Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zamovka Hill, Ukraine

Direct Swap, Sender: Lidiya
Sent: 29 November 2011 from Luhansk, Ukraine
Received: 20 December 2011, Traveled 8,187 km in 21 days

The settlement at the foot of Zamovka Hill that started in mid-5th century is now what we call L'viv. Nourished by Poltava River, it developed as an organized and well-fortified town. Throughout the time, it witnessed intense religious rivalry between Jewish and Catholics, siege of Ottomans, and the revolutionary year of 1848. It became Poland's then returned to Ukraine after Worl War II.

In the postcard is the Rynok Square, surrounded by fine houses in Rennaisance, Baroque, and Empire style in preserved medieval layouts. 

L'viv at the foot of Zamovka Hill was listed as a UNESCO site in 1998.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yakushima Forest, Japan

Postcard Swap, Sender: Mitsuyo
Sent: 27 May 2013 from Osaka, Japan
Received: 5 June 2013, Traveled 2,667 km in 9 days

Yakushima Forest was listed in the UNESCO WHS in 1993. The forest which can be found in almost round small island of Yaku, is of rich flora. In its greenery can be found sugi, an ancient specie of Japanese cedar.


Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for X = Unknown Depths of Baikal

RU-1118184, Sender: Lena

For this letter, it is quite a stretch! I hope it's acceptable as X is for "unknown". 

Located in Southern Siberia, Russia, a lot is unknown in its depth of 5,300 feet. The lake being the deepets, is also the oldest lake in the world. It is roughly 25 to 30 years old!

It was listed as UNESCO WHS in 1996.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Wailing Wall, Israel

Facebook Swap, Sender: Oleg
Sent: 30 Aug 2012 from Tel Aviv, Israel
Received: 20 Sep 2012, Traveled 8,795 km in 21 days

Saturday it is! I'm feeling quite relaxed being able to sleep 10 hours!

I was able to keep myself distracted for most of the day. Until the evening came and I was again feeling really down and I felt like wailing. Thanks to reason, I was able to just cry silently, experience taught me that crying too much always ends up with a bad headache.

And so I was engrossed with nursing my emotional self and realized I haven't posted for the A-Z April Challenge today. Whoa! It's almost 11PM, good I noticed I still have an hour before the day ends!

So here it is, W is for Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Located in the old city of Jerusalem, that was listed as a UNESCO WHS in 1981, it is one of the most recognized religious site by the Jewish fate. It is a site for prayer and pilgrimage, with approximately 1.5 million visitors each year.


PS. For curious readers as to why I feel like wailing, it's vaguely explained in my "R" post. Not really worth visiting though, just me releasing emotions. Please just enjoy the postcards instead.

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vienna, Austria

Friendship Gift Postcard, Sender: Sensei
Sent: 9 October 2013 from Vienna, Austria
Received: 17 October 2013, Traveled 9,880.5 km in 9 days

Vienna is a city I dream I can be based in for work. It's such a lofty dream but as the saying goes, "the future is made of the dreams you make today".

Aside from professional aspirations, I feel being in Vienna will make me happy . The place will strike a balance for doing a technical job and living in an artistic environment!

The historic center of Vienna was inscribed to the UNESCO WHS list in 2001.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Undulating Lines of Gaudi, Spain

ES-198134, Sender: Jordi
Sent: 15 Dec 2012 from Catalunya, Spain
Received: 16 Jan 2013, Traveled 11,188 km in 32 days

The works of the Spanish Catalan architect, Antonio Gaudi are famous for their undulating structure. They are outstanding examples of 20th century building typology.

One of his major projects is the La Pedrera, also known as Casa Mila, shown in the postcard. It was declared as a UNESCO site in 1984.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Taj Mahal, India

Facebook Swap, Sender: Oskat
Sent: 3 Sep 2012 from India
Received 28 Sep 2012, Traveled 4,752 km

The sender wrote:

The Taj Mahal is also known as the "Crown of Palaces". It is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of world heritage. It was declared a UNESCO site in 1983.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Sucevița Monastery, Romania

Facebook Swap, Sender: Mircea
Sent: 22 Oct 2012 from Focsani, Romania
Received: 12 Nov 2012, Traveled 9,137 km in 20 days

Sucevița Monastery is an Eastern Orthodox convent. It is known for the mural paintings on its outer walls. It was included in the UNESCO WHS list in 2010. It is one of the eight Churches of Moldavia built from 15th to 16th centuries. 

