Monday, 31 March 2014

Ethiopia - World Heritage Sites

Africa-Ethiopia-Axum  These Obelisks are a worthy World Heritage Site. They are very impressive when you see them up close. They are over 1700 years old. My first stop in Ethiopia , a very friendly nation. 

The local Post office had sort of run out of stamps. So what they do is charge you the correct Postal charge and then make a effort to put about 3 or 4 stamps on the Postcard. In fact apparently I needed more but they said that this is the way to do it putting one stamp on top of each other. Reminds me of DR Congo where I had to do the same thing. 

Africa-Ethiopia-Lalibela   Another great World Heritage Site. The famous Stone churches in Lalibela. I wish I could show you some of the others but only one postcard here. Will have to wait until I get to start posting Photos from my trips. Ethiopia one of the best countries to visit in Africa. A lot to offer and not expensive when here. 

At this post Office they did have a correct value stamp and a Rhino on it. I did not see so much wildlife on this trip to Ethiopia . More of a Historical nature . 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Holyroodhouse Palace- Edinburgh

Europe-United Kingdom-Scotland-Edinburgh   I had always wanted to visit Holyroodhouse Palace, but never managed it until this trip. It is the official residence of the British monarchy when in Scotland. It is not often I have a postcard of the inside of a building and this is the Royal Dining Room. Edinburgh is a fun place to visit and a  beautiful city. 

As I said earlier, it is not easy to get a clear postmark in Scotland . Here you see a typical postmark I have found on my travels there. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Wales and Scotland-United Kingdom

Europe-United Kingdom-Wales-Blaenavon  I had been to a few mines on my trips . The previous one was in Spitsbergen in Norway. This is also a coal Pit and is a World Heritage Site. Very very interesting and a lot to see. This was my final World Heritage site in the UK to visit. You really need to have a car in this part of Wales to visit, but luckily I had friends in that area . 

It is not always the case that mail posted in Wales gets a welsh postmark , like this one did in Cardiff. Some mail gets cancelled in Bristol in England , so pleased with this. 

Europe-United Kingdom-Scotland-Edinburgh   I had over the years gone across this bridge a few times. But this was the first time I had stopped to pay attention to it. A great site and famous in Scotland. The second longest span for a cantilever bridge in the world. A great Coffee shop across the road , nice to relax and view the bridge. 

Most of my cards mailed in Scotland get a postmark that is near impossible to read. I know the Scots have a name for meanness but saving the ink on postmarks goes a bit too far !!! ( Just a joke). So delighted to at last get a clear Edinburgh postmark. 

Friday, 28 March 2014


Atlantic Ocean-Greenland-Kulusuk  This is East Greenland. Flew from Iceland . The Scenary is spectacular and great looking out of the plane as you come into land. This is very light populated part of Greenland. The village homes are all painted bright and different colours. Most houses had no running water and went to a nearby building for Showers . Intersting chatting with the locals who had could understand English and seeing their way of life. Enjoyed my stay here. 

The local Post office was not busy and in fact I had to go and find the official working there in a nearby shop. This card took about 3 months to get back to me, so thought it was lost, but made it at long last. Pity the postmark is so faint. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Atlantic Ocean-Iceland-Reykjavik  This is my second time to Iceland. I had been here over 20 years ago. .It is a great country to visit. It is certainly not as expensive as it was when I visited for the first time. Reykjavik has a look which is unique and a great clean environment .

This stamps is rather special. The stamp shows the eruption from Eyjafjallajokull which was famous for the Ash cloud of 2010. Here I am in Iceland in September 2010.. The stamp itself is embossed and embedded  in the stamp is particles from the ash eruption itself. Very unique and hard to appreciate on this blog. 

Atlantic Ocean-Iceland-Blue Lagoon  The Blue Lagoon is something special to visit when in Iceland. It is a outdoor very large suphlur natural hot spring. Regardless of how cold it is outside, the water temp is very warm and most relaxing. You can even just sip a drink as you relax for hours in this pool.. I had remembered from my first visit and was one of the best relaxation options to find anywhere . It is only a little outside Reykjavik and you can get a bus here. 

The Post office had a full selection of Icelandic stamps to choose from . Stamps are very well promoted in Iceland . Looks like a handstamp cancellation . 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Fort Myers - Florida

North America-United States of America-Fort Myers  Had a short visit here on the way back to Sarasota. Beach looks great.Not often I visit a location that is just pure relaxation. 

