As I walk the Havelske trziste (Havel’s market), my mind fills with lists and categories and numbers.  I am on a mission, a mission for the perfect souvenirs. I have been given a wonderful opportunity to experience Prague and all its beauty, the least I can do is try to bring some home.


Kitchen witches are found at the end of the market. The witches are traditionally used in Czech homes to ward off spirits and to bring good luck. (Photo by Nicolle Kovacs)

The word “souvenir” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “something that serves as a reminder” and comes from the French language, meaning remembrance or memory. From t-shirts, to magnets, to even just a rock, it is almost traditional to bring home at least a couple souvenirs from trips. Each item contains memories and stories.

I set out to find souvenirs that are not only practical and fun, but also involve some stories and memories. Havel’s Market is made up of two large rows of stalls filled with fruit, jewelry, paintings…. The list goes on and on.  Who would want what? Which items make sense for my list of friends and family?

Soon I flip through paintings while eyeing up a stall filled with chocolates in Prague-themed tins.  The race to fill in the list of who gets what begins.  “This would look good on so-and-so’s* desk, and this would look lovely with what’s-her-name’s eyes.”  I begin picking and choosing as I spot “perfect” gifts. Czech korunas fly out of my wallet at stall after stall.

Suddenly my book bag is filled with all sorts of goodies, and my wallet is filled with much smaller notes.


Scarves may be sold stateside, but at the market one can find quality Turkish pashminas at affordable prices. That is one challenge most cannot fulfill in the USA. (Photo by Nicolle Kovacs)

After a jaunt back to the hotel, the goods cover the bed and categorized into who gets what.  I am overwhelmed with giddiness as I see how well the souvenir shopping has gone.  Each item has a story or fact to go with it, making it more than wood, or fabric, or stone.


Handmade toys fill up a number of the stalls at the market. From puppets, to harmonicas, the little one(s) in your life would not be disappointed by any of the colorful options. (Photo by Nicolle Kovacs)

After a long day at the market, filled with careful choosing and tough decisions, my souvenir shopping is nearly complete.  As a first-time souvenir shopper (and first-time traveler for the most part), this adventure turned out to be a difficult yet fulfilling experience.

The next goal: Keeping the souvenirs a secret till I return to Ohio in seven days.

* This blog entry uses vague manner to keep all souvenirs a secret. What’s the fun in bringing back souvenirs if they haven’t been guessing the whole time you’ve been gone?

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