Friday, 28 December 2012

COVER AND LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM CANADA

The Queen Charlotte Islands (now known officially by the native name Haida Gwaii) lie off the northern coast of British Columbia, separated from Alaska to the north by the broad Dixon Entrance and from the British Columbia mainland to the east by Hecate Strait. Langara Island is the northernmost Island of the archipelago located approximately 45 km (28 mi) south of Alaska. 
The Langara Point Lighthouse was built in 1913 and is located atop a scenic bluff on the northwest corner of Langara Island (54° 15' 23" N, 133° 3' 29" W). The 7.5 m (25 ft.) hexagonal concrete 6-ribbed tower is a manned lighthouse and the original light, still in use today, is a first-order Fresnel lens (the only one of its size still in service in Canada).  The station is actively involved in numerous scientific projects for the World Meteorological Organization (W.M.O), the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Vancouver Public Aquarium, as well as water sampling and tsunami warning for the Institute of Ocean Sciences (I.O.S). Provides marine and aviation weather as well as seismograph service. This station's remote location makes it particularly important for Search and Rescue and communications.
Celebrating the Lunar New Year, the Canada Post issued a self-adhesive stamp on January 10, 2012 featuring a dragon, the fifth of 12 animals associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. The $1.80 (international rate) stamp is illustrated with the head of a roaring golden dragon and a Chinese graphic element representing the water.
The Canada Post issued on October 15, 2012 a set of three self-adhesive Christmas stamp s featuring Christmas cookies. The $1.80 value features a snowflake-shaped cookie, decorated with creamy sweet icing and a festive green ribbon.
A $1.80 stamp was released by Canada on April 5, 2012 to commemorate 100 years since the tragic sinking of RMS Titanic.  Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City. The stamp shows a full-color side illustration of the Titanic, at that time, the largest passenger steamship in the world. Marked on the map behind the ship are Southampton (England), Cape Race (Newfoundland) and Halifax (Nova Scotia)—all prominent locations in Titanic's story. Near the base of the stamp appears the house flag of the White Star Line (Titanic's owners).

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM TAIWAN

The Matsu archipelago contains 19 islands located in the Taiwan Strait, far closer to China's southern coast than to Taiwan. Still, they are part of Taiwan politically. Matsu's geographical placement has necessarily made it a place first and foremost dedicated to military affairs, specifically defense of Taiwan from the People's Republic of China. Outside the military bases, Matsu is open to tourism.
Dongju (Dongjyu) Islet is 2.63 square kilometers and is at the southernmost end of the Matsu archipelago. Here it is the Dongjyu Lighthouse:  the 19.5 m (64 ft) round cylindrical granite tower constructed during the Ching Dinasty by English engineers. The lighthouse was first lit on August 8, 1872 and is located atop a hill on the northeastern point of the island.
Taiwan Postal Administration first issued a set of definitive lighthouse stamps in 1989, and released the second series in 1991. On July 28, 2010 four light stamps were issued and the postcard shows two of them: the NT$5 Wenkan Tui Lighthouse and the NT$10 Paisha Chia Lighthouse.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

