Thursday, October 31, 2013

United States of America – California II

A postcard of loggers and a California redwood tree; must be a rather old photo too as redwood have been protected species for a long time. Giant redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens, are very tall, long-lived trees that can grow more than a hundred metres high and live more than 1,000 years. In the past they were distributed across most of coastal California, although they were heavily logged (as seen in the postcard photo) from the 1850s with the arrival of European goldminers and pioneers. It's estimated that as little as 5% of the original old-growth redwood forest remains, almost half of which is protected in Redwood National and State Parks, a UNESCO World Heritage site and part of the California Coastal Ranges Biosphere Reserve.

Thanks to friends David and Cormac who were on a road trip holiday!

This is the first American international rate "Forever" stamp in my collection. It's pretty dull, if you ask me. Everyone is probably already bored to death of it and I won't go to the bother of uploading any future copies I receive. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Finland II

A card showing the lightship Helsinki in the foreground, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. A "lightship" is a ship whose function was to serve as a lighthouse in places were it would be impractical to build a conventional lighthouse, in this case outside Helsinki Harbour. It was in active service until 1959 when modern technology made it obsolete. Having survived a German attack in World War Two, it now serves as a maritime museum. In the background is the Finnish Presidential Palace, which was previously the Imperial Palace of the Tsar, back when Finland was a grand duchy of the Russian Empire. 

This card is something of a rarity: a non-Postcrossing card from Finland! ;-) Many thanks and merci to my friend, Étienne, who was on holiday in Helsinki.

Stamp from a set of three issued this year featuring popular Finnish berries, in this case redcurrants, Ribes rubrum.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wallis and Futuna

The last of David's cards from his South Pacific travels, with my sincere thanks to him for crossing so many hard-to-get countries off my list. You can check out his blog here. This card is from the small French territory of Wallis and Futuna and shows a traditional kava ceremony. Kava, a small shrubby plant, is used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes throughout the Pacific. Most commonly, the roots are pounded into a beverage that is said to produce relaxation, mental clarity, and mild euphoria.

The stamp on the left was issued in 2012 and is entitled Poetry of the Ocean. The stamp on the right was issued this year and celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the first court session held in Wallis and Futuna.