Blog > Postcards from the southern end of the world
Reto (aka Acclax) from Switzerland went on a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip in February to a very special place, and wrote back with a report of his adventures. We’re always happy to hear about the special places postcrossers explore and send postcards from in Travel Mode, and Reto’s postcards from the southern tip of the world have started arriving to their destinations today, so this seems like a good occasion to publish this blog post. Enjoy!
I had the opportunity to travel to the island of South Georgia this February. This island lies around 55° S and 36° W in the middle of the Southern Atlantic Ocean. It’s biggest “village”, Grytviken, is home of the most southern post office of Great Britain, with an official letter box and daily emptying hours. With only three permanent inhabitants in summer (and none in winter), it’s a very popular stop for ships visiting Antarctica.
Together with Postcrossing, I was able to post the first 20 official postcrossing cards with a GS-code to people scattered all over the world. Even though I posted them on March 3rd, they are still on their long journey to its recipients.
Grytviken once was a Norwegian, later English whaler station. The whalers used every part of the whales: the blubber and meat were rendered to extract the oil, and the bones and meat were turned into fertilizer. Elephant seals were also hunted for their blubber. Around 300 men worked at the station during its heyday, operating during the southern summer from October to March.
You can still see the ruins of the big tanks, working facilities together with some old houses, barracks and a little church. There is also a very interesting museum where you learn a lot about the history of Grytviken and South Georgia. Next to the village is a cemetery where you can visit Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave. In 1914, Shackeleton planned to cross the Antarctic continent, but the Endurance, his ship, was broken by ice in the Weddell Sea in November 1915. To save his men, Shackleton and five of his men went back to South Georgia to get help. Believe it or not, all 28 members of this expedition survived. During my trip, the wreck Endurance was discovered on March 9th on the ground of the Weddell Sea.
Between the ruins you find fur seals in abundance, they are everywhere, the young ones very curious and extremely close. You also find sea elephants in Grytviken and king penguins.
And of course, there is the post office where I posted twenty cards with the code GS-1 to GS-20. When I asked at the post office, how long it takes to send these cards, I was told, that it could take “some weeks” to be picked up. Hopefully, these cards will have been shipped to the Falkland Islands by now. From there, they are brought to London. From there, they are being distributed to all over the world.
So, if one of you reading this receives a card with the code GS-1 to GS-20, you can be sure that your card had experienced a long, special journey!
PS: Planning to visit a special post office or mailbox? We’d love to hear about it!