COVER AND LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM GERMANY

Heligoland is a small German archipelago in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea, 46 kilometers (29 mi) off the German coastline, consisting of two islands:  Hauptinsel (main island) and the Düne.  In 1811, when Heligoland was under British rule, the first lighthouse on the island had been built by Trinity House. The construction of the new lighthouse had been ordered by the Prussian administration in 1902. This lighthouse was in service from 1902 until April 18, 1945, when the tower was destroyed by the Royal Air Force during a bombing raid.
The present lighthouse was actually built in 1941 as an antiaircraft observation tower; somehow it escaped the bombing and survived to be converted into a lighthouse in 1952. The 35 m (115 ft.) square 9-story steel and concrete building was first lit on May 24, 1952.  It features the strongest light on the German North Sea coast with a range of 28 nautical miles (52 km). The top of the building is also crowded with communications and radar antennas. The top of the building is also crowded with communications and radar antennas. The building serves as a ship traffic control center.  54°10′54.6″N 7°52′56.5″E
Germany released on February 3, 2011 a joint issue celebrating 150 years of German - Japan friendship depicting UNESCO World Heritage sites in both countries. The 0, 75€ German stamp presents the landmark of Regensburg, the Cathedral of St. Peter, the main and the greatest Gothic cathedral in Bavaria. Although the building works started as early as 1260, it was only finished in the 19th century.
The 0, 55 € stamp issued on January 2, 2012 illustrates a view of the Kieler beach in the Jasmund National park. The Jasmund National Park is a nature reserve in the Jasmund peninsula, in the northeast of Rügen island in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is famous for the largest chalk cliffs of Germany, the so called Königsstuhl.  These cliffs are up to 161 m high above the Baltic Sea.
Five hundred years ago Raphael, the great master painter of the Renaissance, was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the Sistine Madonna. Today, the oil painting is one of the most famous works of art in the world. It belongs to the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden. To mark the 500th birthday of this altarpiece, Deutsche Post and Vatican postal authorities released on March 1st, 2012 a beautiful souvenir sheet showing the masterpiece.

Monday, 17 December 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM POLAND

Świnoujście is a city and seaport on the Baltic Sea located in the extreme north-west of Poland, close to the German border.  Stawa Młyny is one of the symbols of Swinoujscie, as part of the official logo of the city. The 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical brick tower is a navigation beacon in the shape of a windmill (53° 56.0' N  014° 17.0' E). Built in 1873, it is located at the end of the west breakwater at the mouth of the Świna River.  The front (seaward) side of the white tower has four large white windmill vanes, but they do not turn in the wind.  Every year at the first weekend of August Świnoujście celebrates its major event - The Sailing Ship's Parade – when it is possible to watch the majestic sailing ships and smaller sailing vessels going out into the open sea in parade formation.
The Polish Post Office issued on 15 June 15, 2007 a set of four stamps depicting lighthouses on the Polish Baltic Sea coast. In Polish, a lighthouse is a "sea lantern," latarnia morska, plural latarnie morskie.  The 3.55 zł stamp shows the Hel lighthouse, a 40 m (131 ft), eight-sided brick tower built in 1942, at the end of the Hel peninsula, which guides ship traffic entering the Gulf of Gdańsk. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM SPAIN

One of the oldest and most historic lighthouses of Spain, this light was built in 1817 by the engineer Pery y Guzmán at the entrance to Malaga's harbor (36°42′50.93″N  4°24′52.47″O). The 37 m (121 ft) round masonry tower rises through the center of a 2-story keeper's house and is known affectionately as La Farola. It was damaged by an earthquake on Christmas Day 1884, and it was relit only in 1917 after a large reformation and refurbishment.  During the Spanish Civil War, on August 28, 1936, La Farola was deactivated by order of the Navy and received an earth-colored paint, with dark and light patches to camouflage. Nevertheless, it was seriously damaged during the war, because of which had to be rebuilt in 1939.
The Spanish Post Office issued on September 17, 2012 a set of four 0, 85 € stamps dedicated to the work of Pedro del Hierro, famous Madrid-born designer in haute couture. This "Spanish Fashion" series, which has been in circulation since 2007, features four of his creations as part of the tribute to commemorate the couturier’s official retirement in 2011. The stamp shows a party dress which is part of 25 dresses donated to the Madrid Costume Museum collection.
The King Juan Carlos I was proclaimed king of Spain in 1975 and since 1976, Correos de España has been issuing different definitive series featuring the portrait of the king. The value 0, 01 € is part of the definitive series issued on January 2, 2008. Thank you, Jean Pierre!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM TAIWAN

