Monday, January 22, 2018

Cruising Thru Postcards # 9

I think it's time for the next installment of Cruising Thru Postcards. This will be # 9 of the series, covering our recent 10 day cruise of the Southern Caribbean. It's going to be a long one so grab a coffee or tea, have a seat and enjoy.

I was hoping all postcards would have arrived back at home base by now. Most have, but it seems nothing has arrived from Antigua. I know a few have arrived from there to Europe but nothing over this way. I guess one can't always have perfect luck with the various post offices across the globe. Maybe the Antigua cards will eventually arrive and if they do, you'll see them here.

Our journey started on Nov 6th, 2017 when My Lovely Teena and I flew from Calgary to Toronto. We overnighted there and then on Nov 7th we flew to Fort Lauderdale , where we stayed for 2 nights before departing on our cruise.

While in Fort Lauderdale I did manage to pick up a few postcards and get them posted. I have 2 to have a look at here today. The first is this long view of Fort Lauderdale Beach with the many hotels and long stretch of beach along the Atlantic Coast.

The stamps on this one are 3 of the 4 Songbirds in the set issued in 2016.

Card # 2 from FLL

This card showcases the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Restaurant & Market. Teena and I had a fine meal here. As Bubba said " shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's shrimp - kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger and a shrimp sandwich. There - that's about it " . You can imagine I tried a few shrimp there and I got the Tee shirt to prove it. Here's the card.

This card is from My Lovely Teena and she used 3 of the 4 Star Trek stamps from 2016.

We departed Fort Lauderdale at 4 PM on Wednesday November 9th onboard the M S Koningsdam. This ship was launched in 2015 and is 975 ft in length. She can carry 2650 passengers and 1036 crew. This cruise wasn't exactly full so I can't really tell you how many were on board. I can tell you, the Koningsdam was under the command of Captain Darrin Boland, a Canadian.   

Days 1 and 2 were sea days so we relaxed on board, enjoying the sun, the pool and the warmth.
Day 3 we made our first port at St. John's , Antigua. Originally we were supposed to arrive at Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. This was first changed to Frederiksted, St. Croix and then to St. John's. These changes were due to the damages sustained at the ports by hurricanes early in the fall.

So no Antigua cards as of writing this. We sailed out of St. John's around 5 PM with our sights set on Castries , St. Lucia. We arrived there at 0900 on Nov 12th, Day 4 of our cruise. After touring around this beautiful island I managed to find a few postcards and stamps.
This first St. Lucia card is a great view of The Pitons, from Soufriere Bay. The Pitons are two mountainous volcanic plugs or volcanic spires located in St. Lucia. The Gros Piton is 771 m high , and the Petit Piton is 743 m high. The Pitons are a World Heritage Site , located near the town of Soufriere. It's been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004.

The stamp on this one is from a set of 14 Flowering Fruits issued in 2005.

2nd St. Lucia card

Here's Castries Harbour with a cruise ship in port, it's not the Koningsdam though. Castries is the capital with a population of just over 80,000 and the General Post Office is located on Bridge Street.

Cool stamps on this one. Issued in 1985 , they are Christmas Stamps showing Masqueraders. Where I come from (Newfoundland) , we have much the same thing but we call them Mummers.

Finally, here's what relaxing in St. Lucia is all about. That could even be me walking up there.

Two fine Aviation themed stamps arrived on this card. They were issued in 2006 to mark the 50th Anniversary of LIAT Limited.

At 5 PM we departed Castries and sailed for Bridgetown, Barbados, arriving there at 8 AM the next morning. This wasn't our first time in Barbados, it's our 3rd if memory serves me. We had already seen the main sights, so we boarded a bus to have a look at the countryside, outside Bridgetown. We saw St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church and Bathsheda, St. Joseph. Now here's a couple of cards of Barbados. The first one is a multi-view of St. Lawrence Gap, with a look at the beaches and the St Lawrence by the Sea Church.

