Mugs, t-shirts, magnets, key rings, pencils, caps, postcards, thumbnails of famous buildings and flags; every souvenir reminds us of the places we or our friends have visited. Although one year ago I entitled a post, ?Souvenirs?, I?ve decided that it is time to update that post by sharing with you a more recent experience.

When any memento is bought for a friend, it has a hidden message: ?I was far away but I remembered you?. It doesn?t matter if afterwards the item ends up among books and other things stacked on shelves, or even stored deep inside a drawer. Before buying the item, it might cross your mind whether your friend will like it or not, if it is useful or if it is worth the price.

Not taking into account any of these considerations, I tend to follow my heart, and this summer has been the one in which I have purchased souvenirs more than ever before. The reason may have been due to a very favourable exchange rate, or that I found souvenirs that were very different from the norm such as flip-flops, soaps made from native plants or longyis which is a sheet of cloth widely worn in Myanmar; whatever the reason some of them deserve their own post while this one will be advocated solely to the souvenir I bought in Lisbon.

Standing in front of the stall where a whole host of beautiful squares were displayed, I delighted in how my friends were deciding which square they would pick up; a difficult decision since all of them were lovely. It wasn?t long before we started to chat with a gentleman called Victor, and it was fairly evident within one minute to realize that the squares were not souvenirs but fine works of art. Throughout the conversation we could feel how Victor had put his heart and passion into every piece of art, and we were acutely aware of all his efforts and hard work to obtain such wonderful pictures of amazing Lisbon.

On that occasion, I was not sure whether to buy a souvenir to decorate my house; but if I hadn?t bought it, I would have always regretted it. Now, my tile is waiting to be hung on the wall of my house beside other paintings brought from other parts of the world. If you go to Lisbon, I recommend highly that you seek out where Victor is selling his unique works of art because they are not sold in souvenir shops, or even better still, visit his webpage.

What is the most beautiful souvenir you have ever brought home for yourself or bought for a friend?

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