Interesting this has a slightly different postmark then the others in this collection. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

St.Petersburg and Fort Myers - Florida

North America-United States of America-St.Petersburg  Had a stop here at the Pier for coffee.. Not as exciting as it looks! 

Some more of the Cartoon stamps . 

North America-United States of America-Fort Myers  Visited the Edison and Ford Estates. The Edison museum was excellent and very educational . Well worth the side trip. 

This card has a Fort Myers postmark. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sarasota Florida

North America-United States of America-Sarasota   Spend a great few days here with friends. Sunshine and a great beach near by. 

I see this has a St.Petersburg postmark, even though mailed in Sarasota .

North America-United States of America-Sarasota   Went to visit the Ringling Circus museum here, which is fantastic.. They were one of the biggest influences in Circus in America. Here you see the Museum of Art near by. 

More stamps from the set I purchased. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Philadelphia and Tampa

North America-United States of America-Philadelphia  I was on a stopover on my way to Florida. I had visited Philadelphia over 10 years ago . So did not get time to re visit . But on my previous trip I did visit Independence Hall, which is a World Heritage Site. The Declaration of Independence was signed here on July 4, 1776. 

A laser postmark , mailed at Philadelphia Airport. 

North America-United States of America-Tampa  I came here to visit friends, which is always an enjoyable time. 

I do like these stamps. Dennis the Menace was well known here in Europe, Garfield less so from my point of view. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Russia and Abkhazia

Europe-Russia-Sochi  I was here in 2010, well before the Olympic Games. But you could see all the building work going on while here. Not one of my favourite parts of Russia. 

I had a interesting discussion with the Post office re these stamps. It relates to the two stamps commemorating the 2nd World War. The Post office when I gave them the Postcard to mail, said the stamps on the top were for collectors and I would have to buy " Regular Stamps".. So I did. They were two definitive stamps. You can see one here in green. The other one got removed at some point. I guess they decided after I paid that I did not need that stamp and it was reused.. This happens occasionaly when the Post office does not wish to recognise the stamps that were issued by the Philatelic Section. 

Asia-Abkhazia-Sukhum   Many would say this is part of Georgia. Abkhahazia is the breakaway republic within Georgia. However it is intersting to note, that the people here always had a different language then the rest of Georgia.. Getting a visa here is not too difficult, but getting a Double Entry visa to go back into Russia was. The Russian Embassy in Dublin could not understand why I needed a Double entry visa and more or less told me I could not visit Abkhazia . In the end after 3 visits I got the visa. Strangely enough, Abkhazia is a beautiful "Country" to visit. I had 3 great days here. When here it was full of Russian Tanks , but hidden . The capital Sukhum is very nice , with great views over the sea..  

The trip to the Post office was a event in itself. The Post office really only sells Russian Stamps. Abkhazia stamps are only valid for internal mail. In effect they are never used. I had to try and find someone higher up in the Post office to get me Abkhazia stamps. That was in a small office upstairs after I told the official I would pay more then the value of the stamps! Problem one sorted. Then I went down to mail the postcard at the normal counter only to find that I now needed Russian stamps. All the Russian stamps they had were on prepaid envelopes. So I could put this postcard in a envelope and send it out. I explained that would not work for me. So I went back up to my  good Official and explained I needed Russian stamps. After 10 minutes they found some and I was able to mail my postcard. As you can see the mail goes out via Sochi and it has to have Russian stamps and it is postmarked there too. A postcard from Abkhazia is a rare sight. Because Abkhazia is not recognised and mail not guaranteed to go through the international system. Of course my Russian stamps problem should have been ok, but you may recall I lost them in Moscow so had no extra Russian stamps with me. Hence I was fortunate to get this Postcard mailed. Just a extra foot note. South Ossetia use Russian stamps so I have no plans to visit that area. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Siberia - Lake Baikal

Asia-Siberia-Irkutusk This is the train Station in Irkutusk. Took the train here up to Lake Baikal. 

I had lost my stamps in Moscow so this is the usual type Russian selection one gets at most Post Offices. 

Asia-Siberia-Lake Baikal-Listvyanka  This is Lake Baikal , the largest freshwater lake in the World. Enjoyed my stay here and is quite interesting around this area with old houses . Lake Baikal is a World Heritage Site. 

A nicer selection of stamps from the Post office at Lake Baikal. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Moscow Russia - World Heritage Sites

Europe-Russia-Moscow    This postcard shows the Novodevichy Convent . This is a World Heritage Site and well worth a visit when in Moscow. 

