Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Postcard Perfect 039: The Grand Canal of Venice

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I can't believe it is the last Thursday of 2011 today...
I thought that by staying offline meant I can have the much needed R and R but I was wrong. This week we had errands to comply for insurance purposes that include paperworks, routine check ups and some minor dental checks  done on me and my husband. I wish I had one of those Dental Jobs instead of the current one I have - it is much more in demand and high-paying here, if I may say so.

Anyways, I'm joining Postcard Perfect this week after two weeks or so of absence:

A view of the famed Ponte di Rialto, one of the four bridges - and the oldest - spanning the Grand Canal in Venice.

Sent by my friend Chatru who is based in Dubai. He was on a European tour in November, and on the Italian leg of his tour, he sent me this beautiful postcard.  Chat said  he realised that the hotel where he stayed at, the Hotel Marco, was the very spot where this photo was taken and that he was actually looking at the very same view at one point of his stay there. Here's one of the pictures he took:


It's everything I'd imagined it to be on a busy day like above.
Photo taken from the Facebook photo album and used with permission from Chatru.
Thank you, Chat! By sending me this postcard you have actually taken me to the place you've  been and I have seen what you've seen...

What's more... this postcard, although bought in Venice was mailed in Città del Vaticano, or the Vatican City - how cool is that! Here are the fantastic stamps that were used on the postcard:

My very first stamps from the Vatican City!
On the left is a single stamp issued in 2008 to commemorate the celebration of the World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia. On the right is one of the 6 stamps issued in March 2011 commemorating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The above, right, stamp features the historic capital of the Regno Lombardo Veneto (Kingdom of Lombardy Venetia). The extra stamp, a smaller one you seen on the extreme right, is a reproduction of the first stamp issued in this state. Here's more information about the other five stamps in this series.

Once again, million thanks to Chatru for this valuable souvenir from Italy!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Sunday Stamps 046: The Three Wise Men

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Here is one Christmas stamp from an envelope that just arrived from Australia. A good blogger-friend of mine, the thoughtful Zam, now based in NSW, sent me a packet with several beautiful postcards and bookmarks. 

This is actually one of the five stamps issued for this year's Christmas stamp set:

Valued at AUD$ 1.50, this stamp shows the Three Wise Men - Balthazar, Melchor and Caspar - on their journey to Bethlehem to worship the baby Jesus Christ.
Isn't it beautiful? I think it is!
Without sounding too religious {or something to that effect), the story of the birth of Jesus Christ is one of the stories that I hold dearly in my heart. It has been told and re-told to me and my siblings when we were younger by my parents so that the meaning of Christmas wouldn't be lost on us. And now that the family has expanded, the story is being passed down to my nieces and nephew so that they, too, know what Christmas is all about.

The illustration on the above stamp is something I have imagined the Three Kings to be - alit their camels, dressed in magnificent robes that befit their royal origins, and the guiding star, of course, shining brightest amongst the stars in a star-filled night.

The idea of collecting Christmas stamps from around the world excites me now. After receiving this and the previous ones from South Africa, I think I'm going to look out for others. I've checked the Post Offices online and its possible for me to order if I can't get them from swaps. I wonder if it's possible to place a special order or request for a stamp sheet or booklet printing of old or past issues of Christmas stamps?

Anyways, I would like to take this opportunity to greet all my blogger-friends and fellow postcards and stamps collectors a very happy Christmas. Here's to a meaningful Christmas to us all :)

THe Postmistress will be on holiday :)

Dear friends and fellow collectors,

Due to the holiday season, I am taking time off away for a vacation. I am sorry to say that during this time, I won't be entertaining requests for private swaps. Do not worry though it is only temporary.

I might be able to post but not regularly. But I won't be able to visit other blogs, return visits, and leave comments. To those who seek swaps, just send me email via my contact page but I cannot reply you just yet. I will go back to normal blogging and swapping activities when I get back next year, {that means, next month (^.^)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Joshua, Beebop and Chappi, my favourite children in the world

Source: Vector Stock.com
And I am missing them terribly.

Pardon the gap in posting again. It's the holiday blues.

