Monday, October 29, 2012

United States of America – New York IV

Postcard of Boldt Castle in the picturesque Thousand Islands region of the Saint Lawrence separating New York state from Ontario. The Castle was built by wealthy hotelier, George Boldt, at the start of the 1900s. The lavish contrustion was not to be outdone by it's boathouse on the island opposite, which has doors 20 metres high to allow his yachts to enter with mast standing.

Postcard sent from across the river in Canada. Previously featured stamp on the left of blue-flag irises from 2004 series on flowers and a 2006 stamp from a set of two featuring the Snowbirds, the Royal Canadian Air Force's air show flight demonstration team. Stamps were cancelled by hand instead of Canada Post's usual, unlovely dot matrix printer cancellation – a nice added bonus!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Postcard of mediaeval Häme Castle in Hämeenlinna, in south central Finland. The castle was built sometime in the thirteenth or fourteenth century during a period of warfare between Sweden and Russia although the exact construction dates are unknown. It is now a museum. Hämeenlinna is also the birthplace of famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

Stamp representing the strong maritime tradition of Nordic nations.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Postcard of Ganvié village in southern Benin. The village is built on stilts over Lake Nokoué and was originally built this way because the religion of slave-traders in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries forbade their warriors from entering the water, thereby making the lagoon safe territory for other tribes. It is the largest stilt village in Africa and is on Benin's Tentative List for World Heritage.

Stamps featuring the white-throated guenon, Cercopithecus erythrogaster, an endangered primate that lives in rainforests and tropical areas of Benin and Nigeria.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Postcard showing Government House in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku. Construction began of the waterfront building in 1936 to house a number of ministries of the Azerbaijan SSR and was renovated in 2006 following the independence of Azerbaijan.

Stamp featuring the mediaeval fortifications of Shusha, a town in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in western Azerbaijan.

Canada – Quebec II

Postcard featuring Quebec City's famous Château Frontenac Hotel, built in 1893 as part of a series of "château" style hotels for the Canadian Pacific Railway company to promote luxury tourism by appealing to wealthy travellers. The hotel was host to the highly secret 1943 Quebec Conference held to coordinate strategy during World War II between the British, Canadian and United States governments, and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980.

Many thanks to Paul who was visiting.

Permanent rate self-adhesive stamps, on left from definitive series on baby animals, here the Arctic hare, Lepus arcticus, and on the right from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guernsey II

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Certainly the motto, I think, of all "every country" collectors. After many attempts and a card bought in Guernsey but sent from England, I'm finally able to cross this Channel Island off my list, with my deepest thanks to Monica, who helped make it happen.

Card shows the Sarnian (as things from Guernsey are called) Little Chapel in Vauxbelets in the centre of the island. Originally built in 1914 and then reconstructed several times, it is thought to be the smallest chapel in the world, with room for just one priest and two parishioners!

Left stamp commemorating the naval alliance between England and Sweden against Napoleon's forces. Right stamp features the European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Canada – British Colombia IV

Lovely postcard of Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island. The park preserves old-growth forests and, with over 3,000 mm of rain each year, is one of the wettest places in Canada. The consistent waves breaking here have made Long Beach one of Canada's most popular surfing destinations.

Definitive, self-adhesive stamp of blue-flag irises from a 2004 series on flowers and 2011 international rate Christmas stamp, both somewhat hidden behind a double cancellation from Port Alberni, hometown of my dad and Pamela Anderson. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Multiview postcard of Serbia's capital city, Belgrade. A postcard from Serbia eluded me for quite some time, so I am very thankful to Ana who helped cross one off my list and get that little bit closer to the finish line.

The central panel shows the Statue of the Victor, a symbol of the city erected in 1928 to commemorate Serbia's victories over the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires.

Left stamp is from the 2007 definitive series on flora. Stamp on the right is from "Joy of Europe" series honouring the eponymous event that brings together European children aged 7 to 15 to promote friendship, unity, and cultural exchange.

Monday, October 15, 2012

United States of America – California

View down Market Street to the San Francisco city centre, with the Bay Bridge on the right and Oakland in the distance across San Francisco Bay. The bay, although being one of the largest on the Pacific side of the Americas, is surprisingly shallow, with an average depth of only about four metres -- not much deeper than an Olympic swimming pool!

