10 Most Original Souvenirs To Take Home From a Journey

Souvenir shops

One thing all travelers are currently asking is – is it the right time to travel again? The answer to this question depends on your location and desired destination. Some parts of the world have been affected by the pandemic more severely than others. So, it would be best to wait a bit longer to be safe. After all, we waited this long. What are a couple of months more? However, just because we cannot travel right now, that does not mean that you cannot start planning for your upcoming trip. You can use this time to dig deep and research all the mesmerizing places virtually before visiting. And, while you are researching, it won’t hurt to get some ideas regarding souvenirs. This article is here to help you with that. Here are 10 original souvenirs to take home from a journey. 

1. Argentina – Leather Items 

Argentina is famous for many things, and leather is one of them. So, next time you find yourself in this amazing country, be sure to pick up some leather items. Those can be shoes, belts, bags, wallets, or even watch straps. And, do not worry, you will not get scammed – the leather pieces from Argentina are of excellent quality, so do not hesitate to pay a bit extra.

2. China – Teapots

If you decide to travel to China, one of the most original souvenirs you can come home with is a Chinese teapot. These can be found pretty much anywhere in China. Their prices vary depending on their quality, of course. If you have some extra spending money in your budget, we recommend getting teapots made from Chinese porcelain. And, if you want a complete collection to give you the ultimate tea-drinking experience, you can also get teacups in matching painted sets. And don’t forget to buy some Chinese green or black tea. All of these make for excellent birthday gifts for travelers, too, so keep that in mind if you want to buy a gift for someone special. 

A teapot and cup.
There is nothing more original than a Chinese tea set.

3. England – Cadbury’s Chocolate

Even though Belgium is the world’s chocolate capital, many people argue that England can participate in the competition. But it is not just any chocolate – it is the famous Cadbury’s chocolate. This will also be a perfect gift to an American as this chocolate can no longer be found in the USA. 

4. Belgium – Lace

Speaking of Belgium, this country has a lot more to offer than just chocolate. For instance, Belgium is known for its authentic, hand-made lace and tapestry. Some of the most intricate laceworks can be found in the cities of Brussels and Bruges. You can take this lace home and make curtains, table spreads, or some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing out of it. But, let us warn you – Belgium’s lace comes with a hefty price tag! 

5. France – Macarons

It is no secret that France is famous for its cheeses, pastries and desserts. Some of those famous pastries include Croissants, Éclairs, Crepes, Crème Brûlée, etc. However, one dessert found its way to all of our hearts. The one and only – Macarons. These delectable pieces of heaven come in many colors and flavors. You can buy them almost anywhere throughout France. And even though they look delicate, they will survive the ride home.

A selection of macaroons.
Your friends will love you if you bring them macarons from your trip to France.

6. Ireland -Whisky

Besides food, alcohol and other popular drinks are some of the original souvenirs to take home from a journey. So, in Ireland, do not even think about going home without trying their signature whiskies. Every bar offers a variety of Irish whiskies. Try a couple and then buy a bottle of your favorite as your souvenir from Ireland.

7. Germany – Beer Stein

Most tourists travel to Germany during Oktoberfest. This festival is an excellent opportunity to dance, eat, drink, and simply have fun. Unfortunately, Oktoberfest was not held last year due to the pandemic. Nobody knows what will happen this year, but do not let that stop you from visiting Germany. It is a common travel myth that all the attractions are closed now. They are not! You can still try Germany’s famous beers and buy a beer stein as your souvenir.  

8. Italy – Venetian Masks

If you are looking for souvenirs you can buy that will not only stay on your fridge or your key chains, consider looking for pieces that serve a purpose. So, for example, when in Italy, consider investing in a Venetian Mask. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And, they can be used as art pieces for your home, not only as souvenirs. You can use them to add a personal touch to your office or your living room. 

A Venetian mask.
A Venetian mask can also be a great gift for somebody special

9. Morocco – Ceramic Items 

Morocco is a country famous for being one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. It is also famous for hand-painted ceramic items. Most often, you will see colorful bowls being sold on the streets. But, you can find pretty much anything made of ceramics – mugs, glasses, pots, figurines, and even tiles. What makes them so unique is the color choice and various intricate floral and geometric designs. 

10. Russia – Lacquer Box

One of the most popular souvenirs to buy in Russia is the Matryoshka doll. But, this doll has become a cliché over the years as everybody buys it. So, when in Russia, instead of buying a doll set, consider purchasing the Lacquer box. This is a fantastic souvenir to take home. It too comes in many colors and sizes, but what makes it unique are the pictures from Russian fairy tales drawn on it

And there you have it – 10 most original souvenirs to take home from a journey. What souvenir would you buy?

 

Interesting Things to Do In Brussels

There are many interesting things to do in Brussels. Brussels is the capital and the largest city in Belgium. It is also the capital of the European Union and the seat of the French Community of Belgium. The city was founded in 979 AD by Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia and served as an important trade route by 1000 AD. By the 14th century, Brussels became one of the most important cities in Europe and was part of the Holy Roman Empire. The city was stormed by King Louis XIV of France in 1695 when it was bombarded with artillery, causing major damage to most of the city.  After the Second World War, Brussels emerged as a rapidly developing urban capital with the building of several modern buildings in a process known as Brusselization. Located in central Belgium, Brussels experiences a temperate maritime climate with mildly warm summers and moderate winters. For those of you planning to visit Brussels, here are some great things you can do in Brussels on your next vacation.

1. Visit Grand Palace

Belgium1

Photo by Dennis Jarvis, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Grand Palace is located in the central square of Brussels and is surrounded by the town hall and City Museum of Brussels. The presence of the three buildings has made the central square one of the most important tourist locations in Brussels and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the rebuilding of the central square post, (after French bombardment and later by revolutionaries), it remained a primary market area of Brussels. The architectural style is a mix of various influences like Gothic, Renaissance and Art Deco.