The stamps are from a Barbados Paleontology set issued in 1993. These are 2 of the 5 in the set.

2nd card from Barbados
This one is a look at the beach and ocean area of Bathsheba, St. Joseph. Just a beautiful spot really.

Barbados issued a set of 4 Princess Diana stamps back in 1982 for her 21st Birthday. This card is adorned with 2 of them.

At around 5 PM we sailed out of Bridgetown and headed for Fort-de-France, Martinique. We arrived in Martinique on Day 6 at 0800. WE didn't have any tour booked here so we just walked around the town, which was fairly easy. It was a great place to walk, it reminded us of St. Pierre. You certainly had to watch for cars on the narrow streets and at the intersections, though.
I managed to find a few postcards but they were all quite small, I just couldn't locate a large size card anywhere. My first card from here is a look at a few fishing boats, nets and the beach at Tartane, a village of just over 3000, located on the opposite side of the island from Fort-de-France.

If anyone out there doesn't know, Martinique doesn't issue their own stamps, French stamps are used. The 2 used here are from 2012 and feature Edith Piaf and Miles Davis.

The second card form Martinique show saintoises, fishing boats native to the area.

In 2012 France issued a set of 12 stamps , all Paintings - Women's Portraits. 5 of the 12 are used on this card.

I really liked Fort-de-France, I think I could enjoy a week there- it wasn't to be though as we sailed away just after 5 PM.

Day 7 saw us arrive in Basseterre, St. Kitts for most of the morning and afternoon. It was just beautiful there, we spent most of our time at one of the local beaches. We enjoyed the water and the beach , spending most of the time in the water. I could even tell you a story of a man , not me mind you , who sort of lost it at the beach, but I'll save that little tidbit for another time.

My first card of St. Kitts features the Berkeley Memorial Clock at the Circus. The clock was erected in 1883 and celebrated its 100th birthday the same year that St. Kitts gained its independence.

A nice Bird stamp showing a Painted Bunting  flew in on this card. Not to mention Elvis. People always say " Elvis has left the building " but who knew he went to St. Kitts. We all know there are lots of Elvis stamps out there, but most never see postal duty, so when one shows up on a postcard it's a rare treat. I think so anyway.

On this next card we see the National Museum of St. Kitts, located in Basseterre. The building dates from 1894 but the museum only opened in 2002.

Michael Jackson is featured on the stamp on this card. Perhaps all the famous musicians and singers end up in St. Kitts. I wonder who will show up next. Who knows ?

Sadly we left St. Kitts relatively early at 3 PM.

It's Day 8 now and again due to the earlier hurricanes and their destruction our itinerary again changed. Originally we were to go to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. That changed to Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. Bad weather and rough seas forced a change to that also. At 10 AM on Day 8 we arrived in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Holland America Line wanted us to spend the day at sea, but our good Captain Boland said he could get us docked at La Romana and with his efforts, the Koningsdam became the first Holland American ship to dock at La Romana.
Teena and I had visited La Romana a number of years ago with friends, so it was like coming home.

My card from La Romana gives us a look at a part of Altos de Chavon. It is a re-creation of a Mediterranean style European village in La Romana. It is the most popular attraction in the city and opened in August of 1982.

A stamp from a set of 4 Marine Mammals , issued in 2015 was used on this card.

After leaving La Romana around 3 PM we headed back North. The next day, Day 9 was a sea day , so it was hang out at the pool day, have a few drinks and just relax.
Day 10, last full day on the ship. We anchored off Half Moon Cay, Bahamas at 0800 for a final day of swimming and relaxing on the beach with a large BBQ.This was just a great day.

There were a few small shops and souvenir stands here and I was lucky enough to find a bunch of postcards. I sat and addressed them, stamped them and then realized there was no post office facilities. What to do, what to do ?
So, I went back to the nice lady who sold me the cards. She had been in Jasper, Alberta just 2 weeks before, so we got talking and she told me she lived on Eleuthera. She suggested that she could take my postcards back to Eleuthera and drop them in the mail for me. That sounded like a good plan and with my many thanks to her, I handed them over. She did indeed live up to her word. Thanks Janice.

