I am sucker for souvenirs I buy from the places I visit. I stay away from tacky things but I do have my favorite things to get.
After my latest trip to Budapest*, coming home with quite a lot of things, I decided it was time to put together a list about what I buy as souvenirs and why. Souvenirs are memento mori items, something to remind us of our precious time on earth and that we’ve enjoyed every single place we’ve visited.
I got two mugs from London (March 2011). We both chose what we liked, so obviously, we ended up with two different models. I also have a mug from Sighisoara I picked up back in 2000 on my first trip there. Yes, I use those mugs and I think they are some of the best ways to keep the memories about a particular trip.
As recent as December 2013, we kept the mugs from the Christmas Markets in Vienna. We enjoyed mulled wine and cider and decided not to return the mugs for money. Instead, we kept two of them and we also gifted the other two.
I like to read (when I have some free time or when I travel). So, as a result, I also buy books from the places I visit. This year (2011) I got a book from London and one from Cluj.
The first t-shirt in the collection is from London, but I also picked a traditional peasant blouse in Sinaia (2007) and a blouse in Vienna (2008). Of course, they are also great, wearable reminders of where I’ve been.
The cinnamon I picked up in Vienna lasted until last month (so about 3 years). I just picked up some spices, including cinnamon, from Budapest (December 2011). The Greek spices from the same Night Market in Vienna didn’t last that long though. Of course, these are meant to be used but while using them you’ll be sure to remember where you picked them up from.
Needless to say, I got some more species from Italy (in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016) and cinnamon from Vienna (December 2013).
Ornaments, various small objects
I just started a fridge magnets collection. So far I got from Paris as a gift, one from Budapest and one from London. Apparently, my cousin also keeps a similar collection and I might just say that it’s one of the most popular way to keep memories of your journeys. Right now – December 2012 – I’ve got magnets from Romania, Italy, Greece, Viet Nam and France.
And I also love Christmas ornaments from various places. So in Budapest, I picked up four for us (including two which can double as coasters). Alex got a small replica of the Parliament building, which will probably take its place on his desk. In 2012, I got two ornaments from Szeged.
I got into the habit of picking up either pins or bracelets. Still, have the bracelet I got in Sighisoara for me and Alex still has the one I gifted him. And he just got one in Budapest this December.
I used to do this during high school and university years. They are cheap and are awesome reminders of what you visited. My collection is quite large. And I still collect them.
Maps, tickets and similar things
I keep every single booklet I got in London and Vienna. The ones from Budapest (this summer) got washed away in our tent, unfortunately. I still have the map we picked up in Budapest back in 2007 and also the map we got in London this spring. I also keep the entrance tickets to museums (or other places we visited).
My collection of tram tickets, metro card, train tickets and day travel cards is quite impressive as well, comprising items from Bucharest, Budapest, London, Cluj Napoca (September 2011) and Vienna.
Photos from various rides
Remember those photos they take in London Eye, Giant Ferries wheel and various rides in amusement parks? I didn’t want to but I ended up with one from Vienna (thanks to the friends I was traveling with). Still keep it.
From zoos, I almost always bring back some sort of a stuffed animal (toy). So far I have a whale from Vienna and a penguin from Budapest. In Vienna, I also got a penguin from a game in Prater (someone won it for me). Ah and let’s not forget about Puss in Boots Jr., Alex’s toy from Budapest (Hello, MickeyD!)
Jewelry and accessories
A ring from London, one from Athens…a purse from Szeged, one from Moneasa. A bracelet from Budapest..and plenty other small things which don’t cost a lot but are great reminders of the places I visited.
Lately, I got this idea to get a charms bracelet and add charms to it as I visit places. So, just got one from the Summer Fair in our town (Arad, August 2012) and also got some charms with it. Should be fun to add more.
I always liked good tea, which I can’t usually find in my hometown. So far got tea from Budapest and Szeged.
Since 2011 I got into “funky” nail polishes. Somehow I actually like colored nails and longer nails, for a change. So when I was in Budapest at the end of 2012, I got a lovely nail polish I call – “green with envy”.
And from Italy in September 2013, I got two funky new colors: electric blue and orange.
*note: article written on the train from Budapest Keleti to Arad, on Sunday, Dec 18, 2011 ; and republished in August 2012. More info added in December 2012 and republished in April 2013;edited in January 2014; edited and republished in April 2017.
All photos by Cristina P. and may not be used without permission.