Wednesday, 30 April 2014

London and Manchester - England

Europe-United Kingdom-England-London  London one of my favourite cities, but can be expensive if you are not careful. Here is the Imperial War Museum , a great museum to visit. 

Mount Pleasant is the main Post office sorting office in London . 

Europe-England-Manchester  I have been many times. One of those English cities that I would say that the people are more enjoyable  than the city itself. This is the Central Library . 

This may have a English Oak tree stamp , but one of those occasions when there is very little to see postmark wise. 

Monday, 28 April 2014

Northern Ireland - World Heritage Site.

Europe-Northern Ireland-Co.Antrim  The Giants Causeway the World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. This is a natural site on the North coast. 

This stamp was sold over the counter in a Post office. It is actually a Regional Definitive stamp for England showing a English Oak Tree ! 

Europe-Northern Ireland-Enniskillen   This is towards the West side of Northern Ireland. It is a very pictureesque part of Northern Ireland and near the boarder with the Republic of Ireland . Here you see the lakes which are very popular and you see quite a few pleasure boats sailing on. 

This is a standard United Kingdom stamp , usually the most common stamp sold over the Post Office counters all over the United Kingdom . 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Ireland - World Heritage Sites

Europe-Ireland-Newgrange   This is one of the two World Heritage Sites in the Republic of Ireland. I remember going up here on a school tour many years ago. You could literately just stop outside and go into the burial tomb as shown on the left hand side on the card. Now it is a lot busier and you need a special bus as part of the tour. On the shortest day of the  year which is in December , subject to clear skies the sun comes directly into the chamber. To go to this you are have to put your name down and hope it comes out in the draw, as spaces very limited. 

This is a stamp issued as part of a Souvenir sheet. I made a comment earlier on that you can really only get special stamps from the Philatelic counter in Dublin at the GPO. Of course as pointed out to me, you can order the stamps online too. 

Europe-Ireland-Skelligs   This is the second and currently the final World Heritage site in the Republic of Ireland. It is not easy to get too. On the west coast , one needs very good weather and one of the 3-5 boats that take people out on the days that weather permits. I had two attempts to get there and got here on the second time. It is a very old monastery and I have to say as a well travelled person , it is up there with Manchu Picchu as far as  how amazing this is. It is not widely advertised due to the fact only 100 persons can visit each day and these limits are usually reached easily. So no point looking for more , as there is no extra capacity. If you ever get a chance a must see. 

These cards are from John Hinde a famous producer of Postcards for all over the world. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Athone and The Burren - Ireland

Europe-Ireland-Athlone  Athlone is more or less the centre of Ireland. It is well known for being a key stop on the river Shannon . The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland 

Here is  the standard definitive stamp issue that was in use in 2007. We now use self adhesive labels which I try not to use. But not easy. As usually the only way to buy regular special stamps is from the Philatelic counter in the General Post office in Dublin. 

Europe-Ireland-The Burren   A very special place to visit if in Ireland. It is has its own unique fora and flora and has a very attractive scenic set of views . 

We don't have special local postmarks any more , so just a laser print postmark. Not very impressive, but the stamp is showing the Earth and Neptune 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Egypt in Asia -Sinai

Arrived in Sharm el Sheikh.  Visited St.Catherine's Monastry which is a World Heritage Site. Unfortunately the was not permitted to take photos in the Cathedral or the wonderful icons in the museum. Here is the Post Office in Dahab which is on the coast. There is little choice in stamps but the  staff were very friendly and helpful. Spent most of the time relaxing at a beach resort in Sharm el Sheikh were there is excellent diving with the reef fish with great visibility.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Luxor Egypt

Spending most of my time in Sinai , but here in Luxor on a day trip. Thought it would be too short but fine, as after a while you get jadded looking at all the wonderful history here in Luxor. Certainly a must see on most peoples list of places to visit. The inside of the toombs in The Valley of the Kings are amazing , but no photos permitted. 
The Post office in Luxor was closed here on the day I arrived even though it was due to be open. Fortunately I purchased some stamps as a back up in Sharm el Sheikh and was able to post some postcards in the Postbox. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Mauritius and Reunion

Indian Ocean-Mauritius-Le Morne  This was a very nice technical stop en route back to Reunion from TAAF. We had a full day and I enjoyed a relaxing day on the south of Mauritius overlooking the area of Le Morne, which is a World Heritage Site. 

I could not manage to get to a Post Office on this stop and the hotel I had lunch promised to mail my card and put a affix a stamp. So here  it is. 

Indian Ocean-Reunion-Hellbourg So back on dry land and end of the TAAF trip. Had two days here before departing for home. Went up to Hellbourg which is nearly in the centre of the Island. A lovely town to visit. 

Back to French stamps again. Glad that I got a Reunion postmark instead of the usual French postal mark. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ile Amsterdam- TAAF

Antarctrica-French Southern and Antarctic Lands-Ile Amsterdam My last stop on this Territory . Always good to get off the ship and get some nice lobster from the ship down here. The weather was very agreeable and not as windy as I had expected. 

Antarctica-French Southern and Antarctic Lands Here is the ship that brought me to this French Territory from Reunion. To get on and off the Islands one must use helicopters and the same for cargo and supplies. 

