Souvenirs From Tauck Tours

I know lots of people don’t bother with souvenirs from their trips but I enjoy bringing back something that’s a nice reminder. Post cards are cheap, lightweight and often give photo shots we can’t take. I also have an embarrassing collection of frig magnets. Here’s some of the nice things we’ve brought home:

Rhone River Cruise – in Arles and Avignon I bought lavender products and table linens – there were even made in France! Also got a bit carried away at the Valrhona chocolate store near Tournon sur Rhone.

Rhine/Moselle River Cruise – I’ve never been a fan of Riesling wines until this tour – If you find one you like I’d recommend buying – in Heidelberg there is a famous chocolate called the Student Kiss – we tried to buy some but the tiny shop got crowded – our TD’s gave us some and I have to say they were soso. This tour was our first visit to a Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store – you can spend a little or a lot.

Seine River Cruise – the usual touristy stuff though I enjoyed the Norman humor about their rainy weather – the hard cider and Calvados is excellent if you like that – I also bought chocolates at the goat farm which were good but unpasteurized so don’t plan to take home – lots of art postcards especially along the coast.

England, Scotland Wales Land Tour – tea towels everywhere – I bought one at each major stop and actually use them (with the stains to prove it) – lots of teapots too but I didn’t need those. The duty free shopping at Heathrow is excellent (and pretty unavoidable). About the only thing Heathrow has going for it in my biased opinion.

Ireland – two things I should have bought in Dublin but didn’t – an Aran sweater at the shop on Grafton street and Bewleys Breakfast tea also on Grafton street though I did find the later on Amazon - I never found as good a selection or prices on sweaters after Dublin so waiting was a mistake – other than that I found lots items with sheep humor and some wool fabric – we’ve also started buying Jameson whisky back home.

Budapest to Amsterdam River Cruise – lots and lots of paprika in Budapest – some bought at the market and some the TDs gave us – again opportunities to buy wine which my husband did at the Price Bishops Residenz – Silvaner grape wine – thankfully our bags were under the maximum weight limit to get them home. Was tempted to buy the special coffee cups in Rudesheim but resisted it. If you do want one, the shops closest to the river had the cheapest.

Switzerland Crown Jewel – loads of chocolate – if you miss it at the chocolate shops and tourist sites the major grocery stores (Coop and Migros) also have excellent selections – I bought lots but was somewhat careful as I knew I’d be schlepping it thru 2 more weeks in France on the next tour. Did not buy a watch though they are everywhere as well.

Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley Land Tour – the most fun shopping was mostly in Brittany. Butter cookies (sables), fancy salts, and caramels. Also lots of striped (nautical) clothing.

P. S. Amsterdam – we’ve been twice and both times couldn’t decide on Delftware. However, if you fly KLM business class they give you miniature Delft house filled with gin. Most expensive souvenir ever!

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Comments

  • I have a hand made elephant, giraffe, a lion, and a rock from Omaha Beach. I also have a Maltese Falcon … source of manufacture unknown. (;-) I also have a collection of coffee cups … most of which are ‘not’ dishwasher safe.

  • Claudia -- I very much enjoyed your comments. At this point (when I don't want to bring anything more into my house), I've pretty much limited myself to Christmas ornaments and notecards, with the occasional item of jewelry for me, my daughter and daughter-in-law, and refrigerator magnets for one friend as souvenirs. I do buy postcards in places where photos are not permitted (or I do a poor job of photoing) to include in my photo albums. I have run into issues when bringing food or spices home -- once I was chastised for not declaring tea bags from Fortnum & Mason on the front of my customs declaration form as "food" (but fortunately, I had itemized them on the back of customs form), and another time, when I brought za'atar back from Israel and declared it, I was told that I didn't have to. So confusing! So I've pretty much given up on bringing edibles -- even the completely legal kind -- home.

  • I usually don't buy anything on tour, but some things just grab my attention:

    Norway - A small troll figurine on skis.
    Israel - a menorah (7 branches) purchased in the Arab market in Old Jerusalem.
    Norway (sort of), by way of Sicily - I saw a unique piece of furniture in the window of a furniture shop down the block from our hotel in Oslo that I had to have. Price had too many zeros in it, even after converting from Norwegian Kroner to USD. Got home, did some online research, and found it at a Sicilian furniture store with an extensive web site (and good reviews). Turns out it was designed and made in Italy, and a little less than half the price of the store in Oslo.

  • Great topic, Claudia Sails!

    I am not much of a shopper, especially on Tauck tours, but I do succumb now and then when window shopping on free time.

    We purchased some beautiful Italian platters on our very first Tauck European tour and had them shipped home. They have adorned a dining room wall for many years.

