Friday, January 31, 2014

Besakih Temple

To be sent to Finland

On Wednesday, we did one of the highlights of our Bali trip: temple visits. The best of the three temples we went to was the Purah Besakih. It is the holiest, largest, and most important temple for Hindu religion in Bali. Uncle Wiki has a nice article about the temple and also a photo gallery. Below, you can find some snapshots from my trip there. 

I find it difficult to leave today. Bali had been an amazing trip. Cross fingers, I can go back here five or ten years from now and I'll be able to find the place with it's quiet beauty and charm, maintained by its amiable people and unharmed by the seasons.

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday everyone! The postcard on top should be on its way now to my pen pal, Tuija in Finland. For more pretty postcards, check out Beth's linky party at her page by clicking here.

~ maria

Monday, January 27, 2014

Campuhan Ridge Hike

Postcard to be sent to Finland

Greeting all of you a sunny great week from the supposedly rainy Bali! 

I'm really happy and thrilled to share with all of you that it's Monday morning, but I'm here sitting by the pool and working on this blog entry from Ubud - the cultural center of Bali, Indonesia. I'm not supposed to start with my new job until Monday next week so the beau and I agreed that we should go for an extended vacation. We decided to come here to Bali despite the forecast of rainy days. Looking online for travel recommendations, there's so much to see and it's perfect that we have several days for this visit. Also it's low season so we are hoping for a budge trip.

We arrived Saturday night. Yesterday, Sunday was our first full day here. Motivated by the surprisingly blue skies, we agreed it's best to start with the rice terraces. We did the Campuhan Ridge hike to see the rice paddies. We started a bit late so the sun was scorching hot. It was really nice though while on top of Campuhan valley, the first part of the hike. Because it's elevated, we're able to enjoy cool breeze. Campuhan is a sacred place. It is where two rivers, Sungai Wos and Sungai Agung meet. During the hike, we went past quiet villages, traditional looking hotels and spas, and many little art galleries by the road. 

The rice terraces were nice but not as grand as that on the postcard. It was really nice to do the hike nonetheless. It made us energized and set the pace for our visit here.

During the hike, I made sure I snapped a few photos for Sally's Blue Monday. I hope Blue Monday blog hoppers will find them pretty, as well as the blue sky on this snap from the valley.

I better keep going now ... there are still a lot to discover and explore!

~ maria

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Surprise Card!

Surprise Postcard, Sender: Terry Lovell
Sent: 13 Aug 2012 from Sherwood, AR
Received: 31 Aug 2012, Traveled 13,552 km in 19 days

In moments of doubt, I turn into kind words. One example is the message at the back of this surprise card from Terry:
You are a special person -- I know that to be true about you!
Thank you very much Terry! You make me smile every time with the postcards you send me and the lovely messages. Reading kind words from friendships I've made with people I haven't even met yet is very refreshing. For me, it reflects purity of human spirit. Despite what we see and what we believe to be an enormous damage in the human morale fiber, there is still the great potential for genuine kindness and good will even among strangers.

Reading Terry's message and looking at this card once again has cheered me up!

I'm off to bed tonight with a smile, renewed spirit, and excitement for the weekend!

But before that, I'm heading over at Beth's Postcard Friendship Friday to check for more nice postcards that will surely make me smile even more.

Sleep well everyone and have a great weekend ahead!


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Cold & The Snow

Facebook Swap, Sender: Sebastien
Sent: 9 
Sep 2013 from Cadillac, France
Received: 18 Sep 2013, Traveled ~11,526 km in 9 days 

The cold spell continues, stepping into the shower in the morning is a scary thing now! It becomes balmy around noon but I wish it's a bit warmer during morning and evenings. Pondering deeper about this weather, I think of the people who have long cold months (and snow). I have a good friend from Oxfordshire, UK who complains of the cold and the gray weather. I can empathize with her more, now! I read in the news several days ago, that the Sun is 'gone to sleep' and we're headed for a mini ice age. I admit reading that terrifies me! My sister joked, "Oh! We're gonna be white walkers!" -- I definitely wouldn't want to be one!

On a brighter note about this cold weather ... I've always thought about fun activities with snow. I've dreamed about drawing snow angels, making and playing with snow men, walking and trekking up hills of snow, like this family high up in the Pyrenees on the postcard. Even if the temperature drops even more though, we still won't get snow here in the Philippines. And so I still imagine sometimes a trip to a country where there's snow even though I'm not a fan of the cold weather. 

The beau and I have talked about skiing in Mont Blanc (pardon me, the postcards I have are from the Pyrenees and not from the Alps). Thinking about freezing in no time and turning into a frozen delight, in addition of a piece of red cherry on top of my head, I refused the idea. But I guess being under this cold spell, I'd be acclimated to chilly temperature and in the not so far future, be able to do fun activities with snow! I keep my fingers crossed!

In regards with the Sun going to sleep, I file it at the back of my head for now. I prefer imagining myself speeding down hill on a sled, with beautiful white and blue scenery around me.

Linking up with Sally for Blue Monday and Paulita for Dreaming of France.


