Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zamek Książ, Poland

The A-Z Challenge ends today. I feel accomplished for being able to finish! Some letters were really challenging for my chosen theme.

For letter "Z" --

FB Postcard Swap, Sender: RPPostcards
Sent: 09 Aug 2012 from Wroclaw, Poland
Received: 7 Sep 2012, Traveled 9,684 km in 28 days

I am pleased to share this zamek or castle postcard shown on twilight colors. I think the colors are fitting as a closing for my April postcards roll. According to its official website, the castle given it's size and location, is very rare in Europe.

That's it for now! It's been great sharing postcards everyday for 30 days! For new followers of my blog, it's been very nice to know you and visit your pages, too! Same goes to my existing followers even before the challenge, it's been nice catching up with your pages too after my absence here in bloggers world for almost 1 year. You are all welcome to continue sharing my journey of connecting with the world even after this April Challenge has ended ;-)

Enjoy the long weekend, everyone!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for "Your Mind Afloat" with Gothenburg's Opera, Sweden

For letter "Y" --

"Your mind afloat" is the vision of the architect Jan Izikowitz for the Gothenburg Opera. He said:

The building should be possessed by an airiness that sends your mind soaring 
across the meandering landscape like wings of seagulls.

I sent this postcard design to several people (including myself) while I was in Gothenburg last week. Now I am excited to receive it from the post.

Do you think the architect was able to realize his vision with this work?


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xanthic Roofs in Forbidden City, China

For letter "X" -- 

Friendship Postcard, Sender: Daphne
Sent: 31 Mar 2015 from Beijing, China
Received: 15 Apr 2015, Traveled 4,469 km in 16 days

I almost posted this entry for "X" as the letter being a prohibitory sign representing the word, "forbidden". I was lucky though to bump with the word xanthic, which is relating to the glazed yellow brick roofs on this postcard of the Forbidden City. 

And ooops, I realized that yellow could have been a perfect entry for the next letter of the alphabet, "Y". We'll find another building/structure on postcard for that. For now, let me share a trivia for this word and color. 

Xanthic is an adjective, from Greek, xanqo's yellow. Yellow is a color widely used in Chinese imperial buildings. It means respect in their culture. It's also a representative color of the element, earth. With the elements: metal, wood, fire, water, and earth -- earth is the central element. The ancient Chinese believed that the emperor is the center of the universe. Hence, earth/yellow on the roof of the imperial palaces is a royal emblem. 


Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Warwick Castle, England

So many things to do, so little time. That's what I am feeling right now when I am about to fly out of Stockholm. It reminds me of another trip where one full day wasn't enough to experience everything the place has to offer.

For letter "W" --

Sent: 31 May 2012 from Southampton, UK
Received: 19 Jun 2012, Traveled 10,880.8 km in 20 days

If you happen to remember the entries I had for letters "D" and "E", this postcard is from that same visit to England. A tour of the castle and its grounds was probably the most jampacked day from that trip. I am not complaining though; the activities were well-organized and there's so much to discover about the place.

Are there any Merlin TV Series fanatics here? Warwick Castle has a special tower for you. It's called the Dragon Tower where you could enjoy a magical experience with the characters from the story.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for View from Below - Eiffel Tower, France

For the most number of postcards received for a single famous landmark, Eiffel Tower would be on top in my collection. So far there are two shared here in my blog from the titles: We'll Always Have Paris, and Paris and Its Wonders.

Direct Swap, Sender: Ulla
Sent: 26 Nov 2012 from Marly, France
Traveled ~10,900 km

For letter "V" of the A-Z April Challenge I am participating with for this month, let me treat you all for a view from below of this magnificent architectural wonder.

To be honest the stems of those trees are kind of creeping me out! It doesn't change the fact though that it offers a rare view of the tower. Do those stems creep you out, too? Do you think the postcard would have been nicer if these stems aren't there?


Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for University of Oxford, England

It's a challenge for me to find a postcard to share for this letter. Hence, for the very first time I am putting up one for a second feature on my page. It is from a multi-card post from 2013.