Another one of those churches is the Moldovita Monastery below. It's striking resemblance made me mistake if for Sucevița.

Facebook Swap, Sender: Danut
Sent: 14 April 2012 from Ploiesti, Romania
Received: 11 May 2012, Traveled 9,243 km in 27 days

This monastery church is also known as the Church of Annunciation. 

The UNESCO WHS description says that these structures undergone no significant alteration since the time they were built.


Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Facebook Swap, Sender: Nathan
Sent: 31 Aug 2012 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Received: 2 Oct 2012, Traveled 18,274 km in 32 days

Facebook Swap, Sender: Nathan
Sent: 31 Aug 2012 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Received: 2 Oct 2012, Traveled 18,274 km in 32 days

The long weekend to cap the  Holy Week was over. As promised, I limited my use of electronic gadgets; I did my best to spend a quiet time with myself. I fathomed the decisions I made, the life I live at the moment, the struggles for progress, the tendency to give up on hope, the grueling wait for results.

A new week arrives. To my dismay, life still looks bleak. The horizon did not change much as I hope it would. I reckon, geographically wise, I am where I incessantly prayed for. Yet, as cliche as it is, let me put myself in a position right now where I am "too near yet incredibly far" from where my heart longs to be. Perhaps I am where I want to be, not where I need to be.

As my lonely and weary soul seeks for guidance, I stumble again on this quote:

God did not promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without the rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

I find solace that my postcards for today is most fitting. Here are two views of the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro. Seen on these postcards are the Carioca landscapes between the mountain and the sea. It was inscribed in the UNESCO WHS in 2012.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Qīngyī Yuán Imperial Palace, China

Facebook Swap, Sender: Chuan
Sent: 9 Sep 2012 from Taipei City, Taiwan
Received: Not stamped on postcard, Traveled 1158 km

I remember reading about this palace when I was in middle school and being so curious how it looks like inside. Also known as Summer Palace, it served as a resort to the famous Dowager Cixi. Uncle Wiki says she diverted 3 million taels of silver for the expansion of this place.

It was inscribed as a UNESCO WHS in 1998.


Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Pamukkale, Turkey

TR-110839, Sender: Mervan
Sent: 8 Oct 2012 from Istanbul, Turkey
Received: 7 Nov 2012, Traveled 9118 km in 30 days

Life took a sudden sharp turn. I found myself completely lost.

It's Black Friday and I wish to stay away from electronic gadgets as much as I want. But here's the Pamukkale in Turkey for letter "p". It means "cotton castle" and how I can be in one of those pools right now -- away from the confusions and troubles of my world.

This site was inscribed in the UNESCO list in 1988.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Old Church of Petäjävesi, Finland

FI-1556824, Sender: Riitta
Sent: 5 Oct 2012 from Kuopio, Finland
Received: 7 Nov 2012, Traveled 8,636 km in 33 days

Riitta wrote me many details about the old church at the back of her card:

The Old Church at Petäjävesi was marked as a UNESCO world heritage landmark in 1994 as an excellent example of a Lutheran country church built of logs. It is an architectural tradition unique to eastern Scandinavia. The church was built from 1763-1765. Nowadays the Old Church of Petäjävesi is used for worship on summer Sundays and one of Finland's most well-loved churches for weddings.

Here is another postcard with a view of the door facing the altar.

FI-1969245, Sender: Mepu
Sent: 30 Dec 2013 from Jyväskylä, Finland

Received 17 Jan 2014, Traveled 8,901 km in 18 days 

I am lucky there are many members from Finland at the website and I got not two but three postcards for this site from there. Here's a card with a view of the church from the outside. We have a nice view of the main structure built with horizontal logs and the bell tower at the west end.

FI-1213439, Sender: Sipi
Sent: 29 Sep 2011 from Helsinki, Finland
Received: 11 Oct 2011, Traveled 8,944 km in 12 days


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Ninstints Village, Canada

CA-266884, Sender: moonlessnite
Sent: 29 July 2012 from British Columbia, Canada
Received: 25 Aug 2012, Traveled 9,980 km in 27 days

As the weather gets warmer and warmer here in Southeast Asia, I find it a pretty coincidence to be posting a card that came with an appropriate greeting at the back:

Summer greetings from the "Great Bear Rain Forest" of British Columbia, Canada. This is a UNESCO Heritage Site on the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii). These are the last remaining original totem poles that are still standing. It's a wonderful place.

