Ah, the fresh smell of tourist merchandise; it usually has an aroma somewhere between new-car scent and bubble gum, and even flower-shaped souvenirs rarely smell like actual flowers. In Amsterdam there were enough real flowers around masking the odor of commerce, however, so it didn’t matter what the city’s tchotchkes smelled like. In fact, my five senses are having a hard time letting go of all the kitsch (be it scratch-and-sniff or not) that I encountered on my recent travels, and one thing I’ve been dying to share with you are all of Amsterdam’s fake tulips. I think when a city offers up a hearty helping of self-referencing nicknacks it’s a true marker that its merchants have a sense of humor about themselves, and if this hunch is true people throughout Amsterdam have daily chuckles about their love of blossoming bulbs. It’s not enough for the city to rest on its laurels, basking in the fact that their region is famous for its colorful perennials – oh no, Amsterdam also overflows with wooden tulips, silk flowers, and tulip-shaped magnets, bottle stoppers and pens. My love bought me three of the tulip pens below, and I’ve placed them in a tiny vase at my desk; I so look forward to their sight and rubbery smell transporting me back across the ocean on a daily basis.
Psst: I can’t wait to share images and anecdotes from Amsterdam’s famed floating flower market with you in a few days. Until then, how about taking a moment to reflect upon the souvenirs you’ve taken away from trips (be they from near or far)…Are the most meaningful ones photos or tchotchkes, and is it your sense of smell, taste, touch, sight or hearing that causes you to relive your travels most vividly?