    I collect Royal Kobenhavn Danish plates and my husband purchased one at the factory in Kobenhavn on a Tauck tour. My father started this tradition when I was born, so I have the plate with the year of my birth and each successive year thereafter. They also adorn all the walls in my dining room. I call it the "blue room." They are my most treasured possessions.

    On another Tauck tour, my husband purchased a hand-made leather belt from an Italian who had relocated to Oslo, Norway and had a most delightful leather shop. He finished the belt as my husband picked out a belt buckle. I also purchased a leather purse that this gentleman had made. Remarkably, about twelve years later, he was still working away in his shop in Oslo.

    I have a beautiful Star of David necklace purchased at a church bazaar (yes!) in the little village in Denmark where I was born. This was obviously not on a Tauck tour but, rather, on our own time after a Tauck Scandinavian tour.

    The rest of my "souvenirs" from Tauck tours are odds and ends of items purchased primarily at museum gift shops. I have posted numerous times how I love to browse these gift shops for scarves, note cards, book marks and other inexpensive items.

    Then, of course, there are the multitude of gifts that Tauck bestows on their customers...paprika and olive oil from Spain, fleur de sel and truffle oil from France, akvavit from Scandinavia, especially Denmark, ice wine from Canada, et al. The list is quite extensive, but the aforementioned have been my favorites.

    Lastly, on river cruises Tauck issues an on-board credit to those who book a certain cabin category. I have used this credit for scarves, wallets and even purses. Sadly, on my recent Douro cruise the space for gifts was limited and being that we were on the last cruise of the year, nothing was left except for a few post cards The desk manager actually went shopping one day while we were moored and returned with some snow globes! A few of us were so moved by his gesture that we purchased the snow globes. I subsequently gave mine away to a little girl I met in the lobby of the Lisbon hotel.

  • my list will come back! .... something went really wrong! :))

  • have a magnet collection... I bring magnets from every city I step on...I also buy spices ; I love to cook. I used to buy t-shirts for my nephews. Now they are older.. so, I try to bring something more cultural * time permitting. * and depending on the country ..I do buy any special liqueur , truffles etc.. anything food related.

    From Jordan - I brought mud from dead sea & some nice jewels made with local stones..-
    From Egypt.- spices-perfume- lots of pictures and some gift magnets for co-workers
    From Morocco - I brought rose water for desserts, spices and lots of exotic metal pieces.. to do my Moroccan corner at home also incense

    From Thailand & India - silk runners & cushins for my bed & living room ah.. also incense.

    From Italy - everything I can..... art, SHOES!! , clothes etc... from Middle East ( visited 5 counties total) spices, artistic table pieces, incense , perfum ...

    From Dubai - SHOES, spices and perfumes- duty free heaven ! Incense..
    From France- perfume, SHOES, boxes of Calissons..
    From Baltics - I got Amber and linen bed covers- Riga Art Nouveau books

    From Russia - an amazing white fox fur coat (St. Petersburg) and 2 head bands from Moscow - a pink fox- a black mink aboutc10 years ago , also some books from The Hermitage.

    From China - the set of miniature warriors, silk scarfs , books.

    From Hong Kong - LV fake bags! Yes... duffle bags! I'm not ashamed to say it.. FAKE! :)) they look identical.

    From Vietnam - beautiful silks and a typical rice worker hat- oil paintings from Hoi An
    From Cambodia - lots of love from the locals.
    From Spain - Jamon cerrano & spices- Castanuelas and Shoes, oil paintings from el Rastro St. Market
    From Netherlands-Belgium-Germany- Luxenburg books of art, ceramics and chocolates
    From Israel - a bottle of water from the dead sea, my nativity set and a Dimond ring from Telaviv
    From Taiwan - hello KItty junk-

    From the Carribean- ( 7 Isl. total Aruba, Bonaire, Curazao, Bahamas, Turk & Caicos, Jamaica, Dominican R.)Rum, , t-shirts & an amazing TAN!

    From Portugal - porto, table linens, holy water , Shoes! and spices
    From Africa: K&T everything I could stuffed in my bags! spices all elephant souvenirs and local oil paintings.
    From Greece - spices and truffles
    From Croatia - spices , Truffle oils & Vegeta can.
    From Albania - Madre Teresa souvenirs and a book
    From Montenegro - , spices , wine vinegars and truffles
    From australia - magnets and that's all
    From Prague- Crystal cups, glasses- shipped UPS, oil paintings- art books
    From Budapest - paprika, oils and table clothes
    From Slovenia - spices and cheeses
    From Finland - spices and wooded cheese boards
    From Austria - Mozart Balls, classic music books, Mozart piano books for my nephews

    From Canada- a bottle of Codeine pain killers ( personal use only) ... maple syrup... the Canadian border is only 3.5 hours from home :))))

    From England -lots of tea
    From Bratislava - postcards & a book from the country
    From Poland - Pope J.P memorable things, his book , Holy water, amber, porcelain, nice jewels
    From Macedonia - postal cards..
    From Greek island....- I wish I could had brought a sexy Greek. :))
    From Venezuela - Myself, my sense of humor, my way I live life and how I see the world, good manners and good taste. :))

    Missing countries....

