Sunday, 3 February 2019

DE-7723688 Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PA, USA

This postcard from Chrissy (Postcrossing, February 2019) of Frankfurt, Germany shows a night scene of 4 historic locomotives at Steamtown National Historic Site (NHS).

Steamtown NHS is located within a working railroad yard and incorporates the surviving elements of the 1902 DL&W Scranton roundhouse and locomotive repair shops. The visitor centre, theatre, technology and history museums are built in the style of and on the site of the missing portions of the original roundhouse, giving an impression of what the original circular structure was like.

The museum has exhibits about the history and technology of steam railroads in the United States and Pennsylvania, particularly the DL&W; life on the railroad; and the business, labour, and governmental relationships between railroads. 

Many locomotives and freight and passenger cars are on display. Some have open cabs and compartments that visitors can climb in and walk through, including a mail car, railroad executives' passenger car (with dining room and sleeping / lounge areas), a boxcar, two cabooses, and a recreated DL&W station with ticket window. A steam locomotive with cutaway sections helps visitors understand steam power. Part of one of the 1865 roundhouse inspection pits uncovered in archaeological excavations is also preserved in situ, under glass.

AT-415060 Structures / locations in the modernista style located in Barcelona, Catalonia

This postcard from Karin (Postcrossing January 2019) of Austria shows five famous Barcelona structures / locations built in the modernista style. This multi-view postcard shows La Pedrera, Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, Palau de la Música Catalana and Casa Batlló.

I like this postcard because I have visited the first three locations.  Brief notes on all these five famous modernista structures / locations follow.

(1)  Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera or "The stone quarry", a reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance, is a modernist building in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was the last private residence designed by architect Antoni Gaudí and was built between 1906 and 1912.

The building was commissioned in 1906 by Pere Milà  and his wife Roser Segimon. At the time, it was controversial because of its undulating stone facade, twisting wrought iron balconies and designed by Josep Maria Jujol. Several structural innovations include a self-supporting stone façade, and a free-plan floor, underground garage and the spectacular terrace on the roof.

(2)  The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a large unfinished Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). In November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica, as distinct from a cathedral, which must be the seat of a bishop.

In 1882, construction of Sagrada Família started under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. In 1883, when Villar resigned, Gaudí took over as chief architect, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and he is buried in the crypt. At the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, when he was run down by a tram, less than a quarter of the project was complete.

Relying solely on private donations, Sagrada Familia's construction progressed slowly and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War. In July 1936, revolutionaries set light to the crypt and broke their way into the workshop, partially destroying Gaudí's original plans, drawings and plaster models, which led to 16 years work to piece together the fragments of the master model.  Construction resumed to intermittent progress in the 1950s. Since commencing construction in 1882, advancements in technologies such as computer aided design and computerised numerical control (CNC) have enabled faster progress and construction passed the midpoint in 2010. However, some of the project's greatest challenges remain, including the construction of ten more spires, each symbolising an important Biblical figure in the New Testament. It is anticipated that the building can be completed by 2026—the centenary of Gaudí's death.

(3)  Parc Güell  is a public park system composed of gardens and architectonic elements located on Carmel Hill. With urbanization in mind, Eusebi Güell assigned the design of the park to Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism.

Park Güell is the reflection of Gaudí's artistic plenitude, which belongs to his naturalist phase (first decade of the 20th century). During this period, the architect perfected his personal style through inspiration from organic shapes. He put into practice a series of new structural solutions rooted in the analysis of geometry. To that, the Catalan artist adds creative liberty and an imaginative, ornamental creation. Starting from a sort of baroquism, his works acquire a structural richness of forms and volumes, free of the rational rigidity or any sort of classic premises. In the design of Park Güell, Gaudí unleashed all his architectonic genius and put to practice much of his innovative structural solutions that would become the symbol of his organic style and that would culminate in the creation of the Basilica de Sagrada Familia.

(4)  The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall. Designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth).

(7)  Casa Batlló is a building in the centre of Barcelona. It was designed by Antoni Gaudí, and is considered one of his masterpieces. A remodel of a previously built house, it was redesigned in 1904 by Gaudí and has been refurbished several times after that.  The local name for the building is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), as it has a visceral, skeletal organic quality.

Friday, 1 February 2019

US-5783771 Mt Washington Summit Observatory, New Hampshire, USA

This postcard came from DCE (Postcrossing, January 2019)

The Mount Washington Observatory is a private, non-profit scientific and educational institution organised under the laws of the state of New Hampshire. The weather observation station is located on the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The Observatory's mission is to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate, by maintaining its mountaintop weather station, conducting research and educational programs and interpreting the heritage of the Mount Washington region. The first regular meteorological observations on Mount Washington were conducted by the U.S. Signal Service, a precursor of the Weather Bureau, from 1870 to 1892. The Mount Washington station was the first of its kind in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)

DE-7860749 Rapid Transit / Regional Rail Route Map of HVV Hamburg

This great rapid transit / regional rail route map of HVV Hamburg came from Wiebke (Postcrossing, January 2019).

The Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV) (English: "Hamburg Transport Association") is a company coordinating public transport in and around Hamburg, Germany. Its main objectives are to provide a unified fare system, requiring only a single ticket for journeys with transfers between different operating companies, and to facilitate and speed up travel by harmonising the individual companies' schedules. At its inception in 1965, HVV was the first organisation of this kind worldwide.

In 2010 HVV provides rail, bus and ferry transportation for an area of 8,616 square kilometres with approximately 3.6 million inhabitants in the states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. HVV has approximately 1.95 million customers on an average working day.

The HVV organised 27 rapid transit rail lines with a length of 881 km, with the following operators:

AKN Eisenbahn (AKN) 
S-Bahn Hamburg GmbH, part of Deutsche Bahn group, operating the Hamburg S-Bahn
DB Regio AG (Region Niedersachsen/Bremen), part of Deutsche Bahn group
DB Regionalbahn Schleswig-Holstein GmbH (RBSH)
Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser, operating rail and bus services
Hamburger Hochbahn, operating the U-Bahn and many bus services in Hamburg
metronom Eisenbahngesellschaft
NBE nordbahn Eisenbahngesellschaft mbH & Co. KG 
Nord-Ostsee-Bahn GmbH 

Thursday, 31 January 2019

DE-7860332 Peggy's Point Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, Canada

Peggys Point Lighthouse is an active lighthouse and an iconic Canadian image. Located within Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, it is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the province and is a prime attraction on the Lighthouse Trail scenic drive. The lighthouse marks the eastern entrance of St. Margarets Bay.

The classic red-and-white lighthouse is still operated by the Canadian Coast Guard, and is situated on an extensive granite outcrop at Peggys Point, immediately south of the village and its cove.

The first lighthouse at Peggys Cove was built in 1868 and was a wooden house with a beacon on the roof. At sundown the keeper lit a kerosene oil lamp magnified by a reflector (a silver-plated mirror) creating the red beacon light marking the eastern entrance to St. Margarets Bay. That lighthouse was replaced by the current structure, an octagonal lighthouse which was built in 1914. It is made of reinforced concrete but retains the eight-sided shape of earlier generations of wooden light towers. It stands almost 15 metres (49 ft) high. The lighthouse was automated in 1958. Since then, the red light was changed to white light, then to a green light in the late 1970s. Finally to conform to world standards the light was changed to red in 2007.

This postcard came from Yvonne in Germany (Postcrossing, January 2019).

BR-494254 Parrots

Parrots are found in most tropical and subtropical regions. The order is subdivided into three superfamilies: the Psittacoidea ("true" parrots), the Cacatuoidea (cockatoos), and the Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots).  The greatest diversity of parrots is in South America and Australasia.

Characteristic features of parrots include a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed feet. Many parrots are vividly coloured, and some are multi-coloured. Male and female parrots visually look the same.  The most important components of most parrots' diets are seeds, nuts, fruit, buds, and other plant material. A few species sometimes eat animals and carrion, while the lories and lorikeets are specialised for feeding on floral nectar and soft fruits. Almost all parrots nest in tree hollows (or nest boxes in captivity), and lay white eggs from which hatch helpless young.

This postcard of a parrot came from Leandro (Postcrossing, January 2019) of Umuarama, Brazil.

RU-6957163 Nilov Monastery on Lake Seliger, Russia

This postcard came from Anastasia (Postcrossing, January 2019).  It shows Nilov Monastery located in Lake Seliger in Russia.

Nilov Monastery was founded by Saint Nilus in 1594, and used to welcome up to 40,000 pilgrims each year. Most of the buildings of the monastery were built in the 18th and 19th Centuries in a neoclassical style. Today the monastery complex remains one of the most impressive ensembles of Neoclassical architecture in Eastern Europe. Some of its churches date back to the 17th century. A graceful embankment was completed by 1812, and a large cathedral was built in 1821-25. The construction of the causeway to the island was completed in 1812. The Nilov Monastery was one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries in the Russian Empire.

This colour photograph by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was taken in 1909. Sergei documented a great number of Russian heritage sites throughout the Russian Empire. Without his work, the image of this magnificent church would have been lost.

Monday, 14 January 2019

DE-7741333 Nuremberg (Nürnberg) Bavaria, Germany

Nuremberg (Nürnberg) is the second-largest city of the German federal state of Bavaria after its capital of Munich, and its 511,628 (2016) inhabitants make it the 14th largest city of Germany. Nuremberg is the largest city and the unofficial capital of Franconia. 

Nuremberg held great significance during the Nazi Germany era. Because of the city's relevance to the Holy Roman Empire and its position in the centre of Germany, the Nazi Party chose the city to be the site of huge Nazi Party conventions — the Nuremberg rallies. The rallies were held in 1927, 1929 and annually from 1933 through 1938. After Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933 the Nuremberg rallies became huge Nazi propaganda events, a centre of Nazi ideals. After the Second World War, Nuremberg provided the site for the Nuremberg trials which held to account many major Nazi officials for war crimes during the war.

