Tag Archives: Postcrossing

Public Service Announcement

Things have been a bit quite around here lately partly due to me not being very organised. I seem to have been getting more involved with photo challenges and Postcrossing, and getting less geocaching in. This is also a sign that winter is on its way. :(  We do have some of our best weather over winter, but photography & Postcrossing will be great for days when it’s just not nice outside.

So I’m going to develop a bit of a schedule for my blog and integrate some of the other stuff I’m doing more.  I hope this will help me keep a bit more focussed which is something I need. So, my proposed ‘schedule’ will go something like this:

 1)      Sunday

 Keep up with Tracy’s “Last Photo Taken Sunday.”  This is a regular slot where we post the last photo that is on our camera for the week. To quote from Tracy’s Topics:

Scroll through your camera phone or digital camera, find the last pic you took – doesn’t matter what it was or how blurry or how random – Post it on your blog, and leave a link to it in this post’s comment section. I’ll stop by and check out your Last Pic Taken!

What makes this fun is that you can end up with really really random photos some weeks!!!

 2)    “My Place Monday” 

 I’m going to start making more use of the photos I’m taking for PJ’s HooHaa 365 Challenge. This challenge is about being committed to take a photo EVERY SINGLE DAY for the year!!!! Most of the photos I’ve been taken are stuff around the house, things I happen to be doing that day, shots of the pets and other everyday stuff. But a lot of them do have a bit of  a back story, or some personal history to them. So I thought it might be interesting sometimes to delve into that.

3)   Mid-week

 I will try to have at least one day where I blog about the previous weekend’s exploits– whether that be geocaching related adventure or other escapades. I may try to have another day doing a retrospective on previous caching trips – especially if we haven’t done anything cache related that weekend. Now that we’re over 1500 finds, there’s plenty of old stories to be shared.

4)   “Friday Favourites” 

 I will show off my favourite Postcrossing postcard or two from the week and perhaps include some information about the place it’s from. This may be an ‘official’ Postcrossing card, or one from a RR or a private swap.

5)      And as for Saturday, well that might just be my day off!

The City of Bridges.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA is sure going to get added to my list of places to visit!!! A city that has 446 bridges – that is three more bridges than Venice, Italy – is a must do.  Apparently this is a world record for number of bridges in a city! And I could write you something about all the bridges in Pittsburgh – but someone bet me to it.   This website – Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County & Pittsburgh, PA will tell you everything you could ever want to know about Pittsburgh’s bridges. And here  are some more great photos. The first photo should be a daytime version similar to the purple postcard below.

These are some postcards  I have received recently:

This one from a private swap via the Postcrossing forums

Pittsburgh Sunset

 And this one was very kindly sent to me by PostMuse when I adopted some of her postcards.

City Lights of Pittsburgh

 This  beautiful covered bridge is the Logan Mills Covered Bridge, which is in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, so that’s another great reason to visit this corner of the US of A.

Covered Bridge

From Spain – Sort of….

These are two cards I have received recently , both sort of Spanish – but not as you might picture Spain with flamenco dancers and such like!

Maspalamas, Gran Canaria

This picture is El Faro de Maspalomas  a very old lighthouse – which is actually in the centre of a busy tourist area! It is 65 metres high, and when it was first used in February 1890 it was surrounded by sand, rather than hotels and tourist shops.  It took 28 years to build.  Here’s a very similar shot, but in the day time:

Similar picture from the web - I've forgotten where!

I learnt this info from Regina at Virtual Traveller  who gives lots of information about things to do in Maspalomas.  The thing is – Maspalomas is on an island – in the Canary Islands, just over 200 kilometres from the African coast, but over 1200 kilometres from Europe!!  It is however, a Spanish ‘Autonomous community’.

Maspalomas is on Gran Canaria,  which is the third largest of the Canary Islands, but has the largest population. It seems to be mostly a tourist destination for sun, sand & lifestyle, but does also have an interesting natural environment.

