Monday, May 29, 2017

Maria Laach Abbey - Germany

Both these cards have been sent by Paulo. 

The abbey church of Maria Laach is considered a masterpiece of German Romanesque architecture, with its multiple towers, large westwork with arcaded gallery, and unique west porch.
Maria Laach Abbey is a Benedictine abbey situated on the southwestern shore of the Laacher See (Lake Laach), near Andernach, in the Eifel region of the Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. 

The abbey was known for nearly 770 years as "Abtei Laach" ("Abbatia Lacensis" or "Laach Abbey", meaning the "Lake Abbey") until 1862 when the Jesuits added the name "Maria".
Founded in 1093 as a priory of Affligem Abbey (in modern Belgium) by the first Count Palatine of the Rhine Heinrich II von Laach and his wife Adelheid von Orlamünde-Weimar. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg - Austria

Last month Óscar took his wife Daniela to spend her birthday in Salzburg. For my next brithday someone take me somewhere, please!! 

Bild: Oskar Anrather
The Mirabellgarten was laid out under Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun from 1687 according to plans designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. In its geometrically-arranged gardens are mythology-themed statues dating from 1730 and four groups of sculpture (Aeneas, Hercules, Paris and Pluto), created by Italian sculptor Ottavio Mosto from 1690. It is noted for its boxwood layouts, including a sylvan theater (Heckentheater) designed between 1704 and 1718. An orangery was added in 1725.
The gardens were made accessible to the public under Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. Up to today, it is one of the most popular tourists' attraction in Salzburg. Several scenes from The Sound of Music were filmed here. Maria and the children sing 'Do-Re-Mi' while dancing around the horse fountain and using the steps as a musical scale. - in: wikipedia

Alpine Marmot

The alpine marmot is the mascot of Crans-Montana in Switzerland, where Óscar lives. He has never seen one tough.

The Alpine Marmot is common in the Swiss Alps between 2500 and 10,000 feet in elevation. They are excellent diggers, able to burrow through soil that even a pickaxe would have difficulty with. The marmot is the largest member of the squirrel family. The body mass is lightest in the spring, weighing about 6-7 pounds. By the fall they weigh between 12-18 pounds as they prepare for hibernation. 

Foto © Verlag Schocher Pontresina
Marmots live in an underground burrow or "hotel". The burrow only hosts one family, but are often enlarged by the next generation. They can create very complex burrows over time. Each alpine marmot will live in a group that consists of several burrows, and which has a dominant breeding pair. One can often see an alpine marmot "standing" while they keep a look-out for potential predators or other dangers. Warnings are given, by emitting a series of loud whistles, after which members of the colony may be seen running for cover. Alpine marmots eat plants such as grasses and herbs, as well as grain, insects, spiders and worms. Marmots spend up to nine months per year in hibernation. The mating season for alpine marmots occurs in the spring, right after their hibernation period comes to a close, which gives their offspring the highest possible chance of surviving the coming winter. Alpine marmots are able to breed once they reach an age of two years and have gestation period of 33-34 days. Each litter consists of between one to seven babies, though this number is usually three. The babies are born blind and will grow dark fur within several days. The weaning period takes a further forty days, during which time the mother will leave the young in the burrow while she searches for food. If kept in captivity, alpine marmots can live up to 15-18 years. - in: https://www.alpenwild.com/staticpage/wildlife-in-the-alps/

Torino - Italy

An italian card sent from France by a spanish girl!! 
My penpal Gemma went on a road trip from Barcelona to northern Italy last April. She visited a few nice places, including Torino, the capital of the italian Piedmont region. 

