Budget Traveler magazine hipped me to a really cool website — CrapSouvenirs.com. This website allows you to post the best of your worst travel souvenirs, which I know most of you have. There are some true gems there, and many of the best aren’t fit for family viewing.
Having traveled the world myself, my top three “worst of the best” souvenirs are as follows:
- A fridge magnet from Yuma, Arizona. It’s a buzzard with the caption “Bring More Tourists-The Last Were Delicious.”
- A friend brought me back a bottle opener from St. Maarten in the shape of a woman wearing a bikini — complete with a flaming crotch.
- A cell phone charm from Seoul, South Korea, that featured the face of that nation’s answer to Justin Bieber.
But I’ve also picked up some really cool souvenirs that bring back great memories. My top 10 list is below. Enjoy!
- Silver chopsticks. These are used all over South Korea, and they really stand out.
- Royal Crown Derby porcelain bird. During my time at Rolls-Royce, I had a chance to visit the store and pick up a bird to match two that were given as gifts.
- Orrefors crystal bubble votive candle holder. I was in Stockholm as part of a trip to visit Saab Aircraft, and a side trip included a visit to the factory.
- Fokker Aircraft 70th anniversary silver coin. I was in Amsterdam for the celebration of this now-defunct manufacturer, and all the attendees received this as a gift. The coin featured the profile of founder Anthony Fokker on one side, and an etching of Fokker’s first plane, the Spider, on the other.
- Brazilian churrascaria meat carving knife. On one of my many trips to Brazil to visit aircraft manufacturer Embraer, I picked up the giant knife waiters use to carve meat at churrascaria restaurants. Can you believe I actually had it in my carry-on bag? Oh, those were the days!
- Fio Dental (dental floss) bikini, Rio de Janeiro. Those who know me know I am a woman of size. On a trip to Brazil, I was amazed at how many women my size — and bigger — were wearing these very revealing bathing suits. So my friends on the trip decided to buy me one and dared me to wear it. I declined.
- 12 bottles of beer (not on the wall). I traveled to Oberpfafenhofen, Germany, near Munich, several times to visit the now-defunct aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Dornier, and I got the beer from Kloster Andechs, a monastery where the monks’ vocation is to make beer.
- Dish towels from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. I was attending the 1997 Paris Air Show and I had some time to spare. So I took a 1/2 day cooking course, and that was my souvenir. I still use them, because I can tap my inner Top Chef!
- Black currant tea, Harrods. No trip to London is complete for me without a stop at the Harrods Food Hall. Once there, I head straight for the tea section, where I pick up several tins of this divine brew.
- German Christmas ornaments, Munich. On a December trip to visit Fairchild Dornier, we went to the Christmas market on the Marienplatz. I picked up about a dozen hand-made ornaments that I cherish to this day!
So spill — what are some of your best — and worst — travel souvenirs?