Some people collect magnets, local crafts or knick knacks as travel souvenirs. I take photos and pick up an occasional postcard.
I prefer postcards that are unusual and avoid run-of-the-mill prints that are sold at tacky shops surrounding tourist landmarks. I would scour independent bookstores for a unique or interesting postcard. Once in a while though, I would buy a cliché or over-the-top design – imagine the Eiffel tower covered with glitter – to send a chuckle to someone.
Choosing the right design for the intended recipient(/s) is also part of the fun in shopping for postcards.
For instance, my mum is born in the Chinese zodiac year of the rooster and has an affinity for the bird. So when I spotted a postcard bearing this image at a recent Raymond Depardon exhibition at Grand Palais in Paris, I had to get it for her.
I love the process of choosing, writing and sending postcards, including lining up at the post office to buy stamps. I especially like the idea of sending a postcard to someone to let them know that I’m thinking of him or her – a physical surprise that the recipient can hold, show those around him or her, and pin up on the fridge.
I find this more meaningful and personal than sending an email or message on Whatsapp or Facebook, which are undoubtedly more convenient and almost instantaneous. Still, it’s a shame that less people are sending actual postcards these days with the prevalence of social media and digital postcards.
When I was in Venice last week, I was searching for postcards that are not of the usual gondola/carnival/Rialto bridge image.
I chanced upon Chimera (Salizzada dei Greci, Castello 3459), a boutique selling handmade pottery, earrings and stationary. A young lady was busy sanding wooden blocks for prints when I entered the shop.
All the prints are created by her and feature a mix of collages and ink stencils. After choosing five designs, I was deliberating between two similar-looking postcards. She graciously offered me one with her compliments. How nice!
Trivia: Chimera in Italian means “delusion” or “fantasy” in English.
Mission accomplished, I continued to wander about.
I soon came across an amazing bookshop, Libreria Acqua Alta (Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa, Castello 5176). Not only is it a book haven, there were also boxes of postcards featuring all things Venice! Photos to come in a future post…
I bought a few postcards, including two designed by Berlin-based Edition Lidiarte which feature architectural drawings of monuments and buildings in Venice.
When I was back in my fabulous suite in The Gritti Palace, I sat down to write some postcards: Two to my colleagues, to thank them for their generous hospitality; one for my family, inviting them to visit Venice together and outside of summer; one featuring an old image of acqua alta (“high water”, i.e. flooding) around the San Marco Square for AB as we were talking about this peculiar phenomenon.
To end this post, I thought it would be quite fitting to share with you this music video of Beirut’s “Postcards from Italy“, featuring vintage film footage. Enjoy!
The times we had
Oh, when the wind would blow with rain and snow
Were not all bad
We put our feet just where they had, had to go
Never to go
The shattered soul
Following close but nearly twice as slow
In my good times
There were always golden rocks to throw
At those who admit defeat too late
Those were our times, those were our times
And I will love to see that day
That day is mine
When she will marry me outside with the willow trees
And play the songs we made
They made me so
And I would love to see that day
Her day was mine