In 1997 a part of the historical center of Torino was inscribed in the World Heritage List under the name Residences of the Royal House of Savoy.
The city has a rich culture and history, and is known for its numerous art galleries, restaurants, churches, palaces, opera houses, piazzas, parks, gardens, theatres, libraries, museums and other venues. Turin is well known for its Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-classical, and Art Nouveau architecture.
Many of Turin's public squares, castles, gardens and elegant palazzi such as Palazzo Madama, were built between the 16th and 18th centuries. This was after the capital of the Duchy of Savoy (later Kingdom of Sardinia) was moved to Turin from Chambery (now in France) as part of the urban expansion. - in: wikipedia

aRos comunicazione
The monuments on the card are:
* The Mole Antonelliana is a major landmark building in Torino. Originally conceived of as a synagogue, it now houses the Museo Nazionale del Cinema;
* The Basilica of Superga holds the tombs of many of the dukes of Savoy, as well as many of the kings of Sardinia;
* Turin Cathedral was built during 1491–98 and is adjacent to an earlier campanile built in 1470;
* Piazza San Carlo was built by Carlo di Castellamonte in the 17th century. In the middle of the square stands the equestrian monument to Emmanuel Philibert. Piazza San Carlo arcades host the most ancient cafés of the city, such as Caffé Torino and Caffé San Carlo. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Taormina - Italy

Beautiful cards from Taormina, a city located on the east coast of Sicily about halfway between Messina and Catania on the Ionian Sea.

 © SIME * ph. Antonino Bartuccio
 Settled on a hill of the Monte Tauro, Taormina dominates two grand, sweeping bays below and on the southern side, the top of Mount Etna, the European highest active volcano, often capped with snow, offering to the visitors a breathtaking, dramatic and memorable view over almost one hundred miles of Mediterranean sea. Taormina really seems to be born as a tourist resort since past times, when ancient people like the Sicels, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Arabs, Normans and Spaniards chose it as their residential site thank to its favourable position, mild climate and magic atmosphere. - in: http://www.taormina.it/introduction

 © SIME * ph. Demetrio Carrasco
Isolla Bella is tiny island located in a small bay on the coast just below Taormina. The island is connected to the mainland by a small and narrow path that depending on the tide may be submerged. The island itself was actually private property up until 1990 when the owners went bankrupt and auctioned the island, which was bought by the Region of Sicily. Since then it has been designated as a nature reserve and is home to numerous species of birds and lizards. - in: https://wanderwisdom.com/travel-destinations/Top-10-Things-Taormina-Sicily

© SIME * ph. Alessandro Saffo
One of the main attractions of the city is the Ancient Theatre. Built for the most part of brick,  is therefore probably of Roman date, though the plan and arrangement are in accordance with those of Greek, rather than Roman, theatres; whence it is supposed that the present structure was rebuilt upon the foundations of an older theatre of the Greek period. With a diameter of 109 metres (358 ft) (after an expansion in the 2nd century), this theatre is the second largest of its kind in Sicily (after that of Syracuse); it is frequently used for operatic and theatrical performances and for concerts. - in: wikipedia

ES-456442

This cute little badger lives in the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park in Spain. I've never seen a badger and this is my 1st card with this cute animal. 

Editora y Distribuidora, El Olivo S. L. L. 
ES-456442, sent by Lisca.
This natural park is located in the eastern and northeastern part of the province of Jaén, Spain, established in 1986. With an area of 2,099.2 square kilometres (810.5 sq mi), it is the largest protected area in Spain and the second largest in Europe. It was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1983 and also a Special Protection Area for migratory birds in 1988. - in: wikipedia

Alcúdia - Spain

Last march Heidi participated in a parabadminton tournament in Mallorca. The results weren't the best but it was a good opportunity to practice and enjoy a few days on this spanish island. 

Tullio Gatti Photo Gallery
The port and holiday resort of Alcudia lies on the north east coast of Mallorca, and is one of the most attractive areas on the island. It is considered as the favorite resort with families. 
Alcudia has a fantastic 10km stretch of soft sandy beach, ideal for all the family and there are plenty of attractions around the resort. 
For the tourist there are clean beaches and quiet calas (bays) near by, as well as peaceful Aucanada pine forests. - in: https://www.spain-holiday.com/Alcudia

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pueblos Blancos - Spain

Andalucía was my 1st option for my holidays last month. Unfortunately I didn't make it and instead of spending a week in southern Spain, I spent a week in southern Portugal, which was also great. 
When searching for ideas of what to visit in Andalucía, I discovered the beautiful Pueblos Blancos, White Towns, which are a series of towns and large villages in the northern part of the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga. Setenil and Olvera, both in the province of Cádiz, were the towns I wanted to visit. 
I didn't get to visit Andalucía but Celina gave me these 2 cards from there. 

