Happy Sunday, readers. Back again today with three UNESCO sites from England: Canterbury Cathedral, Hadrian’s Wall, and the Tower of London.
All three cards were received from a private swap with Kerstin in England, sent in July of 2014.
Welcome back, today I have two UNESCO cards to share, from sites in Denmark and Iceland. Both sent by Svea via private swap, from Denmark and Iceland, in June 2014.
Þingvellir, or Thingvellir, is the site of Iceland’s original parliament, or thing, which met here from 930 BCE to 1798. The site has been on the UNESCO list since 2004. The name literally means “assembly fields,” as in, the fields where people would assemble and make decisions. Christianity was adopted by the parliament here in the year 1000.
The stamp shows the Kviarjokull glacier.
Second is the Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark. This cathedral is the royal burial place for the Danish monarchs since the 15th century. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is notable for being built of bricks. This is one of the earliest examples of Scandinavian Gothic architecture built in brick, and encouraged the spread of the brick Gothic style.
This card was sent from Denmark with some neat Danish stamps.
Today is Friday here! We made it through another week. Today I have cards, a haiku, a song, and some story to share with you.
Cards first…. the card of the Great Buddha in Kamakura, Japan, comes from a private Postcrossing swap with Shiki in Russia. This card was sent in May 2014. Shiki includes a lovely Japanese haiku on the card:
holding an umbrella, and looking
at the picture books in the shop
I have actually been to the Great Buddha, on a school trip to Japan I took in 2008. We were in Japan for nearly a month but that trip was still far too short. Looking back, I feel like I did not pay nearly enough attention to all the amazing places we visited! I remember mostly very silly and random things we did: going to a Denny’s with my host family (it was not like the American Denny’s, all the food was Japanese), subway ads for a ridiculously large McDonald’s hamburger, eating hardboiled eggs cooked in the sulfurous hot springs at Owakudani (the shells were completely black, the egg delicious), and going inside the Buddha at Kamakura.
And the second card, showing the Kumanokodo, a pilgrimage route to the Kumano Sanzan temples, a set of three Shinto shrines in the Kii Mountains. The temples and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountains are protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This one comes from a private swap with Momoko in Japan, dated June 7, 2014. Momoko used nice stamps on this one.
Sometime around the time I visited Japan (I’m not sure if it was before or after that trip), I learned about the 88 Temple pilgrimage route on the island of Shikoku. For many months I was fascinated by the idea of walking this route someday. I was about 17 years old and therefore felt invincible, as teenagers do. The complete walk is 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) and takes 30 to 60 days.
Oddly, I am probably in better shape to do that walk now than I was when I first learned of it. At the time I lived in a suburb of a very pedestrian-unfriendly city, and we drove everywhere. Now I have lived in Portland permanently for 6 years, and though we have a car, in the last two years I have come to really enjoy taking my time to walk to various places around town. It makes my city seem so much smaller and friendlier to know that I can walk to my friends’ apartment across the river, to work, to the store, to the rock climbing gym across town. (We will, for purposes of this story, ignore the time I was hit by a car. I am fine. Let’s never speak of it again.)
Since our stay-at-home order has been in effect, we are walking more and more. Car traffic is down considerably, so we can walk places that it would otherwise be somewhat unpleasant to walk, because they are too close to busy roads. And when there are no restaurants, bars, museums, or anything else open, walking is one of the few things you can do. Two weekends ago I met a friend and we walked down to Sellwood (a neighborhood south of Portland) and back, about a 9.5 mile walk (15.3 km). We have plans to walk more than 10 miles this weekend, though we haven’t decided where we will walk yet.
Finally, I promised you a song today, and here it is: Love Letter to Japan by The Bird and the Bee. Although I only recently discovered this artist, this song was apparently released around the time I visited Japan.
Hope you are staying well with good music and somewhere you can safely roam, sufficiently far away from other people.
Today I have a third UNESCO site for you, Miguasha National Park, in Quebec, Canada. This one comes from a Postcrossing forum swap with Jason, who writes from his parents’ farm 7 hours west of Ottawa. The card is dated May 18, 2014.
This park is on the UNESCO list for its well-preserved and numerous fossils.
I’ll keep up the UNESCO theme from yesterday with today’s card, depicting the Western Caucasus region in Russia, north of the Black Sea. This card comes via a private Postcrossing forum swap with Anastasia in Russia.
This area is significant as one of the few mountain areas in Europe that hasn’t been disturbed much by humans. I think I can see from this postcard why that is – it looks very steep!
