Whenever we are on a journey, we tend to take a small piece of that place home with ourselves. The souvenir word itself means memory in the French language. A good souvenir reflects the image of that exact country. For example, wherever you go in Austria, you will find things related to Sissi, then Mozart Kugel and Klimt replikas. Although sellers sometimes try to serve tourists by selling basically everything of the continent. That’s why you can find matryoshka dolls in the Czech Republic, though they are traditionally from Russia. I personally love any kind of souvenir shop and going through all the things they provide. I always buy myself something that I can use in my everyday life. For example, I bought a calendar for 2017 in Albertina last year and whenever I take it in hand, it makes me remember how great it was to be there. Or I bought a pocket mirror picturing the 19th century Vienna in Prater. It is always in my handbag.
But of course it’s easy to find ourselves something to bring home but what about our relatives and friends?
In my opinion sending postcards is an adorable, yet underrated form of human communication. I have a group of friends from my hometown (don’t want to brag, but we are kind of like the Sisterhood of the travelling pants), and we always send each other cards. I have a nice box especially for the ones I got from them. My dear Linda, Réka and Betti, I love my collection and it always makes my day to find something in my post box that is not commercial related.
Magnets are more trickier though, because not everyone likes them. Or they only collect the ones they personally bought. My fridge became international the last couple of years because of the Rembrandt’s house magnet I got from my mummy when she went to the Netherlands, the Greek amphora shaped one I got from my colleague and of course I couldn’t resist to buy that Gaudí styled salamander in Barcelona this summer.
Now let’s move on to keychains. Even trickier than the magnet, if you ask me. Because I had an Eiffel tower shaped one, and I was happy to carry it around and absolutely loved it because of my desire for Paris. But I may not have liked it from somewhere else. Oh, who I want to kid?! I would have loved everything travelling related!
Little useless statues draw the line for me. They are true examples for cheesy!
If you want to take the smallest risk, you should buy traditional food. Caramel from Kraków and Lindt chocolate from Switzerland are perfect to offer you colleagues or Italian pasta is great for… well, basically anyone, who cooks.
When I was in Barcelona, I found all kinds of souvenirs. I found little cactuses in Barcelona signed porcelain vases very adorable and seeds for paprika that will become shaped like human genitalia disturbing.
There are two of my souvenirs I worship. A snowball, in which there is Stephansdom and if I shake it, it is like snowing at the Christmas fair in Vienna. You may find it slushy, but I don’t care. The other one is a Mr. Darcy ornament from the Jane Austen house. It is like half a soft toy, half something you would hang on a Christmas tree. He is now on the handle of my bathroom.
In conclusion, you have to know your audience before performing on the stage. Be brave but not too extreme!