Some last letters from Iceland

My to-reply pile is officially non-existent. I have replied to my last letters and the map envelope is already on its way to leave Iceland. The lionfish will be following soon, they will be dropped of tomorrow. I managed to use my last stamps and I really like how the envelope ended up looking even if there is a bit too much postage on it. Both of these envelopes are on the way to Europe, just like I will be in less than a week. The next mail related post will probably be written when I’m back in Germany in the middle of November. I can’t wait to see all of the mail that is waiting for me there (not that I am that popular, I just did a lot of online shopping…) πŸ˜€

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Stamp envy: USA

Okay this is probably not so interesting for most since I know a lot of bloggers are actually from the States, but I’m still going to write it because you guys have awesome stamps. Luckily I do have a few penpals in America so I actually get to see quite a few of them on my incoming mail which is great.

Let’s get the most obvious (for anyone that knows) out of the way again πŸ˜‰ In 2013 there were the absolutely fantastic Harry Potter stamps, I was lucky to receive a four or five of them on incoming mail pieces and every time I saw one just made my day. They are just fantastic and just looking at them know put me in the mood for the movies. (Coincidentally I am actually listening to ‘The Goblet of Fire’ audiobook)

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Now on to the ones that were released so far in 2016. There are a few different ones that I have seen on different sites online or already on my mail (thank you Keely) :). I absolutely love that the US always brings out a new ‘heart/Valentines’ themed stamp every year and though I don’t like all of the designs I’ve seen, this one is gorgeous. The Colours are just so bright and stunning and would just brighten up every letter. As a biologist/scientist I of course also love the planets and the national parks as well. All of them are just so aesthetically pleasing that I can’t imagine anyone not liking a piece of mail with those stamps. The pets of course also speak to my inner biologist (or maybe I should just say animal lover), they are fantastic and I love that they included some of the more unconventional ones like the snake, geckos and hermit crab. One of my friends at Uni had a hermit crab as a pet for a while, it was a lot of fun to try to make it change shells by supplying options of different shells. Lastly there are the Soda Fountain Favourites that just make me think of Taylor’s Old fashioned Soda Shop in Gilmore Girls and everything that reminds me of Gilmore Girls is fantastic!!!

I didn’t have that many I liked form 2015 except for the Christmas Charlie Brown ones and the ones with the fruits/veggies (I think those were called something with Harvest…). I can’t remember if I’ve received any of them on my mail, definitely none of the Charlie Brown Christmas stamps but maybe one or two of the others.

2014 on the other hand was a great year of stamps for the US (at least in my opinion). Since 2014 was the year I spend a bit of time in the states I actually managed to collect quite a few of these :). There’s not much to say about the Birds and the Farmer’s Market stamps, they are fantastic! So colourful and pretty, love them. I also really liked the design of the Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix stamps even though I probably would not describe myself as a massive fan. The last ones are actually ones that I feel I have to explain. I am not a fan of the Circus, I don’t like the way the animals are treated and haven’t been to a Circus in a while. I also HATE Clowns!!! But I adore old advertisement posters like these so unfortunately I do like the stamps. There should be more vintage advertisement posters made into stamps, especially kind of travel/vacation ones.

These last ones are from a few different years and I can mainly just say that they are all beautiful! I inherited a love for Lighthouses from my Mum so Lighthouses on a stamp are perfect. Again these Love and flower stamps I adore for all the reasons I mentioned before. Lastly I think there have been quite a few different stamps depicting the Cherry Blossom Trees in DC, I don’t actually know why but I do think the stamps are really pretty.

Finally some send letters

As I mentioned in my incoming letters post I finally wrote some letters (woohoo). The reason for that, apart from more incoming letters, is that I finally have a bit more time and can actually sit down without feeling rushed. So following are some cute froggies on their way to Germany, some ancient ruins on the way to the US and lastly some more Ocean creatures (surprise surprise) also swimming over to the US. Well they will actually be flying (I hope, otherwise it will take a loooong time) as the humpbacks haven’t really gotten around to learning to deliver letters across the Oceans πŸ˜€ Now that ocean themed letter as you can see has a bit too much postage on it but I am only two weeks away from leaving Iceland so I kind of am trying to use the stamps I have for the letters I have left to reply to. So I don’t really mind that there is a bit too much postage on the letters. Any way I also just found out yesterday that postage actually increased at some point in September which is a bit sad, sending a letter outside of Europe is now actually 2,20 Euro and within Europe about 1,60 (if I remember what she told me right). In that respect I don’t really mind that I am about to leave Iceland soon because that is quite expensive.

 

 

 

September/October incomings

I did get a few letters and a postcard at the end of september and so far in October which made me quite happy and finally got me to reply to some of the letters I had waiting. Don’t ask me why but for some reason I need the pressure of having more incoming letters to finally sit down and write some replies. So here we had actually a birthday card from my mom and a little birthday letter from my penpal in Indonesia, which had me very excited. I also received a postcard with a gorgeous stamp from Elena in Italy, a letter from Emma in Ireland and another one from Steph in Britain.

