Souvenirs are like tiny memory capsules for me. When I hold the object in my hand I am instantly taken back to the moment of purchase. My favorite souvenirs are earrings – small, easy to carry, and as unique as the market in which they were purchased.
Earlier this month we moved into a new house and as I unpacked my earrings one by one to put them in my jewelry box I took a trip down memory lane. Wooden beads from Bolivia, earrings made of cowrie shells from Africa, and finally a set of hammered copper earrings from Prague.
I laughed holding the Prague earrings in my hand. Unlike most of the other earrings in my collection which had come from back woods type of markets or handi-craft stalls, these were purchased on perhaps the most touristy place in Prague – the Charles Bridge. Somewhere over the Vltava River on the way to see a smaller bridge covered in locks I decided I needed these, and the matching necklace. My husband of course, obliged willingly. 🙂
If you’ve never been on the Charles Bridge it is famous for the numerous statues of saints that line the bridge. Connecting the two sides of Prague, the Castle looks over the bridge, giving the whole area a medieval feeling. It’s also covered in buskers, artisans, painters, and any kind of performer you could ask for – it’s almost like a carnival during peak season as hordes of tourist move from one side of Prague to the other. Many hotels in Prague offer city tours that include the bridge, so you also have a lot of tour guides stopping along the way giving a historical perspective on the bridge, the statues and the city.
Holding the earring in my hand I was taken back to a very sunny day along the Vltava when we climbed to Prague Castle, picnicked in the park, watched street performers do magic, visited the clock tower, and did the traditional “tourist” Prague experience. It was an unusual day for the two of us, who generally like to stay off the beaten path. The rest of the time in Prague we did get off the beaten path, exploring neighborhoods, visiting outlying areas to see soviet era architecture and taking the Prague metro everywhere.
After several moves and three kids only one of the earrings remains in my jewelry box, but the memory of Prague lives on every time I hold it.