 The Chihou Lighthouse is one of the best known and most visited of all Taiwanese lighthouses and is located on the summit of Chihou Hill, at the north end of Cijin Island in Kaohsiung. The lighthouse was built by English technicians in 1883 during Ching Dynasty, after the port was opened to foreign trading. In 1916, the Japanese made an extensive renovation of the lighthouse as part of the expansion of Kaohsiung port. The lighthouse plays a crucial role in guiding ships since 1918 during night sailing. Chihou was one of the few major Taiwanese lighthouses to escape World War II undamaged. The 15 m (49 ft) octagonal cylindrical brick tower rises from a 1-story brick keeper's house. The light is still active and hosts a museum at the keeper's house.
On April 21, 1989 Taiwan Post issued a beautiful set  of fifteen definitive lighthouse stamps and the NT$7.50 stamp features the Huayu Lighthouse at Penghu Islands.
Taiwan released on March 8, 2006 a set of four "Pets" definitive stamps featuring two breeds of dog (Labrador and St. Bernard) and two breeds of cat (Siamese and Persian).  The NT$2.50 stamp brings the Labrador. Thank you, Yi-Ning.

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM USA

Pigeon Point Light Station stands on a rocky promontory about 5 miles (8 km) south of Pescadero, California (37°10'54"N 122°23'38''W) and has been guiding ships approaching San Francisco Bay from the south since 1872. Originally called La Punta de La Ballena (Whale Point), this headland was renamed Pigeon Point in memory of the Carrier Pigeon. The clipper ship Carrier Pigeon sailing from Boston to San Francisco and carrying 1,300 tons of cargo, wrecked near this point on June 6, 1853. 
The 115 ft (35m) white conical brick tower was equipped with original first order Fresnel lens and first lit on November 15, 1872. In 1926 the lighthouse was provided with electricity. In 1972, the US Coast Guard mounted a 24-inch aerobeacon on the front of the tower and officially retired the Fresnel lens from regular duty. The station was automated in 1974. In 1980, the four light keeper’s houses were leased to American Youth Hostels and serves as a youth hostel for travelers.
The tower has been closed to the public since December 2001. At that time, two large sections of a brick and iron cornice located high atop the tower fell to the ground, prompting the closure of the tower and the area immediately around its base. In November 2011, the first order Fresnel lens was moved from the tower's lantern room to the fog signal building and is on display while the tower is restored. Restoration work began in the fall of 2011.
The USPS issued on June 1, 2012 a set of five “Mail a Smile” stamps featuring Disney Pixar's characters. The “Mail a Smile” stamps are being issued as self-adhesive Forever stamps, which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate. The stamp on the card brings the ants Flik and Atta, characters of the computer-animated film A Bug's Life (1998).
The Arizona Statehood Forever stamp was issued on February 14, 2012 to celebrate the centenary of the 48th state of the Union.  Arizona is famously referred to as “The Grand Canyon State” and the stamp’s painting features the colorful and much admired sandstone rock formations of Sedona.
The 5–cent definitive American Toleware stamp features a black toleware coffeepot decorated with red flowers; purple forget–me–nots; and yellow, green and orange leaves, from the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Curators at Winterthur believe that it was manufactured in Philadelphia between 1850 and 1875.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM GERMANY

The Kiel-Holtenau Lighthouse is located at the end of the Thiessenkai, the quay on the north side of the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal), the busiest artificial waterway in the world, in Holtenau, about 12 km (7.5 mi) north of Kiel. The 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery rising from the front of a 2-story brick Imperial-style building was built in 1895. The building includes a memorial hall, the Drei-Kaiser-Gedächtnishalle, in remembrance of Kaisers Wilhelm I, who inaugurated construction of the canal in 1887; Friedrich III, who turned the first shovel of dirt here in 1888, and Wilhelm II, who laid the cornerstone of the lighthouse in 1895. It also houses a registrar's office where weddings are performed.
The traditional definitive flower series issued annually since 2005 makes people aware of the beauty and diversity of flowers in gardens and open countryside of Germany. The genus Tagetes includes about 50 species of marigolds and countless varieties in sulfur-yellow, orange or golden colors decorating gardens, parks and traffic islands. The 20¢ flower stamp (issued in 2007) depicts the French marigold (Tagetes patula), a species in the daisy family (Asteraceae).
The German Post issued on February 9, 2012 two stamps dedicated to the recolonization of native wild animals. The 55 ct stamps feature a lynx and an elk. Lynx is the only big cat in Germany left after the extermination by man. The male lynx uses large hunting areas and is a solitary animal who only visits the opposite sex during the mating season in late winter. Characteristic of the European lynx are the tufts of hair on the tips of the ears and a customized black spotted coats. Males are up to 25 kg and the female is only 18 kg.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM FRANCE

