Sunday, August 3, 2014

European Capitals on Stamps!

Good morning all! It is a nice Sunday morning and it is time for Sunday Stamps!
I feel like Im gonna have a lazy day in general, and spend it mainly on cards, stamps and blogging on the same topics...yeah, I've been allowing myself a lot of lazy days lately, but come on, it's summer, so why not :P

Theme of today...faraway (exotic, romantic) places....hmmm, at first I thought this should only be about some places far far away, and I had the association of  'rare' countries in my head as well, don't know why....but then I saw Viridian's post, and I realized I could probably show these beauties, and I've been wanting to for a long while. After all, a faraway place is a rather relative thing, depending where on Earth you actually are...and same goes for romantic/exotic...it is an individual perception (and you'll see a clear example of this somewhere below).

So ladies and gentleman, fasten your seat-belts, and get ready for a short European tour through these awesome sheets of stamps issued by the French postal service! Each year, they portray a European capital. So far they've covered around ten I think...I do not have all the issues yet, but I hope to acquire them over time :)

And first comes Budapest, Hungary's capital, issued in 2011!


Beautiful city, that I had the chance to visit back in 2001, but I'd like to visit it again one day since I don't think I was able to absorb enough of it back then, neither enjoy the small cosy moments of just sitting at a cafe and doing nothing but relaxing and observing people.
On the sheet you can see the Parliament (which I believe is like on almost every Budapest postcard), the Great Synagogue, the famous Chain Bridge (one of the many bridges over the Danube), the Royal Palace (which I actually do not remember seeing), the Széchenyi thermal bath (haven't seen it either), the Matthias Church, the Heroes' Square, and that round thing in the middle that at first glance looked like a coin to me, actually represents St. Stephen's Basilica (or as it is in French, Basilique Saint-Étienne).





In 2010, it was Paris. And here comes the clash of romantic vs non-romantic for me. Yeah, I know Paris is considered as one of the most romantic and beautiful cities and all...but how do I put this...Paris has been one of the greatest disappointments in my life, and to me it is just way too overrated! Sorry guys, nothing personal and no offence, but Paris doesn't give me thrills no chills...and that's why at the beginning I said that 'a romantic place' is also a rather relative and subjective thing :)


However, out of all the stamps issued for the European Capital series, I do believe the one portraying Paris is the most beautiful one. Well, ok, it is issued by the French postal service after all, maybe they were biased :P
My favourite part of the sheet is the cafe atmosphere shown at the very left, plus I love the detail of part of the building being shown.
Other than that, you have the Triumphal Arc (we have one here as well I must say), Notre-Damme, the Eiffel Tower (how does it feel to climb on the Eiffel and all you see below is fog fog fog? terrible! =/), the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, Palais Garnier (a famous Opera House in Paris), a Champs-Élysées street plate...and at the very top, something that is called "Under the roofs of Paris".

If out of nowhere someone French stops talking to me/unfriends me or so, I'll blame it on this post :)





The latest issue from the series (issued this year, that is) is the beautiful beautiful Vienna! ❤


Visited it the same year as Paris, but was left with two very different impressions (so I dont know, maybe someone could tell me here something about my personality, something I am unconscious of, based on the places I like and dislike :))

Vienna is portrayed with the Secession Building (or also known as the Secession Pavilion), the Belvedere Palace, the Karlskirche, and the Hofburg Palace.
What I can't possibly understand here is how come they excluded the Schönbrunn Palace...

