What are the wackiest, most fun, interesting and plain fabulous souvenirs you have ever bought or been given? A few bloggers and travelers share their best souvenirs from around the world.
From Russia with a spoon
A tattoo from the last tattoo master
Will from The Broke Backpacker, definitively has one of the most memorable souvenirs. “By far the best souvenir I’ve ever gotten was the tattoo on my arm. I trekked for hours to reach Whang Od, the last tattoo master, in the hopes that she would like me enough to tattoo me. She is the last of her kind, and tattoos using thorns, soot, and a bamboo hammer. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and a souvenir I’ll keep with me forever!”
Hand-woven wool jacket from Ireland
For Billie, it’s a jacket. “Eighteen years ago I fell in love with a heathery purple hand-woven wool jacket at a shop across from the ocean in County Galway, Ireland. I didn’t think I’d ever wear it and it wasn’t really in my budget so I left the shop without it. After a night of agonizing over my decision, I went back to the shop and bought it. I still wear it, a lot! Whenever I put it on it takes me back to Ireland. Looking back, it’s not the things I buy that I regret, it’s the things I didn’t buy. Thankfully, I brought this treasure home with me.”
A kilo of Parmigiano Reggiano
A hand carved Moai Statue
“I brought this handmade wooden statue of Moai from Easter Island. That place was magical so I knew I needed a ‘bigger souvenir’ to bring home! Fortunately one day we came across an artist who sold real quality ones. He was very laid back, possibly even under influence of something 🙂 Well, he did a great job and I enjoy every day having the wooden Moai sit on top of my bookcase” says Veronika from Travel Geekery
Baby hammocks from Nicaragua
Samantha, from My Tan Feet, loved the baby hammocks from Nicaragua. “They are hand made by locals in Granada, Nicaragua and it’s part of a project to give jobs to the local youth and teach them a skill. They make tiny hammocks, hammocks for babies and huge hammocks that can fit 5 people. I love the little ones, they are so cute!”
A painting from Cuzco
“A few years ago, I went to Cuzco, Peru, for the trip to Machu Picchu and I fell in love with the paintings sold around town”, says Laura from Savored Journeys. “This one caught my eye and I just had to take it home with me. The painting is a bit quirky and it gets a lot of confused stares and questions. I have to admit, it’s not really clear what the image is depicting. Is it Inca warriors or is it wine glasses? I prefer to think it’s a little of both.
A charm bracelet from the world
Eat Sleep Breathe Travel author Hannah most precious souvenir is a charm collection. “When I first moved to Ireland I bought a silver bracelet and a little leprechaun charm as a memory of my time in the Emerald Isle. It didn’t start as a tradition, but over the past four years has quickly become one. In every place I visit I try to find a silver charm to add. I’m up to three full ones now and need to start my fourth. Not only is it pretty, and a good conversation starter, but I love that, down the road, I can pass it on to someone who will continue the tradition.”
Handmade Thai skirt
A Chinese calligraphy poem
A pair of wine glasses from Lisbon
“It was the day before my 28th birthday. Jon and I shared a toast to a new chapter of my life as we watched the gorgeous sunset in Castelo de São Jorge in Lisbon, Portugal. The wines we enjoyed were from different parts of Portugal and they were great, but the best part was that we got to keep the wine glasses as a reminder of my birthday and our 3 months in Europe. Through our trip around the world these glasses have come in handy and have brought us back good memories,” says Gia from Mismatched Passports
A carved elephant figurine
A Daruma doll
13 Indian turbans
A witch puppet
The puppet laughs hysterically and has red glowing orbs for eyes. “A bit scary”, he admits, “a very good idea for a scare prank and definitely the quirkiest souvenir we’ve ever bought”. If you want your own, here is a guide to 2 days in Prague to make sure you enjoy the city after finding your witch puppet!
A wooden giraffe
For Katrina, from The Two Week Traveler, the greatest souvenir is a 4 foot tall giraffe they picked from South Africa. “This is Jeffrey, our handcrafted wooden giraffe. We got him from a craft market in Johannesburg at the end of our two week honeymoon. He’s quite tall, so we were afraid we’d have trouble getting him home. He’s so cool that everyone who comes over comments on him”
“Estonia’s national epic is a great bit of literature, a poem woven from ancient folk tales of giants, maidens, demons and journeys to the ends of the earth. For four days I went into practically every bookstore in Tallinn to look for a bilingual version of Kalevipoeg. It was a heavy beast to lug all over Europe and it’s been two years now and I haven’t even finished reading it yet!” confesses Nic from Rambling Feet
A djembe drum
A cross from El Dia de los Muertos
For Eileen, from Crooked Flight, it is a cross from the Dia de los Muertos. “I spent my first time in Mexico exploring the west coast during Dia de Los Muertos and eating the best Mexican food. In the city of Mazatlan there were countless stalls filled with sugar skulls, light-up toys and La Catrina artwork. But instead I happened upon a local artist gallery that had work stations for builders and even a small pond inside. One whole wall was dedicated to funky crosses and religious icons that the woman said were hammered and carved individually. It cost only a couple of pesos and was still a nod to the remembrance of the dead.”
Rotties from all over the world
Tibetan prayer flags
Stop working, start traveling
“Sometimes pictures are not enough when you travel as much as we do, you want to have something to remind you the places, sites or museums you visited. Usually we buy magnets to fill as much as possible our fridge at home, it’s kind of a collection, we love to stare at our fridge and count our magnets! During our trip to Israel we bought magnets, of course, but we happened to sleep in a top hostel in Jerusalem where they sell amazing gadget such as t-shirts, mugs or bags with a slogan which is perfect for a travel blogger: STOP WORKING, START TRAVELING.” Says Eride from Queidue
A shot glass in the shape of a Kvevri
“Georgia is one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world. This is a shot glass made in the shape of a Kvevri. They used to put grapes in these before burying them until the wine was fermented. I got this from the Khakuri Winery tour in Talevi. I don’t buy many souvenirs because I break them, like this one which has a crack in it already!” Says Jordan from Tiki Touring Kiwi.
A set of silk pillow cases and all-silk pillows
“On a trip this year to China I bought a set of silk pillow cases and all-silk pillows. They are so soft and beautiful! I don’t allow us to sleep on them yet, just use them as decorative pillows or for resting against when we watch TV. The factory there was clever because they shrink-wrapped the pillows so they fit right into my suitcase and then puffed up again when I let them out at home.” Says Carole from Berkeley and Beyond.
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