This postcard has a double stamping. It was originaly postmarked in Ile Amsterdam/St.Paul . I then took the card with me to Reunion which was my final stop on this expedition cruise and mailed it from there. So the postmark on the right is from Le Reunion , France. 
Here you can see the excellent base Martin de Vivies , on Ile Amsterdam. About 30-50 scientists here at one time. The Post offices were the best I had seen on remote islands. Very well equipped . The Postmasters were all very friendly and obligiing with all the photographs I took.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Ile Crozet and Kerguelen - French Southern and Antarctic Lands

Antarctica-French Southern and Antarctic Lands-Ile Crozet  Arrived on the French Supply ship Le Marion Dufresne from Reunion. This trip took some time putting together as I had a number of fellow traveller friends on this trip. Trips down here are often fully booked years in advance, I think I booked this 2 years previously. What a great sight to see the Albatros here. It can be quite wild with no trees here. There are really just scientists and volunteers here that stay up to two years. Still a full working base with many facilities. 

On the ship there is in fact a Philatlic sales point. So I was able to select my stamps while on board. This ship is the only way that new issues are brought here for sale. The Post offices here are all top quality and full functioning. But only busy when the ship comes in. 

Antarctica-French Southern and Antarctic Lands-Kerguelen   Here you see King Penguins. There are so many here. Great to visit and meet the special Scientists that study them. The weather was quite mild , compared to my last trip to Ross Dependency . A lot of walking, but we also had use of helicopter to get to the outer areas. 

On Ship there are so many postcards and envelopes sent from France to be postmarked , a number of the passangers are involved in the cancelling of the covers. So it was a great experience to see all the different requests for postmarks while here. All my postcards where postmarked at the Post office itself , as I personally handed them over. The stamp on the bottom right is the flag of TAAF. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Comoros and La Reunion

Indian Ocean-Comoros-Moroni  This small country used to have so many coups it got a name for itself. Arriving here you see that it is very volcanic with the dark black soil very evident. Moroni itself could do with a lick of paint. The culture here was quite different being a Arab  country .  Comoros gets very few tourists  and when you try to take photos of street scenes it can be challaging especially if ladies are looking on. Even when I tried to get permission , I had a number of vegtables thrown at me,, all the men just kept laughing. So that was the end of my photo taking here. 

The Post office here was getting a major facelift while I was here. Well I think it was. One local told me that the scaffolding around the Post Office has been there years ! So in effect there was no outside wall and very busy. I did manage to find a stamp window , but since it was a busy post office , it was just a question of taking the stamps that were given. 

Indian Ocean-Reunion-St.Gilles  Being a part of France in the Indian Ocean, La Reunion was the first country to use the Euro when it was introduced. The centre of the Island that has the national park and surrounding areas are a World Heritage Site. Arriving here from The Comoros from a very poor country to one that is part of Europe , quite a change. Even just the quality of the roads and the cars , one could see the difference. I was here to start my voyage to the Southern Oceans. 

A beautiful stamp from France. The Postmarks here can just have a French code or some have Reunion in the cancellation. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Andasibe Madagascar

Indian Ocean-Madagascar-Andasibe  Here we see a lemur . I went to a Andasibe National Park and it was amazing . So much to see and just the surround sounds of the forest. I seen quite a few lemurs and in fact took a photo very like this postcard. Madagascar is so full of life both animal and human , a feast for the ears and eyes !  

This card was posted in Perinet, which is not far from the national park. 

Indian Ocean-Madagascar-Andasibe   I don't often buy postcards of where I stay , but this was such a great place. Surrounded by animals morning noon and  night. A mini Madagascar around the lodge. 

Great to see clear Postmarks , like a philatelic cancel . 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Rodrigues Island and Madagascar

Indian Ocean-Rodrigues Island  Rodrigues Island is part of Mauritius and a flight away . It is a nice small Island and easy to get around. A little part of Mauritius with very few tourists. 

A good selection of Mauritius stamps and a Rodrigues cancellation . 

Indian Ocean-Madagascar-Antannarivo  Here you see the old Royal Palace and it is a World Heritage Site .The building itself had a fire and you see the other buildings made of wood when here.  Tanna as the capital is really known  locally is most interesting . Full of energy . 

The Post office had a philatelic section . Some interesting stamps . One official was there but not very interested in selling me stamps. They had some interesting stamps, but would not sell them to me once I said I was using them for postage. Normally I still buy them  and all is ok. But in this case the firm answer was no. I had to buy a full collection and they were not for postage. So I ended back at the stamp counter to buy what little selection they had. Unfortunately African countries have a reputation for this sort of thing. On my recent trip to Kenya the philatelic counter charged 16% Tax as they said the stamps were not for postage. Still Madagascar is a great country !  

Friday, 4 April 2014


Indian Ocean-Mauritius-Port Louis  This is the waterfront and the view from my hotel. This was my first stop on this Indian Ocean trip and beyond. Port Louis is a busy crowed city . 

This is a gold embossed stamp featuring the ex President. There is not only a excellent Post Office and Philatelic service but two Postal Museums !  

Indian Ocean-Mauritius-Plaisance Here you see images of Mauritius. The County was very beautiful especially down south. Very good roads to get around. 

This is one of the most famous stamps in the world shown on this stamp , the Blue two pence Mauritius Post Office stamp. It is a very interesting story how this stamp became so rare and I am sure you can google it and  read it. The excellent Special Museum has a original stamp on show. It is very well done with special low lights. A must visit to anyone interested in stamps in Mauritius.