Small ornamental objects valued for their antiquity, rarity, originality, or sentimental associations.
Part of the fun of traveling is finding souvenirs to remind you of the various places that you’ve visited. Sometimes I really do return with something of unique value, a little gem of artwork or a thoughtful gift from a friend.
But many times, the local choices are, well, junk. Witness the cascade of potential memorabilia found outside the excavations at Pompeii (left). Usually, there is no temptation to browse closely packed, brightly colored selections, but there are occasional times that I admit I am drawn in.
Bric-a-brac from mid-eastern bazaars are a case in point. In this case, I am able to associate mediocre merchandise with a great story of haggling in the souk, leaving the vendor in tears, bringing home a deal nobody would believe (actually, they shouldn’t, of course). My Jerusalem Ball falls into this category: a faux-silver and gold votive candle in a holder cast to look like the Old City.
Other times, it’s just a passing fancy that catches my eye and is too good to pass up. My ‘Sparkly Vesuvius’ falls into that grouping: a miniature volcano painted with glitter from the foot of the namesake mountain.
Still others, it’s just nostalgia: my reclining man (in imitation grass) from the Sonsbeek festival and my Whelpie from last year’s football championships remain special.
I suspect we all have them: what are your fatal weaknesses that result in a whimsical shelf of travel bric-a-brac?