  • Fun topic. Like others I collect magnets from everywhere. My fridge is covered with them. I also buy yarn as I love to crochet.
    Italy — Orvieto-ceramic covered candy dish; leather wallet; Florence-leather gloves, purse; Venice-murano glass kiddish cup and small murano glass menorah wall hanging
    France-macarons
    Istanbul-spices from Spice Market; small Turkish woven rug
    Greece - water color painting of Santorini
    Australia and New Zealand— yarn from which I crocheted a couple of sweaters, small kiwi bird figurine
    Canada—yarn from which I crocheted a sweater
    Peru—alpaca sweaters, woven table runner, yarn from which I crocheted a vest
    Ecuador - small figurines of blue footed boobies, flying turtle
    Costa Rica- set of coasters, tee shirts, small toucan figurine

    I also take a lot of photos, and I create a photo journal/book for every trip we take. Those are my most treasured “souvenirs,”

  • I like to bring something home from my trips and sometimes will find a Christmas gift for my kids or grandchildren.
    Australia - Aboriginal painting
    New Zealand - abalone pendant
    Italy - ceramic serving bowl, Christmas ornaments, Murano glass vase
    Iceland - Yule Lad figurines
    China - warrior and horse figurine, silk table runner, comforter
    Russia - Faberge-style egg
    Poland - amble bottle
    South Korea (independent trip) - Celadon vase
    Austria - hand-painted eggs

    We were supposed to do a Danube cruise with the Oberammergau Passion Play in 2020. Tauck featured a wood carver, Robert Eder - I think it was in the Taucker. I found his shop's website - they had several wood carvings pictured and invited interested people to e-mail them about something they might be interested in. He ended up carving a peddler for me and shipped it. This was a gift to myself for missing the trip. We have rebooked and I hope to visit his shop in 2022. Time will tell!

    I also take lots of photographs - like others, I make books of all our trips. And I have some of my favorite photographs enlarged and on display in our home,

  • Mate Gourd Argentina Tea Drinking Cup with metal straw/filter - A traditional silver banded drinking cup for drinking Mate out of a hollowed-out gourd. Essence of South America trip.

  • Where to begin … I’m a shopper! Here are the highlights:
    Vietnam: art (Hoi An), silk scarves (Hanoi)
    Cambodia: fabrics
    Laos: unique costume jewelry
    India: artwork (Museum shop), pashminas, spices, fine jewelry, wooden boxes, Judaica (challah cover, mezuzah)
    Moscow: Judaica (dreidel), fabric crafted necklace
    St Petersburg: lacquer boxes Helsinki: hand blown crystal
    Japan: artprints
    Capetown: original artwork from Green Market, wire sculptures (animals), fine jewelry, ostrich feather dusters, wine, spices
    K&T: beaded jewelry and animals, masks
    Thailand: silk scarves, table linens
    South Korea: makeup and creams

    And wonderful memories!

  • As with most of us who have travelled extensively, we do not need anything. We purchase small items mostly for our Christmas tree. When we fill out the customs form on the plane, I wonder if they won't believe that we spent under $100 on items to bring home.

    The ornaments on our tree were purchased by us or given to us by family and friends (or inherited). Each year when we decorate the tree or when we look at it over the weeks, we are reminded of our travels and of our family and friends. Some have stories attached to them and others make us smile. Some are approaching 100 years old!

    We have a lot of the traditional ornaments from our travels. Among others we have glass balls from Bath and Dubrovnik, painted eggs form Eastern Europe, a Harrods bear, a shell from Santiago de Compostela, a heart form San Gimignano, a sachet from Rocamadour, an angel bell from New Mexico, as well as ornaments from the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Football Hall of Fame. We also put on the tree some of the gifts from Tauck and the hotels on our tours - a dreamcatcher form AZ and a wooden spoon from Wales.

    Some of the ornaments mean more to us than others. I have one from Ellis Island which shows the back of a man caring a suitcase while looking over the railing of the boat coming into NY harbor. This reminds me of my grandfather who arrived by boat into Ellis Island over 100 years ago.

    Another is from Monument Valley. While it is a tradional ornament that we purchased from a native American vendor, what was remarkable was the flag flying at her stall. It was for the New England Patriots....a touch of home.