Hay Mon... We Be Jammin !. I think that says it all  about Bahamas.

Four stamps on this card. They were issue in 2009 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the First Bahamas postage Stamp in 1859. You can see replicas of that 1859 stamp on each of the 2009 stamps. Makes a nice block of 4.

The last card for today and the last from our cruise - except of course for any Antigua cards that may show up - is the flag of the Bahamas. One for all the vexillogists out there.

The last stamp for today is from 2017, issued to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization.

When we docked back in Fort Lauderdale we were 1 of 9 cruise ships in port. The port was busier than a hornet's nest. And Fort Lauderdale Airport was stuffed with people. Stuffed like sardines in a can.
We made it through all the line ups and eventually arrived safely back  in Calgary and then Airdrie.
My Lovely Teena and I had a great cruise , our 9th - it was totally relaxing and now we're looking forward to # 10 in May.
Take care , thanks for reading , if indeed you made it this far. Sorry it was so long, but I always keep these special updates all together. Thanks to Janice for her help in Half Moon Cay and to My Lovely Teena for putting up with my Postcarding. Love you.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Cards, Cards, Cards

Good day to you, it's been over a week since I was last here. I have no good excuse other than I just never got to it. Be that as it may , I have lots of cards on the desk in front of me now, fifteen or so, so let's get to it. I certainly won't get through them all, so it's one card at a time starting with this one.

It's from Maribor, Slovenia - the second largest city in the country. The city of just over 95,000 is located on the Drava River. It is also the home of the oldest vine in the world at more than 400 years. Just so you know ! 

I have Ana to thank for this card. It was written on December 31st, 2017 and it looks to me like it received a New Year's cancellation. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Ana used a Bird definitive from 2015, 1 of 5 in a set.

Ana has a fine postcard blog called " My World of Postcards and Travel " . You won't go wrong by checking it out . Her blog was on somewhat of an extended hiatus but she's back again , so be sure to check in from time to time.

Today's second card is from Colombo, Sri Lanka. It showcases the remains of the walls of a Buddhist image house in Polonnaruwa. The columns  rise to a height of 17 m.

Ravindra used 2 stamps on his card. On the top is 1 of a set of 20 issued in 2017 for United Nations Day of Vesak. The lower stamp , also from 2017, honours D.B. Dhanapala ( 1905-1972) - journalist & author.

Ravindra too , has a blog  - it's called " Discover the World on Trains " .

Did someone mention Aviation themed cards ? It seems I often have one to put up here. This time it's an Airspeed Consul which Singapore Airlines operated back when. The card celebrates Singapore Airlines 50th Anniversary, 1947-1997.

Jean Pierre used a 2017 stamp , 1 of 4 in a set of Wedding Jewelry.

Oops, another Aviation card. This one was put out by the French Post and showcases Aeropostale , an early aviation company which operated from 1918 to 1933. It was founded in Toulouse, France but by 1931 it was experiencing financial difficulties and its assets were taken over by Air France in 1933.

This is a card from Dominique and it arrived with a special preprinted stamp to match the front of the card.

My next card is from Thailand, compliments of Jobbo. It's the Golden Mount or Wat Saket. The temple is located in Bangkok and dates back to the Ayutthaya era ( 1350-1767). You'll find it in the heart of the city near the Grand Palace.

We have 2 stamps on this card and both were issued in 2017. On the left is a definitive Thai Pavilion stamp . It is from a set of 9.
On the right, 1 of 6 issued in a set celebrating the Royal Cremation Ceremony of His Majesty King Bhumibol.

Card # 6 - the last one for this time.   Here we see a band practising at Windsor Castle. I guess it'll be a little more busy come May 19th when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot in St. George's Chapel. I wonder who will post the first postcard of that event ?  Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, the castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It has been the home of 39 monarchs.

