Lifestyle

Senior Living: A lifetime of collected souvenirs brings sweet memories


This writer’s living room is packed with knick-knacks from important trips.

Article content

Well, not exactly around the world, just around my apartment, where I have collected souvenirs of my travels over the years. It has been my habit to bring home just a small souvenir of the places I have visited. So let us start our tour.

Advertisement

Article content

We will start at the beginning, the long-ago time I left my homeland, Hungary. My destination then was the Hotel School in Lucerne, Switzerland. I spent several months in that beautiful country. Sitting on my bookshelf are two items to remind me of my stay. Both wooden, one a little bear, the emblem of Bern, the Swiss capital; the other a lovely little wooden box with the words “Chateau Chillon” engraved on it, a souvenir of my visit to the medieval castle located on Lake Geneva.

After my Swiss sojourn, not wanting to return to Communist-ruled Hungary, I gratefully took advantage of the welcome opportunity to settle in Canada. My subsequent travels spread out from my new home in Montreal.

Frequent trips took me to Mexico, where my maternal uncle and his wife had settled, and from these I have several reminders. Two tiny Aztec sculptures, a man and a woman sit contentedly on my bookshelf. Also on the bookshelf sits a black candle disguised as an Aztec warrior’s head, complete with headdress.

Advertisement

Article content

Sitting on the windowsill is a candlestick, bursting with colour, which I picked up in Cuernavaca, the beautiful town of eternal spring near Mexico City where my relatives lived. There is also a lovely coffee set sitting on the sideboard, bought in the silver-mining town of Taxco, and, of course, a few pieces of silver jewellery I could not resist.

Another trip with personal connections took me to South America. I was visiting my childhood best friend Marika, who also left Hungary and who had settled in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was so looking forward to seeing her again. On the way, I stopped in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From there, my bedside table holds a tiny wooden statue of Christ the Redemptor whose huge original guards the city atop Corcovado mountain.

Advertisement

Article content

Reminders of my wonderful stay in Argentina include a gourd, complete with straw. It is the container of El Mate, the traditional Argentine drink. El Mate is also the motif of a tea towel hanging in the kitchen which depicts the many variations of the gourd container. Hanging in the hallway is a small painting of a colourful house in San Telmo, the historic district of Buenos Aires, bought from a street artist.

After enjoying Marika’s hospitality, the two of us flew off to Iguazu waterfalls. Located in both Argentina and Brazil, the falls boast over 275 cascades, which makes them — sorry to say — wider and taller than Niagara Falls. The Iguazu Falls, complete with exotic birds and wildlife, are also depicted on a T-shirt I brought home with me. I still wear it proudly on hot summer days.

Advertisement

Article content

On a less personal level were water-borne trips I have enjoyed over the years. Of these, one in particular stands out, a river cruise from Vienna to Amsterdam taken 20 years ago. The cruise took us along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers and the new canal linking the Danube and the Main.

From tiny villages and vineyards to the Cathedral of Cologne the unforgettable cruise was like ”European history come alive at a regal pace,” the heading of an article I wrote at the time for the Travel Section of the Montreal Gazette, to which then travel editor, the late Paul Waters also contributed.

My souvenirs? A very pretty neckerchief picked up, along with 4711 Cologne- the original — at a stop in a village on the Rhine. Also, an egg cup, with a windmill motif, bought at the end of our cruise on a visit to the “outdoor museum” on the river Zaan near Amsterdam. Not much as far as souvenirs go, but a whole lot along with the memories.

That about concludes our tour for today. There could be future tours to other destinations. I enjoyed reminiscing and thank you for accompanying me on my travels. Happy New Year, everyone!

— Alice Lukacs writes the Life in the 90s column

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

close