Scribbles from Praha
Last week, I received a postcard from a friend based in Switzerland, who at the time was visiting Prague, Czech Republic. It was a sweet offer made during a conversation that we were having about travel bucket lists, and my mentioning that the Czech Republic is in my personal top three. I was asked about what postcard I would like in particular, and after a brief sifting through Google Images of Prague architecture, I chose the Dancing House.
The Dancing House
Located in downtown Prague, particularly in the area where the 1945 Bombing of Prague destroyed the previous structure, the Dancing House took four years to construct and was completed in 1996. The building is a combined effort between Canadian architect Frank Gehry and Croatian-born Czech architect Vlado Milunić. The Dancing House sticks out in comparison to its more typically Czech counterparts, which is a motley crew of building styles of the Baroque, Art Noveau, and Gothic persuasions. Like every revolutionary piece of architecture, the Dancing House was seen as a controversial building at the time. But it garnered the support of former Czech president Václav Havel, who saw it as a potential cultural asset for the nation.
The Dancing House has been nicknamed “Fred and Ginger”, in reference to Fred Astraire and his constant on-screen dancing partner, Ginger Rogers, of the silver screen’s past. More bluntly, it has also been dubbed as “Drunk House”, due to the multi-directional linear design elements. The building currently houses a handful of multi-national firms, and the French fine-dining establishment, Celeste Restaurant, on its roof.
The Czech Postcard
Below is the postcard in all its glory. One section of the Dancing House shows rectangular casement windows juxtaposing the fuller fenestration on the left-hand part of the structure. The bar that connects the two resemble the supporting arms of two people dancing.
Unsurprising for someone who is fascinated with world cultures, I have a knack for collecting little souvenirs. Over the course of the last five or so years, through the generosity of friends from all over the globe, I have received a miniature pair of clogs from Holland, a Swiss Bell keychain from Switzerland, red kombolói from Greece… to name a few. My own selections have ranged from candles and postcards from a trip to Italy and France ten years ago, and beautiful hotel toiletry packaging from last year’s trip to the United States. Ever since becoming interested in the art of taking photos, most of my souvenir-collecting has been underlined by the occasional moment to break out the camera and capture slices of the trip forever in a single frame.
This is the first time I’ve received a magic travelling postcard. Well, not exactly a magic one per se, and in order to serve their purpose, all postcards travel. But this one probably deserves a passport of its own. Note what was stamped.
When I mentioned to my friend that I had received her postcard, she remarked about the timing being late. True, as she had sent the postcard in the middle of August. I’d attribute it to the fact it was sent to South Asia instead of Southeast Asia. I am trying not to ruminate the possible reasons their post office to get the mailing destinations mixed up. Beyond the established fact that the country the postcard passed through and the country it is supposed to go to is in the same continent, I couldn’t help but wonder where the discrepancy started. Is it a lapse in judgement during mail sorting? A forgivable yet apparent lack of knowledge about Asia? Either way, I’d like to believe the postcard — had it been granted the blessing of speech — would have had adventures worth telling.
What About You?
Do you collect souvenirs when you travel? In the age of instant corresponding, are you still a proponent of good old fashioned written mail?