I've been a member of bookcrossing.com since 2002. Members register books, then either trade the books (known as a "controlled release") or leave them somewhere random, like on a park bench (known as a "wild release"). As a result, I have over a hundred books traveling all over the world. At least once each week, I get an email from someone who has just received a book that began its journey in my hands. One of my books (Cats' Letters to Santa) started its travels as a trade for a book (Snow Queen) that my oldest sister was looking for. My book has changed hands 18 times. You can take a look at it here. That book has been to Georgia, Missouri, Wisconsin, Washington, Calgary (Canada), Edmonton (Canada), Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Maine.
Last month, I came across postcrossing.com. This is the same concept, except that members are sending each other postcards. So far I have received postcards from members in Germany, Finland, Italy, France and Malta. The Malta postcard arrived today, prompting this blog entry. The postcard photo was beautiful. I don't have a scanner, but the photo at right shows you the same location as the one shown in the postcard. This is Fungus Rock. Here is a little something about Fungus Rock, lifted entirely from Wikipedia:
"Fungus Rock, which also has the affectionate Maltese name 'Il-Ġebla tal-Ġeneral' (the General's Rock), is a small islet, 60 metres high massive lump of limestone in the entrance to an almost circular black lagoon in Dwejra, on the island of Gozo, Maltese archipelago.
"The General of the Knights Hospitaller apparently discovered a rare tuber plant Fucus coccineus melitensis known as the Malta Fungus, mistakenly called a fungus, which grew on the rock's flat top. This repulsive smelling plant was believed to have medicinal properties and the Knights used it as a styptic dressing for wounds and a cure for dysentery. It was so prized that it was often presented as a precious gift to distinguished noblemen and visitors to the Maltese islands. Grand Master Pinto (at left) decreed the Rock out of bounds in 1746 (trespassers were punished with a three-year spell in the galleys of the Knights Hospitaller), posted a permanent guard there and even built a precarious cable-car basket from the rock to the mainland 50 metres away. Later it was discovered that those efforts were for naught, as Fucus coccineus melitensis has no medicinal properties whatsoever. Nowadays, the Fungus Rock is a natural reserve but the shoreline near it is accessible to bathers and the sea provides perfect snorkelling."
Fungus Rock? Grand Master Pinto? You can't make this stuff up. This is when I feel the full joy of being a complete nerd!