A Revival of Old-style Communications

Isn’t it interesting that in these smartphone and computerized times there are still people around the world who delight and participate in sending letters – and especially postcards! – to friends and family…..AND even to strangers!

Yes!  They do!

I’ve been drawn back into that world of communications quite recently…just by those unexpected happenstance moments.

The first one occurred on my return flight back from my visit to Germany in May of this year.  The woman sitting on the other side of my husband was on her way to visit friends in Montreal.  And somehow she and I just clicked and we got to chatting – in German – about each of our adventures. Ultimately, we realized that one of our common interests involved how much we both enjoy writing and receiving mail…the old-fashioned way.   So, we exchanged our mailing addresses and have since embarked on a fun pen-pal relationship.

A couple of weeks ago I sent her these two postcards, showing some views of the town near where I live…

 

IMG_4660 (2)

 

And then the second memorable time was when I went to the book store in that town to find some postcards to send.  I was chatting with the owner of the store, and as our conversation was coming to a close, he added on something that had just occurred to him on the subject of postcards and how tricky they can be to find these days in view of all the e-mailing and social media that’s going on.

He told me how his wife had found a website that encourages postcard exchanges from all around the world!  She had just recently started and was enjoying it immensely, and he gave me the link in case I was interested in pursuing this old-style mail exchange.

And yeah!  Was I ever interested!

So, I searched out Postcrossing.com, registered, and was on my merry way to engage in postcard exchanges.  The site is well organized in that from all its members, people wishing to send postcards are given randomly drawn names of other members with their addresses and then are required to send a postcard to that person.  There are codes given with each postcard for ease of recording and keeping track of all the mail exchange activity going on.

The site is super friendly and provides interesting information, as well as a forum and help pages.  It gives stats on the distances being covered with these postcards and keeping track of one’s own personal sent and received cards, along with a wall in which to post one’s favourites.

The fun is in requesting a name for sending a postcard – and you don’t know who it will be, but you can read their personal write-ups on the website once you have been given their name.  You get a little idea of who they are.  And once your postcard has been received by that person and registered with the website, then someone else will get your name…..and THEN…..the delightful surprise at one day going to the mailbox and finding a postcard from someone from another country!!

Isn’t that cool !!

In my case, the first person I was given lives in Germany, and he’s a fellow who enjoys sports and collecting stamps, among other things.

So, I picked this postcard from my town, which shows the statue of the gentleman – Dr. James Naismith – who invented basketball.  And I picked out a stamp with a Canadian moose on it for his stamp collection.  He sent me a thank-you message when he received it.

IMG_4723

Once I found out that my postcard had arrived all right at its destination, then I was eagerly awaiting the one that would be coming to me!

And I’m happy to say that when I went to the mailbox yesterday, there among a couple of advertisement flyers was a postcard for me!  Interestingly, it came from a young lady, also living in Germany……but from a different area.

Here is what hers looks like:

 

IMG_7640

 

Cute, isn’t it?

Translated, it means:  “Don’t wait for the storm to pass by….instead learn to dance in the rain.”

So, I went on the Postcrossing website and registered the arrival of her postcard.  And I also sent her a thank-you message.

AND….I have requested my next new postcard recipient!  She lives in Moscow, Russia!  How exciting!!

Exchanging postcards in this way is a bit like travelling, isn’t it?

Yes…even with all of our ultra advanced and cool technology, there are still some old-style activities that provide lots of fun like they used to do.

 

 

Tourist Moments #4

IMG_0259

 

When in Copenhagen….you’ve got to check out the LEGO!

Everyone in our family is an enthusiastic LEGO builder and player!

So, on my brief layover in Copenhagen last May, naturally, I was always on the alert to see where LEGOs would pop up.  Particularly since it’s a long-lasting classic toy originating from Denmark.

On an evening walkabout, when most stores were already closed, I spied this brightly lit up store and spent some time looking at all the LARGE and well-constructed LEGO creatures, such as the dragon above.  It boggles the mind, thinking of the planning and then constructing that went into these amazing structures.

 

IMG_0256

 

My friend, Josh, stood beside this LEGO guard in order to provide a comparison perspective to show the size of these LEGO people.

 

IMG_0262

 

On one wall were the various LEGO logos designed over the years.  LEGO logos – say that a whole bunch of times real fast!  Haha!

 

IMG_0261

 

**********

 

And imagine my surprise when at the airport the next day, there was even a LEGO store there….in among the usual clothing and electronics stores.

 

IMG_0335 (2)

 

Certainly not a small store – given it’s at the airport – and filled with a large and varied selection of different types and sizes of LEGO toy boxes.

Here’s a closer look at the LEGO playing table….laid out so invitingly for sitting down and playing.

