Wednesday, August 31, 2011

La Table Du Gourmet

Sender: Alienne

'I' is for 'Inn'!

Coincidentally, after receiving a viewcard of Riquewihr, Alsace from a French postcrosser, I got this card from Alienne for the Alphabet RR. I believe this signboard is of an inn/restaurant in Riquewihr, Alsace, which is arguably the best restaurant there!

Do you know that there is an Inn Sign Society in the UK? People do have diverse interests! This society consists of persons interested in discovering information about inn signs and pub names (collectively referred to as "inn-signia"). For example, they explore and research the origins of various names: How were the names derived? What are their stories? Who were the people the signs portray? What do the odd names mean?

Once upon a time, the name of an inn can reveal something about its past with hints or clues as to its history. Nowadays, most businesses erected signs just to advertise their trade. 

In any event, if you are interested in the same thing, I am sure you can't travel anywhere without keeping one eye peeled for a good inn sign. And take memorable photos of it! :)


Sender: Didier
Riquewihr (Alsace) - Les vieilles maisons fleuries de la grand'rue (I think this means old houses with flowers in the high street)

Riquewihr maybe is the most romantic medieval city in Alsace, hidden among vineyards and the Vosges mountains. Its layout and structure have not changed since the Middle Ages. There are many timbered houses, well-preserved walls, beautiful flowers, courtyards, galleries, old wells, fountains, basically, every piece of architecture is miraculously preserved. The people have not changed much either, for they have the same lifestyle and their existence revolves around the industry of wine making.

Now, I'm really tempted to go there! And the amazing thing is, we have a hillside resort here copying this old medieval city, complete with a tower like the Dolder tower in this village...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Castle Orlik

Sender: Diana
Zamek Orlik nad Vltavou Sidlo rodu ze Schwarzenbergu

Orlík Castle is built in the 13th Century on a cliff above the Vltava valley, set among the forest
by the Vltava River. 'Orlik' means 'young eagle'. Orlík Castle has long belonged to the Schwarzenbergs, an influential family during the reign of the Habsburgs. Today, the castle museum houses the personal collection of the family. Orlík nad Vltavou is a village in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

'S' is for 'Shadow'

Sender: Alienne
'S' is for 'Shadow'

In the Alphabet RR, we played a game where we had to take photos of anything starting with the alphabet chosen by team members. 

I chose 'S' and Alienne sent this pretty and nicely shot photo of the shadows of her table and chairs on her floor. I never thought that photographing shadows of the commonplace can result in such an attractive picture. I should learn to look at shadows differently as they can also be art!

Kitten Offense and Kitten Defense!

Sender: Angee

Kittens at play may look rather aggressive. Check out the postures described below and guess which kitten is on the offensive and which is on the defensive!

Offensive Posture
Straight-legged, upright stance
Stiff tail, lowered or held straight down to the ground
The classic arched back
Direct, unwavering stare
Upright and alert ears
Fur standing up on end all along the body
Small, narrowed pupils
They will face and possibly move toward their enemy
They may growl, howl, or yowl

Defensive Posture
Tucking the head in
Tail wrapped protectively around the body
Eyes wide with dilated pupils
Ears flat sideways or backwards
Fur or hackles up
Whiskers may be retracted or out and forward to assess the threat
Turning sideways instead of facing the opponent
Hissing or spitting, m
ay deliver quick, defensive strikes

Hisssss!!! Snarl!!!


Sender: Marianne

Texel is an island in the Netherlands. It has broad white beaches, lush nature reserves, forests and picture-book villages and relies chiefly on tourism, with the majority of visitors being either Dutch or German. The local wool is highly prized and there are sheep everywhere, lazing or grazing along the dykes. Texel is also a domestic breed of sheep originally from this island.

Look into My Eyes

Sender: SeaMaiden

I'm trying to figure out what the subject of this weird card actually is. A painting? A statue? A fountain head with water squirting from its eyes? It's quite gross in a way but a fascinating addition to my weird cards collection!

Gas Works Park

Sender: Uttang
Gas Works Park by Bruce Moburg

Bruce Moburg was a Seattle based artist and this card is one of his postcard prints. I checked out some of his other works on the Gentle Dragon Cards Inc. webpage. Rather surreal..

We Love Our Ice Cream

Sender: Pebbles84

Pebbles84 writes that nowadays the traditional clothes are only worn in touristy areas like Volendam and not in real life anymore, except in certain highly religious villages in the country. 

These girls (who are really enjoying their ice creams!) look sweet in their stiff, white, pointed bonnets and long dresses. No sign of wooden clogs though! Maybe it is easier for modern children to walk without them!