I can’t make out the postmark on this one, but I think it was sent sometime in 2013 or 2014. The sender used some neat stamps, too.
Welcome back for another installment of quarantine-cards. Today I have a card showing the UNESCO Heritage site of Willandra Lakes, in Australia.
This card comes from Elena in a private Postcrossing forum swap, and is dated June 9, 2014.
Willandra Lakes is a UNESCO site under both cultural and natural criteria. It has been a heritage site since 1981. This area is one of the oldest known sites of human occupation in Australia, with people living there as long as 40,000 years ago.
Today is Waitangi Day, one of New Zealand’s national holidays, so I have some New Zealand cards to share with you.
First is this view of Mount Ngauruhoe in Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s UNESCO sites. The sign warns of kiwi birds, a flightless bird endemic to New Zealand and one of the country’s national symbols.
And second, a map for my national maps collection. New Zealand has two main islands: the smaller but more populated North Island, and the larger but more remote South Island.
Both of these cards came from Amy in Wellington, via the Postcrossing forum. She used this stamp on the envelope:
The stamp shows Lake Rotorua.
As I mentioned, today is Waitangi Day, which commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The treaty made New Zealand part of the British Empire.
Today is Finland’s Independence Day, so I’m sharing some UNESCO sites from Finland that I received a while ago.
First is the Verla Board Mill, a factory founded in the 1870s. There was also a nearby ironworks. The mill produced high quality cardboard and the ironworks were used until 1964. The site became a UNESCO site in 1996.
Next is the seafortress of Suomenlinna, near the capital, Helsinki. Suomenlinna means “castle of Finland,” the fort is also known as Sveaborg in Swedish. The Swedish began building the fort in 1748 to protect against Russian forces, but Russian occupied Finland anyway in 1809.
Finally, the old wooden center of the city of Rauma, a coastal town north of Turku. Rauma is one of the oldest harbors in Finland, dating from at least 1441. It was made a UNESCO site in 1991 because the wooden houses are well-preserved examples of an old Nordic city.
These cards all came from Taru T. on the Postcrossing forum. Here are the stamps.
This stamp didn’t actually come on the cards. It came on another envelope from Finland, but I’m not sure who sent it or what cards were inside. They are some interesting ones, though, so I decided to share them now.
This is the Europa stamp from Finland for 2011.
This stamp from 2002 shows juniper berries.
And this stamp from 2006 came on the Suomenlinna card and depicts the fort.
Thanks, Taru T! And Happy Finnish Independence Day!
Today I have three new-to-me UNESCO site cards, one from Wales, one from Spain, and one from Switzerland.
First is one of the cave paintings in the Altamira Cave in Spain. The paintings were made during the Upper Paleolithic, 18 to 14 thousand years ago. The caves were discovered in 1880, the first such discovery of prehistoric cave paintings. The cave was declared a UNESCO site in 1985.
Next is the Lavaux Vineyard landscape in Switzerland. People have been growing wine grapes on these terraces on the shores of Lake Geneva since the 11th century. The terraces are protected from development by the Swiss government, and since 2007 have been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.
This card was sent by dannyozzy on the Postcrossing forum in late January, 2013.
And finally, the Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Wales. The aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee Valley and is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain. It is 307 meters (1,007 feet) long and 38 meters (126 feet) tall. The canal was completed in 1805 and listed as World Heritage Site in 2009.
Here are the stamps:
Apparently, today is Reptile Awareness Day, dedicated to raising awareness of reptiles and their habitats and conservation efforts. To celebrate, I have a reptile postcard from Postcrossing forum member xJuul in the Netherlands:
The card shows many kinds of reptiles: frogs, snakes, toads, and salamanders. In English the names are: 1) sand lizard; 2) viviparous lizard; 3) green frog; 4) marsh frog; 5) natterjack toad; 6) tree frog; 7) pool frog: 8) brown frog; 9) moor frog; 10) common toad; 11) yellow-bellied toad; 12) fire salamander; 13) Alpine salamander; 14) fin-footed salamander; 15) newt; 16) great crested newt; 17) midwife toad; 18) slow-worm; 19) ring snake; 20) viper.
My favorite kind of reptile isn’t here though: turtles or tortoises.
And on the stamp, a fox, which is not a reptile.
As a bonus, here are two just-arrived postcards from Komodo Island National Park in Indonesia, home of the world’s largest lizards, the Komodo dragon:
Both of these cards came from Jennifer in Indonesia. Thanks, Jennifer!