2. Visit Manneken Pis

Rue de l'Étuve - Stoofstraat, Bruxelles - Brussel, België
Rue de l’Étuve – Stoofstraat, Bruxelles – Brussel, België

Photo by Francisco Antunes, CC BY 2.0

This is one place you cannot miss on your trip to Brussels. Manneken Pis, as the name suggests, is a bronze statue of a small boy urinating in the fountain and serves as the city’s landmark. The statue was installed in the early 17th century and was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder. It is located by the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue des Grands Carmes and is 61 cm tall. The original statue installed in 1619 was stolen several times and now lies in a restored state in Maison du Roi at the Grand Palace. The current statue was placed here in 1965. The statue is dressed in various costumes on a weekly basis as a part of tradition and is one of the most visited monuments in Brussels.

3. Visit Hotel de Ville

Belgium3

Photo by Marco Chiesa, CC BY 2.0

Known more famously as the Brussels Town Hall, Hotel de Ville is located in the Grand Palace and is one of the most iconic medieval age monuments in Brussels. The building was built in an intimidating Gothic style with a 96 meter high central bell tower. The town hall and its collection were completely destroyed during the bombardment of the city and were rebuilt during the 17th century with a restoration of its Gothic style architecture.

4. Visit Belgian Comic Strip Center

Belgium4

Photo by Thomas Quine, CC BY 2.0

If you were or are a fan of Tintin and his adventures, then you’d certainly love to visit the place where the legend started. The Belgian Comic Strip Center is home to a huge number of comic strips in various languages like English, French and Dutch including comics from several genres. The museum opened in 1989 with its famous collection of the ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ and its renowned creator Hergé. The museum also features life sized models of sets and characters from Tintin along with a souvenir shop, research library and a restaurant.

5. Eat a Scrumptious Belgian Waffle

Belgium5

Photo by Ralph Daily, CC BY 2.0

Compared to the American waffle, the Belgian Waffle is identified by its larger size and larger grid pattern. You must try some of the best waffles on the planet on your trip to Brussels! The city is famous for its own variant of the waffle known as a Brussels waffle. It is prepared with eggs, flour and ale yeast which makes the batter lighter. The waffles are usually served with whipped cream, fruits and chocolate spread and dusted with sugar.

6. Visit the Basilica of Sacred Heart

Belgium6

Photo by Niels Mickers, CC BY 3.0 NL

A Roman Catholic Basilica and the parish church of Brussels, the church is dedicated to the Sacred Heart and is inspired by the Roman Catholic Basilica located in Paris, France. The Basilica is located atop the Koekelberg Hill in the Parc Elisabeth. The building was originally planned to be in the Neo-Gothic style but was made in an Art Deco style due to the lack of finances. The Basilica is one of the Largest Art Deco buildings in the world standing 89 meters high and 164 meters long.

7. Antique Shopping in Brussels

Belgium7

Photo by Piano Piano!, CC BY 2.0

If you like antique furniture, jewellery or other articles, Brussels is famous for its elaborate antique galleries and flea markets. Chairs, lamps, antique building materials, guns, tools, armors, furniture, mirrors and cast iron, you can find it in the amazing antique markets in Brussels. Mixed in with the antique galleries and flea markets, the cobbled streets are also home to many cafes with warm and friendly staff.

8. Refresh Your Senses at Cantillon Brewery

Belgium8

Photo by Todd Nienkerk, CC BY-SA 2.0

If you want a great place to relax and cool your heels off while sipping on a traditional lambic style beer, then Cantillion Brewery is your pick. The brewery was established in the 1900 by Paul Cantillion who came from a family of brewers. Since its switch to organic in 1999, Cantillion brewery has become one of the finest breweries across Europe. The beers are made with malted and un-malted barley and are aged in Chestnut and Oak barrels. There is also a wide variety of fruit flavored beers that are brewed here. Do not forget to visit the famous Gueuze Museum located in the brewery.

9. View All of Europe at Mini Europe

Belgium9

Photo by Eugene Regis, CC BY 2.0

Located in Bruparck, Mini Europe features miniature reproductions of all the major monuments of the European Union miniaturized at the scale of 1:25. The park features 80 cities of Europe with some 350 iconic monuments with live action models such as trains, volcanoes, airbuses, cable cars, etc. Built in an area of 24,000 sq meters, the park was inaugurated in 1989 by Prince Philip of Belgium.

10. Visit Café Belga

Belgium10

Photo by Simon Blackley, CC BY-ND 2.0

With Brussels providing a rich insight in the history of Belgium, you might also get back to the present and enjoy the nightlife of Brussels. The best place to experience the urban culture of Belgium is Café Belga. It is one of the most visited bars in Brussels and also has one of the biggest terraces in Brussels located beside the majestic Ixelles Lake. The bar is famous for its bustling nightlife with DJ parties and in house concerts. The bar also has a dedicated Jazz concert every Sunday. The café is located in an art deco styled building which was built during the 1930s. Once the headquarters of a radio station, it’s peculiar shape also led it to be nicknamed as “the boat”.

With over a thousand years of history and culture, Brussels is one of the most visited tourist location in Europe. Being the capital or ‘Cockpit of Europe’, Brussels is a highly urbanized city with a rich culture and the above places are just a handful of the total attractions housed in Brussels.

 

Author Bio:

Rohit Agarwal is an architect by profession and likes to travel places famous for their historical architecture. He is also the content contributor for Transindiatravels.com which is the best place for knowing about the various tourist places in India.