Looks like a wonderful place indeed! I imagine it's nice to be kayaking on the cool water with the leaves and branches around providing some shade on a warm weather like this.

The kayakers pictured here are drifting by the totem poles in the Ninstints Village, one of the islands of Queen Charlotte.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Mount Kinabalu & Melaka, Malaysia

Direct Swap, Sender: Agatha
Sent: 18 Oct 2012, from Sandakan, Malaysia
Received 2 Nov 2012, Traveled 1023 km in 14 days

M is for Mount Kinabalu and Melaka, Malaysia! Wow! That's a lot of M. I am in for another demanding week but I make time to continue with the A to Z April challenge. It's motivating for me to post for letter 'M' cause I got more than 1 postcard to share for this letter. Also because I have this as initial, with my first name, Maria.

Curiosity prompted you for sure why another demanding week. For new readers and visitors here in my page, let me fill you in some of the details.It is just 3 months now since I relocated into this new city for a new job. I am learning many things and sometimes I go crazy because it is a 180° change in almost everything for me. The good thing is that it makes me step out of my comfort zone and I can now enjoy 2 days off every week. Yeeyyy!!

I feel it as a luxury now to have a 2-day weekend because in my previous job I had to work 6 full days plus more each week! So having Saturday off really makes me feel wonderful, giving me more time to live a balanced life; allowing me to recharge during weekends.

To my greater delight, the 5-day work week comes with better renumeration! I can now plan vacations! Working hard comes with a promise of a nice vacation trip later on. Malaysia is among the most probable destinations as it is close by. There's also many budget flights so it's not painful for the pocket. I love going for hikes and visiting old towns so Mount Kinabalu Park on the postcard above and Melaka on the postcard below are perfect places for me to plan for a trip. Both are UNESCO WHS, inscribed in year 2000 and 2008 respectively.

MY-91561, Sender: Jiayi
Sent: 18 Feb 2012 from Pusai Mel Nasional, Malaysia
Received: 22 Mar 2012, Traveled 2,468 km in 33 days

The views on these cards should be more than enough motivation for me to resume with work now. I hope the week is on a productive start for everyone! :)


Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Facebook Swap, Sender: Dany
Sent: 31 July 2012 from Cuxhaven, Germany
Received date not stamped on card, Traveled 10089 km

L is for Leaning Tower of Pisa and for Last Week of Lent this year.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a UNESCO WHS that I've always dreamed to see for real since I was in grade school. While working for my masters degree, I thought of applying for a short training course in Italy so I can make a side trip to this attraction. This site has been on the list since the year I was born. So perhaps I should imagine for a monumental year to visit this, say when I turn 30? Ah, sounds like a plan!

Lent, as we know is a Catholic event on its last week for this year. I haven't been a devout and observant Catholic but I am hoping to be able to reflect and meditate more before the season is over. A lot of overwhelming changes are happening lately due to life changing decisions I've made at the start of this year. I know I need to slow down and have some time to look deeper inside myself. 

But my oh my, it's Monday! Gotta stop being pensive for now and F-O-C-U-S. There are so many things to learn and get accomplished in a little time.

I wish all of us a great week!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Kamchatka Volcanoes, Russia

RU-215990, Sender: Kate
Sent: 5 Nov 2013 from Moscow, Russia
Received: 23 Nov 2013, Traveled 8,232 km in 18 days

This is a postcard I received before the Sochi 2014 Olympics. The scenery of snow covered Katchatka Volcano was perfect for the winter sport disciplines and the fierce competitions among countries held from 7 - 23 February 2014.

This volcano is just one in 160 of the volcanic belt along Kamchatka River and the surrounding valley. Twenty-nine of these volcanoes are active. Six sites were designated as UNESCO WHS in 1996. The description in the official UNESCO website describes the site:

The interplay of volcanism with active glaciers forms a dynamic landscape of great beauty. The sites contain high species diversity, including the world's greatest known variety of salmonoid fish and exceptional concentrations of sea otter, brown bear and Stellar's sea eagle.

