Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Favourite Souvenirs

We've all done it.
Bought and brought back what can only be described as tat from travels abroad.  Some how that black t-shirt covered with the fauna and flora of Madeira seemed a good idea in the brilliant sunshine and gorgeous light of Funchal's shopping district in October 1992.  (Sorry about, Sib.)  These days I have more restraint (I hope) and a better awareness of the true value of the pound, euro or dollar in my pocket.  The Boy Child usually gets a t-shirt or two.  Such as this gorgeous one from Houston at Christmas.
As for me, if I buy anything, I limit myself to something small and easy to fit into my suitcase for the journey home. 
This ceramic came from Lanzarote in the summer of 2008.  It wasn't chosen because we'd been on the best holiday ever, it was chosen as a reminder that Lanzarote was the place that, at 18 months and nine days old, The Boy Child decided it was time to walk.  That's what I wanted to remember. Not the fact that The Boy Child cried loudly every evening when put to bed, for what seemed like forever. Not the fact that he woke up every morning at 5am.  Not the fact that my sister must have been regretting the decision to invite us to join them on holiday.
I made it to New York City for the first time in September 1995.  I stood on the observation deck of the World Trade Centre on September 8th, blissfully ignorant of the horrors that were still to come and marvelled at the ingenuity of my fellow man.  The watercolour cost me all of $10.
I lived in Germany from June 1988 to September 1992, although I didn't make it to Berlin until the Easter of 1991.  That first visit was it for me.  I was in love.  Berlin is still my favourite European city.  The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church took my breath away, and still does.  I bought this watercolour from a pop-up shop inside the Reichstag building and it  cost a whopping DM25 (around £8 at the time).
In August 1997, I took Mum to Paris, thinking that the empty summer boulevards would be ideal for her first visit.  However, the Vatican had other ideas and missed me off their distribution list when announcing that His Holiness Pope John Paul II would be in town the same time.  Paris that week was bursting at the seams ~ me, Mum, His Holiness and millions of young Catholic pilgrims.  This painting is signed and dated by the artist and I bought it from her outside Notre Dame (in the rain) for around FF100 (then £10), I think.    
In late May, 2003 I went to Rome with a friend for my 35th birthday.  During our visit to St. Peter's and the Vatican (are you detecting a common thread here?), we'd been fortunate enough to witness my old friend His Holiness Pope John Paul II holding his mid-week audience in the open-air.  My friend gave me this painting as a birthday gift.  She bought it from the artist when we saw him on the Ponte Garibaldi.  I don't know what she paid for it.

Souvenir : a token of remembrance; to come to mind.
This post was inspired by Jaime.
and you can see similar souvenir posts here.


Sian said...

OOh, I do love a good gift shop! Browsing souvenirs even if I only buy little things is one of my favourite things to do on holiday..ever since the days when I was saving pocket money to buy postcards

Angloyankophile said...

Loved this post, Ruth! Such wonderful memories captured in these tangible objects. (That NASA shirt is fantastic, btw!) It made me tear up as well, your anecdote about your son walking for the first time. Those are the memories that matter, that count - and it's so wonderful that you've got something to remind you of that every time you look at it.

debs14 said...

We always bring back something, and try to choose carefully. My son was the worst for bringing back rubbish, he wasn't happy until he'd spent his holiday money! Looks like you have some happy memories there x

scrappyjacky said...

I always bring back something....and quite often it's a picture.
I also like fridge magnets [even if most people think they're tacky]....though they do have to be slightly quirky.

alexa said...

The individuality of your holiday keepsakes makes them really special, Ruth. I like your picture collection ...

Liz said...

I'll let you off about the tea shirt as you went with Louise not me!!! Great post though :0) xx

Ladkyis said...

I buy postcards and put them into the scrapbook. I have done it all my life. All my childhood ones were destroyed by husband number one in one of his "showing me who is boss" phases. Postcards are my go to

Emma Julia said...

I adore pictures that have a memory of meaning behind them too!