Stamp envy: New Zealand

This is definitely going to be one of the longer stamp envy posts. New Zealand is one of my favourite countries when it comes to stamps and I still feel incredibly lucky that I lived there for a while (but also incredibly stupid because I didn’t hoard as many different stamps as possible and take them with me when I left). I am still hoping to one day find a penpal in NZ, even though my NZ friends send me cards and letters every now and then I just can’t get enough of the stamps πŸ™‚

Now I though hard about whether to start or end the post with the most obvious ones but figured I’ll start and then I can concentrate on the other ones πŸ˜€ The following are the stamps that NZ Post released for all the hobbit movies. Now I have a few of these as maxi cards and have used a lot of them while I was in NZ but I still now wish that I would have bought the mini sheets and kept them for myself. But at the time I was just getting back into snail mail and stamps and didn’t think I’d need them…

Okay so with that out of the way I’ll try to get back to the order I had with the others and go by year. The following are the 2016 stamp releases that I absolutely adore. The Glowworms stamps where released around the beginning of the year and I don’t think I have to say anything else about them, just look at them, they are gorgeous. The year of the Monkey stamps are representative for all of the Chinese New Year stamps they release every year. I do really love the designs but I also just envy the countries that celebrate the Chinese New Year through stamps. Lastly the Matariki Kete stamps, which show the traditional weaving of the Maori. From what I know the NZ post releases stamps related to Maori traditions every year and I really enjoy seeing the designs and learning more about these traditions.

Now in 2015 I particularly liked the seashells (which I have only seen online but still secretly wish for) and the landscape once. Every year the NZ post also releases a beautiful sheet of stamps celebrating Kiwi culture, these are usually for domestic letters or postcards (again if I remember it right) but I absolutely adore them and would collect them all if I could. Representing that here is the example from 2015: Kiwi Kitchen.

To continue with the same structure I had on the last post, here are soem of the gorgeous stamps from 2013 and 2014. Two sets of the Matariki stamp designs (just look at them and you’ll understand). Of course for every ocean/wildlife lover there are the gorgeous Seaweed/algae and Endangered Seabirds stamps. The seabird stamps are especially cool, if you warm them up the silhouette of the bird appears on the stamp. Lastly in 2014 they also had these gorgeous Christmas stamps that I still swoon over whenever I see them.

So thats it for all the beautiful NZ stamps, there will be more in the future I am sure. Hopefully I now made more people love them and wish to one day find a piece of mail from NZ in the mailbox πŸ™‚

Stamp envy: Finland

The next country I chose for my stamp envy posts is Finland. Finland for me is a country that has countless beautiful designs that I adore and would love to see in my mail. On the other hand though there are also quite a few designs that I don’t understand and don’t like at all. Overall though I love how they really include a lot of finish culture (or at least what I think of finish culture) in their stamp designs.

So lets jump right in with some of the stamps that came out in 2016 that I have to admit I’ve only seen on the internet. Of course I adore the endangered species ones. Stamps with animals are just always a plus for me. Β The feather and the Ice Crystal seem like very simple designs but I just think they are very aesthetically pleasing.

 

From these 2015 stamp releases I have actually received one before on a postcrossing card and that is the beautiful Golden Swan. I can’t even express how much I love the design and all the details on this stamps. I only found the vegetable ones when I was looking for the stamps I liked from last year and I really like them.

The following are from 2013 and 2014. 2013 was a year with the stamps that I might adore the most and that is just because the colours are so fantastic. These autumn stamps just radiate a cozy, warm and cuddly feeling to me. They make me want to just walk through fallen leaves in a forest or just cuddle in bed with a nice cup of tea and a good book. I also really like the Nationalpark stamp and I think there should be more stamp designs showing national parks or protected areas.

Lofthellir Ice Cave, Iceland

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Lofthellir Ice Cave is a 3500 year old lave cave that is located just a bit west of Lake Myvatn here in Northern Iceland. The cave is quite long and there is no natural light coming in once you are in there. Only a few of the chambers are accessible though, but those are absolutely fun. The only way to go and visit the cave is through one of the companies here (Saga Travel). They are the only ones allowed to take people on tours and are also the ones taking care of the cave. It is not possible to visit the cave unless you go on a tour. After trying a few times, we were finally able to join a tour about a week ago. One of my colleagues kept telling us that it was the tour we had to join and he was absolutely right.

The whole year the temperature in the cave stays at about 0Β°C and there are various Ice sculptures and figures that have formed in there. New ones are still forming and we saw a small one that our guide told us had been forming since he had started doing the tours a few years ago and was still standing. The formations do change over time (of course they do, they are made of ice) and when we went it had just been raining a lot in the days before. That’s why it was actually quite wet in there, but in a few weeks everything should be frozen again.

To get into the cave was a little bit difficult as we had to crawl through a bit of an opening in the rocks. This was only a very short crawl and probably the most difficult part of the tour, even though there were a few other little climbs along the way inside the cave. It was really beautiful to walk through there and at one point we all turned of our headlamps to just listen to the sounds of the cave. It was incredible and felt really peaceful and