© Ediciones A. M. * Fotografia: A. Murillo
Setenil de las Bodegas grew out of a collection of cave dwellings, and many of the present-day dwellings were hewn from rock. Entire rows of whitewashed buildings seem to be submerged under massive rocky overhangs. Setenil de las Bodegas has been settled since the Moorish Almohad period of the 12th century. A legacy of the Islamic heritage, the ruins of a Moorish castle overlook the medieval village. - in: http://www.planetware.com/spain/top-rated-pueblos-blancos-white-villages-of-andalusia-e-zzz-11.htm

© Ediciones A. M. * Fotografia: A. Murillo
Olvera is a small village located in the heart of the Cadiz mountains, Spain. The village’s main monument is the city itself, with its whitewashed houses, steep narrow streets all running up towards the impressive silhouette of its church and castle at the top of the hill.
The hills surrounding Olvera are full of olive tree plantations that provide the best extraction of olive oils in Andalusia. It’s believed that the name of the town is related to the amount of olive trees in the area. - in: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/07/beautiful-white-village-of-olvera-spain.html

La Alberca - Spain

I've discovered and have been to many places thanks to postcards. I've never heard about La Alberca before but because of this postcard I googled it and now I want to go there. The village is not that far from my city, only an hour and a half.
The postcard was a gift from Celina.

© Ediciones A. M. * Fotografia: A. Murillo
La Alberca is a village in the province of Salamanca, autonomous community of Castile and Leon.
In 1940 La Alberca was declared an historic artistic ensemble due to its architecture, typical to the Sierra de Francia. It is part of the network of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain.
Built on granite and wooden columns, the Plaza Mayor de La Alberca features a typical mountain architecture. Its façades are crossed by a series of balconies, illuminated by the luster of whitish lime, maintaining a perfect balance and harmony through the combination of wood and granite.
The originality of its streets, squares and houses is the result of a popular architecture that has been maintained throughout the centuries.

São João Baptista Fortress - Terceira Island

This year the Europa stamps have a wonderful theme, castles. One of the portuguese stamps depicts São João Baptista Fortress in Angra do Heroísmo, on Terceira island, Azores. Lurdes, who lives on the island, sent a few cards of the fortress with the matching stamp. 

This military monument of big dimensions is located on the Brasil Mount, an ancient extinct volcano that forms a small peninsula on the south coast of the town, and two lovely bays (Angra and Fanal). The Fortress would have been part of a set of fortifications built for the protection of the rich Angra do Heroísmo coast. 

© Grafipost - Editores e Artes Gráficas, Lda
Built over the Spanish occupancy of the territory (1580-1640) the forts were built in order to protect the coast from the aggressive Pirate attacks and also for the Spanish troops barracks. 
Angra do Heroísmo was by then a very important town for the international trading, as it was situated in a strategic point in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and provided a very good port. 
The construction of the Fortress began in 1593, and here were lodged the Spanish troops for eleven months when the Portuguese Restoration happened. 
Already in the 20th century, during the Dictatorship period, the Fortress was used as a Political Prison. 
The São João Baptista Fortress has a defensive wall area of about 4 km long, surrounding the Brasil Mount, housing in its interior the São João Baptista Church, the Santa Catarina Chapel and the Governor Palace , and is even considered to be the biggest fortress built by Spain in the world. - in: https://www.guiadacidade.pt/en/poi-fortaleza-de-sao-joao-baptista-18599

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Angra do Heroísmo - Portugal

Nice views from Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira island, Azores. The 1st card arrived yesterday and it was sent by Lurdes, the 2nd was sent by Luís two years ago. 

