Monday, August 25, 2014

Vatican City II

Postcard of the Vatican City's famous Swiss Guards, who have been defending the country for over 500 years. The Swiss Guard is known for its elaborate ceremonial uniforms, pictured here, which hark back to the Guards' Renaissance origins.

Stamp from a 2007 set of four depicting Pope Benedict XVI on his travels around the world, in this case, Germany, and features the famous towers of the Munich Frauenkirche.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


I was a bit surprised to notice recently that, although I have piles of postcard from China in my collection, I've never gotten around to putting one up here yet! – A situation now rectified with a favourite showing a group of people doing taichi on a famous stretch of Shanghai riverfront known as the Bund. The skyscrapers of Pudong, on the opposite side of river are in the background. When I first visited Shanghai, none of the skyscrapers existed and the view was mostly of farmers' fields and rice paddies. 

Stamp from current definitive series featuring Chinese birds. Pictured is the yellow-bellied tit – a snicker-inducing name if ever there was one – (Periparus venustulus), a common bird in temperate and subtropical forests.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Card showing Shwedagon Pagoda (ရွှေတိဂုံစေတီတော်) in the Burmese city of Rangoon. The pagoda rises 99 metres and is covered in more than 60 tonnes of gold. It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Burma with four Buddha relics enshrined within.

Stamp on the left from the 1974 (!) definitive set featuring ethnic groups in Burma, pictured here a man and woman in traditional Burmese dress. Stamp in the centre from a groovy pop-art-esque 1992 set on musical instruments. Two stamps on the right from a 2010 commemorative set for the 62nd anniversary of Burmese independence showing the national parliament buildings in Naypyidaw.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Postcard from the ancient site of Cyrene, one of the oldest and most important ancient Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times. It was founded in 630 BC, becoming an important centre for philosophy and learning. Cyrene's chief local export through much of its early history was the valuable medicinal herb, silphium, which was in such demand that it was harvested to extinction. This, in conjunction with commercial competition from Carthage and Alexandria, and a series of earthquakes led to the city's decline and abandonment by 400 CE. Many thanks and shukran to friend Shadin who toured Libya on holiday.

Stamp on the right from a set of three about Boy Scouts in Libya. Stamp on the right from a 2001 set of six featuring traditional silver horse harnesses from the Tripoli International Fair.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cayman Islands

Postcard from Hell. This town in the Cayman Islands is thought to be named after the barren limestone rock formations that elicited the reaction, "This is what Hell must look like", when the area was first settled. The area is now a popular tourist spot with Hell-themed souvenirs.

Although the Caribbean is a fairly common winter holiday destination for Canadians, I've actually had quite a difficult time getting Caribbean countries crossed off my list. My many thanks, in this case, to friend Neil for sending this card while in the Cayman Islands for a work project.

Stamp from a 2001 set of three featuring Cayman Brac, the second-largest of the Cayman Islands three main islands. While the other two islands are mostly flat, Cayman Brac features a large limestone escarpment that runs the length of the island that has a number of caves, including Peter's Cave, pictured in this stamp. Also featuring a postmark from Hell.