an age old tradition
Memories are made of this.
When we visit new places, many of us will bring home a souvenir to remind us of our time there; sometimes, these will be gifts purchased for others to share the experience.
Purchasing souvenirs is not new. From the 16th century to the 19th, many wealthy persons travelled on what became known as ‘The Grand Tour’. As this was a cultural tour, they often purchased art pieces. Many of these pieces exist today and are collectable antiques. Over the ages, tourism has become available to the masses, not just the wealthy few. Entrepreneurs soon switched on to producing special items for tourists, often with the name of the town or country written on them.
The Tourist Gift Shop
Whenever you visit a stately home, museum or other tourist destination, you will inevitably reach the gift shop at the end of your tour. A deliberate strategy as you have now enjoyed your visit and taken in the sights. There is now time to peruse the items on sale and pick up something as a reminder of your visit.
Some things are free to use as souvenirs, maybe a pebble or seashell from the beach. Before taking such an item, check that this is legal; not all countries have the same laws.
Many items sold as souvenirs are the same as those sold in other shops and stamped with the name of the place you visit, and that’s fine if you want a reminder and not worry that the item was not local to the place. Others prefer to buy something locally produced, pottery, art, glassware, and so forth.
Over the years, like many, I have purchased souvenirs. My office desk has a few practical ones displayed, there are some pieces of china, a picture hangs on the lounge wall, and the fridge has a few magnets stuck on it. The cheap pens have long run out of ink!
Over to you!
I would be fascinated to know about your love or hate of tourist souvenirs. If you would like to share the story behind the souvenir and a photo you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave a comment below, and please do share this post with your friends and on social media.