Starting with Europe, I'm updating my knowledge of geography. I've found an on-line geography quiz, and am almost up to 100% in placing European countries in their appropriate locations on the map of Europe. I'm tackling Africa next.
One of the countries I mis-placed on my first couple of tries was Latvia. The postcard on the left, above, is of very old warehouses (13th-18th century) on Alksnaja Street in Riga and on the right, a picture of the Riga Castle. A couple random facts about Latvia:
1. The population has declined 15% since 1991 due to low birth rates and emigration.
2. The country was occupied by Germany and/or the USSR throughout much of the 20th century. Occupation by others seems to be a constant reoccurrence throughout its history.
3. The Latvian capital of Riga is the 3rd largest city in the Baltic region after St. Petersburg and Stockholm.
4. Riga city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and considered to have "the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe".
5. Riga was named "Europe crime capital" by Forbes magazine in 2008.
Both of these postcards arrived via my participation in Postcrossing, which, as I've mentioned before, facilitates the ability to “send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!” I find it amazing that of all the cards flying around the world from all the countries represented in Postcrossing, I've received two from Latvia. I've also received seven from the Netherlands, five from Taiwan, three each from Germany, Poland and Russia, and two each from Belarus, Latvia, and Finland. I've actually sent TEN to Finland and, since I'm reciting stats, four each to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The countries with the largest numbers of users are the United States (third in population worldwide), China (first in population), Germany (14th in population), Finland (111th in population) and Taiwan (50th in population). Finally, there are 19 countries wih only one user each. If we were to calculate a Category Development Index (can't help it, I'm a marketing person), Finland (111th in population, 5th in number of uses of Postcrossing) and Latvia (141 in population, 36th in number of users of Postcrossing) would probably be in the top twenty, if not top five.