'D' is for 'Dikkie Dik'

Sender: Yess

Yess sent this card for the 'D' group in Alphabet RR. 'D' is for 'Dikkie Dik'. Dikkie Dik is a curious cat which gets into all kinds of adventures and troubles. It is the main character in a series of children's books by Jet Boeke (born October 28, 1948), a Dutch author and illustrator.

Yess thinks that Dikkie Dik is very grateful for all the cards he receives in the mail. If so, I have something in common with Dikkie Dik too, for I am always grateful for the postcrossing postcards I receive  :)

Passeig de Gràcia & Casa Batlló

Sender: Amapola11
Casa Batlló, Passeig de Gràcia

Passeig de Gràcia is Barcelona's most elegant avenues and one of the best architectural walks in the city with lots of Modernist buildings. Aside from being one of the best places to see Catalan Modernist architecture, this avenue is one of the major streets for shopping in Barcelona. All national and international fashion houses have their boutiques here.

Casa Batlló is one of the two great buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi on Passeig de Gracia, the other being La Pedrera. From the outside the façade of Casa Batlló looks like it has been made from skulls and bones. The "Skulls" are in fact balconies and the "bones" are supporting pillars. Gaudi used colours and shapes found in marine life as inspiration for his creativity in this building e.g. the colours chosen for the façade are those found in natural coral. The building was designed by Gaudi for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat, as an upmarket home. Señor Batlló lived in the lower two floors with his family and the upper floors were rented out as apartments.

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (25 June 1852 - 10 June 1926) was a Spanish Catalan architect and the best-known representative of Catalan Modernism.

I am lucky that this card reached me safely as the ink Amapola11 used to write with has started to fade and I could not read much of the card, even my address. But maybe Mr Postie knows that I am the only postcrosser in my area? :)

Golden Horn Bay

Sender: 4ajka
Golden Horn Bay. Vladivostok.

"Vladivostok is located on a peninsula that descends in shelves to where the flanking Amursky Zaliv (bay) and Ussuriisky Zaliv meet Peter the Great Bay, an extension of the Sea of Japan. Steep hills and extended ridges force narrow, curving street patterns that tend to follow the peninsula coastline, while gradually dropping to the Golden Horn Bay (Zolotoi Rog). Most of the city’s some 850,000 residents occupy high-rise, apartments located on these ridges. “Vladivostok” literally means “The Ruler of the East”. The town today is the most important port of Russia at the East. It is the capital of the Primorsky Krai region. Because of its close proximity to the Chinese border and the ferry links to Japan, economically Vladivostok is very important. In 1859, a bay within the gulf was discovered. By decree of the governor it has been called “The Golden Horn”."

Crocus Fairies (II)

Sender: phuleshouse

My second "Crocus Fairies" from "Flower Fairies of the Garden". I love Mary Cicely Barker's fairy illustrations and the sight of one in my post box brings a smile to my face.

Heart on A Plate

Sender: Zoloksana

This is my very first mini postcard and I don't know what is written below the picture. But to me this picture seems to say "I’ve offered to you my heart on a plate". 

There is an old adage that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. ie. cooking for a man is a good way to win his affections. I think that is a misleading statement! The truth is that feeding a man does not guarantee winning his heart, but maybe, it can catch his attention...for a bit. But more importantly, if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, what then is the best way to a woman's heart? 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Boston, Massachussets Waterfront

Sender: Tobiejonzarelli
Boston, Massachusetts, Waterfront

Boston, first incorporated as a town in 1630, and as a city in 1822, is one of America's oldest cities, with a rich economic and social history. For example, Boston Harbour is the site of the famous Boston Tea Party. 

The inner harbour was historically the main port of Boston and is still the site of most of its port facilities as well as the Boston Waterfront, which has been redeveloped for residential and recreational uses. The Waterfront is just below the North end of Boston.

The Catherine Palace

Sender: Stella
Tsarskoye Selo. The Catherine Palace

The Catherine Palace is named after Catherine I, the wife of Peter the Great, who ruled Russia for two years after her husband's death. It is located in the small town of Pushkin, about 17 miles south of St. Petersburg.

The palace has ornate, baroque design. The exterior is a brilliant blue, trimmed in white and gilted with over 200 pounds of gold. The northern wing of Catherine Palace is topped by the five golden domes of the Palace Chapel. Although over 200 pounds of gold were originally used to gild the exterior of the palace, today it is just gold paint. The palace interior displays typical royal opulence; gold gilt scroll work, floors made of precious woods, and marble staircases.

Modern Buildings in Belarus

Sender: Coralfish
(1) Building of micro-district Uskhod (2) The National Library of Belarus

A microdistrict (microraions) is a residential complex.

