From the outrageously tacky to the downright bizarre, the list of trinkets we have collected on our holidays over the years is endless. We’ve either bought them or been given them, from Tibetan prayer bowls to miniature Eiffel Towers, and the requisite cheesy destination-themed fridge magnets and ceramics.
Buying these gifts always seems a good idea at the time – especially when we are using up that last bit of foreign currency. However, the trinkets and oddities of many a destination’s souvenir shop on our cheap holidays fade into comparison when you look at some of the extravagant offerings that HRH Queen Elizabeth II has been presented with on overseas visits.
Our monarch has had to accept a whole host of random gifts, from the small – a box of snail shells – to the large – one live elephant – while she has been representing our country abroad.
As we celebrate her Diamond Jubilee this weekend, we recall the bizarre objects she has had to take back to Buckingham Palace over the last 60 years – from two black beavers, a grove of maple trees, and 7kg of prawns, which hopefully she didn’t keep in her hand luggage!
Taking a Liberty with Statues
Whether it’s a mini Eiffel Tower or an exact replica of the Sydney Opera House in all its majesty, if it’s remotely worth visiting, it can be yours to own in miniature! You don’t even have to travel too far to pick up one of these mantelpiece mementos. A visit to Rome will fill your house with dust-gathering trinkets, with no historic place left unmade. From the Colosseum to the Pantheon, or even the Trevi Fountain – these Italian icons are a must-have gift for anyone!
Comedy hats can usually raise a laugh, although trying to cram a Mexican Sombrero into your bulging suitcase can sometimes be more trouble than it is worth. Australian Cork Hats have proved popular over the years, and comedian Tommy Cooper has made Moroccan Fez’s popular. But the Queen of Tack has to be a Statue of Liberty crown hat.
Buying “authentic” gifts like Australian boomerangs, Swiss Cowbells and, of course, Virgin Mary water bottles is a staple for any trip. Topping the list for tackiest souvenirs is Lourdes in France. The town’s streets are packed with merchants selling cheap, bad-taste religious souvenirs, such as flashing Virgin Mary statues.
The Home of Tack
But if you were to crown one city the Queen of Tat, it would have to be Las Vegas. So much so, that it would be difficult to find a souvenir in Sin City that isn’t tacky. In fact, it’s probably the only place in the world where you can get a Las Vegas branded Egyptian pyramid or an Eiffel Tower without setting foot in Europe!