Wednesday, 26 February 2014


Arrived in Kigali by road from Uganda. Rwanda is very mountainous. Kigali is known as the city of 1000 hills. The sights of Rwanda include Mountain Gorillas and the Genocide Museum. Had done the Gorilla visits in Uganda so first day visited the Museum. It was most sobering to read of what happened in Rwanda and it took me done time afterwards to settle after the visit. 

The Post Office was less then inspiring. The only stamps on sake were issued in 1990 and 2010.  

Rwanda a very picturesque country. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014


Uganda is my first stop on this East African trip.  The Main Post office is quite large with numbers of different counters. The philatelic section has a large selection of stamps. However " the lady with the key will be here tomorrow ".  This is not the first time I have had this at stamp counters.  It is a pity as Uganda has some great stamps with local themes. However I was able to select from a small range of stamps.  

Kampala has not much to offer but went on to Bwindi National Park. The key attraction here is the Gorillas which did not disappoint. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Africa Bound

Hi All, well soon I am off to East Africa . This blog will change to the Travel part and I will share photos and some stories from this trip. I have 6 new Countries  to visit and hopefully I will get to them all. So I am very much looking forward to this trip. 6 months planning with lots of Wildlife and remote locations. So hope you all enjoy.

France and Russia - World Heritage Sites.

Europe-France-Provins A beautiful medieval town and a World Heritage Site. This is the sort of town that makes France what it is . Full of charm. Well at least the old towns are.. 

I have to give France 10 out of 10 for their Art stamps. They are exceptional. France is also not afraid to issue large stamps. If many of them see general usage I would doubt. 

Europe-Russia-Kolomenskose   I was on a tour of World Heritage sites in Russia. So  here was my first stop. Old Wooden churches. Not far fro Moscow. 

Russia issue some marvellous stamps. I have a complete Russian collection from 1917, so I do admire the stamps. Here is also a very nice cancellation. 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Gabon and Sao Tome & Principe

Africa-Gabon-Libreville   Gabon on paper has a lot to offer . Wildlife and great Beaches. Well that passed me by . The city was one of those places that was devoid of charm. The main Presidential Palace had the best views and took up the prime real Estate. 

Libreville has a very busy Post office. There was a very impressive Philatelic Shop around the corner. Of course as usual there was no one there , at least there was staff. I spend some time there selecting stamps to use on my postcards. However they would not sell me any stamps with face value. I was not  impressed. They did try to sell me stamps that were older and included a stamp made of wood. It was showing a Concord plane. It was beautiful. They told me how good the price was compared to the stamp catalogue and then produced the catalogue to prove their point. I am sort of sorry I did not buy the stamp. On the other hand I was not amused that I could not buy any new stamps including the New President stamps at face value. I told them they were in same league as North Korea and Libya.Both had dictators and Gabon must be the same.. So the stamps here were purchased over the counter at the regular Main Post office in Libreville. I see they were issued in 1982, 28 years ago at that time.. ! 

Africa-Sao Tome & Principe-Sao Tome  Soa Tome is a beautiful country to visit. It has it all. Beaches , very friendly people and a old Colonial feel to the town. I was very impressed. Also that the Immigration officer insisted on getting me a receipt for my visa. No bribes here were asked for or expected. So I was charmed. I spend a marvellous 3 days here and loved every minute of it. A real Tourist highlight in Africa. Even the old shops were so interesting. A brilliant surprise to end this African trip. 

The Post office had moved since my guidebook , but I found it ok. The Post office had many stamps and also a Philatelic Counter. So I purchased these Silver foil stamps.  . The Post master told me that I did not need to use these stamps as they were much more expensive then the stamps I did need to mail postcards back. Here all was possible and very helpful. So the most Beautiful Island with a very helpful Postmaster to finish my West African Trip. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Congo Brazzaville and Democratic Republic of Congo .

Africa-Congo Republic-Brazzaville  Arriving at  the airport I had to go through a number of immigration officers as they were all looking for bribes in one form or another and more paperwork.It did not make any difference that my visa was in order, they still needed more . Got though this in the end. Brazzaville is a picturesque city that has seen better days. Charles de Gaulle lived here during the 2nd World War. You can still see the streets that are lined with trees. Very easy to get around. The President was going to and from the airport so once that happened all traffic in the centre was stopped for hours until he made it to the airport in his state car followed by two ambulances and many other cars. Brazzaville was pleasant enough and I visited the Memorial of Brazza as on the postcard. Spend a few days here and enjoyed the buzz of the place. 

The main post office had a large Philatelic Display. Very surprising and a good selection of stamps. It was quite large, but dark and no one there except me. But the staff were very friendly and a nice clean postmark too. 