  It is a volcanic island and is almost a perfect circle! The geology and biology of the island are unusual in that there are many deep ravines radiating from the centre of the island – where there is an enormous deep volcanic crater, and also the highest peak – right down to the coast. These ravines provide a wide range of different micro-climates, such that some flora & fauna only live in small areas.  Over 40% of the island is nature reserves of various types, and a significant portion of the island has been identified as a UN World Biosphere Reserve   which demonstrates the scientific importance of its unique habitats.  Apparently there are even cacti  there – so that has to be a good thing!

 There’s also 97 geocaches on Gran Canaria – in case anyone was interested!

Irune's message

The other postcard that I would like to showcase is from Irune, from the north of Spain.  I had the privilege of receiving Irune’s first (and so far only) Postcrossing card that she has sent out.  Irune is currently studying in Bilbao, in the Basque area of Spain. This is another Autonomous Community of Spain.  The Basque   people live partly in Spain and partly in France, although there is greater freedom to speak and learn the Basque language – Euskara, for those people living in Spain.   This language  is completely unique in the world, and is not closely related to any other languages in surrounding regions.  Basque culture and language has been a constant in this area for longer than the other languages and cultures around it. There are apparently a wide range of ideas about from where the Basque people came – including that they are descendants  of  the mysterious city of Atlantis!!  

 In any case, this is a people group with a long and proud cultural heritage and language, and although currently only about 25-30% of Basque people are currently considered fluent in their language, I hope that many others are inspired to learn it and to hold on to their culture.

So ‘agur’  and ‘lasterarte’  to you all for today!!  (Goodbye and see you soon)

Just HAD to show you this one!

Here is my latest Polar Bear!!! 

This one made me laugh.

Grrrrrreetings....

 

It is a private swap from Sue, who wrote on the back that the people in Churchhill, Hudson Bay see the polar bears migrate through their town!  And that IRL polar bears are huge and extremely fierce.  I think the one on her card is not living up to this reputation…….. LOL  (You can’t really tell from the picture, but this card is polar bear shaped.)

I also got another postcard from Canada today – an ‘official’ Postcrossing card from Carole featuring another fierce Arctic animal, and with polar bear stamps!

I need to find out who Martin Frobisher is who features on the 5C  stamp. An early explorer I expect.

Polar Problem

On Saturday I received another polar bear to add to my collection. It came from a private swap with another Postcrosser. She wanted penguins – which I have in plenty – and she had a polar bear that looked very cute.  So the deal was done.

 However there must have been a bad mail day somewhere in Europe when my polar bear was on the way, as he arrived looking like this:

Poor 'stuck' Polar Bear

 What appears to have happened is that the mail has got damp somewhere along the way   (which is completely understandable with the nasty nasty weather in the northern hemisphere recently) – there is also a reverse ‘transfer’  of another address on the back of the postcard, and this turned out to be a Czech stamp attached to poor polar bear’s face.  Our builder (the stamp collector!) suggested a little water on a cotton bud to make the stamp damp again and it might peel off – and then I suddenly remembered that in my stamp collecting days I used to sometimes steam the stamps off things I wanted to keep. So PB and I carefully tried that, and it was a great success!!!  There are just a couple of green smudgy bits where the colour has come out of the stamp, and other than that my polar bear is all better. (Well, he will be if he ever mananges to get out of that  yoga position!!!)

New improved Polar Bear plus the stamp that was stuck.

 The info on the back is in German  and says:   

Spielerisch elernen Eisbarkinder ihre Korperfunktionen. Sie kommen klein wie Maulwurfe in einer Schneehohle zur Welt und mussen schnellwashsen. Ein ausgewachsenes Mannchen kann es auf drei  Meter Lange und 600 Kilo Gewicht bringen.

 Which according to Google translates roughly as: Baby polar bears learn their body functions. They are as small as moles(?) when born in the ice caves and must grown quickly. A male polar bear can be as much as 3 metres long and weigh 600 kilos.

Help with the German anyone?

If someone who speaks German would like to give a better translation I’d appreciate it.

 I actually had a fantastic mail week in the end – after only one card on Tuesday initially, because on Friday I also got SIX postcards! Three cats, a lovely wolf and a curious Football mascot called Buck from various swaps, and a wonderful weird cactus from ErikaJean!!   Some of these postcards may be coming soon to a blog near you.

 (And I don’t think we got any bills this week………. LOL)

Mail Box Last Picture!

As it happens, my last picture for the week was a line-up of mail boxes, so I thought I would add the other mail box photos I snapped on our journey this weekend.

Last Picture Line-up

Check out Tracy’s Topics for more about Last Picture Taken Sunday.

Waiting for the Mail

Last week I learnt quite a bit about the US postal system thanks to ErikaJean, so in the interests of cross-cultural relations, here is a little about how the mail system works in New Zealand

Our main mail deliverer is NZPost  (previous called the New Zealand Post Office) – and people still say they are ‘going to the Post Office’  although some do so ‘going to the Post shop’.  Most of our ‘Post shops’  provide a wide range of services – sure they sell stamps and all manner of postal supplies, but you could register your car there, pay all sorts of utilities bills, buy a magazine or a birthday card, register to vote, do your banking and probably a whole bunch of other stuff that I can’t remember at the moment.  

However – NZPost does not have a monopoly, and there are other smaller companies who issue valid stamps and have their own postboxes in some towns.  In the end though –even if you can SEND mail via some other company, NZPost will deliver it to the recipient’s mail box.

When I post my Postcrossing  postcards here are some of the places I could be posting them:

Most of my Postcrossing mail gets kindly posted here by PB at his work.

The one and only Post Office in our small town.

The so-called 'sorting centre.' But actually our mail gets trucked to the city to get sorted now.

My nearest street corner post box.

If I am sending mail to someone in New Zealand  it could get delivered to them by an NZPost person who is walking, cycling, riding a little motor scooter or motor bike, or driving a car or truck.  This would depend on which city or town they lived in, or if it was a rural area.

Typically in a suburban area we all have a mailbox to receive our mail at our gate or the end of our driveway.  If we live in a multistory apartment building or a housing estate of some kind – or there are just several homes up a really long drive way – all the mail boxes will be together in the foyer or at the road end of the driveway/entrance.  The average suburban postie will ride a bicycle around their delivery route, though in a hilly town or city they may walk – particularly if their route includes lots of stairs. This website tell a little bit about the task and hours our posties work:  New Zealand Careers.  The picture below is from that website.

Bicycle postie

 However an urban/suburban postie will not drive a vehicle. In a semi-rural or lifestyle block area with more distance between each mail box the postie might ride a motor scooter or a motor bike. In build-up areas like businesses in town or city centres the postie will also walk and generally push a little trolley or have a mail bag over their shoulder, and may deliver the mail into the hands of the receptionist or similar.  But us regular people have to walk out to our front gate or down our driveway to get our mail out of our mail box.  

In a completely rural area the postie will drive and your mail box must be located in such a way that he or she can get to it without getting out of their vehicle.  There are special rural mailboxes that have a little flag on the side that can be raised and lowered, so if you have out-going mail the postie will know to stop. However your Kiwi farmer is often a creative and ingenious fellow, so rural mail boxes can be made out of almost anything that you can find laying around on a farm – any kind of container or barrel or can will do, so long as it’s watertight and the mail fits in it!!!

Rural delivery van - could also be a large car or a small truck

 Not everyone will be able to have their mail box (regular or creative!) outside their farm gate though, as the posties only go down certain roads. So often in a rural area you will see a collection of mail boxes at a road intersection or at the start of a no exit road.  

Rural mail boxes from davidwallphoto.com

I also just discovered today that rural posties ought to be able to sell you stamps on the spot, and should know all the postal rates so that they can do that. However – I don’t think our urban posties have to be able to do that – well, not that I can find out on-line anyway!!!  And if you live in a really remote area your mail may get delivered in a more unique way. Check out this  article for delivery by boat!

Also, not everyone gets their mail delivered to their home, business or farm. In all of these situations it is possible to get a ‘Post Office box’ at your local post shop or postal agency.  

Post Boxes

These New Zealand Post Office boxes are from a group at Flickr dedicated to different mail boxes!  Check it out: Post, Letter & Mail Boxes

 And as for me, I wait for my postie to cycle past  as I can see the road from my ‘office/craft room’ window, and race outside to check this postbox:

Annie's mail box. Is it your letter or postcard in there today!?