The French Mediterranean city of Sète is located in the in the Hérault department, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in southern France. The port of Sète was built by Colbert in 1666, as the Mediterranean entrance of the Canal du Midi. The Môle Saint Louis, built in 1669, is the historic breakwater mole sheltering the port and the canal entrance. 
The first light station in Sète was constructed by Vauban in 1684. In February 1861, a taller lighthouse was built in the breakwater and guided ships until August 19, 1944 when it was destroyed during World War II. The present 31m (101 ft) round masonry tower with lantern painted red was built in 1948. It is a copy of the 1861 lighthouse and can be seen in the foreground of the postcard.
Another lighthouse can be seen on the hill in the background: it is the Mont Saint-Clair Lighthouse, a 23 m (75 ft) octagonal masonry tower with a lantern painted green. Built by the engineer Hermann-Guiche during three years, the lighthouse was first lit on April 23, 1903. The lantern is located at 93 m (305 ft) above sea level and its light reaches 29 nautical miles. 
The French Post issued on November 7, 2011 an art souvenir sheet celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of French sculptors Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) and Aristide Maillol (1861-1944). The philatelic piece presents two stamps reproducing two of their works: the 0,89 € “Centaure Mourant” by Bourdelle and the 1,45 € “Les Trois Nymphes” by Maillol. The “Dying Centaur” is a bronze sculpture from 1914 exposed in the garden of the Bourdelle Museum in Paris.
Born in Montauban in 1861, Émile Antoine Bourdelle entered the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 1884. He became Rodin’s assistant and went on to teach many prominent artists such as Giacometti and Maillol. He was one of the pioneers of 20th century monumental sculpture and gained international success for his work Hercules the Archer. Bourdelle died at Le Vésinet, near Paris, on October 1, 1929 and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, France.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD AND COVER FROM GERMANY

The Amrum lighthouse is located in the southern part of the German island of Amrum, North Sea coast, very close to the Danish borderline (54°37′52.24″N 8°21′16.91″E). Built on a high dune, the red/white tower is 41.8 meters tall and its light reaches about 23.3 nautical miles. Constructions were taken up in 1873 and finished in November 1874. The Amrum Lighthouse was officially activated on January 1, 1875 and was the first German lighthouse to be erected in Nordfriesland. In 1936, the lantern was electrified and the tower got its red-white painting only in 1952, before that it was brown. The last keeper left the lighthouse in 1984 when it had become automated.
Germany has issued a set of lighthouse stamps depicting the diversity of German Leuchttürme since 2004. The envelope presents two lighthouses of the northeastern Baltic coast in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The Greifswalder Oie Lighthouse is located on the small and tiny island of the same name and was first lit on October 1, 1855. The 39 m (128 ft) octagonal red brick tower and its 2-story square keeper's house illustrate the stamp issued on July 8, 2004.
Warnemünde Lighthouse is situated in a public square in downtown Warnemünde, on the estuary of the Warnow River. The 31 m (102 ft) round gray brick tower was first lit on October 18, 1898 and it can be climbed by tourists nowadays. The 45¢ stamp was released on July 3, 2008.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM USA

The Hudson River played a strategic military role in the American history: during the Revolutionary War important battles were fought on its banks. After the invention of the steamboat in 1807, the river witnessed an explosion in commercial shipping traffic and passenger transportation and became a vital artery in the development of New York State. Saugerties was a major port with daily commercial and passenger transportation and in 1869, a lighthouse was built on a circular pier offshore in the river (42°4′19.53″N 73°55′46.72″W).