Africa-Congo Democratic Republic of -Kinshasa  I arrived in Kinshasa across the great Congo River. You can see Kinshasa from Brazzaville . Kinshasa had a surprising amount of high rise buildings. It was not easy crossing the river and to get out through immigration on the Congo side. My passport was taken from me for about 1 hour while I waited to see what boat I was on for the 30 minute crossing. Then to board they call out your name and you get your passport back. On the way to all of this you pass many officials who wish to find out where you are going and who you are. So in the end you just say you are on business. Telling them you are a tourist tends to get a strange look and more questions. Kinshasa has very wide boulevard which is amazing to see, how busy it all is. When here I also went out to the Bonobo sanctuary. The museum had just reopened and you could see where the previous president lived Mobutu. It was a excellent museum to visit. The above mausoleum I did not manage to visit . The soldiers wanted 100 USD to visit as a bribe .   

Prior to arriving in Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC for short) my Lonely Planet Guide said there was no Post office in Kinshasa and to use DHL. Well there is indeed a Post office in Kinshasa. The first job is to find a postcard. I did find one but the street seller wanted 5 USD, but when I said I did not really want a postcard the price came down to a more reasonable 2 USD. The Post office is very large and has seen better days. The stamp sellers where at a kitchen table inside the post office in the sorting section. There you could see piles of mail just sitting there in bags. Looks like it was there for ages. The stamp sellers only had these stamps. There was not enough space on the card , so I had to place the stamps as you see them .I do also find it amazing they still sell Zaire stamps overprinted with Republic Dem of Congo. Here the stamps show Joseph Kabila. the current President of DRC.  I later went into a new part of the post office . The area you can send money from like Western Union. There the counter had more stamps , but they made it clear they were just for collectors and were not for use on the mail. There was no new  issues and all looked like stamps that had no connection with DRC.  Well this is one of my favourite postcards in my collection. Also to do with the stamps and being told the Post office did not exist and that if you  could mail a Postcard it would never see the light of day.. Well how wrong they all were.. Not a easy country to visit or to get a Postcard from. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Angola and Cabinda

Africa-Angola-Luanda   Well this trip nearly fell apart before it began. I was due to start in DRC. Congo . I was then later flying on to Angola. But because of a row between the governments of Angola and DRC all flights were stopped. . I then changed my flight to go down from Brazzaville in Republic of Congo. So all well there. Then the night before I left I found they changed the flight to go the day before I arrived. So lucky I seen this and was able to fly from Paris to Luanda. Angola is one of the most expensive countries in the World. It is because of oil and lack of infracstructre. I am lucky to have a good friend there who works for BP. It is also the most difficult visa to get along with Equatorial Guinea if you are a tourist. Being Irish helps when getting a visa for Angola . Luanda has a mix of the very old and the very new. All alongside each other. Eating out was expensive , I don't know how the locals manage. Corruption and all that plays a part. I had my spare local cash taken from me at the airport when leaving , as the officials found some law that says you cant take any local money out. Still the old colonial Portuguese buildings looked well , that you could see down town. Angola is not a place for a regular tourist. 

The beautiful old Post office was not in any fit state when I was here. It was either getting fixed up or taken down, I could not figure out. So I had to visit a Portacabin where the post office was. They have quite a few stamps you can buy so that was a good surprise. 

Africa-Cabinda-Cabinda  Cabinda is the enclave between Republic of Congo and DRC ( Democratic Republic of Congo ). I got a flight from Luanda. However the immigration did not want me to go as they said I must be a oil worker and my visa was for a tourist. They did not believe I was a tourist as "why would a tourist go to Cabinda ".. I sort of asked myself that as I did get here in the end. The Postcard is the only one I could find in Cabinda so it does not reflect on what I seen here. I was only in the city of Cabinda the capital of Cabinda. 

In Cabinda I was greeted with a brand spanking new Post office. A new cancellation and lots of stamps.. The African cup football championships had just taken place with matches also in Cabinda. The postmark has this within the cancellation. They did not bother to change the date. I was here on 21 May 2010. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

England and France

Europe-United Kingdom-England-Nottingham   Nottingham is famous for Robin Hood the famous outlaw in English culture who "robbed from the rich and gave to the poor".. I was here to visit some friends and did visit the historic sites. I do recall sitting in a famous old pub "Ye old trip to Jerusalem " considered to be maybe the oldest pub in England from 1189. 

Here is James the IV from England on the stamp. I wonder did he pop into this pub for a drink? At least a cancellation here on the stamp. 

Europe-France-Amiens The main feature here is the World Heritage Site Cathedral . Very impressive. But so is the whole town. Not too far from Paris . 

A clear cancellation. A French Definitive stamp. 

Monday, 10 February 2014

United Kingdom- World Heritage Sites . Tower of London and Canterbury .

Europe-United Kingdom-England-London  The Tower of London one of London's must see sights and a World Heritage Site. I was brought here at a very young age and still remember how impressive it was . I went home and got a book out of the library and it got me interested in history. I enjoyed it as much this visit too. 