Christmas may not be officially celebrated here in Cambodia but I - and the rest of the expat community - are obviously still caught in the middle of the holiday spirit. I was running around the past few days shopping stuff, especially for my nephew and nieces at home. You see, my brothers went home for the holidays and saw this opportunity to send presents home through them. This despite my disapproval of the "commercialised" nature of the holiday. Admittedly, I found myself buying presents for the kids. I think I'm just suffering from guilt and homesickness. You know, I'm a very doting Aunt and I haven't seen them for more than three years now and I miss each one of them so much. They are sweet kids and they - two girls (ages 5 and 3) and a boy (age 7) - have been waiting for me to come home for Christmas since 2008. So I just rationalised in my mind that Christmas is for kids and, as the saying goes, it is better to give than to receive... so there you go, can you blame me? ^.^

Also, I just got my new credit card so you can say that I'm giving it a test run, lol. I don't think it's one of those rfid credit cards that many people are talking about. How do you know if your card has rfid? Please someone, tell me.

Anyways, have a happy holidays, everyone.

Postcard Friendship Friday 060: Autumn in Finland

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This is one of the beautiful sights I have ever seen. Autum in Finland looks stunning.  Looking at this postcard, I have this strange urge to to reach out for my fleece jacket... I realise that I am actually imagining and feeling how cold it must be there at this time of the year.


This is an unforgettable view of Parainen, also known by its Swedish name, Pargas. Pargas/Parainen is a city in the province of Western Finland and the only one in Finland that is surrounded by water on all sides. Parainen is also known for its limeworks {you can see the largest open quarry in the Nordic countries there} and Genuine Island Ginger Biscuits. (Source)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday 059: Bula, from Fiji!

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I just received this postcard showing a stunning sunset in Fiji! It was sent by my le Fab friend and town-mate (he blogs over at Jogels) who was on an equally fab holiday in the beautiful South Pacific islands of Fiji, the home of the pearly shells.

One of the most awe-inspiring sunsets I have ever seen. So serene, so mysterious.
Did you know that most of Fiji's islands were formed through volcanic activities starting around 150millions years ago? I know, I can't imagine the time element involved in the creation of these beautiful islands, can you?  It's been said that geothermal activities still happen in Vanua Levu and Taveuni.  Who knows, Fiji will still expand or there'll be more new islands that will be formed out of this natural activities in the future.

In the 17th ad 18th centuries, the Dutch and the British explored the islands but it was the British that occupied Fiji lasting up to a century.

Salamat, my friend. This is my first and only postcard from Fiji and from the region of Oceania.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Postcards from Miss Igorota

My husband and I made an impromptu road trip to the Cambodian border town of Bavet (an international border-crossing to Vietnam) in Svay Rieng province. What was a simple trip to the Russian market last Saturday morning to have our dose of Khmer pork-and-rice breakfast saw us end up in Bavet, some 170kms away from Phnom Penh 4hours later!

I know, we are a crazy couple, hence, the crazy road trip. But it was fun and we enjoyed the change of environment! I must say we  both enjoyed unplanned, spontaneous actions such as the recent border run. Here's sharing some of the sights. I still have a lot fram my mobile phone camera but downloading them onto my laptop is proving to be a beyotch! Lol.



We drove through hundreds of kilometers of green and golden yellow rice paddies as far as the eyes can see. There are no more signs of water after several months of flooding previously.

On the road we also saw a lot of huge trucks coming from and going to the border. I wondered if these large vehicles were fitted with gps for trucks even though there is only one main road that leads to the border. You will know that you're close to the border already because of the many KTVs, massage parlours, and casinos that line up the last few kilometers. Sadly, I wasn't able to send postcards at the border town because I could not find the post office.

Of course, Miss Igorota, on the right, my traveling doll, was with me and crossed the border to Vietnam, too. Surely you don't think I'd left her behind? We didn't go that far, though, and after inhaling the breeze in the Vietnamese soil and surreptitiously taking a few photos, we crossed the border again back to Cambodia. We were back in Phnom Penh at 8.30pm of the same day, just in time to enjoy the view of the lunar eclipse that night.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Sunday Stamps 045: The world's first transparent stamp

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And it's from Finland, where else? They consistently produce really awesome stamps that never fail to awe most collectors, in my humble opinion.