The National Library of Belarus is a building of unusual architecture called “Belarusian Diamond”, measuring 72 metres (236 feet) tall and has 22 floors. The building also features a 500 seat conference hall. The main architectural component has the shape of a rhombicuboctahedron. Such an eye-catching building!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Frisian House

Sender: Alienne
"Friesenhaus in Steenodde Auf Amrum". (Frisian House in Steenodde on Amrum)

- Amrum is an island in North Frisia on the German North Sea Coast. It is one of Germany's most popular seaside resorts. 
- Steenodde is the smallest village district on Amrum. 
- A Frisian house is a type of farmhouse, the walls are made of red brick and have a thatched roof and white or blue window frames and doors.

I love the look of thatched cottages, they are so rustic. I have never been to Germany and so have never seen a Frisian house. But the UK has long been synonymous with thatched cottages. Once they were a familiar sight to me as some were situated along my bus route. It is alleged that there are over 60,000 thatched cottages in the UK alone, mostly having listed building status, where owners are prohibited from making unacceptable alterations, or even using the wrong type of straw when the time comes for the cottage to have a brand new "hairdo". I once passed by a thatched cottage having its thatched roof redone, and it was quite a comical sight. Like a Beatle-haired cottage having its thick fringes trimmed! I have also experienced staying in thatched cottages with delightfully odd-shaped rooms and sloping ceilings. Loved it! But their wooden floors and joints creaked all night. Oooooo..  

Pro: A thatched roof will ensure that a building will be cool in summer and warm in winter. 
Cons: Thatched houses are harder to insure because of the perceived fire risk; thatching is labour intensive therefore it is much more expensive to thatch a roof than to cover it with slate or tiles; birds or rodents can damage a roof; thatched roofs need ongoing maintenance to avoid rot setting in.

Aurora Borealis

Sender: Seropi
Revontulet - Aurora Borealis - Northern Lights

Revontulet is the Finnish word for Aurora, "foxfire". Seropi's card show the lovely differences in the colours of  the Auroras. Apparently their colours differ according to altitudes. 

From wikipedia "Green is the most common of all auroras. Behind it is pink, a mixture of light green and red, followed by pure red, yellow (a mixture of red and green), and lastly pure blue".

I wish to see this phenomenon with my own eyes!

Rusty The Cat

Sender: Volvomom
Text on card:-
Name: Rusty
Hobby: Posting fake spoilers for the TV show Lost on various websites. 

Ha! Ha! Volvomom writes about the "Bad Cat" books. I have never heard of them but I googled to find out more and found "BAD CAT" by James Edgar. Synopsis from a book website:-

"Bad Cat is a laugh-out-loud look at hundreds of not-so-pretty kitties and cats gone bad — bad habits, bad intentions, and bad attitude. Based on the hit Web site, this collection pays homage to the baddest cats around. On every page you'll find a delinquent or deviant cat and his or her vital stats: name, breed, age, and favorite hobby. Ever wondered what's going on in that inscrutable, feline brain? Thanks to Bad Cat, the perverse inner lives of actual cats are at last revealed! No cats were harmed, or even petted, during the production of this book."

That's so "my kind of book"! I wonder if our local bookstore stocks them??

Cats in the Garden

Sender: Mirko70
Fat cats in the garden!

Some people love cats. Others hate them and will chase cats out of their gardens at the slightest meow. I am of the former category and having cats in the garden sunning themselves or rolling and playing in the dirt is okay with me. Just don't dig up my miserable collection of plants, is all! :)

The Wandering Cat

Sender: Gdmob
For the Handmade Tag

I got a pleasant surprise when I received this card as I had forgotten that Gdmob tagged me in the handmade postcards tag back in the early days when I first joined the postcrossing forum community. I named this card "The Wandering Cat" because of the impression it gave me. I wish I can read Russian alphabets to find out what the places indicated on the map are... 

"Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I've been to London Russia to visit the Queen.
Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scratch, sniff, and I smell Coffee!

Sender: Alienne

Alienne sent this card for the Colour RR. I was surprised to read Alienne's request, which was for me to rub the card or scratch it a bit and smell the coffee. I thought to myself, this can't be?! But it really worked, because I could smell the coffee! Whoa, awesome! My very first scratch and sniff postcard! I didn't know that even postcards have this encapsulated micro-fragrance-thing to make them special. Where can I get these cards??

By the way, it really made me crave for a cup of coffee all of a sudden, despite my being more of a tea person..! TQ Alienne! Pure magic :)

Chubby Kitty Belly!

Sender: Volvomom
Chubby kitty belly, cute sketches! I can really imagine the swaying belly of that kitty. I love pudgy kitties, right before their loose fat becomes muscle. But then, some cats do remain pudgy :)

USPS Stamp Postcard

Sender: HeatherC

HeatherC included a quote on her card: "The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit" - by Moliere. Moliere is a French playwright.

I will add a quote here too, "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet." -Aristotle