I had a nice extended vacation abroad in October, and I love traveling.  But I'm not the only one taking cultural excursions around the world.  Some friends have sent mailart documenting their recent travels:

Dean Marks decided to spend "for daze" in Strasbourg , "just to see what it is all about...  Maps included!!...

I imagine this must be a beautiful time of year to visit a city that decks itself out for the holidays!  Here in good ol' Washington State in the Pacific Northwest, there seem to be several towns that try to cash in on the Christmas theme.  In fact there are multiple towns in the State that claim the distinction of "Christmastown Washington!"  One of them is a sleepy little town on the Peninsula on the Hood Canal called Shelton: 

"It is the county seat in Mason County and home to Oyster Fest.  Shelton is called Christmas Town USA because it is the Christmas tree capital.  It’s also home to Simpson Timber Company’s mill.  Shelton is a logging community, a farming community, a ranching community, and they also cultivate oysters.  The first weekend in October is always marked for the Oyster Fest, which is held out at the Mason County Fairgrounds."  I have never seen this city decked-out with lights and displays, however.  I think their claim to fame is simply that they just provide a lot of fir trees for decorating in family homes.

Another place is that claims the same title is Leavenworth, Washington... billing itself as a Bavarian reproduction town, they really go all out.  It's a major tourist destination in the state.  It's a little bit eery (creepy?) how EVERYTHING is Bavarian-themed there--it's like the whole town is doing theatre playacting ALL THE TIME. Like a Bavarian Disneyland almost. I've never been there for Holiday season festivities because I am a scaredy-cat, and I don't like to drive over the mountain passes in the winter when there's snow (and avalanches!).  So I just have to live vicariously through pretty pictures and videos like on the towns official tourism site:  here.

I hope you bought lots of stocking stuffers at the Christmas Market while on your trip, Dean! Or maybe just enjoyed the art at the many museums you got to visit while there!

While Dean was out of town, Carina Granlund was visiting Dean Mark's hometown of Paris and documenting the sights to send as mail art!...

Carina says that this street art sculpture of Felix the Cat is by an American artist.  I'll have to do some online research to see if I can figure out which artist. This work by Carina is some great technique, though!  The photo of the street art she found is somehow overlaid (PRINTED?) directly onto a whitewashed comix strip paper (continuing the theme of Felix the Cat as a classic comix character.  The paper is then adeptly overlaid (folded) and secured onto regular cardboard.  Really love this piece, Carina!  And I hope your holiday in the city of lights was fun!

And then there's this fellow who lives in Sigean--who I know also does a bit of traveling sometimes.  Valentine Mark Herman sent me a distinct envelope not from travels anywhere particular, but the envelope contained lots of activities that a visiting traveler might like to experience in Sigean...

The envelope itself can be seen at the top of the picture--it is short and narrow, and advertises a café called Brasserie la Rotonde.  The contents, therefore all had to be able to fit into the narrow sleeve of the envelope, so they included several brochures for activities and destinations: the Windclub Corbières Méditerrané; Nina Gun's Paint Ball facility (one wonders, did she change her name to fit her business??); and a brochure for finding Romanesque art throughout the nearby countryside. Also included were concierge cards for the Limburgs Museum; the restaurant La Cave d'Agnès; and the Terr-Vinea historic subterranean caves.  Who WOULDN'T want to plan a trip to Sigean with all those things to see??!

Thanks to all these world travelers for sharing a bit of their world experiences and mail art!

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Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on December 3, 2012 at 12:57pm

Great blog, Thom! And look at the Red Bag in Strasbourg! Go, Dean!

Great things from Val and Carina, too.

Thanks for showing all, Thom!

Comment by Dean aka Artist in Seine on December 3, 2012 at 11:36am

Don't mention Christmas stockings ... I once bought my wife a pair and they turned out to be red & white fishnet stockings.  They didn't go down very well...

And talking about handbags, I took Vizma's red handbag to Strasbourg with me.

Comment by Carina on December 3, 2012 at 8:35am

Nice to see Felix has arrived, Thom! You doing some great blogging, thank you!  "Bavarian Disneyland" in Leavenworth, Washington :))

Comment by Thom Courcelle on December 3, 2012 at 1:37am

You two are hilarious!  Well, don'tch'a know you can get almost anything on the internets...

Though this is more my style...

Good, Lord... now I'm gonna have to knit myself a bag...

Comment by xx Jones on December 3, 2012 at 12:57am

Oh, I just saw your comment. Fantastic bag - I have always loved the Mary Poppins bag - but this is even better. It should be mine!! Xx

Comment by DKult Chaplain Dustin de Wind on December 3, 2012 at 12:23am

I LOVE Felix the Cat. What's in that damn bag???



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