For letter "U" --

Bloggers Postcard Swap, Sender: Anne
Sent: 11 Sep 2013 from Swindon, UK
Received: 24 Sep 2013, Traveled 10,838 km in 13 days

The original post does not contain any information about the cards. So for this card at least, here's an interesting fact. It is unknown when Oxford University was established. Teaching though was known to have existed since more than 900 years ago.

Aside from that fact, there are still way too much impressive information about this university. More details could be found from an Uncle Wiki's page.

The long and full week is ending, I am tired and sleepy ... but before we take a rest, let's first check out my friend Beth's page for Postcards Friendship Friday hop.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Tilburg Places of Worship, Netherlands

If you missed my "S" post, it was also about a place of worship.

For letter "T" --

NL-1921426, Sender: Joannes
Sent: 17 June 2013 from Tilburg, The Netherlands
Received: 29 June 2013, Traveled 10,431 km in 11 days

The sender of the postcard was very nice to give me a detailed description. He wrote:

On this card you can see almost all places of worship in Tilburg. The Hasselt Chapel (1540); a lamp in the Suleymani Mosque, St. Dionysius Church by daylight and festively illuminated; Jewish synagogue, Trappist monastery and brewery "de Koningshoeven"; former Hasselt church, now cultural center, St. Joseph Church with Sacred Heart statue in front at "de Huevel, the mosque, this time from outside the Norbertijnerpoort in Goirkestraat, again Hasselt chapel synagogue and mosque, the Cenacle former convent, the water tower in the Bredaseweg = road to Breda.

A bit of a challenge, but with persistence, you'll be able to identify which is which!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Spas-Na-Krovi, Russia

From a city that also starts with "S", here is a postcard from St. Petersburg.

For letter "S" --

RU-2118338, Sender: Alya
Sent: 25 Oct 2013 from St. Petersburg, Russia
Received: 3 Dec 2013, Traveled 8,648 km in 39 days

Spas-Na-Krovi or Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood is a stunning church covered by mosaics in both the interior and the exterior. While reading the details at the back of the card, I was a bit puzzled by the detail "A. Parland". Thanks to Google, I was directed to a page for Alfred Parland, the lesser known architect of the church. Uncle Wiki says that this church is the life of A. Parland since it took a quarter century to finish and after that, he was responsible for maintaining the place.

If you would dedicate your life into a project, what would it be?


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Riverside Shophouses, Singapore

It's a bit amusing that I am posting about Singapore when I am not there. 

For letter "R" --

Friendship Postcard, Sender: Princess Rin
Sent: 30 Aug 2013 from Singapore
Received: 6 Sep 2013, Traveled 2,392 km in 7 days

Riverside shophouses are of pre-colonial design. They have been restored and now are restaurants and entertainment spots along the Robertson, River, and Clarke quays. The shophouses create an interestingly good contrast between the taller and newly-designed skyscrapers behind them. Tourists and locals alike can enjoy sightseeing from Singapore River aboard a wooden boat similar to those two on the postcard, operated by the SRC. I've taken the river sightseeing tour twice and wouldn't hesitate to do it again to accompany a friend who will visit SG.

Have you taken a river tour before? On which river was it? The other two river tours I've had besides from Singapore River were: (1) Thailand's Chao Phraya River Tour which offered view of majestic golden temples at night, and the (2) Cambodia's Mekong Delta / River Tour on which I had a breakfast aboard a wooden boat while watching the sunrise. It's quite difficult to choose a favorite from these 3, as each river tour was a unique experience by itself.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Queen's Islet Palace, Sweden

While researching for my Sweden trip, I was treated to a pleasant surprise at the Visit Sweden website. The photos on the page could be sent over as an e-postcard! Kudos to technology, even postcard delivery now has been automated. So I tried and sent myself one.

For letter "Q" --

E-Postcard from Visit Sweden Website, Sender: Myself
Sent: 9 April 2015 via email, 
Photo: Ola Ericson/

According to Uncle Wiki, "Drottningholm" in the name Drottningholm Palace literally means "Queen's Islet". The palace is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I am hoping for nice weather this coming weekend so I could take at least a nice view of this palace from Gamla Stan. It would be a bit far from me if I travel all the way to Lovon where it is located. So a panoramic view from a nearby island would be enough I think. :)


Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Petronas Tower, Malaysia

Being in elevation of around 40,000 ft for the past 10 hours or so, it's but most appropriate for me to share this postcard today.

