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Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "meetup"

Last year, the Little Mail Carriers went on a splendid adventure… that we forgot to tell you about! 🙈  We firmly believe in “better late than never” (and we know how much you all miss them!), so here they are to tell the tale of their trip to a little known archipelago in the Baltic sea…

Hi everyone! We’re in Åland,  a group of islands mid-way between Finland and Sweden. It’s definitely a special place, with very few postcrossers — and no wonder, as the population only amounts to 29,000 residents. They’re a Swedish-speaking autonomous region of Finland though, and even have their own postage stamps since 1984, mostly featuring local nature, culture, history, society and autonomy-related themes.

Aland postcards

We had already been in Sweden and Norway, but never in Finland, which is still the country with the highest number of postcrossers per capita in the world… so a visit was well overdue!

Finland is known for many things, from their sauna culture to the Moomins, but it’s also the country where, in October of 2015, a group of enthusiast postcrossers gathered in the Postal Museum in Tampere to create the first national association of postcrossers: the Finnish Postcrossing Friends (reg). Among many other activities, they’ve taken up the task of organising meetups in their country, so that postcrossers can get together to write postcards and explore new places — including the Åland Islands.

So it was an early Thursday morning on June 9th last year, when a group of 22 Finnish postcrossers met in Turku harbour. The cruise from Turku to Mariehamn (the capital of Åland) takes about five hours… perfect timing for a meetup, right? So the very first “Postcrossing at sea”–meetup was arranged in a cozy conference room of the M/S Amorella.

Meeting on the shipaland1

The hours flew quickly as we wrote tons of postcards and shared Postcrossing experiences while admiring the sunny sea landscape. The association also had a challenging Postcrossing-related quiz… with prizes for everyone! The cruise ship arrived to Mariehamn in the early afternoon. After settling in at the hotel, the rest of the day was spent shopping for postcards, exploring the island and enjoying the local delicacies. June 9th is Åland’s Autonomy Day, which is why there were 🇦🇽  flags everywhere we looked!

Streets of ÅlandalandflagsIMG 6628 (1)delicacies

The next day, we got a wonderful chance to visit Åland Post postal terminal in the island. The visit was hosted by Anita Häggblom, the director of Åland Post Stamps. While enjoying coffee and doughnuts, she told us about the interesting history of stamps of Åland, and how topics are chosen to be issued. She also revealed some wonderful details about 2017 stamps.

Flags everywhere!IMG 6694

We got the chance to ask Anita some questions, and she also introduced us to their facilities, so that we could see where all the postal magic happens and how it happens. It was truly interesting to see the machines for first day covers, maximum cards and special cancellations. We thanked Anita and Åland Post by leaving a couple of hundred signed meetup postcards there, so that they could get nicely cancelled and sent forward around to the world to other postcrossers. In the afternoon we took the cruise back to mainland on another boat, this time the M/S Viking Grace.

alandgroup

The visit was a huge success… so they’re planning to do it again this year! So if you’ve always wanted to explore these special islands, mark your calendars: June 7th to 9th is when the Finnish Postcrossing Friends will arrange a new visit to Åland. This time, the trip will include an extra day to fit a bus trip to Eckerö Mail and Custom’s House, Kastelholm Castle and Stallhagen brewery.

Aaaaaaaand, as if that wasn’t enough, Åland Post Stamps is planning to issue a special cancellation for the new meetup, together with a custom stamp. Stamp, cancellation and meetup card were designed by local artist Ammi Krogius.

alandmeetup2017 mockup

Pretty cool, right? So… who’s looking forward to June? 😊

A big thank you to Marko (aka insp3ktor) and Hanna (aka hazzitus) from the Finnish Postcrossing Association for organising this meetup, and to also to Martta (aka MarttaD) and Minna (piparminttu) for sharing their lovely photos. Great work, everyone!

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February 24th will go down in (Postcrossing) history as the day the Romanian Postcrossing-themed stamp was launched! George (aka Nazareanu) and Mihnea (aka MihneaR) were there to participate in the events and wrote back to tell us all about it!

The stamp launch day started at the Romfilatelia Headquarters (the National Stamp Issuing Authority) with the stamp concept/identity presentation by Luminita Toncu, who is the head of the department. For this event, postcrossers came from all over Romania: Bucharest, Ploiesti, Suceava, Gura Humorului, Oradea, Zalau, Constanta, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, and even 3 from outside Romania, from Czech Republic, Italy and USA.

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The day continued with a conference of 2 presentations and 5 speeches organised by members of the Romanian Postcrossing Community for the people present in the audience.

