Thursday, April 27, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 296

 Dolomites, Italy

When one of the guys working on our house remodel and now a friend, said he was going to Europe to meet with his cousin and climb some mountains I asked him to send me a postcard.  This card with a beautiful view from the Dolomites was what arrived in the mailbox from him.  His note says that they climbed the highest peak in the Sella Group, Piz Boè, 10,338 ft or 3,151 m.

The postcard photograph is attributed to   An alphanumeric code appears at the lower left on the reverse:  TR 39.025.  There are two stamps on the card.  The top one is an Italian stamp featuring an architectural drawing of Plazza del Plebiscito, Napoli and the bottom one is Polish with the close up of a flower identified Lilium L. 

1.  Plazza del Plebiscito, Napoli
2.  Lilium L.

The Sella group is located in the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy between the four valleys of Badia, Gherdëina, Fascia and Fodom and divided between the provinces of South Tyrol, Trentino and Belluno.  It is possible to drive around by car crossing over Campolongo Pass, Pordoi Pass, Sella Pass, and Gardena Pass.  The Sella Ronda ski lift makes it also possible to ski around the entire plateau-shaped massif.  Each winter there is an alpine ski touring race called Sellaronda Skimarathon that covers 42 km or 26.09 miles.  Mountain bikes use this same route during the summer.   In addition to the cable lift shown in the photo there is also a funicular from Pordoi Pass.  The most famous ski routes or tours descend from summits through Val Mesdì and Pordoischarte.

There are 8 numbered long distance footpaths running across the Dolomites.  Most of these long trails take approximately a week or more to hike.  There are huts along the way for overnight stays.  The most popular and best known of these trails is Alta Via 1. 

The front line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces during World War I ran through the Dolomites.  Today there are open-air war museums at Cinque-Torri (Five Towers) and Mount Lagazuoi.  Protected paths created at the time of World War I are visited today by many people. 

Many thanks to our friend for sending the card.

For additional information, see:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 295

 Oriental Limited, Great Northern Railway, 1912

This week’s postcard is the American version of the Canadian railway postcard previously shared.  Part of the “See America First” promotion by Great Northern Railway, the line went between Chicago, Illinois and Seattle, Washington then could connect with trans-Pacific Great Northern steamships headed to the Far East.  It was called “Oriental Limited.”  Great Northern produced the card with the photograph dated as 1912.  The stamp is a green George Washington profile, one cent, postmarked April 4, 1914 with the handwritten message in Norwegian.  This card like last week’s two from the Canadian Pacific Railway were found at the Washington State [model] Train show.

Reverse, showing logo, stamp & date

The Oriental Limited began in 1905 going from St. Paul, Minnesota to Seattle with Chicago added in 1909 the year of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle.  My grandmother and a few of her nieces traveled from the east, Boston and New York, to Seattle in 1909 by train to see the Fair. They all ended up staying in the Pacific Northwest and not returning east.  Now I am wondering if they may have traveled on this train at least from Chicago the rest of the way west but it is impossible to tell.  There were other trains going west that were not as luxurious as this one.   The “See America First” route was advertised as the National Park Route although it did not go through the parks but was next to them.  It was possible to get off the train at various points, such as stations at Glacier and Yellowstone, and take some form of transport to visit the parks.  By 1926 the train was advertised as being able to make the journey in 70 hours. 

In 1929 the Empire Builder was introduced and by 1931 the Oriental Limited disappeared a causality of the Great Depression when Great Northern operated only one train on this route.  The Oriental Limited name returned in 1946 when a second train was added but became the Western Star in 1951.  Among the amenities offered on the train were services such as, passenger telephone access, afternoon tea, maid service in the Lounge car, a parlor car, and showers for passengers, as well a dining car with table linens and full service meals. 

For additional information, see:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 294

 Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Station, Glacier, Canadian Rockies, ca 1912

 Imperial Limited, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), leaving Glacier, Canadian Rockies ca. 1912

A few weeks ago we went the Washington State [model] Train Show held at the Monroe fair grounds where I found these two postcards plus a couple of other cards.  The top card has a picture of the Canadian Pacific Railway Station at Glacier in the Canadian Rockies; the bottom card shows passengers on the rear car of the Imperial Limited.  Both cards are from Valentine Publishing Co., Ltd. of Montreal and Toronto printed in Great Britain.   The top card has the number 108999 (JV) the lower card has 109,871 (JV) both in the lower right front corner.  The double globe logo on the reverse says V&Sons Famous Throughout the World.