 

IMG_0337

 

Near the entrance stood an almost life-sized LEGO traveller, complete with pith helmet, tropical shirt, and an assortment of cameras.

Imagine how long it took to put that fellow together!

 

IMG_0332

Night-time Flight

IMG_7222

Sea of blue below,

The steady wing runs its tip,

Reaching toward Space.

********************

Looking out the window of the airplane on the overseas flight to Germany….in that time between setting sun to seeing the new day’s sun appearing on the sky’s horizon again.

A magical quiet time.

Unique additions to an underground garage

Having a long overdue trip to Germany – filled with visits with my cousins and uncles, as well as enjoying some sightseeing excursions.

This time the explorations have been in the northern part of the Black Forest area and a couple of places in Bavaria…..all of which I hadn’t seen before during previous family visits.

Now generally, the underground garages in Canada are fairly well laid out in that parking spots have designated numbers and letters, and then there are the entrances and exits with either ramps, stairs, and elevators.  Nothing that stands out.

Today I saw these two unique features of an underground garage located in the town of Füssen, Bavaria, namely…..

 

a)  A cordoned off area for people’s bicycles, which seems quite useful for certain situations.

 

IMG_8964

 

……and then…..

 

b)  a designated “Frauenparkplatz” ie. a woman’s parking spot – there were close to 10 of them in this underground garage.

 

IMG_8957

 

And I wondered…..

WHY would women need these designated areas??

I can already imagine the comments from the peanut gallery…..haha!

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset Above the Clouds

DSCN6588

 

Mesmerizing warmth;

Familiar colours, but

A new perspective.

 

********************

Had you wondering about the title, right?  Sunset ABOVE the clouds?  How is that possible?

Note:  In lieu of ocean waves or bumpy terrain at the bottom of this scenery, it’s an endless expanse of cumulus clouds.  And you can see part of the outer casing of the propeller plane’s turbine engine as well to give it away that you are seeing this gorgeous sunset view….not from the ground but up much higher.

And the sight of the setting sun’s golden colours is just as spectacular from up there!

I was so spellbound by this view…..on my return flight back from Blenheim (South Island)  to Auckland (North Island), New Zealand in July of 2007.

 

 

 

Tourist Moments #3

On my trip in July of 2007 to the South Island of New Zealand – on the occasion of my girlfriend’s wedding – her daughter, Emily, and I took off one free afternoon to go on a mini-excursion.

We came upon this nifty looking, wooden Maori carving – quite TALL – which is located at the Karaka Point Historic Reserve  (a short drive outside of Picton).

 

dscn6142

 

This look-out point offers up a spectacular view of part of the Marlborough Sounds area.

The following sequence of photos gives you a somewhat panoramic glimpse into these beautiful sounds.

 

 

 

The clouds and waves that day created a bit of dramatic ambiance.

I looked up some added information for you.

Online the site, 100% Pure New Zealand, describes the Marlborough Sounds as follows:

“Marlborough Sounds is a collection of ancient sunken river valleys filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Forested hills rise steeply from the sea around an intricate coastline of sheltered inlets and sandy bays. The area has three main bodies of water – Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorous Sounds. The Department of Conservation manages over 50 reserves in this scenic playground.”

 

**********

 

dscn6134-2

 

There are grassy areas where one can walk about and enjoy the views.  I imagined what it would be like to walk all the way to the end of that huge outcropping.

 

*****

And finally, included is the sign as well.   😀

 

 

dscn6137

Tourist Moments #2

Street art always intrigues and fascinates me!

It’s on such a large scale, and I wonder how it was done….the equipment, the supplies, what kind of paint….and the quantity needed.

And how the artist’s perspective and skill comes into play to make the artwork “jump out.”

For this tourist moment I am highlighting some street art that I saw in the town of Vestmannaeyjar on the Icelandic island, Heimaey, when I was there last May.

This painting of the young albeit BIG child playing with a fishing vessel in the harbour can be seen along the side of one of the harbour buildings.

So, it’s the harbour with a real boat, perhaps to depict the island’s main industry of fishing.  Since the water isn’t deep, it seems to resemble one of those water play areas for children or perhaps just a big puddle in which the child is playing.

Fun for the imagination!

 

 

img_0193-2

 

*****

 

In this next one….

 

img_0164-2

 

…..attached to a wall in the more residential part of town, I noticed this large mural of a fancy dressed puffin. So, perhaps this is on a government building?  I don’t know.  However, I did learn that puffins are Iceland’s national bird and that Icelanders promote the puffin’s image in all kinds of things.   And you can imagine the puffin’s popularity in souvenir shops!

And just so you can see what I mean, look at this street directional sign…..for the post office, the bank, and so on.  Friendly puffins to help guide your way.  🙂

 

img_1048