Sent: 13 March 2015 from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Received: 25 March 2015, Traveled 350 km in 12 days

For letter "P" --

Petronas Tower is the tallest twin towers in the world. It stands at around 1,400 ft. I was definitely in awe and felt super small when I saw it in Kuala Lumpur early last month (March). I was only able to view it from the ground, feeling like a worm. I didn't go up cause there's a fee and I was stingy. 

What are the tall skyscapers that you've visited before? We're you able to experience going up that tall building?


Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Olsztyn Castle Ruins, Poland

As mentioned in my "K" post, Poland is a country I really wish to see.

I don't know yet when I could go but while researching for "things to do" in Poland, I found out about the Trail of the Eagle's Nest. It is a marked trail with 25 medieval castles. It is considered the best touristic trail in Poland.

For letter "O" --

Direct Swap, Sender: Magda
Sent: 01 June 2012 from Zabrze, Poland
Traveled 9,613 km
Olsztyn Castle Ruins is one of the castles in the trail. It was considered as a royal castle for a settlement back in the 14th century. After several wars and transfers of ownership, Olsztyn is simply considered now as a village. The biggest attraction in the area that was once the castle, has the prison tower as its most impressive feature of the ruins.

Check out Beth's page to see more for Postcard Friendship Friday.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for New Swanstone Castle, Germany

For letter "N" --
Direct Swap, Sender: Mark Winchester
Sent: 27 Jul 2012 from Ostfildern, Germany
Traveled 10,300 km 
New Swanstone Castle or Neuschwanstein in German is famous for being the prototype of the castle in Disney's Sleeping Beauty. The sender of the postcard wrote:

Schloss Neuschwanstein, built for the "mad king Ludwig of Bavaria". 
He had 4 castles built, each one better than the last. 

Thanks to his obsession for romantic beauty though! Now Germany has this structure that drives in a lot of tourism for that part of the country.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for "Molen", The Netherlands

Three days from now I will be flying over The Netherlands.

I wonder if I will see a "molen" from above. I've never seen one for real.

For letter "M" --

NL-1023366, Sender: Karin
Sent: 4 Feb 2012 from Haarlem, The Netherlands
Received: 23 Feb 2012, Traveled 10,413 km in 19 days

Molen is Dutch word for "mill". At the back of this card, the sender wrote:

I hope you will like the "molen". That's how this building on this card is called in Dutch. 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Loveland Castle in Ohio, USA

In my post for letter "G", I mentioned that I am traveling to Sweden for training. Another country where I am supposed to travel to this year to train for my new job is the USA. I need to see our two main offices in Washington and Ohio.

I got Loveland when researching for nice places to see in Ohio. Loveland is named after a storeowner and postmaster, James Loveland. I think it wouldn't be hard to guess why I want to visit. My main hobby is about sending and receiving postcards and letters from the mail.

For letter "L" --

Facebook Swap, Sender: Lorie Jordan
Sent: 26 Sep 2013 from Loveland, OH
Received: 12 Oct 2013, Traveled 13,514.3 km in 16 days

While browsing through my postcards collection, I was delighted to see that I have something from Loveland, OH. This is Loveland Castle, the headquarters of the Boy Scouts Troop named Knights of the Golden Trail. The castle is also called Chateau Laroche, which means "Rock Castle" in French.

For more photos from all over the world, visit Our World.


Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Klodzko's Architecture, Poland

I've always dreamed of visiting Poland. A dream that is yet to come true. In my postcards collection, Poland is in the top 5 country from where I have the most nicest cards from.

Coming from another country that was badly damaged during WW2, I am curious how Poland was able to retain its culture and rehabilitate from the war.