Nuremberg was an early centre of humanism, science, printing, and mechanical invention. It is a major cultural centre.

This postcard came from Chrissi (Postcrossing, January 2019)

Personal Note:  I have visited Nuremberg twice, the last visit was in 2017 - I like especially the Old Town and the beautiful churches within that area. Three stunning churches come to mind : Frauenkirche, St. Lorenz church and St. Sebaldus church. They were super beautiful, both inside and out.  The main purpose of my second visit was to visit the yearly Spielwarenmesse.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

EE-253738 Views of Narva, Estonia

Viktoria who lives in Narva, a border town in the north-east of Estonia, sent me this postcard (Dec 2018).

The postcard shows (1) - the Baltic Sea
(2) Narva Hermann 15th-century Castle. The 51-metre-high Long Hermann tower is its most prominent landmark. 
(3) Great Spotted Woodpecker

Narva is the third largest city in Estonia. It is located at the eastern extreme point of Estonia, at the Russian border, on the Narva River which drains Lake Peipus.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

RU-6924551 Church of our Saviour and the Protection of the Mother of God

This postcard came from Polina in Sochi (December 2018).

The postcard shows the 24-domed Intercession church on the Vytegra River named the Church of our Saviour and the Protection of the Mother of God (Церковь Спасителя и Покрова Пресвятой Богородицы. Вытегорский Погост). The church was built in wood in 1708 and burnt down to the ground by accident in 1963. It has not been restored so far.  

This colour photograph by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was taken in 1909. Sergei documented a great number of Russian heritage sites throughout the Russian Empire. Without his work, the image of this magnificent church would have been lost.

Monday, 17 December 2018

RU-6612333 The Leonardo da Vinci Room in the Old Hermitage

The Old Hermitage is one of several buildings within the State Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg, Russia. The State Hermitage Museum is a museum of art and culture and is the second-largest art museum in the world. It was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings. Originally, the only building housing the collection was the "Small Hermitage". Today, the Hermitage Museum encompasses many buildings on the Palace Embankment and its neighbourhoods. Apart from the Small Hermitage, the museum now also includes the "Old Hermitage" (also called "Large Hermitage"), the "New Hermitage", the "Hermitage Theatre", and the "Winter Palace", the former main residence of the Russian tsars. In recent years, the Hermitage has expanded to the General Staff Building on the Palace Square facing the Winter Palace, and the Menshikov Palace.

This Leornado da Vinci room is in the Old Hermitage. It has with two tiers of windows and it contains two of the museum's masterpieces - two works by one of the greatest Renaissance masters - Leonardo da Vinci. The Benois Madonna, one of the artist's undisputed creations, and The Litta Madonna. When decorating the room in 1858, the architect Andrei Stakenschneider combined light-coloured stucco with colourful stone (porphyry and jasper columns, lapis-lazuli insets in the marble fireplaces) and gilding. The room is further adorned by painted panels and ceiling paintings. The doors are decorated in the Boulle technique with tortoiseshell veneer and gilded brass.

This beautiful postcard was sent by Svetlana (Deember 2018).

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

CZ-1491276 Old Grannies stomping grapes

I received this very nice Inge Löök postcard from Jitka of Czechia (12 December 2018).  It shows the two old grannies stomping grapes in a large vat and as usual, having a lot of fun. Jitza wrote that grapes are widely produced where she lives - South Morava in her part of Czechia. 

Grape-stomping (also known as pigeage) is a traditional way of making wine from grapes. Rather than using a wine press or other mechanised method, grapes were crushed by having barefoot participants repeatedly stomp on them in vats to release their juices and begin fermentation. Stomping was widespread in the history of winemaking, but with the introduction of industrial methods, it now survives mostly as a recreational or competitive activity at cultural festivals. (Definition of grape-stomping from Wikipedia)

Sunday, 9 December 2018

TW-2658471 The Sailor's Compliant -

This postcard sent by Jenny of Taiwan (7 Dec 2018 Postcrossing) is a reproduction of a 337mm x 212mm ink on paper art item held currently by the Australian National Maritime Museum. 

This postcard depicts sheet music with a maritime theme showing a woman with a basket, greeting a sailor who has just arrived in a naval frigate. Ballads about sailors often centred on themes of romance and jilted love. Ships were an everyday part of society in the 19th century and for many people tales of maritime life would have been of interest and relevance to their daily life. 

The ballad is set to a the tune attributed to George Frideric Handel.

The verses of this ballad are:

Come and listen to my ditty,
All ye jolly hearts of gold;
Lend a brother Tar your pity,
Who was once so stout and bold.
But the arrows of Cupid,
Alas! have made me rue;
Sure, true love was ne'er so treated,
As am I by scornful Sue. 

When I landed first at Dover,
She appear'd a goddess bright;
From foreign parts I was just come over,
And was struck with so fair a sight.
On shore pretty Sukey walked,
Near to where our frigate lay, 
And altho' so near the landing,
I, alas! was cast away. 

