Saturday, May 26, 2012

France III

Partly built starting in 1145, and then reconstructed over a 26-year period after the fire of 1194, Chartres Cathedral marks the high point of French Gothic art. What makes the cathedral special from an artistic viewpoint is its exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. 

Chartres Cathedral is a way station on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella, with many pilgrims coming to venerate the Cathedral's famous relic, the Sancta Camisa, said to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ's birth, as well as large numbers of secular tourists who come to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Definitive Mariane in Europe stamp and commemorative stamp for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry featuring Marie Curie, a French-Polish physicist and chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes, in physics and chemistry, and was the the first woman to be interred on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.


Aerial view of the coastal town of Budva, the centre of Montenegro's tourism industry, and is well known for its sandy beaches, nightlife, and examples of Mediterranean architecture. Budva is 3,500 years old, making it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic sea coast, and was part of the Venetian Republic until 1797, fortified by powerful Venetian walls against Ottoman conquests.

Thanks to Ivana for swapping cards.

A rudimentary and rather bland postage label. Not generally my favourite thing to see on a beautiful postcard, though I understand that post offices or postal authorities sometimes don't even go to the "bother" of having real stamps any more. Pity. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hong Kong II

Peak Tram trundles past a view of the Hong Kong skyline on its ascent to Victoria Peak. It was opened in 1888 and was the first such funicular railway in Asia and greatly accelerated the development of Hong Kong Island away from the crowded lower levels close to the harbour.

Two stamps from a 2006 set of Hong Kong birds featuring a common kingfisher and a little egret.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

France II

Eiffel Tower seen from the Seine River, part of the "Paris, Banks of the Seine" World Heritage site. Built for the 1889 World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower doesn't really need much of an introduction. Interestingly, however,  it caused widespread outcry at the time of its construction, with many people calling it an eyesore. Although hard to believe nowadays, when I learned that it was originally painted yellow and sported ads for Michelin tires, I can understand why people might not have been that keen on it at the time.

Definitive rate stamp featuring France's national symbol, Mariane, with the stars of the European Union, and a commemorative stamp featuring the city of Colmar in Alsace. It is considered the capital of Alsatian wine and is also the hometown of Frédéric Bartholdi, designer of the Statue of Liberty.

And a special congratulations to collector SL who just received a card from Sierra Leone, surely one of the most difficult countries from which to receive a card. Way to go!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Canada – British Colombia III

The British Columbia Parliament Buildings, located in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, British Colombia. The buildings, opened in 1989, face the Inner Harbour and sit across from the famous Empress Hotel. A statue of the city's namesake Queen Victoria stands on the front lawn and atop the central dome is a gold-covered statue of the island's namesake Captain George Vancouver.

In stark contrast to a previous post about Switzerland's elegant cancellation mark, here permanent rate stamps commemorating the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and Paralympics are cancelled with a ballpoint pen scrawl. Très déclassé...

Lebanon II

Night view of the Pigeon Rocks, which sit in the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Beirut's cliff-side Corniche Road. The shores near the Pigeon Rocks have yielded the area's oldest evidence of human existence, with flints and basic stone tools dating, in some cases, as far back as a million years ago.

Thanks again to Hicham for send me another Lebanon card! :-)

Previously featured stamp of Fayrouz, a Lebanese singer who is widely considered to be the most famous living singer in the Arab World.


Time magazine cover from 1955 about Chiang Kai-Shek (蔣介石) leader of China from 1930 to 1949. After the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, Chiang and members of his party retreated to Taiwan, where he continued to serve as leader until his death in 1975.

Thanks to Charles, who was visiting Taiwan!

Stamp depicting jujube, a popular fruit eaten throughout Asia. Dried fruits are often used to make certain varieties of Chinese tea and in the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, the jujube was often placed in the newlyweds' bedroom as a good luck charm for fertility.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Limmat River bisecting Old Zürich and flowing into Lake Zürich beyond. Zürich is the is the largest city in Switzerland, although not its capital, which is Berne. It is quite a pretty and charming city, but is also insanely expensive – I spent €18 to buy a kebab when I visited two years ago!

Stamp showing sheep and a very charming cancellation stamp that some countries (I'm talking to you, Canada Post) would do well to emulate.