Both these cards show nices views of Angra do Heroísmo with Monte Brasil in the background. 
Monte Brasil is an extinct volcano that emerged from the sea to join the city of Angra do Heroísmo. It is a protected landscape and the city's natural park. Monte Brasil has excellent viewpoints and tree and shrub species that are of special interest. - in: http://en.artazores.com/terceira/visita.php

I've been to the Terceira island in 2012 and this was pretty much the view I had from my hotel room in Angra do Heroísmo. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Caretos of Podence - Portugal

I must say I really like this postcard. I bought it a few times and I've it now, written and stamped sent by Ana Rita.
There are very different carnivals all around the world, with more or less tradition, with masks or almost no clothes. In Podence, a village in the county of Macedo de Cavaleiros, in northern Portugal, Fat Sunday and Carnival day are the entire responsibility of the Caretos. These magical creatures who wear masks and exuberant costumes, invade the streets of the village, run, jump, dance and chase single girls.

Forways Lda
Nowadays they are a tourist attraction but the tradition was in danger of being lost in the 60s, because of the colonial war and the immigration. Fortunately, the tradition is still alive.
According to the official web site of the Caretos de Podence, the Caretos use rudimentary masks, whith a pointy nose, made of leather, wood or ordinary brass, painted in red, black, yellow or green. 
Color is one of the most visible attributes of their garments: bedspreads fringed with red, green and yellow wool, with waist-rattled straps and bell-bottomed bollards. They also use a stick to help them running and jumping.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Schist Villages - Portugal

The 27 villages spread across the Lousã and Açor ranges, and quite close to Serra da Estrela, are called schist villages because this is the stone used in the construction of houses and is abundant in the region. The various shades of this rock, also used for paving the narrow winding streets, mingle seamlessly into the colours of the natural landscape. - in: https://www.visitportugal.com/en/node/73752

I've to confess that I don't know much about these 27 villages and I've only been to one of them. 

Foto: Danilo Pavone
The village of Pena has a clear water stream with the same name which brings it to life. Used for baths and watering, this stream also offers you the pleasure of enjoying waterfalls and lakes, surrounded by green landscape among which you will discover one-hundred-year-old chestnuts which are a part of this place’s natural heritage. Surrounded by the Góis Rocks, this is a privileged place to take the routes that, through more or less winding paths, take you exploring Serra da Lousã. - in: http://www.centerofportugal.com/pena/

Foto: Rui Martins
 Água Formosa (Fair Water) received its name because of the pure liquid which streams out of its fountain and is as relaxing as the fade sound of the water flow. That is why it has been attracting so many people who are running away from the stress in the city find their haven here. Thanks to the recovery works in the village, clearly visible on the pedestrian bridge over the Galega Stream, the number of residents has been increasing. Orchards grow and stone houses come to life with everyday life sounds. It is worth your while to take a visit and feel the warmth of the neighbours and a certain feeling of hope in the air in this sunny slope ten kilometres away from the Portuguese Geodesic Centre. - in: http://www.centerofportugal.com/agua-formosa/

Foto: Danilo Pavone
 Aigra Nova is a privileged meeting point for those who wish to know what is best done in recovering memories, traditions and heritage at Serra da Lousã. - in: http://www.centerofportugal.com/aigra-nova/

Foto: Danilo Pavone
Benfita is one of the "white villages" of the Schist Villages Network. This is the only village in the world that exalts peace with a tower, a bell and a clock. The bell tower of this "white village" celebrates the end of World War II with 1620 hits every May 7. 

Foto: Danilo Pavone
 In Gondramaz, schist has its own unique color, as if it wants to highlight the unique personality of its inhabitants. With its remodelled buildings, according to the Schist Villages network plan, Gondramaz is now the home for recognized international plastic artists. 
It is a pleasure to stroll through the streets where everything is made out of schist and the floor you step on is a true work of art. - in: http://www.centerofportugal.com/gondramaz/

Monday, May 8, 2017

Our Lady of Mó Chapel, Arouca - Portugal

As I already said many times before, I like churches, from the big cathedrals to the smaller chapels, of any religion and I liked this super cute and chapel, located 7 kms from Arouca.