When first I hail'd my pretty creature,
The deIight of land and sea,
No man ever saw a sweeter,
I'd have kept her company;
I'd have fain made her my true love,
For better, or for worse;
But alas! I could not compass her,
For to steer the marriage course. 

Once, no greater joy and pleasure
Could have come into my mind,
Then to see the bold Defiance
Sailing right before the wind,
O'er the white waves as she danced,
And her colours gaily flew:
But that was not half so charming
As the trim of lovely Sue.

On a rocky coast I've driven,
Where the stormy winds do rise,
Where the rolling mountain billows
Lift a vessel to the skies:
But from land, or from the ocean,
Little dread I ever knew,
When compared to the dangers
In the frowns of scornful Sue.

Long I wonder'd why my jewel
Had the heart to use me so,
Till I found, by often sounding,
She'd another love in tow:
So farewell, hard-hearted Sukey,
I'll my fortune seek at sea,
And try in a more friendly latitude,
Since in yours I cannot be.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

PL-1535750 Gift of Pomerania - a Polish heritage museum ship

The Dar Pomorza (English: Gift of Pomerania) is a Polish full-rigged sailing ship built in 1909 which is preserved in Gdynia as a museum ship. She has served as a sail training ship in Germany, France, and Poland. 

The ship was built in 1909  and dedicated in 1910 as the German training ship Prinzess Eitel Friedrich. In 1920, following World War I, the ship was taken as war-reparations by Great Britain, then brought to France, where she was assigned to the seamen's school at St-Nazaire. Later, she was bought by the Polish community of Pomerania as the new training ship for the Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia. She was given the name Dar Pomorza.

In 1934-1935 Dar Pomorza travelled around the world (via Panama Canal). During that famous voyage she called at many ports as the first ship ever under Polish flag. In 1937 a special voyage took her around the famous Cape Horn; thus she became the first ship under Polish Colours to round the famous cape. 

Current status:  Museum ship

Since 27 May 1983 she has been a museum ship in Gdynia (next to the Błyskawica). 

This postcard was sent by Igor of Warsaw (3 December 2018) Postcrossing.  The reverse side of the postcard was affixed with many nice stamps.  These were unfortunately eaten by snails in the letterbox.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

CZ-1483423 Orlík Castle in South Bohemia, Czechia

Orlík Castle is a château 500 metres (1,600 ft) in the South Bohemia Region of the Czech Republic. The original position of the chateâu, on a rock 60 metres (200 ft) above the Vltava valley, was altered by the creation of the Orlík reservoir in 1954–62, and the chateâu is now barely a few metres above the water level.

The meaning of the name Orlík stems from the word "young eagle" (Czech: Orel). It is often suggested that this castle would have resembled an eagle or nest perched upon the rocky outcrop above a turn in the river.

To enter the castle, one has to go over a stone bridge across the moat.  Three round towers rise above the main façade, one of them being the original, built in the 14th century. The passage into the chateâu is cut into the rock and leads to a trapezoidal courtyard, with arcades on the ground floor. The oldest building is the former palace, which dates from the 14th century and forms the north side of the courtyard.

The interiors are mainly in the Empire style, from the first half of the 19th century. The Lovecký sál (Hunter's Hall), with quadripartite ribbed vaulting, is original Gothic, and the chapel, also dating from the Gothic period, has a net vault. From an artistic point of view, the most valuable rooms are the state rooms on the first floor; the Greater and Lesser Knight's Halls; Hunting Hall; Blue and Empire Saloons; Library, and the Gun Corridor. The interiors are furnished in the style of the period and feature the family's collection of art works.
(Source: Wikipedia)

This postcard was sent to me 3 Dec 2018 by Anna of Brno (Postcrossing).  The stamps on the postcard are very nice.  I like the "A" stamp which reproduced the first Czechoslovakian stamp issued 100 years ago. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

FR-1057695 Château de Vêves, Belgium

The Castle of Vêves (French: Château de Vêves) occupies a rocky platform just outside the village of Celles, in the province of Namur, Belgium. It is classified as Major Heritage of Wallonia. According to tradition, the site has been occupied by castles since the time of Pippin of Herstal (7th century). In the later Middle Ages, the area fell under control of the Beaufort family, which oversaw the construction of a stronghold here in about 1230.

The present castle, in the form of an irregular pentagon and flanked by six round towers of varying size, dates largely from around 1410. Successive restorations modified especially the walls of the inner courtyard, one of which is lined with a distinctive half-timbered gallery of two levels, and another of which was given a red brick facade in the Louis XV style. The northern frontage is crowned with a small cupola containing a clock. (Source: Wikipedia)

This lovely postcard came from Bernard in France. (Postcrossing, October 2018)

LT-625989 Angel sculptures of Pasvalys, Lithuania

I received this postcard showing a bridge with angel sculptures on the bank of the River Lėvuo in the town of Pasvalys, Lithuania. The angel sculptures are in front of the old St. John the Baptist churchyard gate.

Pasvalys is a city in Panevėžys County, Lithuania, located near the bank of the Svalia River.

FR-1057599 Mont-de-Marsan, France

Mont-de-Marsan is a commune and capital of the Landes department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.