Well, Vienna is a place I fell in love with at first sight...a place where I felt at home, due to its lovely atmosphere and the overall high percentage of Serbian/Croatian languages I could hear spoken in the streets...for someone having grown up in Yugoslavia, yeah, that makes you feel like home...and it was simply my all time favourite place that I've been to...that is, until I visited Prague last year...




and yes, here comes Prague, issued in 2008! ❤❤❤

Another city that is probably spoken about and praised too much..but here, things clicked from the starters...I'll never forget the early morning when the bus arrived to Prague...and I just looked outside the window...and was in love! It is one of those places that captivated me IMMEDIATELY! I didn't even have to walk around...the very first view from the bus was just enough...spending a few days there just cemented our relationship...and it was then when Prague took over the pedestal from Vienna and has been there ever since...I wonder if there will be a place that will dethrone Prague..and I really wonder which place that's gonna be :)


Starting with the Charles's Bridge..then the Powder Tower, St. Nicholas's church in the Lesser Town, the famous Astronomical Clock, which is beautiful, but to me the performance is just plain boring and not worth the fuss (same goes with the one in Münich)...then you can see here the Church of Our Lady before Týn, the Castle, the nice and charming Golden Street....and a candelabra at the Hradčany, or the Castle District.
Ahhh, Prague......




Next comes the capital featured on the 2013 stamps...and another place due to which people may mysteriously stop talking to me...Madrid.


Well ok, I like it more than Paris..but however, this is another place I have not been impressed with...and couldn't find that bond...the city is nice and all and there are some great places to see, but personally just wasn't my type...I don't know if the fact we didn't bond was also due to the fact that during the time I was there, there were protests and I didn't really feel at ease...but however, I left Madrid rather disappointed...probably the best thing about it were the churros! Oh boy, those churros....a heavenly delight! I tried churros in Mexico too, but they didn't even come close to the ones in Madrid. I didn't try churros anywhere else in Spain, and Madrid has the Chocolateria San Gines, recommended on all travelling websites about 'places to see and do in Madrid'..so I guess if I ever wanna go back to Madrid, it would be to indulge into those churros again...and oh yeah, go to Madird Atocha, since I didn't get to do that last time (that is the Railway Station in Madrid :))
A quick go-through the places shown: Plaza Mayor, the Almudena Cathedral, the Plaza de Cibeles and the Royal Palace...where we wasted two hours waiting in a row, on what was supposed to be a free entry in the afternoon, just to find out that the 'free' entry was not valid for countries outside the EU...or unless you are from a Latin-American country...yeah, just to add to the annoying Madrid experience :))
Btw, I believe those 'artistic' pictures come from the Prado Museum..





And last comes the only place out of these that I haven't had the chance to visit, but that I'd really love to one day...there is something just so inviting about Lisbon!



Since I cannot give my personal insight here, I'll just name the places shown (and I'm familiar with most of them thanks to the postcards I have :))

So you have the Jerónimos Monastery, the Santa Justa elevator, the National Tile Musuem, the Belém Tower, the Bairro Alto District, St. George's Castle and the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos).


Well, a bit of a longish post, though I tried not to get into details about each of the place shown on the stamps.

And I have to give a thank-you note here to Eric, thanks to whom I have these beauties in my collection!

If you wanna check out some more faraway/exotic/romantic places, click on the button below...and have a great Sunday!

7 comments:

  1. I've never seen these stamp sheets, I love how each portrays the personality of the capital, the Vienna one is especially striking.

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  2. I do recognise some of these sheets from the days when I was still living in France. I tend to agree with you about Paris but there are still some delights to find there, but they aren't always the most well known.

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  3. My favorite sheet is Vienna, though I enjoyed all of them and your comments about your experiences in the different places.

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  4. I enjoyed your comments too. I agree about Prague - loved it immediately and did not fall out of love with it. Great food and drink also. thank you for your thoughtful post.

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  5. I have only spent time in Paris but that was at the end of the 1950s when I was in the army. I enjoyed all the sheets but couldn't possibly pick a favourite.

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  6. It seems odd that France would celebrate other countries capitals on its stamps, but what a neat way of connecting with your neighbours. Prague and Lisbon are high on my list. And I much preferred Barcelona to Madrid.

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  7. Hi Ana,
    What a great collection of stamps you’ve got here! This is the first time I have come across a blog that has “Sunday Stamps”. It’s truly a great idea to spend a rather lazy Sunday afternoon..
    My favorite here would be Paris.
    In case you would like to cross-check your stamps on a stamp site, maybe you can check out StampWorld.com.
    I shall be coming back again to view your Sunday Stamps.. :)

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