The 46 ft (14m) square tower attached to Italianate 2-story red-brick dwelling received a sixth-order Fresnel lens. When electricity was extended to the lighthouse in the 1940s, the house was “modernized” with steam heat, plumbing and a phone. In 1954, the Guard automated the light and the building was closed up. The unoccupied building deteriorated rapidly and the Coast Guard planned to demolish the building.  A campaign mounted by local residents halted the demolition. In 1979, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The lighthouse is currently managed by the non-profit Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy which purchased the lighthouse in 1986 and has restored it. The Coast Guard installed a Fresnel lens with solar-powered light and the tower was reactivated on August 4, 1990. The lighthouse is in use as a bed and breakfast inn, but it is also open to visitors and offers a small museum and a gift shop.
US Postal Service issued on January 20, 2012 a set of five 85-cent self-adhesive stamps called “Birds of prey”. We see the osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish hawk,  a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings.  Unique among North American raptors for its diet of live fish and ability to dive into water to catch them, ospreys are common sights soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests, white heads gleaming. These large, rangy hawks do well around humans and have rebounded in numbers following the ban on the pesticide DDT.
On April 11, 2011 the USPS issued a 20-cent definitive stamp featuring a portrait of George Washington, first president of the United States.

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM USA

 The lighthouses of the beautiful and dangerous wilderness coast of Washington are some of the greatest engineering stories of the late 1800’s. Building lighthouses here required extraordinary ingenuity, courage and strength - this is an area of huge waves, high winds, towering cliff faces, rolling sand dunes and pounding surf. Whaling and fishing were major industries and provided some of the impetus for lighthouse building.
Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 3.7 million athletes in more than 170 countries. Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in Chicago in 1968, Special Olympics organizes the Special Olympics World Games every two year alternating between summer and winter events
The US Postal Service issued an 80-cent commemorative Special Olympics stamp on February 13, 2003 celebrating the 2003 Special Olympics World Games in Dublin, Ireland. This was the first time the Games were held outside of the United States. The adhesive stamp depicts an athlete wearing a medal celebrating by jumping high in the air. The Special Olympics logo is shown above the athlete's head.
The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago, Illinois, in 1968. The first International Special Olympics Winter Games were held in February 1977 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The most recent Special Olympics World Summer Games -- held June 25-July 4, 2011 in Athens, Greece -- involved more than 6,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from over 170 countries. The next Special Olympics global event will be the World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, starting in January 2013.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM FRANCE

La Vieille (“The Old Lady”) Lighthouse is located in the département of Finistère on the northwest coast of France (48°02′26″N 4°45′23″W). Built between 1882 and 1887 on the rock known as la Gorlebella, it illuminates and improves the safety of the strait Raz de Sein. Fierce tides limited the period in which building work could take place to less than half of each year. The 27m (89 ft) square granite tower was first lit on September 15, 1887 and is situated in a remote position in rough seas. During the World War II the light was extinguished, on 21 January 1944, and reinstated on June 1st, 1945. Although electricity was introduced in 1992, the generators installed were used only by the keepers; the light itself remained oil-powered until its automation on 14 November 1995. La Vieille became the penultimate French lighthouse to be automated, a process delayed due to the lighthouse keepers on the site refusing in protest to carry out the task.
 On the left corner of the postcard, we see La Plate Lighthouse, also known as Petite Vieille (“Little Old Woman”), located on a submerged rock about 300 m southwest of La Vieille Light (48°02′21″N 4°45′35″W). The 26 m (85 ft) octagonal concrete tower painted yellow with a black horizontal band was lit in 1910 and is still active.
My Finnish friend Karen sent me this French card from Finland. Ice Hockey is as popular in Scandinavia as soccer is in Brazil. The 2012 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championship was held in Sweden and Finland from May 4th to May 20th with games being played in Helsinki and Stockholm. Finnish Post Office issued a commemorative official stamp on March 21, 2012 depicting HockeyBird, the official mascot of the championship.
Sixteen teams started playing in two preliminary round groups with eight teams in each one.Three Slavic teams grabbed the medals: Russia beat Slovakia (6x2) in the finals, while the Czech Republic, having lost to Slovakia in the semifinals, beat Finland (3x2) in the bronze medal game.