Mont-de-Marsan is a medieval town where the Douze and Andou Rivers meet. It was created from scratch as a walled settlement in the 1100s, and a few fortified houses and scraps of the old walls remain from this time. For hundreds of years Mont-de-Marsan flourished through trade, shipping Armagnac brandy and other regional delights down the Midouze to the Atlantic.

The riverside is lined with stone warehouses and quays . 

This postcard from Joana D. (Postcrossing, October 2018) shows a very picturesque sight of this town.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

CN-2487111 The 24 Solar Terms - qiū fēn 秋分

I received this interesting card from Annabell (Postcrossing, October 2018). It shows one of the 24 solar terms. This particular solar term is qiū fēn 秋分 (Autumnal equinox). But I am puzzled by the words in the top right corner of the postcard which read "Insects awaken" which is actually jīng zhé 惊蛰 a different solar term. Perhaps there was a printing error?

This interesting postcard shows the food associated with the time of the year.

Now I hope to get the other 23 cards associated with the 24 solar terms (ha ha). 


What are the 24 solar terms?

The 24 solar terms, based on the sun's position in the zodiac, were created by farmers in ancient China to guide the agricultural affairs and farming activities. The 24 solar terms reflect the changes in climate, natural phenomena, agricultural production, and other aspects of human life, including clothing, food, housing, and transportation. The 24 solar terms play important roles and have greatly influenced people's basic needs in life, and they still have an important function nowadays.

The 24 solar terms are:

Start of Spring lì chūn 立春
Rain Water yǔ shuǐ 雨水
Awakening of Insects jīng zhé 惊蛰
Vernal Equinox chūn fēn 春分
Clear and Bright qīng míng 清明
Grain Rain gǔ yǔ 谷雨
Start of Summer lì xià 立夏
Small Full (Grain) xiǎo mǎn 小满
Grain in Ear máng zhǒng 芒种
Summer Solstice xià zhì 夏至
Minor Heat xiǎo shǔ 小暑
Major Heat dà shǔ 大暑
Start of Autumn lì qiū 立秋
Limit of Heat chù shǔ 处暑
White Dew bái lù 白露
Autumnal Equinox qiū fēn 秋分
Cold Dew hán lù 寒露
Frost Descent shuāng jiàng 霜降
Start of Winter lì dōng 立冬
Minor Snow xiǎo xuě 小雪
Major Snow dà xuě 大雪
Winter Solstice dōng zhì 冬至
Minor Cold xiǎo hán 小寒
Major Cold dà hán 大寒

From the names of the 24 solar terms, we can see that the division of the solar terms has fully considered the variation of natural phenomena, such as seasons, climates and phenology.

The solar terms known as Start of Spring, Start of Summer, Start of Autumn, and Start of Winter are used to reflect the change of seasons, dividing the year into four seasons of exactly three months. While this fits an ideal pattern of dates, it does not reflect observable reality in most of China.

The solar terms of Vernal Equinox, Autumnal Equinox, Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice are divided from an astronomical aspect, reflecting the turning point of the variation of the altitude of the sun.

Minor Heat, Major Heat, Limit of Heat, Minor Cold, and Major Cold reflect the changes of temperature in different periods.

Clear and Bright, Rain Water, Grain Rain, Minor Snow, and Major Snow, White Dew, Cold Dew, and Frost Descent reflect the phenomenon of precipitation, indicating the time and intensity of rainfall, snowfall, dew, and frost.

Small Full (Grain) and Grain in Ear reflect the maturity and harvest time of crops, while Awakening of Insects reflects observed insect activity.

Monday, 30 July 2018

DE-7365970 Cologne Cathedral (Köln am Rhein - Dom)

Cologne Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus, English: Cathedral Church of Saint Peter) is a Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany. 

It can be seen from nearly every point in the city centre and from many places elsewhere: The magnificent Cologne Cathedral hovers above the roofs and chimneys of the city. It is not only used as a point of orientation but is the pride of the people in Cologne. The panorama of the city has been dominated by the Cathedral's gigantic pair of towers (the North Tower (157.38 m) is 7 cm higher than the South Tower) since their completion in 1880.

Cologne Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. It is Germany's most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day, and currently the tallest twin-spired church at 157 m (515 ft) tall.

The foundation stone of the Gothic Cathedral was laid on 15 August 1248. Unfortunately work was halted in 1473, leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires. The towers for its two huge spires give the cathedral the largest façade of any church in the world. The choir has the largest height to width ratio, 3.6:1, of any medieval church.  (Source: Wikipedia)

This postcard came from Dirk (Postcrossing, July 2018).

Personal Note:  We visited Cologne in 2006 and saw this great Cathedral.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

US-5444101 Cathedral of St John Baptist in Savannah, Georgia, USA

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a Roman Catholic church located in Savannah, Georgia, USA. 

French Catholic émigrés established Savannah’s first parish, called the Congrégation de Saint Jean-Baptiste, shortly before the end of the 18th century. They came to Savannah in the aftermath of an uprising in Haiti.

