Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Favorite Travel Souvenir

Summer time means vacation time for many of us. My little family of four is not always lucky enough to travel often together as a family because of T's work schedule, but I've enjoyed many memorable trips in my lifetime. My friend Kate from Centsational Girl asked bloggers to share their favorite Travel Souvenirs, and today I'll show you mine!

When I was 15, my parents took my siblings and I on a trip to Europe for several weeks. It has been, to date, one of the most wonderful vacations I've ever been on. I don't have any digital photos of the trip, save this very blurry one. My mom, dad, me, sis, and brother...in front of the castle Vianden in Luxembourg. (Don't you love my Nike swoosh and cheerleader bangs?!)

There was something magical about that trip that sparked in me a real love of other countries, cultures, and histories. In Europe, there seems to be a castle on every corner, and my dad had a blast showing off sites he visited as a boy when his own family was stationed overseas with the US Air Force. 

Somewhere along the line in Germany, I noticed that many of the little boutiques and shops were selling the most beautiful little painted pewter keepsakes. They were small, light-weight and flat, mostly depicting traditional German homes, villages, and pastimes. My favorite was a castle with fairy tale characters. Many of the shops carried the castle, but each one was completely different because they were all painstakingly hand-painted.

My parents took one look at the hefty price tag and told me "no," but being quite a gifted whiner/cajoler, I pleaded for the better part of a week until my dad relented and I got to choose a castle to bring home with me.

You can spot all kinds of characters: Merlin, Sleeping Beauty, the Pied Piper, Puss in Boots, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, the Queen from Snow White, the Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, the Musicians of Bremen (a folktale), and a dragon. 

I also bought a Hard Rock Cafe shirt in Austria, pomme frites in Belgium, and candy in Iceland. Funny how none of those items lasted, but I still cherish the pewter castle.

As a grown woman, I don't display it in the main living area of our home, but it has a special place in my oldest's room. Now that she shares a room with her sister, we'll find a new home for it. 

Choosing the castle was a good lesson to me in choosing things that have meaning and will last. When we travel now, I look for an item or two that I can display in my home or something that is special to me. Christmas tree ornaments from the Bahamas, NYC, and the Caribbean, a bead for my Pandora bracelet from Disney World...

What's your favorite travel souvenir?

*Did you miss my Disney Autograph Album tutorial yesterday? I'd love for you to check it out!

Linking to Centsational Girl


  1. {sigh} I just love your souvenir! It has such beautiful detailing and is so very whimsical. I can see why it's your favorite.

  2. That is a great souvenir! I love picking up things that I will cherish for a while also. I have had my fair share of Hard Rock t-shirts though. Lesson's learned.

  3. Neat! I actually just went to Europe for the first time a couple of weeks ago! So amazing. My husband and I went to the same jewelry store in Prague where he bought my engagement ring 6 years ago, and I got another ring there for my right hand. :) Definitely my favorite souvenir from the trip!

    But I loved walking around and looking in all the souvenir shops in each city we went to - wish we could have brought more stuff back with us!

  4. I've never seen anything like this castle souvenir. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip with your family. Your mom still looks just as young now.

  5. Wow Amanda, never seen anything like that myself either, what a treasure! And yes you are rockin' the swoosh and bangs, woot! Thanks for linking up to the party - always a pleasure to see your links! xo

  6. Amanda,

    What a great story! Those are the tidbits that I think make family history work worth pursueing. I'm sure your kiddos will appreciate you documenting that for them in the years to come, when they question why you kept that pewter castle.

    Thanks for sharing,

  7. Charming! How wonderful to have a souvenir that has meant so much to you.

  8. what a great find! thanks for sharing! :-)

  9. What a sweet castle - so many fun details. I think that was the perfect souvenir from a fairy tale magical trip. By the way - how big is the castle. It is hard to tell from the photos.

  10. I've never seen anything like your castle. It is just beautiful and so many fairy tales are included. A wonderful memory.

  11. Wow Amanda! I've never seen anything like that castle, it so beautiful. The detail in it is amazing, I can only imagine how long it took to create. What a great memento from your trip, thanks for sharing!

  12. What a cool item to bring home!

  13. Beautiful story and a very sentimental souvenir!

  14. That's so pretty! And such a fun story! Funny how those souvenir t-shirts get outgrown or out of style! :)


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