Friday, 25 May 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM NETHERLANDS

 The West Schouwen Lighthouse is located in Haamstede in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands (51°42′32″N 3°41′28″E). Designed by L. Valk, the tower’s construction started in 1837 and on March 25, 1840, the light was first lit. The 50 m (164 ft) round brick tower is one of the tallest lighthouses in the Netherlands. A stair of 226 steps, in stone and partially in iron, leads to the top. In 1934, the lighthouse was electrified and painted in the red-and-white spiral pattern as a warning to low flying aircrafts. On May 10, 1940 during World War II, the German Army destroyed the lens system and an auxiliary light was installed in the gallery in 1946. The current 2nd order Fresnel lens was installed on May 28, 1953.
 Since 1952, KLM has been presenting World Business Class passengers with a gin-filled small Delftware miniature of a traditional Dutch house on all its intercontinental flights. These little houses have become a much sought-after collector’s item with lively exchange between enthusiasts. There are 92 different houses, each numbered and representing the number of years KLM has been in operation. On 7 October each year, KLM issues a new miniature, almost a million of which are presented to passengers on board. This date is no coincidence; KLM was founded on 7 October 1919.
The Dutch Post Office issued on January 2, 2012 a special edition for collectors presenting in two stamps two KLM Delftware houses. On the postcard, we have the personal stamp “Wereld 1” (World) showing the “Rembrandt House” in Amsterdam (number 48). 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM SOUTH AFRICA

Green Point Lighthouse is South Africa's oldest lighthouse and is located at Western Cape Beach Road, in Cape Town (33°54’04’’S 18°24’02’’E). It stands close to the Green Point Soccer Stadium (2010 FIFA World Cup) and to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a popular tourist and shopping venue. The postcard shows the residential Sea Point suburbs, the greenish Signal Hill and the spire of Devil’s Peak in the background. 
 The light was built by the German architect Herman Schutte and first lit on Monday evening, 12 April 1824. The lantern house was increased in height in 1865, when it was fitted with a circular plane and a cast-iron murette. The 16 m (52 ft) square brick tower, painted with diagonal red and white stripes, rises from the center of a keeper's house. Introduced in 1922, the present and active 3rd Order lens system produces a flash light visible in a range of 25 nautical miles. Since thick winter fog regularly obscures the land, a foghorn was installed in January 1926 in the light station. Useful and welcoming to the ships and noisy and disruptive to Capetonians, the foghorn was nicknamed “Moaning Minnie” or “Bellowing Bill” and was in operation until 1986, when was replaced by a nautophone.  Green Point Light was electrified in March 1929. Since June 1993, the lighthouse became the home of the Lighthouse Services Business Unit of the National Ports Authority and the light keeper’s house was converted into offices, visitor center and a small museum.

The South African Post Office issued on October 7, 2011 a miniature sheet to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first South African airmail flight.  On 27 December 1911, Evelyn Frederick Driver, considered to be a superb “instinctive navigator” and also a pioneer of British Royal Mail Service, delivered by air, 729 special postcards from Kenilworth to the Muizenberg.  According to the Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society, the aircraft took off from the Kenilworth Race Course at 7:15pm and landed at Oldham’s Field in Muizenberg 8 minutes later, a distance of almost 13 km (approximately eight miles). This made Muizenberg Post Office the first in Africa to receive airmail.
The beautiful miniature sheet was released in the shape of the Blériot XI monoplane, the same aircraft depicted in flight on the stamp.