The congregation constructed its first church on Liberty Square in 1779 and in 1811, chose a site on Drayton and Perry Streets for a larger building. Bishop John England of the Diocese of Charleston, which encompassed Savannah, consecrated the new church on April 1, 1839. Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Savannah in July 1850 and the congregation began to plan for a new cathedral on Lafayette Square in 1870 under Savannah's fourth Bishop, However, the brick structure lacked spires which were not added until 1896 when it also received a coating of stucco and whitewash.

On Sunday evening, February 6, 1898, the Cathedral caught fire and was nearly destroyed. Thousands watched as the building burned. Only the outside walls and the two spires remained standing afterwards; the bishop’s residence was spared. 

The congregation quickly rebuilt the church and was able to celebrate Christmas Mass in the new facility in 1899. But again, the structure was not complete and interior decoration took an additional 13 years. Stained glass windows were installed around 1904.  The parish undertook subsequent renovation projects in 1959-1965, which addressed heating, cooling and lighting systems and decoration and in 1984-1985, to reinforce structural foundations and implement changes mandated by the Second Vatican Council.  The cathedral was worked on again in 1998-2000 to install new roofing, and to restore the original interior colour palate and decorations.

This postcard came from Susan (Postcrossing, 25 July 2018).

Monday, 9 July 2018

PL-1475252 Dębica , Poland

Dębica is a city in southeastern Poland with about 50,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of Dębica County. Since the mid-1930s Dębica, in spite of its size, has been a large industrial hub. A number of companies were then created thanks to governmental industry development programmes. Most of them still exist today, though they were privatized in the 1990s. Since the early 1990s, a relatively large number (in proportion to the city's size) of successful companies have been started and run by local residents.

In 1358 King Kazimierz Wielki gave a local nobleman Świętosław Gryfita, permission to found a town and Dębica received Magdeburg rights, together with a privilege to organise weekly markets on Wednesdays. The town however, was not actually founded until June 10, 1372.

I received this postcard from Aga (Postcrossing, July 2018).  It shows several buildings of Dębica and the largest panel shows the monument of King Kazimierz Wielki giving permission to Świętosław Gryfita to create Dębica.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

DE-7270981 Ruhrpott - largest urban area in Germany

The Ruhr (German: Ruhrgebiet) or the Ruhr district, Ruhr region, Ruhr area or Ruhr valley, is a polycentric urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Other colloquial names that are used include Ruhrpott, Revier or Kohlenpott.

With a population density of 2,800/km² and a population of over 5 million (2011), Ruhrpott is the largest urban area in Germany. It consists of several large, industrial cities bordered by the rivers Ruhr to the south, Rhine to the west, and Lippe to the north. In the southwest it borders the Bergisches Land. It is considered part of the larger Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region of more than 12 million people, which is among the largest in Europe.

From west to east, the region includes the cities of Duisburg, Oberhausen, Bottrop, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Herne, Hagen, Dortmund, and Hamm, as well as parts of the more "rural" districts of Wesel, Recklinghausen, Unna and Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis. The most populous cities are Dortmund (approx. 600,000), Essen (approx. 590,000) and Duisburg (approx. 500,000). Since the 19th century, these cities have grown together into a large complex with a vast industrial landscape, inhabited by some 7.3 million people (including Düsseldorf and Wuppertal). Historically, the western Ruhr towns, such as Duisburg and Essen, belong to the Rhineland, whereas the eastern part of the Ruhr, including Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Dortmund and Hamm, were part of Westphalia.

The Ruhr area has no administrative center; each city in the area has its own administration, although there exists the supracommunal "Regionalverband Ruhr" institution in Essen. (Source: Wikipedia)

This multi-panel postcard came from Katrin (Postcrossing, July 2018).

DE-7270610 Castle Lauenstein in Bavaria

The castle Lauenstein is a medieval hilltop castle at 550 m above sea level. It is located above the Upper Franconian village of Lauenstein.  The castle, whose oldest parts can be dated to the 12th century, is the northernmost castle in Bavaria .

This postcard which shows the castle Lauenstein in the distance was sent by Michael of Dueren (Postcrossing, July 2018).

Friday, 6 July 2018

RU-6498544 Russian Arctic National Park

I received this postcard from Maria (Postcrossing, July 2018) and on the back of the postcard, the following is indicated:
          The archipelago of Franz Josef Land
          The Russian Arctic National Park

The Russian Arctic National Park (Russian: Национальный парк "Русская Арктика") is a national park of Russia, which was established in June 2009. It was expanded in 2016, and it covers a large and remote area of the Arctic Ocean, the northern part of Novaya Zemlya (Severny Island), and Franz Josef Land.

After the expansion in 2016, approximately 74,000 km2, 16,000 km2 in land area and 58,000 km2 in sea area were added to the National Park. In 2009 the total area of the national park was 14,260 km2, including 6,320 km2 on the land and 7,940 km2 of the Arctic Ocean.

