Recently I wrote about the incredible Matthias Church in Budapest which along with Castle Hill has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Given the astounding decorations inside the church, I was definitely going to pick up something from their gift shop. I thought maybe some note cards or a bag or a book, but I found something way better. Half-hidden on a shelf at knee level was the most random but also the most incredible “souvenir” I have ever encountered in all my travels. You better believe I bought one which is how I managed (legally) to bring home a piece of the church itself.
Posts tagged ‘souvenirs’
Besides seeing the amazing architecture and artistic decorations of the church itself, visiting religious sites always gives me the opportunity to learn about cultural practices. Major destination churches teach me what it means to be a pilgrim by watching how people interact with the place. Maybe more so than regular tourists or travelers, pilgrims understand the personally transformative aspect of their trip and want share it with others after they have returned home.
The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is a holy place for all Christians and as a result, you have a lot of unique worship practices and customs coming together there. Still, everything is rooted in a deep faith and desire for connection to the divine in the church, no matter what language was spoken. Whether through prayers or “making” souvenirs, I also saw a deep commitment from all pilgrims to bring the holy experience back home with them.
Some people buy clothes, crafts or nicknacks as souvenirs when they travel. I like to buy food!
While driving in the Peloponnese, I stopped in a small town grocery store to get car snacks and water. Since I think its fun to browse foreign food items, I wandered up and down the short aisles. I happened upon a shelf of these boxes:
I recognized the casserole on the front as Pastitsio – the Greek equivalent of lasagna made with thin tube pasta, meaty sauce and a fluffy topping. So I bought a box. Read more
I don’t buy a lot of souvenirs when I travel, but the prospect of bargaining in Istanbul sounded like too much fun. I hoped to negotiate in Turkish (to give myself some legitimacy) and so I really tried to learn at least how to say numbers. Frankly, I doubt I fooled anyone and you’ll see that only one purchase was actually significantly made in Turkish. That being said, I’m really happy with what we found.