Just today, I was looking through my photographs from Morocco when I came across these pictures of my favourite souvenirs.
Morocco is a shopper’s paradise, to say the least – walking through the souks, there’s a multitude of things to discover, so many strange new trinkets and crafts and antiques the likes of which you’ve never seen anywhere else. Big paper lanterns in greens and reds, damascene bracelets made of iron and filigreed silver, tiny painted tea cups and heavy silver teapots, hammered metal mirrors and rugs made from cactus fibre that shimmer in the light.
Even if you aren’t a big spender (which I certainly am not), the haggling culture is intense – I kept getting seduced into deals too good to pass up.
When I travel, the constant souvenir that I pick up is jewellery – not just because it’s gorgeous, but also because it’s something that I’ll actually make use of, as opposed to something that will just sit on a shelf gathering dust.
In Morocco, however, there was one unusual souvenir I had my eye on: a traditional tea set, complete with glasses and kettle and serving tray. I wound up finding all three in different places – the kettle in Fes, the tray in Meknes and the glasses in Chefchaouen. They were gorgeous but weighed a ton, and lugging all three around in my backpack for the duration of the trip wound up being a serious labour of love (I now mildly empathise with pack animals).
Along the way, I also picked up teas to go with it (rose and mint, delicious), painted silver earrings and bracelets (of course), damascene jewellery, hammam goodies (olive oil soap, mud shampoo and the best scratchy exfoliating mitt on the planet, called a kiis), tiny ceramic bowls for the kitchen, two pairs of traditional slippers (one for me and one for a boy, who asked for “a souvenir we could use together”), and a couple of long, traditional shirts (the first bought out of desperation to cover my bum from sight of all the local layabouts, who never tired of commenting on it).
And while I may not have all of these with me in Seoul, these pictures remind me just the same of all the experiences, places and sights they made me think of months down the line…
…though I’d still happily forget the backache of carting around pounds of silver ;)
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