Friday, 18 May 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM USA

Point Judith Lighthouse is located on the west side of the entrance to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island as well as the eastern entrance to Block Island Sound (41°21′39.7″N 71°28′53″W). This was once one of America’s most heavily trafficked stretches of water and point of frequent shipwrecks.  The first wooden tower built here in 1810 was blown over by a hurricane on September 17, 1815.  It was the third lighthouse in Rhode Island. A 35-foot (11 m) stone lighthouse was erected the following year.
 The present 51 feet (16 m) octagonal granite tower was built in 1857 and the lighthouse was originally attached to a 2-story keeper’s house by enclosed walkway. The upper half of the tower is painted brown, the lower half white and the lantern and gallery are black to make the light structure a more effective daymark for maritime traffic. The light was electrified in 1939 and the brick keeper's house was torn down in 1954, the same year the lighthouse was automated. The fourth-order Fresnel lens installed here before the Civil War remains in service. Point Judith Lighthouse is located on what is now the Point Judith Coast Guard Station. The grounds are open to the public, although the interior of the lighthouse, oil house, and fog signal building (seen on the postcard) are not. 
The United States Postal Service issued on February 28, 2003 (and reprinted in September 2008) a 1-dollar Wisdom definitive stamp, part of the American Culture Series. The stamp features the low-relief panel sculpted by the German artist Lee Oscar Lawrie over the entrance to the GE Building at Rockefeller Center, in New York. The 37 foot high art deco icon can be clearly seen from Fifth Avenue and is a popular tourist landmark.
The 5–cent definitive American Toleware stamp features a black toleware coffeepot decorated with red flowers; purple forget–me–nots; and yellow, green and orange leaves, from the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Curators at Winterthur believe that it was manufactured in Philadelphia between 1850 and 1875.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM FINLAND

Bengtskär Lighthouse is the tallest light in Scandinavia and is located on a small rocky islet at the North Baltic Sea, entrance of the Gulf of Finland.  Bengtskär is Finland’s southernmost inhabited island (59°43,4'N 22°30,1'E).  The construction of the tower commenced in early 1906 using granite quarried from Bengtskär itself.  The 46 m (151 ft) round granite tower was first lit on December 19, 1906 and its light could be seen for twenty nautical miles. 
 In 1914 during the World War I, all lighthouse keepers and their families were evacuated to the mainland, and the lantern was placed in storage. The lighthouse was shelled by two German ships but was not badly damaged. In World War II, Soviet troops attempted to storm the island on 26 July 1941, but they were driven off after a fierce battle. Soviet air raids damaged the keeper's house but spared the tower. After repairs, the lighthouse was reopened in 1950.
In 1968, the lantern was automated and the lighthouse keepers left the island. The building quickly started to turn into a ruin damaged by storms, wind and the invasion of vandals. In 1983, the lantern was converted to wind-powered electricity. Restored in the early 1990s, Bengtskär Lighthouse was opened to visitors on August 18, 1995 and nowadays is a popular touristic destination. The former 3-story granite keeper's house now hosts a lecture hall, a chapel, conference rooms, a café, a museum and post office.  It is also possible to book overnight accommodations and climb the 252 steps of the spiral staircase leading up to the reflector room.
Ice Hockey is as popular in Scandinavia as soccer is in Brazil. The 2012 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championship started on May 4 and will end next May 20 with games being played in Helsinki and Stockholm. Finnish Post Office issued a commemorative official stamp on March 21, 2012 depicting HockeyBird, the official mascot of the championship.
Sixteen teams started playing in two preliminary round groups with eight teams in each. Quarterfinals were played today and the four top teams which advanced to semifinals were Finland vs Russia and Czech Republic vs Slovakia.  Semi-finals on May 19 and the medal games on May 20 will be played in Helsinki. 