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The first presentation was about “The Postcrossing Diversity: Connecting people”, presented by George Năzăreanu (Nazareanu), which marked the various stories and emotions transmitted through postcards, the benefits of Postcrossing meetings, recreative & cultural events possible, and the importance of sharing the Postcrossing hobby at local schools & kindergartens for the children’s education by exposing them to “hands on” learning activities. The presentation ended with the message from Paulo Magalhães & Ana Campos for the Romanian Postcrossing Community for this once in a lifetime event.


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After the presentation, five speakers took the stand (in order from left to right): Ovidiu Bucse (aka Ovidius), talking about “Postcrossing meetings in the world“, Andra Ardeleanu (aka AndraArd) who examined “The need of stamps diversity”, Eugen Mihai (aka aeumihai2003) discussing “Photography and postcards”, Michelle Ordeltová (aka Michellie) taking about “Building bridges across nations” and Cornel Jipa (aka corneljipa), a member of the Romanian Philatelic Federation since 1976, telling the story of “Romanian philately along time".

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The second presentation was “Postcards: hobby & people” by Mihnea Raducu (MihneaR), sharing his experience with postcrossers meetups during his travelling inside and outside Romania.

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Making History: The signing of the official special panel, which will be displayed on the “Hall of Fame” Stamp corridor at the Romfilatelia Headquarters.

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Otilia and Noar (noarvladimir), the future Postcrossing generation exploring and discovering the visual wonders found on postcards.

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Group photo with both the Postcrossing community and the philatelic team that made the stamp possible.

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Over the next couple of days, the community gathered to properly celebrate this milestone… and of course signed lots of postcards with the new Postcrossing stamp!

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This is a stack of stamped meeting postcards, which got filled up with signatures, Postcard IDs and addresses ready to be sent out within minutes! This is how much we awaited this memorable event. In total, over 1400 postcards were signed and sent over into the world.

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At the end of this lovely day, with the heart filled with joy and the mind filled with unique memories, the Romanian Postcrossing Community can only say: Happy Postcrossing everybody!

Thank you Marius Smadu (msmadu) for the nice photos, George (aka Nazareanu) and Mihnea (aka MihneaR) for the report and to everyone who participated — looks like a very nice event! 😊 Hurray!

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All Postcrossing meetups are special — but sometimes, postcrossers really go the extra mile to do something a little different on their own gatherings. We love hearing all about meetups taking place in trains or deserted islands… and now, a meetup that happened in two countries simultaneously!

Joint Wuxi-Singapore meetupJoint Wuxi-Singapore meetup

This special meeting happened on January 15th, and was organized by Shiyun (aka Sybones) from Singapore and Jifeng (aka shijifeng) from Wuxi, in China. Distances are relative in the internet era, so despite being 3770km apart, Chinese and Singaporeans postcrossers were able to chat as if being in the same room via their mobile devices.

Shijifeng’s friend Arlyna (aka arlynab) designed a special postcard featuring elements from both countries to commemorate the event, which were distributed among the two groups.

Joint Wuxi-Singapore meetup card

Both groups held mini-presentations, wrote postcards and then talked to each other on Facetime. Despite some internet and language hiccups, a great time was had by all!

Joint Wuxi-Singapore meetupJoint Wuxi-Singapore meetup

That sounds like a lot of fun! A big thank you to the organisers and all the attendants for putting such a special meeting together. We challenge you to outdo them on your next meetup — and tell us all about it! :)

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Remember the Little Mail Carrier’s cousin? It’s been a while since he was last on the blog… Earlier this year, he threw a huge tantrum and demanded to be sent on new adventures — so we sent him off to Romania, where an exciting meeting was about to take place! Here’s their report, as told by the participants in this unique meeting.

Once upon a very special day, on February 29th of 2016, the Romanian Postcrossing Community organized the first Postcrossing train meetup in the world, a round-trip journey between Bucharest and Ploiești. The day started with the arrival of the Little Mail Carriers’ cousin in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. As every tourist would have done, he first went on a sightseeing tour through the wonders of Bucharest.

Naturally, he took some selfies and because he is so small, a special “magnifier tool” was used to be sure everything is in focus!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in RomaniaThe Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

He started with the Palace of the Parliament which is the heaviest building in the world. It is also the second largest administrative building in the world (after the Pentagon in the USA) housing the Romanian Senate and Parliament and the National Museum of Contemporary Art.

He continued his tour to two of the most prestigious buildings in Bucharest: the House of Economies (CEC) and the National Museum of Music (Cantacuzino Palace).

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in RomaniaThe Little Mail Carriers' cousin in RomaniaThe Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

In front of the Romanian Athenaeum he got really excited, because inside is the longest circular fresco in the world! It was done by Costin Petrescu, and is a stunning piece depicting 25 different scenes of Romanian history over 70 meters of canvas… wow!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

The final stop before the meetup was at the Revolution Square, admiring the National Museum of Art (The Royal Palace), the statue of King Carol I of Romania (1866–1914) and the Central University Library.