I purchased these stamps in the Philatelic Section in the Moscow main Post office. Post offices in Russia normally only have definitive stamps.  

Europe-Russia-Moscow  Here you see Sergiev Posad which is in the Moscow Region. Also a World Heritage Site. A large complex and quite busy with tourists. 

I do remember posting this card and going to a local coffee shop. After which I somehow lost my Lonely planet guide to Russia and my extra stamps for the rest of my trip. This nearly caused me some issues later on as I will explain.. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Hi all. I am safely back home now in Ireland . I got a lot of emails re this trip , so I will answer the queries here, so you can all share in the replies..

It is interesting that Uganda, Burundi and Kenya have large signs in their post offices advertising Philatelic products.. I would be most surprised if there is a large collector base in Burundi..

Rwanda Post office is very small and two customers windows for all products.. No advertising for stamps or Philatelic services.

Malawi did have a small display of stamps in each Post office , but they were not available as the " person with the key was not in today".. I get this so much in Africa..

Kenya had two philatelic windows.. One was a retail unit within the post office, but they only deal with standing orders . The other small widow was in another section of the Post office and one of the staff from the Philatelic section brought me there. However as I had said they charge 16% extra tax on all products purchased at that window. Even though I clearly was buying stamps for use on Postcards they would not sell me the stamps unless I paid the tax. In the regular stamp counter they only had limited choice and none of the issues for 50 years of Independence. So in effect these stamps were never available over the counter for postage.. This happens in so many countries now including Ireland so I should not really be that surprised..

South Sudan,, many have said this is the "Holy Grail " for Postcard collectors.. For me I would not agree. Yes I can see that I have never seen a Postcard online from South Sudan featuring South Sudan . So in that respect yes very rare.. But South Sudan is easy to get to and once you go through all the steps re the Visa it is not a difficult place to visit. There were more Americans and Europeans there then any other part of my trip. It was all to do with Aid and support. There is also a building boom, as Juba is only catching up now with roads and infrastructure. It has a long way to go..

For me I would consider other stamp issuing territories much more difficult to get to. Tristan da Cunha would come to mind. There is only one or two trips there per year and you are not guaranteed to land.
British Indian Ocean Territory is also very difficult if not impossible to get to. It is easy finding mail from here as the guys in the Cable and Wireless office are very helpful.

I have 38 areas / Countries/Territories to visit.
This is made up of :
22 Countries
10 Separate parts of a country or Territory
6  Separate Stamp issuing Territories.

In addition I have extra list :
Northern Part of Iraq.

I have 10 Countries/Territories that I have been to but never sent a Postcard from. It was in my early days in the 80s/90s.. lol.. So will be going back..

Finally, I have many persons wanting me to send Postcards.. I had a list of requests from last year and I send out postcards. To be fair to all requests I only send Postcards to persons who have a  blog and who have a link to my Blog. My next big trip is in August and if since I am making a new list please email me if you wish to me to send you some cards.. I dont require postcards in return.. I am happy to send Postcards to existing persons on my list once you drop me a email. I am sure you all know Glenn of Gems World of Postcards. Well since Glenn has been the inspiration for me to start this blog, Glenn gets my cards from every trip..

Any queries , you are welcome to email me.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

South Sudan

Arrived in South Sudan. In parts looks like a set from a Rambo movie. So many soldiers with loads of ammo. 

Full of United Nations guys planes and trucks.  

Was told by my hotel that there is no Post office here.  In fact not well known they tried to send me to DHL. I did indeed find the only Post Office in Juba. Lucky for me the guy with the key for the stamps was found "James". So here u see some photos and my postcards are now on the way via Khartoum I was told. 
Stamps are expensive at 2USD each. 
Still very rare to find a South Sudan postcard with South Sudan stamps. 

This has been a great trip.  

Saturday, 8 March 2014


Arrived Nairobi on my second last Country on this trip. In Nairobi visited the Karen Blixen museum. Karen wrote " Out of Africa" so very interesting.  My trip to the Post office was eventful. I found the Philatelic section.  I selected a selection from the December issue of 50 years of independence. However any stamps purchased at this section are plus 16%vat.  If purchased at the stamp counter no vat !  I have not had this before.  But the stamps were only available at the philatelic section so I bought them there.  
Coming out of the main building. I took some photos of the Post Office and was detained and nearly arrested by the police !!  I had to explain in detail why anyone would want a photo of a Post office. I had to delete the pics. This one I took earlier.  

Next off to Masi Mara. No post office here but great wildlife.  So will post the extra postcards in Nairobi.