Friday, 17 February 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM NORWAY

 Slettnes Lighthouse is located on the Barents Sea, at the Nordkyn peninsula, near the fishing village of Gamvik, Norway (71.05.03N  28.13.10E). It is considered the northernmost mainland lighthouse of the world. The 39 m (128 ft) round cast iron tower was first lit on September 15, 1905. During World War II the Germans used the lighthouse as an observatory position, but in October 1944, the German Army in full retreat, blew up the lighthouse station. The new station was designed by architects G.Blakstad and H. Munthe-Kaas and was completed in 1948. The new tower was painted red with two white horizontal bands, has 9 storeys and a spiral 139-steps staircase. Electrified in 1956 and automated in 2005 the lighthouse is protected by a 1998 cultural heritage act, and is situated in a nature reserve rich in migratory birds and Arctic vegetation. From the end of May to mid July, many tourists visit Gamvik to see the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun and it is possible to book accommodation at the Slettnes light station buildings.
Norway Post issued on April 27, 2007 its famous annual tourist stamps presenting unique landscapes in a set of six stamps. The self-adhesive A (Priority Worldwide) stamp features the beautiful village of Reine on the Lofoten island of Moskenesøya.  The area is known for its picturesque mountains, much like an alpine landscape which offers many rock climbing and mountaineering opportunities. The main areas for mountaineering and climbing are on Austvågøya and Moskenesøya.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM RUSSIA

 Murmansk is a city and seaport in the extreme north-west part of Russia, on the Kola Bay. A memorial in honor of the 85th anniversary of the city was opened near Lake Semyonovskoye in 2002. The memorial includes a 28 m (92 ft) hexagonal cylindrical tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands, the Lighthouse Monument. This lighthouse is not a genuine aid to navigation. There is a Memorial Hall in the basement part of the lighthouse, each wall of the hall is devoted to the memory of fishermen who perished at sea in peacetime, to sea transport workers, to military seamen, and to pilots of shipborne aviation. There is also a Memorial Book containing the names of those who did not return from the sea. These include the crew of the nuclear submarine Kursk, pride of the Northern Fleet, which sank with the loss of all 118 on board in the Barents Sea in 2000 - Russia's worst peacetime naval disaster and a tremendous blow to national pride.
Russia Postal Administration issued on July 4, 2005 a set of three lighthouse stamps and this beautiful postcard shows two light stamps located at the White Sea and their precise location on the map. The 5.00 stamp depicts the Mud'yugskiy Lighthouse built in 1838 on an island just off the main entrance to the Dvina delta in Arkhangel'sk. The 40m (131 ft) round stone tower is the oldest lighthouse of the Russian North.
The 8.00 stamp shows the Svyatonossky Lighthouse located at the west side of Svyatoy Nos peninsula, between the White Sea and the Barents Sea. The 22 m (72 ft) yellow-orange octagonal wood tower was first lit in August 1863 and is considered a national historic monument.

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM JAPAN

 Hinomisaki  is a port town located at the north coast of Shimane Prefecture  facing  the Sea of Japan. The Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse stands on a steep and rocky cape and is the tallest lighthouse in Japan. The construction of the tower stated in 1900 by the Scottish engineer Richard Brunton and the Japanese engineer Yoshihiko Aya. Aya designed a building structure known as “double shell” resistant to earthquakes and the  44 m (145 ft) round stone tower  was first lit on April 1, 1903 during the Meiji Period. The lighthouse survived to the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923, World War II air strikes and the Great Hanshin earthquake (or Kobe earthquake) in 1995. Electrified in 1918 and automated on March 31, 1974 the Hinomisaki Light receives many tourists daily attracted to the panoramic view of the Sea of Japan and the beautiful sunset seen from the upper gallery (over 150 steps). The former lighthouse keeper' cottage now houses a visitor center and a gift shop.