It is a pretty relaxed Saturday for me today. I am dreaming of hiking in nature, and with that, it comes to mind a hike up to a volcano's crater I did back in Nov 2013. I thought it would be cool to share a souvenir. The photo was taken on top of Taal Volcano in Batangas, Philippines. It is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Checking out my photos from adventures back in the Philippines make me miss my homeland. Which reminds me, I have less than 1 month before I fly back! Yipee! I probably would look into inviting my whole family for a trip to Taal Volcano View Park when I get back :)


Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Japan's Saihō-ji Temple, Kyoto

JP-426642, Sender: blue-dream
Sent: 21 Jul 2013 from Tokushima, Japan
Received: 30 Jul 2013, Traveled 2,557 km in 9 days

Blue-dream filled me in about the details of the place, with her writing at the back of the card:

The picture is Saiho-ji temple, which is famous for its moss garden. So another name is The Moss Temple.  It is registered as a UWHS (in 1994), as part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. 

Furthermore, she wrote:

By the way, you look like Japanese actress Akiko Hinagata. Please check her on the internet!

I did check on her but there isn't much resemblance. But thanks to Blue-dream, she gave me the confidence I got the looks for TV!! Haha, I can dream. After all, it's a dreamy day today -- Friday and I'm dreaming it's already Saturday :p

Aside from the A-Z April Challenge, I am also sharing this postcard for the Postcard Friendship Friday linky of my dear blogger friend Beth. Check out her page for more beautiful postcards! :)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Island Surtsey, Iceland

Direct Swap, Sender: Hanna
Sent: 2 October 2012 from Reykjavik, Iceland
Received date not stamped on card, Traveled 11,701 km

The volcanic island of Surtsey was inscribed to the UNESCO WHS list in 2008. Instead of typing information about it, I am sharing the scan of the back of the card. Hanna, the sender have pretty nice information to share about the site :)


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Hallstatt, Austria

AT-104628, Sender: Monika
Sent: 15 May 2012 from 
Altmünster, Austria
Received:4 June 2012, Traveled 10,046 km in 20 days

Hallstatt is a village located near a lake. It is known for the production of salt since the prehistoric times. It is situated in the southwest of the Hallstätter Sea, characterized by a landscape of the beautiful Alps in the background rising from narrow valleys.

Aside from the beautiful landscape, the area is also of notable scientific interest. It contains evidence of continuous evolution of fundamental human economic activity covering 2500 years. 

It was recognized as a UNESCO WHS in 1997


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Great Wall of China

Hand-carried from China, Received 3 June 2011, Traveled 3106.22 km

The interesting fact for this postcard is that this was also the same ticket my friend was given for entrance to the Great Wall. Inscribed in 1987 to the UNESCO WHS list, it is a structure that was continuously built from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD.

My friend who went to the Great Wall told me that for some Chinese, climbing the wall on a yearly basis is like religion. They even have a saying, "Who are we if we haven't climbed the Great Wall?"

Well, I hope I can have the chance to climb this wall too!


Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Freiheiten Symbol of Roland, Germany

Direct Swap, Sender: Barbel
Sent: 26 Mar 2012 from Bremen, Germany
Received: 10 Apr 2012, Traveled 10339.99 km in 15 days

"Freiheiten" according to my research means "liberty". The information at the back of the card is in German so I had to enlist the help of Mr. Google T. As always, he's very helpful! The statue of Roland in the middle of Bremen market place, together with the town hall, are outstanding representations of civic autonomy and sovereignty as they developed in the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. The site was inscribed in 2004.

Another statue that the town of Bremen is famous for is the Die Stadtmusikanten, featured in the Grimm's fairytale of the animal musicians: donkey, dog, cat, and rooster. I actually kind of forgotten about this but had no trouble pulling it out from memory when Barbel reminded me of it on her note at the back of the card :) I reckon enjoying this story so much in one of the big illustrated story books of my grade school teacher.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for El Jem, Tunisia

Facebook Swap, Sender: Kaabi
Sent: 28 Sept 2012 from El Manzah, Tunisia
Received date not stamped on card, Traveled ~ 11185.85 km

The story for how I acquired this card is similar to the previous one, Djemila. I cannot find a member who would want to swap from Luckily, someone from the Postcrossing group in Facebook agreed to do a swap for me. Like my Algeria card, this one from Tunisia is also my one and only one from there.

