Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Salzburg Souvenirs

I don't know why we don't wear dirndls. They look innocent and sexy at the same time. The bodice is made with stays that push you in and out in all the right places, and the white petticoats and lacy blouses peak out coyly top and bottom.

Patterned fabrics are mixed like quilt pieces and the color combos can be playful or sophisticated. There's even matching stuff for the guys.
I wish I went places where hats with feathers would look appropriate. Do you think I could wear this outfit to pick up my prescriptions at WalMart?

Salzburg window displays are an art form. Lit up at night even though the shops are closed, they make it fulfilling just to browse.

In the past I've satisfied my lust by writing down color combinations, or drawing some of the displays in my journal. It gives me ownership. This time I acquired everything I wanted with my camera. I feel like I brought these exquisite ensembles home with me, and they didn't cost even a euro!

One accessory always finds it's way into my suitcase, however. I have a collection of elegant silk scarves from Salzburg, with hand-tied fringe. I wear them year round and love to add a new color or pattern.

Shopping for souvenirs can be frustrating when there's not a lot of money to spend. I have discovered that when I'm searching for particular keepsakes that I know I can buy, I have as much fun as when I'm accumulating a suitcase full of random loot.

We travel light so we collect mementos that are cheap (or free) unique, and easy to pack. Dee calls it eclectic collecting. Some ideas are:
  1. Matchbooks. These are harder to come by now that restaurants are smoke-free, but they look great framed as a collage.
  2. Buttons. Antique stores often have big jars full of unusual old-fashioned buttons. It gives me a reason to go into these quirky places.
  3. Art postcards. Tonight I worked on a card catalog containing my favorite works of art from museum store postcards. I now have over a hundred. These are also fun to search for in antique stores.
  4. Cardboard coasters with colorful insignias of the local brew are sometimes sitting right under your glass. Don't spill, and take them home.
  5. Napkins are much cheaper than tablecloths, but can be just as beautiful with lace or embroidered details. I buy a variety that I can layer on top of a solid colored tablecloth. It's fun to take notes of how they are displayed in the stores.
  6. Local crafts. I can't afford to buy each of my 18 grandkids the darling toys and trinkets I see different places, so I buy something for my Oma Kits. This trip I bought ten tiny wood carvings with magnets on the back. They are each about two inches long, and are made like little marionettes, with dangling arms and legs.
  7. Coins, stamps, or cool business cards with interesting logos or foreign writing.
  8. Menus. Some restaurants will give you one if you ask, especially if you offer to pay.
  9. Toiletries in a different language seem exotic. Toothpaste or even tiny kleenex packages make me smile after I'm home.
  10. Books. This is where we splurge. We always ask if the bookstore will send our purchases home. If that isn't possible we take them to the post office where we buy boxes and tape and ship them home. Yesterday we got a package containing colorful maps and antique book plates from a tiny, hidden shop down a winding path where we spent a cozy hour one rainy afternoon.
Although I spend money every chance I get, I can have fun traveling without it. I've realized that the real souvenir isn't a purchase. The memory of dodging horses in a rainstorm, remembering a long forgotten vocabulary, noticing that even the old ladies in Austrian capes and alpine hats are talking on cell phones as they stroll the 12th century streets--those are the things I want to take home. Genuine souvenirs aren't in the shops. They are free for the taking anywhere you make a memory.

What are your tips for eclectic collecting? Do you have some sentimental souvenirs?


Christie said...

You really ought to write a book for traveling Europe. This was just an awesome post! Love the ideas. Now I need to go.

Anonymous said...

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Ashlee said...

I'm not a world traveler, so I'm not up on how to properly collect. But, I would think that anything that can bring back a special memory would be perfect. When hubby and I went to Hawaii I bought a flower clip to wear behind my ear for the night we went on our dinner cruise. I haven't ever worn it again, but every time I see it I remember that night. :0)
Those window displays are beautiful. Your trip sounds amazing!

marta said...

great ideas.. souvenirs that you can tote safely back to home is what's most important! i love matchbooks, coasters, scarves, things that you appreciate over time. great photos, oma!

Joy Des Jardins said...

You have it down to a science Marty...perfect. This was a fun post to read. I love the idea of all those 'little' souvenirs to bring back.

SaraLynn said...

I love reading you posts. i feel like I am transported to another place for a few minutes. The pictures of the shop windows are priceless.

I have never had the pleasure of leaving the USA, but I have traveled some. I like to pick up unusual keychains. I keep them in a box and my children beg to play with them.

Thanks for sharing your story :)

Lindsey said...

Oh my, I LOVED those pictures. They are great! I love those dirndles. My mom bought my little sister one when she went to Europe. It is just SOOOOOOO cute on little kids!

kenju said...

You may already know that I collect nearly everything!

What I want is that green chest in the window of the shop in your photo! It's wonderful!