The area is the habitat of polar bears and bowhead whales. The area also includes one of the largest bird colonies in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as walrus and seal rookeries. In addition to preserving natural habitats, the area of the national park is important for preserving the cultural heritage, which is related to the history of discovery and colonisation of the vast Arctic territories starting from the sixteenth century.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

DE-7290652 Xanten Cathedral, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Xanten Cathedral (German: Xantener Dom), sometimes called St. Victor's Cathedral (German: St.-Viktor-Dom), is a Roman Catholic church situated in Xanten, a historic town in the lower Rhine area, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is considered the biggest cathedral between Cologne and the sea. In 1936 it was declared a minor basilica by Pope Pius XI. Even though the church is called a cathedral, it has never been the seat of a bishop.

The cathedral contains a five-aisle nave built in the Gothic style. In contrast to many other cathedrals of the period, St. Victor's lacks an ambulatory. Instead a twin pair of chapels is connected to the choir similar to that seen at the Church of Our Lady (German: Liebfrauenkirche) in Trier. The Cathedral houses one of the most important religious libraries of the Lower Rhine. (Source: Wikipedia)

This postcard came from Isolde (Postcrossing, July 2018) who wrote that this Gothic church began as early as 1263.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

NL-4136001 Pumping polder water off the land

The Molenviergang in the Tweemanspolder in Zevenhuizen consists of four mills that have been connected in succession and which, for almost two centuries, jointly maintained the polder level. In order to bridge the height difference between the polder level and the level of the river Rotte (about 4.5 mtr), four mills are needed, since the height of a mill is at a maximum of 1.2 - 1.5 mtr.  This unique four-mill corridor was in full operation until 1952. In that year, an electric pumping station took over the task. 

The windmills are still completely intact and in the event of any calamity, they can take up their old task again.

This postcard came from Patsy (Postcrossing, 3 July 2018).

ID-260288 Prambanan - hindu temple in Indonesia

Prambanan or Rara Jonggrang is a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (Hindu gods). The temple compound is located approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) northeast of the city of Yogyakarta on the boundary between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces.

The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. It is characterised by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu architecture, and by the towering 47-metre-high (154 ft) central building inside a large complex of individual temples. Prambanan attracts many visitors from around the world.

This postcard came from Ria (Postcrossing, 3 July 2018).

JP-1121998 A 700 series train on Nozomi service

The 700 series (700系 Nanahyaku-kei) is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type built between 1997 and 2006, and entering service in 1999.  This series formed the next generation of shinkansen vehicles jointly designed by JR Central and JR-West for use on both Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen lines.

The 700 series is characterized by its flat 'duck-bill' nose designed to reduce the piston effect as the trains enter tunnels. 16-car units are painted white with blue stripes beneath the windows, and are used for Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama services on the Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen lines, while 8-car units used for the San'yō Shinkansen Hikari Rail Star services have a darker livery (grey with black window areas and a yellow stripe beneath the windows) which also acts to visually deemphasize the units' nose area, resulting in a more streamlined impression.

This postcard shows a N700 train on Nozomi service.  Nozomi (のぞみ, "Wish") is the fastest train service running on the Tokaido/San'yō Shinkansen lines in Japan. The service stops at only the largest stations, and along the stretch between Shin-Osaka and Hakata, Nozomi services using N700 series equipment reach speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph). 

The Nozomi trains stop at fewer stations than the Hikari and Kodama trains. On the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, Nozomi trains stop at Tokyo Station, Shinagawa Station, Shin-Yokohama Station, Nagoya Station, Kyoto Station, and Shin-Ōsaka Station. On the Sanyō Shinkansen, all Nozomi trains stop at Shin-Kobe Station, Okayama Station, Hiroshima Station, Kokura Station, and Hakata Station, but certain trains stop at additional stations as well. The Nozomi train service is not valid for foreign tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass.

Kanae of Chiba, Japan (Postcrossing, July 2018) sent me this great train postcard.

NL-4109683 Wind turbines and Tulip fields of the Netherlands

This postcard from Esther (Postcrossing, 2 July 2018) is entitled "Tulpenvelden"which means tulip fields". 

Tulips as everyone knows, are associated with the Netherlands and they are a well-known Dutch icon on the same level as Gouda cheese, wooden clogs (who wears them these days?), Heneiken beer and windmills.

Windmills mean wind power and the Dutch has a tradition of garnering power from the wind.  These days garnering power from the wind comes in the form of wind turbines in large wind farms.  I like the idea of gathering and using the wind and so I like wind turbines naturally (although windmills are so much more romantic.)

Wind turbines in the Netherlands
Wind power in the Netherlands reached an installed capacity of 3,431 MW by year end 2015, 427 MW of which were based offshore. The 2,174 turbines sited in the Netherlands by the end of 2015 provided the country with 5.6% of its electricity demand during the year, a figure that is growing but somewhat below the average of 11.4% that wind power provides across the whole of the EU’s electricity consumption. 2015 was a record year for new installations in the Netherlands with 586 MW added of which 180 MW were offshore.  Since 2015 there has been a trend towards the deployment and planning for large wind farms, both onshore and offshore, with a view to the approximate tripling wind power capacity from 2015 levels by 2023.