Previously featured international rate stamp of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, centre of Amish culture in the United States and setting for the movie Witness, featuring a young Harrison Ford, which I recently saw on a plane journey.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bosnia and Herzegovina – BH Pošta

Postcard showing the famous Stari Most (Old Bridge) in the historic city of Mostar in southern Bosnia. The bridge was built by the Ottomans in the sixteenth century, but was sadly destroyed by shelling in 1993 during the Bosnian War. While the perpetrators claimed that the bridge was of strategic importance, others argue that the bridge held little strategic value and that its shelling was an example of deliberate cultural property destruction, act of "killing memory", in which evidence of a shared cultural heritage and peaceful co-existence were deliberately destroyed.

Plans were put in place immediately following the War to reconstruct the bridge as closely as possible to the original, using Ottoman techniques and even stones from the original bridge that were recovered by divers from the river. It reopened following a three-year reconstruction in 2004. Now a World Heritage site, the  reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar serve as a symbol of reconciliation, international cooperation and of the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.

Stamp of carrots from the 2006 definitive series featuring vegetables. A bit annoyingly for us collectors, Bosnia and Herzegovina actually has three separate postal systems! I imagine there must be a reason for this, a relic of the post-War period, no doubt, but it does mean some extra leg-work for us.  Stamps here are from BH Pošta. I know I have a card send using Srpske Pošte (from the Serbian administration) somewhere else in my collection. That leaves me with just Hrvatska Pošta Mostar (Croatian administration) left to collect.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Hello and Happy World Post Day! What, you may ask, is World Post Day? World Post Day is celebrated every year on 9 October, to commemorate the foundation of Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in the Swiss capital, Bern. The purpose of the Day is to create awareness of the role of the postal sector in the daily lives of people and business, and its contribution to the social and economic development of countries.

In honour of World Post Day, a postcard showing Mount Everest in Nepal, part of the Sagarmatha National Park World Heritage site. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mount Everest and its national park contains seven other of the world's highest peaks. The park is also home to several rare animals, including the snow leopard and the red panda, as well as the celebrated, mountaineering Sherpa people.

Many thanks to Vishal who sent it!

Stamp on the left commemorates Ramesh Kumar Mahato, a martyr for the Madhesh Movement which seeks an end to the discrimination faced by ethnic Indians who migrated to Nepal. Stamp on the right commemorates the celebrated Nepali musician, Yagyaraj Sharma Arjyal.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Soviet Union

Another card from the archives. When I was young, my dad went on a business trip to several Eastern Bloc countries, sending me postcards as he went. Back in the old days, anything from behind the Iron Curtain seemed terrifically exotic, and these onion-domed spires seemed more fairytale than real. To hold a piece of something so faraway was magical to young me. It prompted me to declare that I would collect a postcard from every country in the world, not realising how many countries there were (and today there are even more!). Now, more than twenty years on, I'm still at it and, at last count with 114 countries and postal entities left to go, still rather a ways from reaching the goal. But, as they say, getting there is certainly half the fun!:-)

A very special thanks to my Dad for launching me into this amazing quest.

Stamp on the left from the 1988 definitive series features a statue of Mercury in promotion of international trade cooperation. Four kopek stamp from the same series printed as a postage paid part of the postcard shows Spassky Tower and Lenin's tomb in Red Square, Moscow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Woohoo! Always extra-thrilled to add a new country to the collection, and doubly exciting because it's also a World Heritage site! Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town is the historic centre of Harar city in eastern Ethiopia. For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, linked by trade routes through the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The walled city blends African and Islamic traditions, contributing to its unique urban character. Seen here is Feres Magala Square, or Horse Market, in a rainy season downpour.

Very special thanks to my friend Cat for this new country addition!

Stamps representing Menelik's Bushback, Tragelaphus seriptus meneliki, an endemic deer-like animal that lives in Ethiopia's highland forests. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Papua New Guinea

New country WOOT! Card show the Huli wigmen who live in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and are famous for creating ornate headdresses crafted of feathers, ornamental items and their own shorn hair woven into elaborate wigs.

Big, heartfelt thanks to friend Ed who is in Papua New Guinea doing development work for one year. Check out his blog here.

Stamp commemorating celebrated local artist Philip Yobale.