Although the cancellation date is difficult to read it is possible to see that the cards were mailed a day apart from Vancouver, British Columbia to the same address in Duluth, Minnesota.  When I picked them up I did not read the handwritten messages on the cards immediately only to be delighted when I got them home to see that one was sent to a sister and the other to a nephew. 

A quick check of the census records revealed the names—Mrs. H. Nesbitt was Victoria “Dora” Henrietta, Dodo on the note, and her sister was Amelia Kugler.  Amelia signs herself as Amineked on the card to her nephew Garven, addressed in the note as Gagon.  Since Garven was born in 1907 and his brother Trevanion was born 1911, these cards must have been sent between 1911 and probably no later than 1914 as the boys are referred to as “Babies” on the card to Victoria.   Also, the stamp is a King George V, one cent, dark green, was first issued in 1911 . 

In the note to her nephew, Amelia writes:  “My dear little Gagon, this is where I sat all the way through the loveliest mountains—some day you will come and see them too.   Are you “Good to your Brother” & Mother?  Yes, I know you are!  Amineked sends you a kiss.”

The Imperial Limited was the premier passenger trail of the Canadian Pacific Railway and went across Canada between Montreal, Quebec and Vancouver, British Columbia beginning in 1899 until 1933.  Rail travel across Canada had been offered since 1886 but in 1911 new cars replaced the older ones and year round service was introduced.  This was a luxury train with sleeping and dining cars catering to travelers wanting to see the scenic Rocky Mountains and stay in Canadian Pacific chalets like the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise.  William Cornelius Van Horne, the renowned railway executive, was quoted as saying:  “Since we can’t export the scenery, we will have to import the tourists.”

For more information, see:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Skagit Valley Tulips 2017

Windmill at RoozenGaarden, Skagit Valley

Each April the big tulip farms in Skagit Valley are filled with the most amazing full bloom displays of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and several other gorgeous bulb flowers.  After several days of rain we had the promise of sun and decided to drive north to visit the fields and take a few photos.  Spring is coming late this year; however, and although we saw fields of daffodils the tulips are really not at peak bloom yet.  

Daffodil fields

For those who want to see vast fields of tulips in rainbow colors another week should produce better flowers.  Even so it was a splendid day that included a simple, sitting on the grass, picnic.  We ordered some bulbs for the garden that will be delivered the first week of October.  By that time we hope our yard will be looking more like a garden and less like a construction zone.  

These farms are so huge it is not really possible to visit more than one in a day.  We have been alternating between visits to the two largest bulb farms, Tulip Town and RoozenGaarden.  This year it was RoozenGaarden.  The formal garden area had lots of flowers in bloom but also many more that had not opened yet.  

 We saw this artist using a small portable easel

 Grape Hyacinth

Tulips, tulips, tulips

 A river of blue Hyacinth running through a bed of tulips


Thursday, April 6, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 293

Half Moon Cay, The Bahamas, 2002

I was rummaging around in a stack of postcards recently and found this one shared today.  Half Moon Cay, previously called Little San Salvador Island, is one of approximately 700 islands in The Bahamas, and was purchased by the cruise ship company Holland America Line (HAL) in 1996 for $6 million USD.  HAL has developed 50 acres or about 2% of the 2,400 acre island with the stated goal of keeping as much of the remaining island as possible as a natural habitat for wildlife.  For example, Half Moon Cay is home to a significant waterfowl nesting area.  Since this island does not have deep water docking for large cruise ships a tender is used to ferry cruise passengers to and from the island. 

A number of activities for cruise ship passengers are offered on the island including swimming, sunbathing, scuba diving, jet skiing, cycling and snorkeling.  Also available are deep-sea fishing, glass-bottom boat rides, nature walks, parasailing, and rental equipment such as Hobie catamarans, Sunfish sailboats, windsurfing sailboards, and kayaks.  The usual cruise entertainment such as volleyball, basketball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, plus a fitness trail with exercise stations, horseback riding, and nature trails for hiking can found as well. 

The card is an Astral Graphics product printed in Miami, Florida.  Since the 1970s The Bahamas has issued an assortment of colorful stamps printed in limited numbers and aimed at collectors. The stamp on this card has a Spiny Oyster – Spondylus americanus shell stamp, one of nine different shell stamps on the sheet. 

Spiny Oyster stamp

My daughter sent the card and penned this cute note especially for those of us who do live near the cold barnacle type beaches alluded to--

“How can this be a beach – it isn’t 40 degrees F and covered with barnacles!  Despite all that, this is a “pretty nice” place to spend the day.  Hope we don’t get too sunburnt.”

For additional information, see: