Travel can make us do strange things sometimes. We slip into relax mode and our rational guard may be down. How often do we find ourselves on vacation and see “things / objects” we believe we just have to purchase? A “souvenir” that were we in a normal frame of mind we might otherwise avoid. I’m guilty of many of these “types of” purchases over the years and cannot blame any influences on my decision making process – other than an overwhelming desire telling me, “I must have this.”
This is one such purchase. This travel souvenir was purchased a few decades ago and was recently retrieved from the back (yes the nether regions of one of my storage cabinets) as I de-clutter!
The story behind my coffee pot and cups starts in East Berlin – BEFORE the Berlin Wall came down. This is not a history lesson post, but for those who may not recall the Wall as it was, the Berlin Wall was a solid concrete barrier built in 1961 to cut off Eastern Germany from Western Germany – a legacy of the Cold War.
Thankfully the Wall was demolished in 1990.
Our visit to East Berlin was a wee while ago (1989) when I was back packing through Europe with my friend Catherine. We were staying in West Berlin at the time and decided to visit East Berlin for a day. Entry was via Check point Charlie, where our passport was stamped and were granted visas for a day visit. We had to change 20 Deutschmark into East German marks to spend in East Berlin.
The amusing challenge was with spending the Marks! Being an Eastern Block country, supplies of anything were limited. We stopped into what was probably a corner store and the shelves were as empty as Woolworths’ shelves on the day before an Aussie Public Holiday! There was zilch food options to spend our precious Marks on. So we ended up in a China shop stocked with random souvenirs. I spent my Marks on a china coffee pot and two cups. Random – very. Why?
- Only one third of our way through our backpacking tour of Europe these heavy, breakable commodities had to be stored in the bottom of my back pack and carted around for the next five months!
- I don’t drink coffee! (Back then and to this day – that hasn’t changed.)
Catherine was almost as bad – she bought two coffee cups – but at least she drinks coffee! When asked if she has ever used them – a firm “no” was her response! We agreed it was a useless, random purchase when backpacking. My coffee pot and coffee mugs hold no sentimental value, apart from a triggering a travel memory – a day spent looking around a town in East Berlin.
What travel souvenirs have you bought in your travels on impulse, only to wonder when you arrive home, what on earth were you thinking at the time?
I also have these guys – but that’s a story for another day!