A Sheepworld Poem

Sheepworld

Sheepworld

This postcard comes from Martina from Germany, as the language on the postcard should hopefully suggest. It basically says:

I just thought of you

and that was so much fun

that I immediately decided:

I will do it every day!

It just sounds much better in German. While under normal circumstances such a poem would make me projectile vomit all the way to Tanzania, I am somewhat disarmed by the fact that this postcard is part of my beloved Sheepworld range of postcards. Thanks a whole bunch for this great postcard Martina!

South Pacific’s Gem

New Zealand

New Zealand

This fun postcard comes from Carolyn who is from New Zealand. Just in case you’ve never heard of it (fat chance,) New Zealand is an island nation located in the South Pacific, about 1500 km from Australia. Apparently Google Chrome does not know of the country’s existence as it constantly underlines “Zealand” and wants me to change it to “zeal and.” Because of the remoteness of the island, this land was one of the last places on the planet to be settled by humans (the Maoris) at some point between the years 1250 and 1300. The first non-Maori people to take note of the country was the Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, in 1642. In 1840 the country became part of the British Empire and today, the majority of its citizens are of European descent (around 77%.) The country consists of 2 major islands, creatively named North and South Islands and a number of other smaller islands. The total land area of New Zealand comes to 268 021 square kilometers. With a population of just over 4.5 million, there is clearly a lot of space for everybody. The country enjoys one of the highest living standards in the world and also an amazing Human Development Index (HDI) ranking, at 6th place. It is also constantly ranked among the top countries in terms of ease to do business, transparency in government and low crime rates. Sounds like a pretty nice place! No wonder half the population of South Africa now call it home. Thank you Carolyn!

Newly Found Old Stuff

Ancient Thracia

Ancient Thracia

This postcard comes from a really colourful guy in Bulgaria, Zdravko. But now, let’s get down to business. At the top left one can see the tomb of Kazanlak, which dates back to the 4th century BC. But you know all about that, of course, because obviously y’all read my previous post about the place. Next to Kazanlak is the Thracian tomb of Sveshtari. This tomb was only discovered in 1982 but dates back to the 3rd century BC. The tomb is a symbol and remind of the Getae that inhabited the area during this period. At the bottom left is Perperikon Palace, which is located near the town of Kardzhali. Perperikon is located on a rocky hill about 470 meters high and is thought to have been a sacred place. It is not clear to when exactly the old palace dates but it is believed to have been built during the roman period. Finally, at the bottom right is Aleksandrovo. It is a tomb located in South-Eastern Bulgaria, dating back to the 4th century BC. This tomb was only discovered in 2000 by excavators. Talk about a fortunate accident! Unfortunately some looters entered the site soon after its uncovering and destroyed some of the frescoes. They were all subsequently struck by lightning. No, I’m lying but that would have been a good ending to this story, no? At any rate, the naked man standing behind the boar is conveniently not being shown on the postcard. But ja, I prefer it that way too. Thanks Zdravko, I love this postcard!

Gigantic Australia

Australia

Australia

Another awesome postcard from Kristie in Australia. Australia is the 6th largest country in the world with a total land size of 7 692 024 square kilometers. I realised that it is a huge country but taking into account all these countries can fit into Australia makes it seem so much bigger in my mind. France, Hong Kong, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Germany, Ecuador, Japan, West Malaysia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Romania, East Timor, Thailand South Korea, Austria, Albania, Taiwan, Cambodia, Greece, Sri Lanka, Denmark and my own home country of South Africa can all comfortably fit within its borders. That makes one realise why this country with a mere population of 23.2 million has one of the lowest population densities in the world. With only 2.8 people per square kilometer, it’s extremely low. Considering that the other countries have a combined population of over 750 million people, one can see just how low it is. Thanks Kristie!

Black Forest Gateau Recipe

Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau

This postcard comes from the lovely FeĆ© in Germany. She knows how much I love Black Forest Gateau and sent me a recipe as a result. I offered to mail her a piece of it when I make it but she politely declined. I can’t say I know why! So, let me share the recipe with y’all, who love it as much as I do.