Fotografia: Filomeno Silva
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Mó (millstone), of very characteristic contours, is presumed to date back to the 16th century.
Legend has it that the chapel was erected in honor of Our Lady who saved a Christian from the slavery of the Moors. Trapped inside a box, with a millstone on top, he used the knots of the rope to pray, achieving his freedom.

Crato Castle - Portugal

I already been to Crato area but did not know that there was a castle there. In fact, today it resembles more like a fort than a castle. Anyway, this is a new castle in my collection.
This was one of many postcards sent by Paulo.

Fotografia: Raul Ladeira
The castle of Crato dates from the 13th century and is situated at the highest point of the village. It was donated in the thirteenth century to the Order of the Hospital. In 1330, the Town of Crato was head of the Order of Malta, and in century XV the reconstruction of the castle and edification of the urban fence was carried out. In century XVII it underwent a great alteration, when it gained the fort like features and endowed platforms for the installation of artillery. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Vila Nova de Milfontes - Portugal

The district of Beja will probably one of my next discoveries in Portuguese lands. I think it's the only district I've never been to. 
Vila Nova de Milfontes is located in the district of Beja, on the north bank of the mouth of the river Mira. It is located in the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina.
This card was sent by my penpal and friend Vera. 

www.edigpostal.com
Vila Nova de Milfontes has been named as the “Alentejo’s Princess”, due to its very own charm and attractiveness. 
This small village is located in the Odemira department, in the Alentejo coastline, and is a fishing village with a strong connection to the ocean, in the estuary of the Mira river, in the heart of the wonderful Sudoeste Alentejano (Alentejo’s Southwest) and Costa Vicentina Natural Park. 
Its wide and beautiful beaches, the crystalline waters and the golden dunes are the region main highlights. 
Contrasting with the beautiful coastline panorama, the inland landscape is markedly known for the typical Alentejo’s plain grounds with cork oak trees, among other species traditional of this region. 
In Vila Nova de Milfontes the discovery of the amazing Mira river estuary is highly recommended, where many centuries ago Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and, of course, Romans and Arabs passed through. 
The mild weather, the charming typical architecture, the Alentejo’s famous delicious gastronomy, among other leisure activities that the region offers, are more that enough features that easily justify an amazing visit to this locality. - in: https://www.guiadacidade.pt/en/poi-vila-nova-de-milfontes-14882

Church of St. Mary of the Castle, Tavira - Portugal

As I said before, I went on holidays to Algarve last week. I've been to many places and Tavira was where I started to explore this portuguese region. It was also in Tavira that I had a mini postcrossing meeting. Well, it wasn't exactly mini, we were 5 postcroossers, me, Tiago, Celina, Paulo & Ana, the postcrossing founders, and Celina's friend. It was a meeting and every meeting has cards to sign. I decided to send myself a card with the Church of St. Mary of the castle. It posting it here with a card that Ninocas sent me 2 years ago. 

© Edição Vistal * Foto © Art & Concept: Gustav A. Wittich
Standing alongside the castle, Tavira's parish church incorporates the minaret of the town's Moorish mosque, remodelled to form the clock tower.

© Edição Vistal Foto * © ART & CONCEPT: Gustav A. Wittich
Inside are the fine 13th-century tombs of seven knights of the crusading Order of Saint James, whose ambush and murder prompted the Christian reconquest of the city. In addition to the fine tilework and gilded alter surrounds, the sacristy has a small museum displaying vestments and chalices. - in: http://www.viva-tavira.com/Igrejas/igrejas_files/001staMaria.htm

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR - March'17

After the March RR I still didn't join this RR again. I don't know if I'll join it again any time soon. 
Anyway, in March I got cards from Czech Republic, Germany, Belarus and France. 

