30 Nov 2010

Cover from Latvia

Many thanks to Juris for this beautiful cover from Latvia!

29 Nov 2010

Tramcar in Kolkata

A tramcar is a railborne vehicle which—at least in parts of its route—runs on tracks in streets. It may also run between cities and/or towns (interurbans, Tram-train), and/or partially grade separated even in the cities (light rail or light rapid transit). Trams are usually lighter and shorter than conventional trains and rapid transit trains. However, the differences between these modes of public transportation are blurring. Some trams (for instance Tram-Trains) may also run on ordinary railway tracks, a tramway may be upgraded to a light rail or a rapid transit line, two urban tramways may be united to an interurban, etc. Trams are designed for the transport of passengers and (very occasionally) freight. Most trams today use electrical power, usually fed by a pantograph; in some cases by a third rail or trolley pole. If necessary, they may have several power systems. Certain types of cable car are also known as trams. Another power source is diesel; a few trams use electricity in the streets and diesel in more rural environments. Also steam and petrol (gasoline) have been used. Horse and mule driven trams do still occur.

Since 1980 trams have returned to favour in many places, partly because their tendency to dominate the highway, formerly seen as a disadvantage, is now considered to be a merit. New systems have been built in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, France and many other countries. Tramways are now included in the wider term "light rail", which also includes segregated systems. Some systems have both segregated and street-running sections, but are usually then referred to as trams, because it is the equipment for street-running which tends to be the decisive factor. Vehicles on wholly segregated light rail systems are generally called trains, although cases have been known of "trains" built for a segregated system being sold to new owners and becoming "trams".

27 Nov 2010

FDC from Germany: Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world's largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event.

The Munich Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1994, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3 (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the first Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. In 2010, the festival lasts until the first Monday in October, to mark the 200-year anniversary of the event. The festival is held in an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called Wiesn for short, located near Munich's centre. Visitors eat large amounts of traditional fare such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

26 Nov 2010

Wast Water

Wast Water or Wastwater is a lake in the Lake District National Park, England. The lake is approximately 4.6 kilometres (almost 3 miles) long and 600 metres (more than a third of a mile) wide, and is located in the Wasdale Valley. It is the deepest lake in England at 79 metres (258 feet), and is owned by the National Trust. It is one of the finest examples of a glacially 'over-deepened' valley. The surface of the lake is about 200 feet above sea level, while its bottom is over 50 feet below sea level.

The name of the lake and its valley is pronounced as in was, not with a hard a. The lake is named "Wast Water" on Ordnance Survey maps, but the spelling "Wastwater" is used with roughly equal frequency, including by its owner, the National Trust, along with the Cumbria Tourist Board, and the Lake District National Park Authority. The steep slopes on the south eastern side of the lake, leading up to the summits of Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, are known as the "Wastwater Screes" or on some maps as "The Screes". These screes formed as a result of ice and weathering erosion on the rocks of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, that form the fells to the east of the lake, towards Eskdale. They are approximately 2,000 feet, from top to base, the base being about 200 feet below the surface of the lake.

The head of the Wasdale Valley is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in England, including Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Lingmell. Wast Water is the source of the River Irt which flows into the Irish Sea near Ravenglass. A popular path runs the length of the lake, through the boulders and scree fall at the base of this craggy fell-side. On the north western side are the cliffs of Buckbarrow (a part of Seatallan) and the upturned-boat shape of Yewbarrow.

25 Nov 2010

Kraków, Poland

Kraków, also spelled Krakow or Cracow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Its historic centre was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites as the first of its kind. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic centres. It was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596; the capital of the Grand Duchy of Kraków from 1846 to 1918; and the capital of Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1999. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.

The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading center of Slavonic Europe in 965. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic center. After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, Kraków was turned into the capital of Germany's General Government. The Jewish population of the city was moved into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to extermination camps such as Auschwitz and the concentration camp at Płaszów.

In 1978—the same year UNESCO placed Kraków on the list of World Heritage Sites—Karol Wojtyła, archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first ever Slavic pope.

24 Nov 2010

Cover from France

Many thanks to Mathieu for this nice cover!

23 Nov 2010


The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering.

Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started between 70 and 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitian's reign (81–96). The name "Amphitheatrum Flavium" derives from both Vespasian's and Titus's family name (Flavius, from the gens Flavia). Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

Although in the 21st century it stays partially ruined because of damage caused by devastating earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum.