 

What you will need to make the dough:

100 g of butter or margarine

100 g of sugar

1 packet of vanilla sugar (I’m not so clear on the definition of a “packet” when it comes to a recipe)

4 eggs

50 g of flour

50 g of cornflour (That would be Maizena to all you South African people)

75 g of almonds

100 g of chocolate

2 level teaspoons of baking powder

 

For the filling you need:

6 – 7 tablespoons of kirsch (of course, when adding alcohol, you don’t need to be all that exact)

200 g of cherry jam

500 ml of cream

 

Instructions:

Beat butter or margarine until frothy and add sugar and (that inexact amount of) vanilla sugar a spoonful at a time. Stir in the egges one after the other. Then add the peeled, ground almonds and grated chocolate. Mix together with flour, cornflour and baking powder, sieve over the foam and then stir in. Place the pastry in a springorm and bake. Once coolded down, slice the cake into 3 layers.

Drip kirsch over the bottom layer (or leave the cake in it over night – Just a joke, DO NOT do that.) Cover it with jam or stoned cherries and spread some whipped cream on top. Place second layer onto first and repeat the process. And guess what you have to do with the third and final layer… You guessed it, the same as the first!

Now enjoy your black forest gateau and remember to mail me a slice.

SoCal

Southern California

Southern California

Abran, who lives in Southern California, Compton, to be more precise, sent me this postcard of Southern California, or SoCal, as the locals apparently call it. I don’t know where in the world Carmen Sandiego is but I think I found her surname in the South of California! I have to say that I had no idea that so many places with Spanish names existed in California, even know I am familiar with the rich Spanish heritage in the area. To the South of the area shown in pink here is where all those dreaded housewives live. Ja, I think I’m just writing a bunch of crap at this point, so I’m just going to end by thanking you Abran!

King Congo

Mountain Gorilla

Mountain Gorilla

This postcard of a mountain gorilla in the not-so-Democratic Republic of Congo comes from Sini in Finland. These animals can only be found in Central Africa, in the countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC and most notably in the Bwindi National Park in Uganda. There are only about 790 of these graceful animals left in the wild. Although these animals must be a great sight to behold, I’m not so sure that I’d be too keen on getting very close to one. Max the gorilla was also one of South Africa’s two most famous animals, along with Jock of the Bushveld, until his death at age 33 in 2004. Very cool!

A Round Argentina

Argentina

Argentina

Julio from Argentina sent me this cool round map card of his country. Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world, with a land area of 2 780 400 square kilometers. That is more than double the size of my home country of South Africa, which is also quite large. It is also the second largest country in South America and the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. The capital city of Argentina is Buenos Aires. Despite the country’s ranking as a middle-income country, its Human Development Index indicates that it has done quite well in empowering its people. This country is, however, no stranger to instability and hardship, with a great number of military coups having taken place over the course of its history. I cannot think of this country without thinking about that oh-so-famous Andrew Lloyd Webber play, Evita and of course the flamenco. It is a country, very rich in culture and with a very interesting history indeed!

Church of Bucharest

Kretzulescu Church, Bucharest, Romania

Kretzulescu Church, Bucharest, Romania

This great postcard of the Kretzulescu Church in the capital of Romania, Bucharest, comes from Danut. The church was commissioned between 1720 and 1722 by the boyar, Iordache Cretulescu and his wife, Sofia. It was originally painted but ever since it was restored, between 1935 and 1936, it has not been painted. The church was damaged during earthquakes in the city in 1940 and again in 1977 but was luckily restored. After the revolution in 1989, it once again had to be renovated. And to think, this beauty was slated for demolition when the communist regime came to power. Luckily they did not demolish it, otherwise I would not have had this beautiful postcard and Romania would have lost an amazing part of history!

At the Heart of History

National Palace, Zocalo & Templo Mayor. Mexico.

National Palace, Zocalo & Templo Mayor. Mexico.

My first postcard from Mexico comes from Maggie. It shows the historic center in Mexico City. It shows Zocalo at the top, which is at the heart of the historic center. Zocalo is 240m X 240m, or 57 600 square meters, making it the largest city square in the world. The Zocalo is such an international symbol of the country, that I cannot help but recognise it whenever I see it as being Mexican but I have to say that I have never known what the name of the place was. Templo Mayor, also shown here, was an Aztec temple that was built in the period after 1325. It was one of the main temples in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. It was destroyed and rebuilt no less than 6 times! It was destroyed one last time in 1521 by the Spanish and in 1987 it gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The national palace is also located on the Zocalo and this 200 meter-long building is the seat of the federal executive of Mexico. Clearly the historic center in Mexico city could very easily live up to its name. Thanks a lot Maggie!