For letter "K" --

Direct Swap, Sender: Joanna Hellman
Sent: 27 Aug 2012 from Katowice, Poland
Received: 10 Sep 2012, Traveled 9,583 km in 11 days

Klodzko, stare miasto. Old Town. These are the descriptions at the back of the card. The sender wrote:

Klodzko, due to the unusual architecture is called "small Prague.". It is one of the most picturesque Polish towns.

Did you notice it looks like there's a cat coming out from the window of the pink house on the right? Is it just me and my imagination?


Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, Brunei

For letter "J" --

Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is the largest mosque in Brunei. It is know locally as Kiarong Mosque. Impressive on the outside with its golden domes, I've read that the interior is even more jaw-dropping.

This is another postcard that I couldn't caption. It was hand-delivered by the same friend who gave me the Cambodia postcards that were featured for letters A, B, and C.


Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for the Iconic Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

I'm doing more stretching for the theme I've chosen this year for the A-Z Challenge. Instead of the actual name of the buildings and structures, I'm using adjectives. But hey, I don't think that's a bad thing nor a bad excuse, right? The A to Z challenge doesn't really have hard core rules. One could go thematic or not.

For me, there are two sides of going thematic. I realized that when it narrows down and gets you more organized, some letters prove to be difficult. In my case for the theme I've chosen which is "Buildings and Structures on Postcards", and not just any other available postcard, but postcards I've received (or sent), I got stuck with approximately 6 letters of the alphabet. Well enough of that, it's quite an early reflection for the challenge ...

For letter "I" -- 

Friendship Gift Postcard, Sent by: Wayne & Ron
Sent: 19 May 2012 from Edinburgh, Scotland
Received: 26 Sep 2012, Traveled 10,610 km in "like forever!!"

Iconic is the adjective that the Scotland's National Tourism Organisation used to describe the castle on their website. Such a pity I only went to look at the exterior. I was too stingy and I didn't want to buy the entrance tickets. Perhaps next time!

For more postcards on Friday, check out Beth's The Best Hearts Are Crunchy page, accessible through here.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Hathaway's Cottage, England

For letter "H" -- 
Sent: 31 May 2012 from Southampton, UK
Received: 19 Jun 2012, Traveled 10,880.8 km in 20 days

It is a bit of a stretch for me. It's actually Anne Hathaway's cottage. I used the maiden name of Anne to distinguish the cottage and gardens to be of Anne's family and not of her famous spouse, William Shakespeare.

A place I visited back in 2012, this is my favorite from the "Visit the Houses" tour. It is one of the touristic highlights in Stratsford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace. For this specific site itself, the highlight for me was the garden.

I have another post with two more postcards of the Shaspeare houses, here.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Gothenburg, Cathedral

For letter "G" --

Direct Swap, sent by Iwona Miazek
17 Oct 2013 from Salzgitter, Germany
07 Nov 2013, Traveled 10,108.2 km in 21 days

Gothenburg Cathedral is a church that was burnt down and rebuilt twice. The current building is of classicist style, designed by Gothenburg's first city architect, Carl Wilhelm Carlberg.

It would probably be one of the places I'll try to see for my touristic side trip. I'll be traveling to Gothenburg very soon for work. I am currently researching for a few touristic places which are not too far from the city center to see in the evenings. Any suggestions?


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is French Influence in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

For letter "F" -

Formerly a French colony, classical Western architectural style was left in some important buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. Thanks to the French best friend who once lived there for sending me these postcards below. I couldn't label these postcards as well as they were hand delivered to me.

In support of my postcards and stamps hobby, I received this Ho Chi Minh City Post Office postcard. The building was designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the same designer of the famous iron lattice tower in Champ de Mars.

He knows I am a big fan of Marie Curie, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. A Polish and naturalized French physicist, her brilliance paved the way for my profession today -- physics in medicine. How appropriate that on the postcard above, I have a view of an entrance to a public high school named after her.

Ho Chi Minh is on the top three in my wishlist of cities to visit this year. Hopefully I could see these buildings in person real soon!


Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Elizabeth Tower, England

For letter "E" --

It shouldn't be mistaken that Big Ben is the nickname for the bell on the clock in the tower. The clock tower itself is "Elizabeth Tower". It used to be just the Clock Tower until year 2012 when it was renamed during the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

Sent: 31 May 2012 from Southampton, UK
Received: 19 Jun 2012, Traveled 10,880.8 km in 20 days

It was a celebration that I missed! I didn't know at all and my train out of London was booked on 19 May, that exact day of the parade. I could have seen the Queen! After that trip, I am now more prudent on checking events in places I visit; I don't want to regret missing an important celebration that could have happened just once in my lifetime!

Below are two souvenirs from that visit. For the photo on the right, I think it turned out well with the sun being blocked by the tower. I was standing directly facing the sun and I hid behind to take the shot. Back then, I didn't know at all that the English were renaming this significant structure where I was having my photo taken. How ignorant of me sometimes!

I am also sharing this clear blue sky to Sally's Blue Monday. Head over to her page for more blues!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Ducal Mansion, England

From temples to castles, for letter "D" --

Sent 31 May 2012 from Southampton, UK
Traveled 10,880.8 km in 20 days

Presently, the Nottingham Castle is known as the "Ducal Mansion". The estate was originally a traditional castle inhabited by kings and queens. It was purchased in 17th century by William Cavendish, first duke of Newcastle upon Tyne, hence the name.

I had the pleasure to visit it back in 2012. But perhaps the more interesting part of my visit to this side of England more than the Ducal Mansion itself were the caves underneath the mansion, the stories of Sherwood Forest and the folklore hero Robin Hood, and the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn which is just nearby.

Did you know the name on which the Nottingham Castle was built on? Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, England's oldest pub was also built on the same foundation.


Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Causeway of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

When the first two entries were about temples, it is quite different for letter "C" --

On the postcard above is the causeway leading into the entrance of Angkor Thom, which according to Uncle Wiki, "is the last and most enduring capital city of Khmer Empire". This fact actually didn't sink in to me while I was doing the tour. Through reading, I learned that Angkor Thom literally means "Great City". I thought Angkor Thom is the name of that temple we visited inside the complex. We were brought to that temple specifically because it is one of the locations for Angelina Jolie's famous Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie. 

For a closer look into the figures on the towering gate and the causeway:

The postcard in the middle is viewed from one of the sides of the tower gate. There are Buddhas facing all four cardinal directions. For the causeway, it is lined with asuras (power-seeking deities) on one side and devas (benevolent deities) on the other side.  They are "holding a naga in the attitude of tug-of-war.". The causeway appears to be from the Hinduism myth, Churning of the Sea of Milk.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Bayon Temple, Cambodia

I am happy that for the first three letters of the alphabet, I am able to share Buildings and Structures that I've both visited and kept or received in the mail a corresponding postcard. Oh wait, I think not just for the first three letters but for the first five actually! ;-)

For the first three though, all are from Cambodia. Now for the second letter, "B" --

Bayon Temple looks a bit chaotic for me, judging from the view from the outside. On top is a photo I took in front of the temple. It is impressive nonetheless for the countless towers with carved Buddha faces. Our tour guide said there are around 200 but since a lot might have fell into ruin over the years, there is no actual count. Below are two close-up looks to two of the Buddha faces: one was courtesy of our tour guide and the other one is on a postcard.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The Buildings and Structures on Postcards that I will be sharing for the April 2015 A-Z Challenge will be a mix of those I've had the pleasure to visit and those I have not. Although, fingers crossed for the latter that I'll have the chance to see them for real.

For the entry for letter "A" - 

Angkor Wat is one of the temples I've visited back in October 2014. I went with my bestfriend to fulfill a dream I had since 2009. 

We had the pleasure of being toured around the temples of a local, Mr. Vann Seila. The plan was to see the sunrise so we started off really early. Alas it was raining on the day we picked to go. Now, my feet are just itching to go back there during the dry season. I couldn't wait to experience the sight below in person.

Normally my postcards are labeled, with information about their travel through the post. Please check previous posts for reference. However, for these 2 and the ones I'll share for letters "B" and "C", I couldn't label. These Cambodia postcards were from a pack of 10 that were hand-delivered to me by a friend who visited Cambodia back in 2013.