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in RomaniaThe Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

Finally he arrived at Gara de Nord (train station). The little couriers’ cousin met with members of the Romanian Postcrossing Community and quickly jumped on the train to grab some seats.

We had lots of fun activities during our trip from Bucharest to Ploiești (60 km), such as: signing postcards, organizing lotteries, tasting cupcakes and of course taking photos with our small guest, who even received a nickname for the day: Max!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

With this special occasion, we printed a limited edition meetup postcard, showing the Royal train of Romania (Photo by Mihai Raitaru). Everybody signed it — even the train inspectors, who were quite impressed by it!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in RomaniaThe Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

Once arrived in Ploiești, we gathered for a nice group photo and went on sightseeing, having a few hours available before the train back to Bucharest.


The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

We first visited the Clocks Museum – the biggest clocks collection in South-Eastern Europe.

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

The Art Museum was next on our list, where we took more photos and signed some more postcards in the lobby. Max got a special surprise from one of our colleagues, who played the piano for him.

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

Before heading back, one last stop was made at the Postal Office to send our “train traveling meetup” postcards to fellow Postcrossers around the world and to say goodbye to little Max, who continued his journey back to Portugal. At the end of this full and fun day we all went back to our homes with many wonderful memories.

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

We also found out that this was the first train traveling meetup in the world and all this was possible because Postcrossing exists! Thank you Postcrossing team for bringing us together, thank you for building bridges among people and nations! Happy Postcrossing, everyone!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

Train meetup participants (who came from a bit all over Romania):
Anca, bardamu1964, cristinaS, corneljipa, dienuca, DrAmpie, eumihai2003, lamelemon, MaraMilu, MihneaR, modranhoria, mpalade, Nazareanu, NoarVladimir, Schumi99, spiderpc and susanica.

Concept: Mihnea (MihneaR)

Organizers: Mihnea (MihneaR), George (Nazareanu), Eugen (eumihai2003)

Photos: Eugen (eumihai2003) and George (Nazareanu)
 — you can see lots more here!
Article: George (Nazareanu) with the help of Beatrice ( boopilina), Diana (dienuca), Anca (Annajo) and Mihnea (MihneaR)

Thank you guys, that was brilliant! And what do you think… it’s time the Little Mail Carriers’ cousin had a name — should we stick to “Postman Max”? :)

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A week ago, Paulo and I were in Prague for a special Postcrossing meetup, and we took the Little Mail Carriers with us, so they could tell you all about it! Here they are:

Ahoj from Prague! It’s sunny and lovely – perfect for adventures!

Hello from Prague!

Ever since we saw a picture of Prague’s main post office on this post from February, we’ve been demanding to be taken there, so that we could see it for ourselves. And what do you know – six months later, the perfect opportunity presented itself: we were invited to attend the yearly Sběratel/Collector’s fair! :)

Sberatel/collectors fair

The fair, which takes place in Prague, welcomes collectors from all over Europe, who come to peruse the stands and enrich their collections. But this year, the fair had a special event taking place: a Postcrossing meetup!

The Sberatel meeting

The organizers invited us to come and meet the local postcrossers – we were honored and very happy to do so! Lots of people turned up and we got to meet many new postcrossers, shake their hands, answer many questions and sign a ton of postcards too. A computer and volunteers were at hand to explain Postcrossing to newcomers, and guide them through the signup process. There was even a special postcard and cancellation mark, designed just for the occasion!

We oversaw the stamping process and made sure everything was shipshape!

Cancellation mark

Meanwhile, the exhibition hall was buzzing with excitement. There were many people walking between the stands, perusing and scanning boxes and folders — it felt like a huge treasure hunt!

Afterwards, we came back to the city center, to finally visit Prague’s gorgeous post office! Ladies and gentlemen, look at that:

Prague Main Post Office

The walls are exquisitely painted with themes related to communications and post: in a corner, a young lady seems to be reading a love letter, on another, people call each other on the telephone, while postmen do their rounds. It’s just stunning!

Mr. Kostka from the Czech Post told us the building used to be an old monastery — the central hall is now where the old inner courtyard used to be. This is why there are so many vines and natural elements surrounding the figures on the walls.

Prague Main Post Office

Just before leaving, we still had time to meet some very old Czech postmen and peek at the overflowing philatelic counter.

Very old Czech postmenCzech stamps

It might well be one of the nicest post offices we’ve ever seen! Plus, it’s open every single day, from 2am to midnight! Wow… can you believe that?!

Bye bye Prague...

We really enjoyed our short stay in Prague, but soon it was time to go back to our envelopes and start the journey towards another exciting location… Goodbye Prague and see you soon everyone! :)

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