    I think that the purpose of souvenirs is to keep memories alive. these do this for us!

  • Well, I should have saved my post off line as I went to make a correction on a typo and when I saved it, my entire post was deleted. Oh well, if I have time, I will try to repost.

  • edited December 2021

    travel maven
    11:16AM
    Well, I should have saved my post off line as I went to make a correction on a typo and when I saved it, my entire post was deleted. Oh well, if I have time, I will try to repost.

    travelmaven, look to the right of the forum screen. Above the list of forums (countries/areas), you will see something that looks like this partial screen grab:

    The forum software automatically saves a copy at regular intervals (every few min.?), so even if you leave the forum (or turn your computer off!) then return to it, the post you were working on should still be available as a draft. It may be missing a line or two. Check it out. Maybe you'll be lucky.

    The number next to "My Drafts" was for this post- I didn't finish it but closed out of the forums so I could show what the screen looks like if you have a draft. When you do as I did and come back you'll see the number of drafts you haven't posted. Some of you may be surprised to see you have a number of drafts- if there are some drafts that you never posted because you forgot about them or just started over and no longer need, they are easy to delete.

  • I mentioned earlier that I collect ornaments for the Christmas tree. When I undecorated the tree last year, I put each ornament in a bag and enclosed a note saying where it came from and when -- so that when I'm not around, my children will be able to share my memories. This year when I undecorate, I'll have 3 more to add -- from Hawaii, Montenegro and Croatia.

  • Thank you Alan for your helpful post, however, it appears that I don't have any drafts. When I closed down the tab for Tauck this morning, if there were drafts, they disappeared. This is good information to be aware of in case this happens again. You are definitely our Guru for all things technical pertaining to Tauck and I thank you for that. You are a gem.

  • Oddly, there's no way to delete drafts I know longer wish to save. Unless AlanS knows the secret menu?

  • I think once you actually post your comment, the drafts disappear.

  • edited December 2021

    You can delete a draft by posting it or moving your cursor to the right of the draft listing where a tiny “x” will appear- you know what to do now! :DSorry, I couldn't get a screen grab of the little "x" :D Here ya go: :)

    Also, don't forget if you do something that causes your post or document to suddenly disappear, don't forget the old "back" key. Sometimes that will save you. Also, on Windows machines don't forget to check the "Recycle Bin" (I don't know if the iPad has an equivalent except in Photos.)

  • Ah, that is in the Tinga tinga style, I have several of those types of painting, they are fun.
    We have bought a lot of paintings on our tours, it’s always more meaningful to meet the artist. We have also run out of wall room!

  • Great posts guys. I'm going to note down the options for the trips we have planned for the future. I'm looking forward to cork products in Portugal. I actually have cork yardage to sew with but haven't been able to decide what to make with it.

  • I turned some inexpensive fabric with cork and wine bottle designs into padded table runners, placemats and napkins. The napkins, of course, are unpadded. Also wine bottle bags and even covers for recipe books!

    Yes, this was a terrific thread. Thanks for starting it.

  • There is a store called Cork and Co, located in the Bairro Alto area that has all things cork — including umbrellas and fashion jewelry. They are located in the Bairro Alto area. A very interesting place to visit. For a selection of their products you can visit their website.

  • One more suggestion: if you have extra time in Lisbon and have an interest in Jewish history, try to arrange a private tour with Paolo through Lisbon Explorer. I took several of their private tours: Hidden Lisbon Jewish Private Tour and Sinatra. Paolo is exceptional! I had arranged to tour again with him 2020 and 2021 but cancelled. Hoping the thirds the charm in 2022!

  • I buy small watercolors and prints and have them framed with heavy frames and mats to make them look "important" and hang them about my home and office. They provide me with happy memories and guests always seem to enjoy and comment on my "little artwork". Confession - I have spent far more money on the framing than I ever have on the watercolors and prints, LOL.

  • Karenna,
    I do the same thing. They are easy to pack. I like looking at the prints and remembering the wonderful trips I have taken.

  • edited January 9

    Karenna and Colleen— I do the same!! In Japan I amassed a collection of postcards and had them framed. Wonderful memories!!

  • As said previously I buy postcards - both scenic photos and art ones. We made this simple rack from a piece of painted wood, hooks added to hang it, small eye screws, ribbon and small spring clips made for hanging Christmas ornaments. I often rearrange the display and some years use it for Christmas cards. Fun and cheap.

  • Colleen, Nancy and Claudia, I'm glad I'm not the only one. Nancy, your Japanese prints are beautiful. And Claudia, I love how you can change the cards to fit the seasons or just to give yourself something new to enjoy from time to time.

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