Often tacky, sometimes just plain wacky, some even dangerous – we explore the amazing world of souvenirs.
Why go away if you can buy your souvenirs from the comfort of your own couch? The German online site bringwasmit.de matches travelers with those who would like nothing better than to own a particular souvenir from the other side of the world, but without leaving home.
What does the Eiffel Tower key ring have in common with the Vatican fridge magnet? Right, both were made in China. Most mementos come from the Far East because holidaymakers want something typical to take home, but they don’t want it to cost the earth.
The “I love NY” snow globe is to today’s global travelers what yesterday’s stick medallion was to hikers, although many people still collect them today. Gleaming from your walking stick, they say “Look where I’ve been!”
Taking home “souvenirs” from vacation accommodation is more common than one would like to think: Towels and bathrobes disappear all the time, but people also take cushions, hairdryers and kettles. Even music systems and wall paintings have found a new home.
Nobody likes bed bugs, but that doesn’t stop these little critters from sometimes sneaking into your suitcase as stowaways and making themselves comfortable between your summer dresses and bikini. Especially after a city trip, you may find yourself having to call pest control.
Souvenirs are often pretty ugly things – but also an expression of our nostalgia culture. Gießen University’s souvenir research department discovered that Goethe brought back not only some great stories from his Italian travels but cork building models.
Life is getting tough for smokers pretty much everywhere. Tobacco prices are constantly rising while the import limits for cigarettes remain low. No wonder smuggling cheap smokes from abroad seems tempting to vacationers – no matter what their doctor says.
Corals and crocodile shoes may be special, but they’re illegal to bring home as souvenirs. Some tourists don’t think about things like species protection laws… Favorite contraband currently includes snake wine from Vietnam and pickled cobra. For shame!
It doesn’t matter if you find them on the beach, capture them on camera or discover them on the street: Souvenirs are something everybody loves. Shells and stones are the most popular of all, followed by mugs, key rings and miniature sightseeing attractions.
Fresh pasta with parmesan cheese, hearty souvlaki with tzaziki: Food always tastes really good on holiday, so that you end up eating more than your body needs. Back home, hoping the problem is just that your pants have shrunk, your memories of delicious meals are maybe not just positive ones.