22 Nov 2010

Two covers from USA

Many thanks to Michael for these two nice covers from USA!

20 Nov 2010

Taipei 101

Taipei 101, also known as the Taipei Financial Center, is a landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building ranked officially as the world's tallest from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010. Taipei 101, designed by C.Y. Lee & partners and constructed primarily by KTRT Joint Venture and numerous subcontractors including Samsung C&T received the 2004 Emporis Skyscraper Award. The tower has served as an icon of modern Taiwan ever since its opening. Fireworks launched from Taipei 101 feature prominently in international New Year's Eve broadcasts and the structure appears frequently in travel literature and international media.

Taipei 101 comprises 101 floors above ground and 5 floors underground. The name of the tower reflects its floor count. The building was architecturally created as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition (see "Symbolism" below.) Its postmodernist approach to style incorporates traditional design elements and gives them modern treatments. The tower is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. A multi-level shopping mall adjoins the tower houses to hundreds of fashionable stores, restaurants and clubs.

19 Nov 2010

Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve from the Arabic word meaning "the west" is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal. It has an area of 5,412 square kilometres with approximately 458,734 permanent inhabitants, and incorporates 16 municipalities. The region coincides with the Faro District, and has as its administrative centre the city of Faro, where both the region's international airport at Faro (FAO) and public university (the University of the Algarve) are located. Tourism and related activities are extensive and make up the bulk of the Algarve's summer economy. Fish, seafood and fruit production, which includes oranges, carob beans, figs and almonds, are other important activities in the region. The Algarve is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal, its population more than doubles in the peak holiday season thanks to a high influx of visitors, and receives an average of 9 million foreign tourists each year. In total, including national visitors, over 12 million people visit the Algarve every year.

18 Nov 2010

FDC from Austria: Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa (26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was a Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

By the 1970s, she was internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary and book Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counselling programs, orphanages, and schools. She has been praised by many individuals, governments and organizations; however, she has also faced a diverse range of criticism. These include objections by various individuals and groups, including Christopher Hitchens, Michael Parenti, Aroup Chatterjee, Vishva Hindu Parishad, against the proselytizing focus of her work including a strong stance against contraception and abortion, a belief in the spiritual goodness of poverty and alleged baptisms of the dying. Medical journals also criticised the standard of medical care in her hospices and concerns were raised about the opaque nature in which donated money was spent. In 2010 on the 100th anniversary of her birth, she was honoured around the world, and her work praised by Indian President Pratibha Patil.

17 Nov 2010

Skógafoss Waterfall

My first card from Iceland!

Skógafoss is a waterfall situated in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline. After the coastline had receded seaward (it is now at a distance of about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from Skógar), the former sea cliffs remained, parallel to the coast over hundreds of kilometres, creating together with some mountains a clear border between the coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland. The Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. A local boy found the chest years later, but was only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. At the eastern side of the waterfall, a hiking and trekking trail leads up to the pass Fimmvörðuháls between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. It goes down to Þórsmörk on the other side and continues as the famous Laugavegur to Landmannalaugar.

16 Nov 2010

Twente, Holland

Twente (or Twenthe) is a non-administrative region in the eastern Netherlands, probably named after the Tuihanti, a tribe that settled in that region in the beginning of our era. Twente contains the most urbanised and easterly part of the province of Overijssel. It's approximately the region bordered by the rivers Regge and Dinkel, the border with Germany and the province Gelderland.

15 Nov 2010

Cover from Macedonia

Many thanks to Ana for this nice cover from Macedonia!

14 Nov 2010

First card from Mauritius

Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres (560 mi) east of Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius Island is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of Réunion 200 km (120 mi) to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues 570 km (350 mi) to the northeast.

Uninhabited by humans until the 17th century, the island was ruled first by the Dutch and then by the French after the former abandoned it. The British took control during the Napoleonic Wars and Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968. Mauritius's area is 2040 km2 with Port Louis for capital. It is a parliamentary republic and is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the African Union, La Francophonie and the Commonwealth of Nations. Mauritius has an upper middle income economy.