Monday, 2 July 2018

DE-7185531 St Annenkirche in Annaberg-Buchholz, Saxony, Germany

St. Anne's Church (German: St.-Annen-Kirche) in Annaberg-Buchholz, German Free State of Saxony, is a hall church whose architectural style is on the boundary between the Late Gothic and Renaissance. With a length of 65 metres and width of 40 metres, it is the largest, true hall church of the Late Gothic in Saxony. Its tower is 78 metres high, the interior of the church 28 metres high. It is the emblem of the town and visible from a long way off. Saint Anne's was originally built in 1499 as a Roman Catholic church, but became Evangelical-Lutheran in 1539.

St. Anne's is considered to be one of the most important examples of Late Gothic architecture. The style of its vivid interior has aspects of very early forms of the Renaissance in Central Europe, as well as those of the Late Gothic era. Its tall, mostly strictly vertical style, typical of the older Gothic, is achieved here using imaginative, intricate designs and arches. The style of the Italian Renaissance, which is a throw back to antiquity, is reflected in places in the architectural sculpture and altar pieces.

St. Anne's Church is the most advanced representative of a range of religious buildings that emerged in the late 15th and early 16th centuries especially in upper Saxony. Economic prosperity - promoted by rich silver yields - resulted in an intensive period of construction in the Ore Mountains at that time. The design of St. Anne's is reflected in other churches, including Freiberg Cathedral, St. Mary's at Marianberg and St. Wolfgang's at Schneeberg. A clear similarity in interior design is particularly evident in St. Barbara's Church, Kutná Hora in Bohemian Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora).

In a renovation programme that lasted more than 20 years, many later alterations and changes were removed so that the inside of St. Anne's Church today has been substantially restored to its original state in the 16th century.  (Source: Wikipedia)

This postcard came from Lothar (Postcrossing, June 2018).

US-5381309 Amtrax serving 46 American States and 3 Canadian Provinces

The American National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in 46 contiguous United States (lacking Wyoming and South Dakota) and to three Canadian cities. It serves more than 500 destinations and operates more than 300 trains daily. Amtrax was founded 47 years ago in 1971 as a quasi-public corporation to operate many U.S. passenger rail services. 

Amtrak is no longer required by law to operate a national route system, but it is encouraged to do so. Amtrak services fall into three groups: short-haul service on the Northeast Corridor, state-supported short haul service outside the Northeast Corridor, and long-distance service known within Amtrak as the National Network. Amtrak receives federal funding for the vast majority of its operations including the central spine of the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington DC as well as for its National long distance routes. In addition to the federally funded routes, Amtrak partners with transportation agencies in 18 states to operate other short and medium haul routes outside of the Northeast Corridor, some of which connect to it or are extensions off of it. In addition to its inter-city services, Amtrak also operates commuter services for three state agencies including MARC in Maryland, Shore Line East in Connecticut, and Metrolink in California. (Source: Wikipedia)

This postcard came from Elzbieta of New Mexico (Postcrossing, 2 July 2018)

CH-393604 Wengernalp Railway of Switzerland - 125 years anniversary

In 2018, the Wengernalp Railway (WAB) together with the Schynige Platte Railway (SPB) celebrated their respective 125th anniversaries of mountain railway. On 10 January 2018, WAB started its anniversary year in its new birthday livery instead of its usual yellow-green livery.

The Wengernalp Railway (German: Wengernalpbahn, WAB) is a 19.11 kilometres (11.87 mi) long rack railway line in Switzerland. It leads along the Kleine Scheidegg mountain pass from Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, giving an almost tangible mountain panorama of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. In winter, it’s the lifeblood of the Jungfrau ski region between Grindelwald and Wengen. To put it simply, the line is normally operated in two sections, with trains from either direction (Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen) terminating at Kleine Scheidegg. At the latter station, most passengers transfer to the Jungfrau Railway for the continuation of the journey to the highest railway station in Europe at Jungfraujoch.

The WAB measuring from Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald via Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg is the world's longest continuous rack and pinion railway.

The name Wengernalp refers to the seasonal mountain pastures above Wengen. WAB was opened in June 1893 and was originally launched as a summer railway. Today the WAB operates 365 days a year. The number of visitors on the WAB increased from 37,742 in its founding year to 1,819,932 in 2017. For a round trip, passengers paid CHF 9 in 1893. Today the Lauterbrunen - Kleine Scheidegg - Grindelwald journey costs CHF 61.80 per person.

This postcard (together with another one depicting the Schynige Platte Railway) was issued with 2 stamps by Swiss Post in January 2018. Annina (Postcrossing, 2 July 2018) sent me this great postcard and affixed the two stamps too. Thank you Annina!

On a Personal Note

We went in 2006 to visit the Jungfrau - and we took the WAB up to Kleine Scheidegg where we continued on the Jungfrau Railway. The visit to Jungfrau was a wash-out (a mist-out) unfortunately. The entire resort station was shrouded in mist and we could not see anything,