The world's first transparent stamp. Too bad you can't see it (transparency) here.

I could not find any other information at the Finnish postal service site so I consulted Mr Google for more info. And I got what I was looking for:
With Christmas soon knocking on the door, Finland's post Itella has issued a new stamp called Frosty Night. This innovative stamp is printed on a special clear film, and it is believed to be the first transparent stamp in the world.

The Frosty Night stamp depicts the atmosphere of a Northern winter night with a frosty snowflake, twinkling stars and aurora borealis in the background. The stamp is printed with blue shades on a clear filmic self-adhesive material from UPM Raflatac. The card or envelope behind the stamp then gives its own colour to the transparent snowflake and stars. - Source
The Finnish Post Office dubbed this beautiful stamp as the Frosty Night stamp, the first transparent stamp in the world issued in 2008. Too bad you can't really see it here :(

Is it true that no snowflakes are alike? Who would know and how would they know? Oh, well, pardon the curiosity. We do not have snow from where I live and it will take some time before I get to see a real snowflake ^.^

Postcard Friendship Friday 058: Sibling love

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From the beautiful city of Wien, Austria comes this equally beautiful postcard of siblings!

A happy moment between siblings captured perfectly!

Who says siblings can't be best of friends?
This postcard is actually a photograph, originally, that was printed into a postcard. The kids are my friend G's, who takes really lovely photos and blogs at Mirage. She took this one morning while the kids (the youngest is not in the picture) were waiting for the morning bus to school.

Thank you, G, for sharing this postcard with me.
A postcard  from Cambodia is coming your way, soon.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sunday Stamps 044: Limes Romanus - Gerulata and Carnuntum

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I had so much work to do this week, and more next week, that blog posts had taken a backseat. Before I get too engrossed researching about rapid detox for opiates I am posting my entries for this week's Sunday Stamps. Viridian mentioned last week that it is going to be a theme-free week so I had no trouble in selecting what to post today.

Here is a fantastic cover from Slovakia. It has been with me for over a year now and almost forgotten had I not checked my postcards and covers boxes again the other day.


A twin issue from Slovakia and Austria. The above cover is the Slovakian issue of the souvenir sheet, while the Austrian issue is brownish in colour but with identical stamps and sheet. Click the photo for a larger view.
This miniature sheet is part of a series of joint-issues entitled Limes Romanus - Gerulata and Carnuntum, launched in September 12, 2009 by the Slovak Post.  The postage stamps show Carnuntum and Gerulata, two significant Roman settlements which lie on either side of the two countries’ shared border.

Before I begin, I hope you're ready for another learning experience. I've never enjoyed learning about history and the great battles that transpired then as I have now via the stamps I've collected. Who would've thought that stamps make good visual aids??
 During Roman times, the Limes Romanus was a system of military fortresses across Europe. Part of the system made use of the River Danube to protect Roman provinces from attack by Germanic tribes.
The most prominent fortress in the Pannonia province was Carnuntum, left, whose site is close to the present-day Austrian village of Petronell. A Roman encampment was established there as early as 6 A.D. and later promoted to a town. Its most famous Roman monument is the so-called “Pagan Gate”, Heidentor in German, (shown in the stamp) that was built outside the town in the 4th century AD.


The closest Roman camp to the east of Carnuntum was Gerulata, right, uncovered in the Bratislava district of Rusovce. A fortified castel (i.e. a military camp) was erected here in the 1st century AD, which became the base for a mounted unit. It was part of the Roman province Pannonia and built in the 2nd century as part of the Limes Romanus system. It was abandoned in the 4th century, when the Roman legions withdrew from Pannonia. The map shows roads in the territory of the Roman Empire from Spain to India. In the 18th century, it was bought by the Austrian prince, Eugene of Savoy, who gifted it to the imperial court library in Vienna (now the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek). The map is included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage.

Sources:
Poštová filatelistické služby Slovensko



 
Images by Freepik