Europe 2012 - Visit...Azores
They usually arrived in the early hours of the morning and, impressively, approached the skylines of the cities. Land was initially a vague, distant outline. A soft watercolour printed on the rounded line of the horizon, framed by the shades of blue of the sky and the sea. Amidst the strong ocean smell and dispersed aromatic notes emanating from the landscape, the ships headed towards the port. Little by little, the city grew, looming. Tones and reliefs were defined. Finally, the typical bustle of a quay, the mythical meeting place between those who have left and those who have remained. A mixture of people, a thousand stories to tell, a blend of feelings. It was in the third quarter of the twentieth century that the Portuguese merchant navy experienced a period of splendour. A favourable economic environment contributed to the return to the sea: dozens of new ships, remarkably advanced for their time, were purchased. Robust, luxurious, elegant. For nearly three decades (the 50s/60s/70s), a magnificent fleet of ships linked Portugal (both mainland and islands) to the rest of the world. Every year, regular cruise lines carried thousands of passengers between Europe, Africa and America. The word paquete (steamer), of restricted use in European Portuguese, originated in the French designation paquebot, which applied to fast mail transport ships. With the development of long-distance steam navigation, these ships gradually began to also ensure the transportation of passengers. In the memories reported by those who can remember this golden era, the unparalleled excitement of reaching the land by sea is significant. To perceive cities like huge amphitheatres, or natural reliefs that appear to be carved in dreamy settings. It is the most beautiful way to reach a destination, they declare. Aboard a ship, time changes, it can be felt. And it is time that deepens the experience of the senses, giving them a poetic texture. It is impossible to remain indifferent to the strength of the natural elements, the impressionism of the landscapes. It is the challenge of the capture of this other perspective on departures and arrivals that CTT Correios de Portugal sets to the travellers of today, regarding the launch of a stamp collection devoted to the theme “Visit...”, which occurs under the aegis of PostEurop. The motto inspired the nostalgic evocation of three of the most notable Portuguese steamers that ever joined the fleet: the Príncipe Perfeito, the Santa Maria and the
Funchal. Her name suggested distinction and pride, and thus was indeed the “Príncipe Perfeito (Perfect Prince), which fulfilled 45 days of round trips, connecting the Portuguese capital to Western and Eastern Africa. This was evidenced by the perfection and harmony of its exterior architecture. Appreciated by the nobility of her features and artistic detail, the Santa Maria was received with a celebration when she first sailed the Tagus river, in 1953. Her usual route was Brazil and the Americas, through Madeira. The sole survivor of the ancient maritime fleet, later devoted to cruise travel, the Funchal intended to promote the touristic development of the islands. It was considered the best ship ever built to sail in the Azores sea. Preserved by the memory of generations and now delivered to the postal stamp, these “star” liners, icons of an era, suggest a renewal of our outlook. Reminding visitors of the 21st century that the sea is also a way to reach mainland Portugal, Madeira and the Azores.
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 18.05.2012
Designer: Atelier Acácio Santos / Helder Soares
Size: 40 x 30,6 mm