Happy Monday everyone!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pet Dogs

The first stamp I found at the back of my postcards for Viridian's Sunday Stamps
theme today, 'pets' is a funny one. It's from the second part of a series called
Winter Tales. Designed by Claus Bigum and issued in 2011, the stamps show
Danish winter past times. This particular stamp shows a dog walker.

The second ones are mastiffs, one of the ancient breed of dogs. The two stamps
are issued by the Russian Federation on 15 March 2002. On the left is a bull mastiff,
said to be a cross breed between a mastiff and a bulldog. On the right, is a
Brazilian mastiff, also known as Fila Brasileiro.

~ maria

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spirit of the owl

NL-2196658, Sender: Anne
Sent: 20 Nov 2013 from Breda, Netherlands
Received: 22 Dec 2013, Traveled 10,449 km in 32 days

I'm being more pensive than usual again ... I needed to restrain myself from posting an entry here. I was lost in reverie and I didn't want to publish unguarded thoughts. 'Gotta be careful, right? ;-)

But still, I don't want to lose another chance to share a pretty postcard for
Clytie's Guest Heart Thursday and Beth's Postcard Friendship Friday.

To steer my thoughts to the right direction and to guide me make sensible reflections, here's one  of my favorite postcards. May my thoughts reflect wisdom, like the spirit of the owl. May my perception reflect clarity like being  able to identify that one obvious heart in the card. And may my judgment encompass benevolence,  like the clearly obvious and concealed layers of hearts on this card. 
How many can you count? I admit it's hard counting all of them! 

Happy weekend everyone!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter in Japan

JP-339971, Sender: Saya
Sent: 23 Nov 2012 from Obihiro, Japan
Received: 12 Dec 2012, Traveled 3,790 km in 19 days

Still with the cold weather as inspiration, I'm sharing today a postcard from the Kikuchi Haruo 's photo collection. I asked my friend who's studying in Japan to translate the characters for me. He said it's an image of a blue river in the town of Biei in Hokkaido, Japan. Blue river is the translation for the characters on top, Hokkaido Biei for characters on lower left, and Kikuchi Haruo on lower right.

Saya wrote: Hello/Konnichiwa. Greetings from north of Japan... It is very cold today. This is winter scenery of my region. It's beautiful.

I can imagine that blue water is indeed icy cold! Good thing though not everything is frozen and there is still flowing liquid on this stream.

Sharing this for Our World Tuesday.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Landscape from Mongolia, Altai, and Tuva

RU-884382, Sender: Irina
Sent: 30 March 2012 from Tomsk, Russia
Received: 17 June 2012, Traveled 5,575 km in 79 days

Yesterday, the lowest temperature of the decade was recorded here in Manila at 19 degree Celsius. The weather forecast said that the cold spell will last until around first week of February. With this weather, I'll be posting frosty-inspired postcards for this month of the year.

This postcard showing a landscape from Mongolia, Altai, and Tuva is in the list of my cards which took the longest time to travel. It is from Irina, a travel agent in Russia, living near Tomsk. She said:

Tomsk is beautiful and really interesting city. It was found in 1604 and called "The Siberian Athens" because of many universities here. Altai is situated not so far from Tomsk (and Seversk, of course). I visited Altai last month. And I think it's really an interesting place with great nature.

I agree with Irina, this landscape from Altai with the Karakol Lake in the foreground is really majestic! This is also a beautiful postcard. The uploaded image here in blogger doesn't give enough justice to the card but when viewed with MS Picture Manager, it looks like it is a 3D image with that reflection of the mountains in the water.

For more blue images, visit Blue Monday @ Smiling Sally.

~ maria

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Winter - ey Atmosphere

This is my first Sunday Stamps post for 2014 - so let me greet and wish every passionate philatelist and stamp enthusiast a Prosperous New Year! :)

Today's theme is anything you wish. I'm taking Viridian's lead and posting this stamp with a winter atmosphere. It came with a Christmas card from my long time pen pal from Finland. The holiday season is over. But we're happy here in Manila; we're still enjoying a relatively cold weather. Our usual tropical, humid, and warm weather will be back by end of next month, so the low temperature at this time of the year is indeed an extended holiday treat for us!

I can't help but be amazed and afraid at the same time though, about this polar vortex affecting the USA and the winter storms in Europe. I'm still haunted by the tragedy of super typhoon Haiyan... I pray that no similar amount of damage will ensue in those places affected by these extreme weather conditions.

~ maria

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nourish The Heart

RU-2207232, Sender: Marya11
Sent: 24 Nov 2013 from St. Petersburg, Russia
Received: 2 Jan 2014, Traveled 8,648 km in 39 days

At first glance, this postcard very well reminds me of a Chinese proverb:

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.

A tree is nourished by minerals from the soil and vitamins from the sun, and refreshed by water and air. Such is the same for the human heart, nourished by past experiences and refreshed by new ones. As I bid goodbye to 2013 and welcome the new year, 2014 - I admit I didn't write down (yet) specific "new year resolutions". But I renewed my yearly promise that I will keep an open and cheerful heart, keen on taking in new rewarding experiences, relearning from wise and trusted people and friends, and learning from new acquaintances and even strangers.

Happy new year everyone! Wishing all of us a prosperous 2014!