Foto: Ivan Rilich
I had a card of Liberec's Town Hall in my favorites. Radana couldn't find the same card but sent me this one that is even prettier than the other. 
Liberec Town Hall is a large building in the town of Liberec, Czech Republic.
Liberec town hall is a Neo-Renaissance building, which was built from 1888 till 1893 by design of the Viennese architect, Franz Neumann, replacing earlier structures dating to 1602.
The building has a richly decorated façade, integrated artwork, and very rare stained glass windows. Above the entrance portal is a sculptural relief by Viennese sculptor Theodor Friedl, showing the establishment of the old and new town hall. At its center is a female figure symbolizing the city; on the left side, figures associated with the original town hall, and figures associated with the emergence of a new town hall on the right, including the architect Neumann.
The front of the building is a bronze monument in the shape of a tank strip, commemorating nine victims of the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies in August 1968.
The tower is 65 metres tall. Liberec town hall is similar to Vienna town hall. Today Liberec Town Hall is the seat of The Municipal Authority. - in: wikipedia

Foto: Klaus Ender
This cute little wooden chapel is located in Ralswiek, Rügen Island, Germany but it was actually built in Sweden. From there all the pieces were taken to this island and rebuilt there in 1907. 
The card was in my favorites and it was sent by Ina. 

 Photo by Rahmel-Archiv D
I really like when I get cards from places that I've already visited. In this case I've already received this card twice. I got it as an official in 2012 and Stefanie sent me another one.
 I didn't really visited the Stolzenfels Castle but i've seen it in 2011 when I went on a boat trip along the Rhine from Koblenz to Braubach.
Stolzenfels Castle is a castle near Koblenz on the Rhine, Germany.
Finished in 1259, Stolzenfels was used to protect the toll station at the Rhine, where the ships, back then were the main transport for goods, had to stop and pay toll. Over the years it was extended several times, occupied by French and Swedish troops in the Thirty Year’s War and finally, in 1689, destroyed by the French during the Nine Years' War. For 150 years the ruins decayed, until in 1815 they were given as a present to Frederick William IV of Prussia by the city of Koblenz. Following the romantic traditions, the prince started to completely rebuild the castle after 1826 as a summer residence. Supported by famous neoclassic architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the castle was completely remodeled in the then fashionable neo-Gothic style, aiming to create a romantic place representing the idea of medieval knighthood - the architects even created a tournament site. - in: wikipedia

Iconic Minsk Victory Square is both a famous tourist attraction in Belarus and a place of pilgrimage for Belarusians remembering those who died in the Great Patriotic War (World War II)
One of the most important places in Belarus, Minsk Victory Square (ploshchad Pobedy) is dominated by the huge 40m obelisk, a memorial to the country’s war dead.  
Previously known as The Circus, Victory Square was renamed and made into a memorial in 1954 when the obelisk was erected. - in: http://www.belarus.by/en/travel/belarus-life/victory-square
Card sent by Nika.

Éditions VALOIRE - ESTEL - BLOIS
Ulla surprised me with a card from a missing UNESCO site, which, obviously made my day!!
The Champagne wine region is a wine region within the historical province of Champagne in the northeast of France. The area is best known for the production of the sparkling white wine that bears the region's name. - in: wikipedia
Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars are on the UNESCO list since 2015.
The property encompasses sites where the method of producing sparkling wines was developed on the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle since the early 17th century to its early industrialization in the 19th century. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1465

Bijagós Archipelago - Guinea Bissau

I'm back from my holidays and with lots of new cards. Most of them were both in southern Portugal and yesterday I also got a few cards for free in a tourism fair in my city. 
Leninha also went to a tourism fair a few weeks ago, a big one in Lisbon. Next year I want to go there. 

João Vieira and Orango Grande are only 2 of the 88 islands belonging to the Bijagós archipelago in Guinea-Bissau. These islands are part of a protected area, classified by UNESCO in 1996 as a biosphere reserve. This reserve has a diverse fauna that includes, among other species, monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, wading birds, sea turtles and otters.

© Photos: Maurice Ascani
 João Vieira Island together with Poilão Island, form one of the two national parks of this archipelago. These islands are one of the most important breeding sanctuaries of sea turtles.

© Photos: Maurice Ascani
On the island of Orango lies the largest colony of marine hippopotamuses in the world. According to the religious beliefs of the local population, the hippopotamus is a sacred animal, so it can not be killed or injured.