This card came as a surprise to me. The sender wrote that he saw my blog and thought to send a postcard while he was in Windsor. He calls himself " The Rambler " . Not sure who he is but there is an Alex the Rambler online - on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and he is located in the United Kingdom. Maybe , but I don't know.

He used a recent Queen Elizabeth II definitive on his card.

There you have it, my blog for this time. Thanks for cards go out to Ana, Ravindra, Dominique, Jean Pierre, Jobbo and The Rambler.
Hope you enjoyed today's cards and stamps. More just like them again soon.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Netherlands, Indonesia and Russia

Yes I'm back again. It's still a little cold today ,  -19 C and a windchill of  -26 C . Looking at a plus 4 C tomorrow , so all is good.
Today I have 3 cards from 3 countries. First up is this great card from Netherlands and who needs a Christmas tree with hair like this. The card shows a model with a 1963 hair style by the famous Paris hair dresser Molinario.

This is a card from Barbara, we've swapped cards many times. She used all Christmas stamps , the one on the left is from 2010 and the other two are from 2008.

Today's second card is from Bali, Indonesia. It's another card from Jean Pierre, this one showing the famous , terraced rice fields of Bali.

The stamps on this card are all from 2017. The larger one on the right is from a set of 2 issued for Environmental Protection. I wasn't able to locate any info on the other 2.

Today's final card is from Moscow, Russia. It's a Postcrossing card called " Letter for a Friend " .

I thank Polina for her card,  but ----how many more of those Moscow architecture stamps are left ? I've certainly got enough of them. These 3 are the last ones you will see on GemsWorldPostcards.

Sorry Polina, I understand that  many people take what the post office person hands out, but there are many wonderful, and beautiful stamps that have been issued by Russia over the last number of years.  There it is , my first rant for 2018. A short one today, but I'm sure there  will be others .

Thanks Barbara, Jean Pierre and Polina for your cards. Take care all and I'll be back here next week after I find a few cards in the mailbox.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Few More Early 2018 Cards

Hello again, from cold Airdrie. Yes the last few days have been quite cold. When I got up this morning it was -29 C and with the windchill it was -34 C. The last few days have been like that. It's due to warm up in a couple days, so that will be good. Now it's on to postcards, a nice indoor activity, especially on these cold days.

I have three cards for today. Let's start with Ravindra's card from Colombo, Sri Lanka , showing a Vatadage-  a circular relic shrine at Polonnaruwa. Only 10 of these vatadages now exist in Sri Lanka. Often the builders and construction dates are unknown. This one is thought to have been built sometime between 1055 and 1293. The vatadage here at Polonnaruwa is the best example of  the 10 remaining in the country.

Ravindra used a fine selction of stamps on his card. On the left, 2014, a stamp honouring H.Sri Nissanka. The long stamp at the top was issued in 2017, marking the 100th Anniversary of Fort Colombo Railway Station. The last stamp is from a set of 6 issued in 2014 celebrating the National Park Pigeon Island.

My second card is from Austria and was sent by Ana. It's an Aviation themed card showing Graz International Airport in southern Austria.

 Ana used a wonderful single stamp souvenir sheet from Austria. It was issued in 2017 on the 300th Anniversary of the Birth of Maria Theresa. Apparently Austria thinks it correct to commemorate the birth of an individual and not the death of that person. I couldn't agree more. The stamp is also a Joint Issue with Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Ukraine. All five would make a nice collection.

Here's the last card for this time. It's a Postcrossing card that arrived from Wschowa, Poland. It's not Poland we see on the front, but the beautiful city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, and I'm going to see it up close in May. Yes, Croatia, Greece and Italy make up my next trip.

Monika used a 2017 stamp showcasing World Day of the Sick 2017.

So ends another blog update. Thanks for cards today go to Ravindra, Ana and Monika. See you next time.