The main languages spoken in Mauritius are Mauritian Creole, French and English. English is the only official language but the lingua franca is Mauritian Creole and the newspapers and television programmes are usually in French. In terms of the ethnic composition of the country, the majority are Creole peoples people of African descent.People of indian descent are also an ethnicity. Furthermore Chinese and French minorities can be found on the island. The island of Mauritius is renowned for having been the only known home of the dodo. First sighted by Europeans around 1600 on Mauritius, this bird was an easy prey to settlers due to its weight and inability to fly. It became extinct less than eighty years later.

Many thanks to David for this great card from Mauritius!

13 Nov 2010

Post Office in Shanghai

This post office is quite near to my university, and I always sent registered mails and FDC's there.

12 Nov 2010

Augsburg, Germany

Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria in Germany. It is a College town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a population exceeding 264,000 citizens. After Trier, Augsburg is Germany's second oldest city. Augsburg is the only German city with its own legal holiday, the Peace of Augsburg, celebrated on August 8 of every year. This gives Augsburg more legal holidays than any other region or city in Germany.

10 Nov 2010

Nice, France

Many thanks to Yves for his second card from Nice!

9 Nov 2010

FDC from Korea: IUFRO World Congress

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations, abbreviated IUFRO, is a non-profit, non-governmental international network of forest scientists. The IUFRO unites more than 15,000 scientists in almost 700 Member Organizations in over 110 countries. Scientists cooperate in IUFRO on a voluntary basis. It promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and enhances the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees. It disseminates scientific knowledge to stakeholders and decision-makers and contributes to forest policy and on-the-ground forest management. IUFRO’s vision is of science-based sustainable management of the world’s forest resources for economic, environmental and social benefits.

The IUFRO has defined three major strategic goals for the period from 2006 to 2010:

1) to strengthen research for the benefit of forests and people; 2) to expand strategic partnerships and cooperation; and 3) to strengthen communication and links within the scientific community and with students as well as with policy makers and society at large.

8 Nov 2010

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is the largest city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, the 26th most populous city in the United States and 39th most populous region in the United States. It is the county seat of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. Its estimated 2009 population was 605,014. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 1,739,497 as of 2007. Milwaukee is also the regional center of the seven county Greater Milwaukee Area, with an estimated population of 2,014,032 as of 2008.

The first Europeans to pass through the area were French missionaries and fur traders. In 1818, the French-Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area, and in 1846 Juneau's town combined with two neighboring towns to incorporate as the City of Milwaukee. Large numbers of German and other immigrants helped increase the city's population during the 1840s and the following decades. Once known almost exclusively as a brewing and manufacturing powerhouse, Milwaukee has taken steps in recent years to reshape its image. In the past decade, major new additions to the city have included the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Frontier Airlines Center, Miller Park, an internationally renowned addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Pier Wisconsin, as well as major renovations to the Milwaukee Auditorium. In addition, many new skyscrapers, condos, lofts and apartments have been constructed in neighborhoods on and near the lakefront and riverbanks.

5 Nov 2010

FDC from Croatia: Lighthouses

Many thanks to Bogdan for this wonderful FDC from Croatia! The stamps show three lighouses in this country.

4 Nov 2010

Floating Market

A floating market is a market where merchandise is sold from boats. Originating in times and places where water transport played an important role in daily life, most floating markets operating today mainly serve as tourist attractions, and are chiefly found in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi, Thailand, is one of the most famously known floating markets, and a major tourist destination.

Floating market at Damnoen Saduak is the old traditional way of selling vegatables, fruits,etc from a small boat. The excellent quality soil beside the canal is very fertile and suitable for growing many kinds of fruits and vegetables.The area is famous for Malacca grape, Chinese grapefruit, mangoes, bananas, and coconut. Thai style canoes laden with colourful, succulent fruits, vegetables, sweets and meats, gently ply their way through the canal.

2 Nov 2010

FDC from Macau: Paitings on Church Windows

On the same day, August 30, a minisheet and a stamp were issued by Macau Post. Many thanks to my friend Lai Hongtao, who helped me quite a lot! Now I have both FDC's sent on the first issue day from Macau and Aland!

1 Nov 2010

FDC's from Aland: Paitings on Church Windows

On August 30 Posten Aland issue a minisheet plus a stamp jointly with Macau Post on the theme "Paitings om Church Windows". These two FDC's were sent by registered mail on the first issued from the capital town of Aland Islands, and the register labels were so large that both of them were sticked on the back.