Moominmamma. The text says “a warm hug!”

The stamps:

FINLAND-pink-moomin FINLAND-blackberry FINLAND-gooseberryFINLAND-lychnis

Quebec: flag, map, and UNESCO

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Today I have three cards from the Canadian province of Quebec, from Postcrossing forum members emiithebear and cheshirekat:

UNESCO-quebec

First is this view of the Château Frontenac and Vieux-Quebec, the old town of Quebec City. Quebec City is the capital of the province. The Château is the building with the green copper roof. It dominates the skyline of the city, especially when the city is viewed from the other side, from the St. Lawrence River. Vieux-Quebec has been on the UNESCO list since 1985.

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Next, this is the flag of the province of Quebec. The flag is called the fleurdelisé, after the four fleur de lise on it. The flag was adopted in 1948, the first provincial flag officially adopted in Canada.

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And finally, a map of the province of Quebec. Most of the population lives in the south, near the St. Lawrence River. In the north is the region of Nunavik, where Quebec’s Inuit population lives. This is where the village of Ivujivik is, the northernmost settlement in any Canadian province. There are no roads that link Nunavik to southern Quebec. I am guessing that the weather is too bad and there is too much snow and ice.

Emiithebear used some new stamps on the cards of Quebec City and the map:

CANADA-franklin-turtle CANADA-rose

The rose stamp on the bottom is new stamp from April 2014, issued along with a white rose stamp. The stamp on top shows Franklin the Turtle, a children’s book character. This stamp was released in May 2012. The Franklin stamp is the first in a series of children’s literature stamps.

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