Greetings from Holland

Greetings from Holland

Greetings from Holland

Inge from The Netherlands sent me this postcard depicting a number of things her country is known for. She says that it’s nice to know that she’s sending this postcard so far away and that she can write it to me in Dutch. I love them postcards written in Dutch! This progressive nation is located in the North-West of Europe. Its name literally means “The low countries.” Holland, as many people call it, is actually only 2 of its constituent provinces, being Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. This tiny nation of only 41,543 km really punched above its weight during the 17th century when it became one of the great seafaring and economic powers of the world. It is also during this period that the Dutch set up the Cape Colony in 1652, which forms part of modern day South Africa and where the story of my family in South Africa begins. Thank you Inge!

Banaue Returns

Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces

Farida from the Philippines sent me this beautiful postcard of the Banaue Rice Terraces. It is my second postcard of the terraces. The ancestors of the indigenous Ifugao people carved these terraces into the mountainside over 2000 years ago. Filipinos often refer to these terraces as the “8th wonder of the world,” and I can see why one would call it that. They cover an area of 10 360 square kilometers, the equivalent of about 4 Luxembourgs! If the steps are put end to end, they would encircle half the globe, and to think, they were carved by hand! Everybody knows by now how much I love postcards of rice paddies, so I thank you Farida. These types of postcards are always most welcome.

Reino de Heidelberg

Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg, Germany

Yes, I know, Heidelberg is not a kingdom. It’s a play on words okay. Like you could do any better! Also, the sender of this magnificent postcard happens to be a great friend of mine for the past 11 years, Reino. On a recent trip to Germany and Austria, he sent me postcards from each city visited and Heidelberg happens to be the first. The postcard also speaks volumes to the speed of the South African postal system, as Reino has been back for more than a week (after a 3 week trip) and the postcard only arrived the day before yesterday. It was in fact a very kind gesture of him to fuel this postcard hoarding of mine while abroad. It was somehow touching and cute at the same time, and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying, when I saw that he wrote on the left and top right of the postcard and stuck the stamp at the bottom right. This is also my first postcard written in my mother-tongue, which is pretty cool. Definitely a postcard that I will cherish for a very long time to come! Love having you here Reino, but if this is the standard of postcard I can expect from you while abroad, I think it’s time to book your next flight! Duisend dankies!

Du Gefällst Mir

Sheepworld 1

Sheepworld

My very first Sheepworld postcard has arrived from Debbie. Debbie lives in Germany but sent the postcard from Switzerland. It’s funny how many people were involved in me getting this postcard. A friend, Dilyana, had introduced me to this series of postcards, during that same evening I found one of the series on Danielle’s blog and she arranged for me and Debbie to have a swap. I am most pleased and absolutely love the postcard, thank you Debbie!

Oops!

Informal Settlement, South Africa

Informal Settlement, South Africa

This less than flattering view of my country was actually the first postcard I ever had. I found it while ruffling through a box of old letters to find a fellow postcard collector some used stamps from South Africa. It was given to me by Michelle, an American missionary who was here and with whom I had crossed paths on a few random occasions. She wrote me the most beautiful message and she is also one of the few people I’ve met in my lifetime that I could call a woman of God. So awesome finding this postcard when least expecting it. So, after 8 years, thank you Michelle!

A Beautiful Gesture

Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine

This card is a special one in that it was sent as such a nice gesture from Kseniia. In April I sent a postcard, which I loved very much, to her via Postcrossing. She then contacted me and said she would like to send me a postcard in return as a “thank you.” I found that very cool. She says that this postcard makes her feel calm and inspired and for that reason she kept it around for ages. She tells me that the St Andrew Church is her favourite place in all of Kiev and similarly, this postcard is one of my favourites to be sent from Ukraine. Thank you so much for such a great gesture, Kseniia!

It’s all about the Inches

Plouharnel, Brittany, France

Plouharnel, Brittany, France

This 12-inch long beauty comes to me all the way from Dorine in France. Of course I could have said 30cm-beauty but that would not have done well with my play on words. Anyway, it is the largest postcard in my collection and will have to find a home of its own, as the box in which I keep my postcards is too small to accommodate it. As you can imagine with such a long postcard, it got a bit bent, as can be seen at the right side of the picture. Dorine tells me that having grown up so close to the ocean, she feels “oppressed” when she finds herself far from water. As an ending to her message, she tells me that she set the main title from Game of Thrones as her alarm tone, so that the first minutes of every day will be epic. Don’t you just love her? Thank you Dorine for a great and unique postcard!

Kenya Believe My Luck?

Great Migration, Kenya

Great Migration, Kenya

The awesome Kelly sent me this stunning picture of the Great Migration from Kenya. Now before all you wildlife enthusiasts start shouting at your computer screens, the Great Migration takes place over the borders between Tanzania and Kenya. Apparently wildebeest are rather apathetic to sovereign borders. The migration is dependent upon rainfall patterns during the year and they will start moving as soon as they need to graze elsewhere. It is between July and August, however, that the wildebeest cross the river Mara from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania into the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. The postcard says that it’s the 7th wonder of the (probably natural) world and I can imagine why. It’s something that I would love to see in my lifetime. Thank you Kelly, I am most lucky to have a postcard from your great country!

Prince Yuri’s Legacy

Dmitrov, Russia

Dmitrov, Russia

Vika, a Russian student who is clearly very fond of her town of Dmitrov sent me this beautiful aerial-view postcard. Vika tells me that the town was founded in 1154 by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky. The prince’s son, Vsevolod was born here and the name of the town can be explained with reference to his son’s patron saint, Saint Demetrius. Shown in the center of this postcard is a monument in honour of the prince. She goes on to tell me that a peculiarity of Dmitrov is an earth mound which is 15 meters high and 960 meters long. Located inside the shaft of this mound is a cathedral as well as a small museum. Thank you Vika for a pretty and very informative postcard!

From Another City

Odessa, Ukraine

Odessa, Ukraine

Greta, a maths student from Ukraine sent me my first postcard of Odessa. It is always nice when you receive many postcards from the same country that they not be from the same city every time. All my others are from Kiev. Odessa is the third largest city in the country with a population of just over a million. The only cities that are larger are Kiev, the capital and Kharkiv. The source of the city’s name is uncertain in that it either came from the Turkish word for the area, Yedisan, which means “seven flags” or from the Greek god Odessos. The latter does not seem likely, as it was falsely believed that Odessos came from here but actually it was believed that Odessos lives in Varna, Bulgaria. A welcome addition to my collection. Greta, I thank you.