El Jem is a Roman ampitheatre ruin, the largest colosseum in North Africa. It was inscribed to the UNESCO WHS list in 1979.


Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Djemila, Algeria

Postcrossing Direct Swap, Sender: Nessrine
Sent: 17 Nov 2013 from Ben Aknoun, Algeria
Received date not stamped on card, Traveled 12143.17 km

I specifically had to message members from Algeria in to get a UNESCO card from there. There are not so many members from that country, compared to say, Germany from which I am already getting duplicate cards. This is the one and only postcard I have from Algeria so far I believe. 

Uncle Wiki said that Djemila became a UNESCO WHS in 1982 for its unique adaptation of Roman architecture to a mountain environment.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Facebook Swap, Sender: Lucie
Sent: 27 Mar 2012 from Prague, Czech Republic
Received 12 Apr 2012, Traveled 10117.49 in 16 days

Lucie wrote:

Hi Maria, This is one of the most beautiful sites in Czech Republic. If you go here, you need to see two cities: Prague and Czech Krumlov.

The card was published by This city by the Vltava River was inscribed to the list in 1992, boasting a beautiful example of a small central European medieval town.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Borobudur, Indonesia

Facebook Swap, Sender: Yenny
Sent: 3 Aug 2012 from Balikpapan-Kaltim, Indonesia
Received, 5 Sep 2012, Traveled ~2381.31 km in 32 days

Borobudur Temple Comppunds was listed as a UNESCO WHS in 1991. It is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world; having the largest and most complete ensemble.

An excerpt from the UNESCO WHS page:

The vertical division of Borobudur Temple into base, body, and superstructure perfectly accords with the conception of the Universe in Buddhist cosmology. It is believed that the universe is divided into three superimposing spheres, kamadhatu, rupadhatu, and arupadhatu, representing respectively the sphere of desires where we are bound to our desires, the sphere of forms where we abandon our desires but are still bound to name and form, and the sphere of formlessness where there is no longer either name or form. At Borobudur Temple, the kamadhatu is represented by the base, therupadhatu by the five square terraces, and the arupadhatu by the three circular platforms as well as the big stupa. The whole structure shows a unique blending of the very central ideas of ancestor worship, related to the idea of a terraced mountain, combined with the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Avignon, France

Facebook Swap: Sender: Sebastien
Sent: 7 Aug 2013 from Cadillac, France
Received: 13 Aug 2013, Traveled ~11,528 km in 6 days

Facebook Swap: Sender: Sebastien
Sent: 7 Aug 2013 from Cadillac, France
Received: 13 Aug 2013, Traveled ~11,528 km in 6 days

I have wanted to do the #atozchallenge for two years already but for one reason or another, I always miss to sign up. And before I know it, the sign up list is closed and the alphabet express has arrived. This year, I promised myself, this should change. The postcards that I haven't shared here on my blog has piled up. The challenge will give me a great venue to share my collection and this beautiful hobby of deltiology. I am not a hardcore collector but my hope is to be able to share my simple happiness of sending and receiving a small piece of paper through the postal service. A small piece of paper nonetheless, connects me to the world.

My theme will be UNESCO world heritage sites on postcards. Having just started a new job, I know it can be demanding right now for me to post an entry a day for an entire month so as suggested by the #atozchallenge team, my posts will be short. They will be composed of (1) the postcard/s, (2) a brief information about the site, and (3) some side information should I have the luxury of time on that specific day of posting. As early as now, I'd like to mention that whatever will be on the (2) portion will most likely be contributed by the sender of the postcard, the ever helpful Uncle Wiki, or an excerpt from the UNESCO WHS

So much for introduction then, roll the alphabet please .... A is for Avignon, France

It became a UNESCO site in 1995. Seven successive popes lived in Avignon between 1309 and 1377. I am very grateful to Sebastien who sent me these two cards giving me an insight of how Avignon looks like both from the inside and the outside. On the second card, the view is from the Rhône River, where the 4 arches of the initial 22 now remains from a bridge with an actual length of 900 meters.

I'm so excited I finally caught up with the alphabet express this time! *giggles*