It is a pity that London does not have a General Post office any more. We have one in Dublin . So you have to go to the one near Leicester square , as that has the most options buying stamps. 

Europe-United Kingdom-England-Canterbury  This was  good train ride from London. I had been planning to get here for some time, but never did until this trip. Unfortunately for me Canterbury is not as impressive as I had hoped. I much prefer the Cathedral in Durham in Northern England. A World Heritage Site. 

The cancellation machine made some sort of mark on this stamp , but as it happens in the UK many stamps are never postmarked. I like these stamps as they feature smiling faces. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Leptis Magna - Libya

Africa-Libya-Leptis Magna   Without doubt the highlight of the visit to Libya. Magnificent city of the Roman Empire . A very large site with no one about. One of those World Heritage Sites  that photos don't do justice to. 

Another fantastic stamp from Libya. This one is in gold foil. The bird looks like a dove of peace !. Wish you could see how nice the gold looks . Also embossed, so an expensive stamp to produce. 

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Africa-Libya-Tripoli  After my concern about Yemen , I later made my way to Libya . I had thought it would have to change and some time and I wanted to get there before it did.  This was March 2010. Maybe I should have been a fortune teller as soon after these two countries became part of the "Arab Spring " revolution in one way or another.  Libya was very enjoyable. At the time I was here European visitors were  banned from entering with the exception of Irish and UK. So not many tourists about at all. Tripoli was very different then I had expected. Electricity worked and all key roads had full street lights , the shops were open late and full of activity. The city was in much better condition then what I had seen elsewhere in many parts of Africa. Much to see here and excellent food . 

Postage stamps from Libya were on sale in many locations in Libya. From Museums to tourist shops.. However no one would sell you them at face value. And that includes the Post Office. I visited the Main post office and apart from  a few drab stamps they had little to offer. But then in another book they had these and many others stamps. Some were very recent . But they were all "Extra ". But in reality it was very little extra to pay to get some amazing stamps on ones postcards. The Postcard never did get a postmark. Not entirely surprising as the Post office in Tripoli was not exactly customer friendly. 

Africa-Libya-Sabratha  This area is a World Heritage site. It was a car ride out of Tripoli. The taxi drivers here you had to take your life in your hands. They were all mad drivers. Once they got out of the city they even went faster , like over 100 miles per hour. Formula one car racing must be popular to watch here. This was a great site and no one about. Visiting Libya at this time you needed to have a guide with you at all times when going to a Heritage site. Apparently tourists had been found at the airport with artefacts from these sites. 

Since every where I went I seen large posters of Gadaffi it was only right that he appeared on some of the stamps. When I talked to the taxi drivers they would only talk when they were driving and out of the city. They all had the same story. They were tired of Gadaffi and they ignored him. I asked them about the crowds that turned up to hear him speak. They all said that if you went to a speech you got paid to sit and listen. I do like the dark green postmark , the same colour as the flag at that time of Libya. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Petra - Jordan

Middle East-Jordan-Petra  A visit to Jordan would not be complete without going to Petra. It is pretty amazing for sure. I entered on a horse and it was great just seeing the Treasury for the first time. Stayed in a wonderful hotel overlooking the area. A worthy World  Heritage Site. 

The Post office in Petra was busy with lots of postcards. But no stamps other then definitive were available to purchase. I see the postmark has "Petra Touristic Post Office ". 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


Middle East-Jordan-Amman This Postcard is showing the Roman Amphitheatre in Amman. I have to say I did not really enjoy Amman, it's pleasures passed me by. 

The Post office in Amman and in effect Jordan had little to offer Stamp wise. Choice was limited or non existant. So these stamps were after a little extra requests to find more stamps.. This usually gets a extra drawer open and out pops a few extra special stamps. 

Middle East-Jordan-Karak  Driving down south, this was a excellent stop . A Fortress / Fort with fab views. Much better then the postcard suggests. 

Jordan has a number of different style of postmarks. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

World Heritage Site - Shebam , Yemen

Middle East-Yemen-Shebam  This is the Walled city of Shebam and a World Heritage Site. Spent a great day exploring this very old town . This place is sure historic and no tourists about !! 

The small post office processed my postcards with this nice blue cancellation and  they got home quite quick . 

Middle East-Yemen-Shebam  This is the famous Rock Palace. It is quite high up and you can visit the rooms and see the view. Excellent 

More colourful stamps from Yemen. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Yemen- Blood Trees in Socotra

Middle East-Yemen-Socotra-Hadibo  Socotra has very unique plants and animals. Here is the famous Blood trees. They are even more impressive when you see many of them . Socotra is a World Heritage Site.  

This card has the faintest of postmarks. 

Middle East-Yemen-Shebam  Back now in the mainland of Yemen. Here you see many homes like this. All like little box cakes. 

A change of cancellation here .