I fell in love with this store at first glance, especially this big piece I saw parked against one of the walls: a huge leopard climbing a log, and I just had to have it. I didn't think I'd be able to buy it, since there was absolutely no chance I could take it back home with me due to its size. Fortunately, upon noticing my interest in the piece, she told me that they shipped internationally if necessary. I went through with it and the piece came through intact. Everyone who sees it in my living room looks at it intrigued and asks about it.
Rua Ipiranga, 55
Rio de Janeiro
This store is soooooo cute! Little ornaments that'll set the mood pretty much anywhere.
I'm a big fan of Brazil, so I had to pick out a few of their pieces, which scream Brazil all over them. And it's not like other typical cheesy tourist stores you find at just about any corner, this one's got personality.
Rua Maria Quitéria 27 Ipanema (50 m from the beach)
Tel.: +55 (21) 2267-4603
My wife went berserk in this little store at Laranjeiras called Pe de Boi. We ended up buying a few of their items to take home with us.
People keep asking where we bought this stuff and how to get it. Well, Rio, Brazil, that's where!
Rua Ipiranga, 55 - Laranjeiras - Rio de Janeiro, RJ - CEP 22231-120 - Brasil
Walk into Lehnert and Landrock, a little book shop close to the Greek Club, and in the back you will find a small room filled with late 19th century, early 20th century era black-and-white pictures of scenes in Egypt and across North Africa taken by a couple Europeans of the name of the book shop. Great place for souvenirs.
Lehnert and Landrock is on the western side of Sherif Street close to the intersection with July 26 street.
A beautiful courtyard in the Old Town housing several artisans' shops and a small cafe/chocolaterie. Go there if you feel tired of hustle and bustle of the usual tourist routes and would like to view and buy truly unique stuff made from wood, glass, etc.
Vene street, 6
Be prepared to bargain hard for these Terracotta Warriors. We bought some from a shop in the night market and got them for what we thought was a bargain price of £5.
However, we bought some others from some hawkers at the Terracotta Army site at a fraction of the price (and the quality was only slightly inferior).
Xi'an night market and Terracotta Army site.
Funky, radical designer items that cause your friends to say, ‘Didn’t know they could do THAT with a corkscrew/lamp/cheese slicer?!’ A good stop is at Illums Bolighus on Amagertorv. Danish design at its best.
And why don’t you take the ultra right-wing politicians from the Danish Folkeparti with you when you go. Their xenophobia is getting on a lot of people's nerves. No, don’t send them back. Keep them.
Situated in a peaceful, quite courtyard very close to Divan Yolu, Yerebatan Sarayi and Aya Sofya this is a perfect place to stop for lunch or a drink.
The medresseh itself houses workshops and exhibition rooms highlighting traditional Turkish crafts such as calligraphy, ceramics, jewellery and so on which you can look round either before or after your meal.
The food was well prepared and very tasty and our kick-boxing, friendly and attentive waiter was great!
The menu reflects more of a cafe than a restaurant feel with dishes such as lamb meatballs served with chilli and spaghetti and scrambled eggs with tomatoes and chilli
Caferiye Sokak., Sogukkuyu Cikmazi No 1
Quite easy to miss but is signposted from Caferiye Sokak
One of Phnom Penh's better market complexes. Set around a run-down 1930's art-deco building, it has cheap bags, t-shirts, random souvenirs and food on sale; it's a great place to test out your bargaining skills.
Located near the Central Bus Station, you can't really miss it. Every taxi driver knows the location. Phsar Thmey is the Khmer name.
Bring this back as a great holiday souvenir or present. The tradition of carving and giving wooden lovespoons began hundreds of years ago in Wales when young men gave them to their sweethearts as tokens of affection. Different designs and sizes convey different messages: a cross means faith, a horseshoe symbolises luck, a knot signifies everlasting love, and so on.
A cluster of parking lots in downtown NYC are transformed on a Sunday to a giant outdoor antiques market, full of trash and treasure and people-watching opportunities.
I got an amazing silver necklace for $25 a few years ago, and there's always a few oddments that are good for people back home who hate tacky souvenirs but expect a gift.
Look for the tourist leaflets - the markets are clustered around 20-something street.
However cheap these may appear at the prevailing exchange rate, you should be aware that UK Customs will be expecting you to declare the item on arrival: if you do so, the additional tax and duty will most likely cancel out your "bargain". On the other hand, if you try to smuggle one in, not only will you will have to pay the tax and duty but a stiff fine as well (and you won't be getting out of Arrivals any time soon, either !).
It's erm... either a back massager or a vibrator. Nothing really epitomises kitsch and the whole cult of kawaii (cute) better than the bubble-headed cat Hello Kitty. What could be a more appropriate souvenir of subverting this wholesome image? Just pray you don't get stopped at customs!
Kabukicho in Shinjuku and Shibuya have many ...ahem... shops for adult entertainment which are almost all staffed by sweet old ladies or young students making a yen or two. Hello Kitty products are easy enough to spot.
A good place to pick up some more unusual souvenirs - lots of craft stalls here, none of the usual tourist tat - and at decent prices. Or you can just wander around and check out the people, then stop off for a cake from the shop around the corner, just over from the tourist info office. Then, head up to the harbour bridge pylon to check out the views.
The rocks, Darling Harbour
Sometimes, when the mercury is nudging 40 degrees and there isn't space on the beach for a German to lay out a handkerchief, let alone a towel, escape from the heat and clamour of Rio can be a welcome relief. The traditional getaway route for Cariocas is to take the Washington Luis highway to the cool mountain cities of Petrópolis, Teresópolis and Nova Friburgo.
Recently though, some of a more enterprising nature have begun to open up the Serra Fluminense above the oil boom town of Macaé in the north of Rio State. The centerpiece of this area is the sleepy hill town of Sana, a bridging point across the crystalline, cascading waters of the Sana River, guarded by the majestic 3,700 foot Pedra do Peito do Pombo (Pigeon Breast Rock).
The best choices for accommodation in Sana are the town’s charming and inexpensive pousadas. Highly recommended is the pretty Repousa da Sana, with its mature gardens, restaurant serving tasty local dishes cooked in a wood burning oven (ask for the baked trout), shop selling local crafts and its comfy, tastefully decorated riverside chalets.
A big bonus here is that the owner, Antenor Sousa, speaks passable English, a rarity in this part of the world. He is a keen photographer and has spent the last 20 years documenting the town and its surroundings so there isn’t a lot he doesn’t know about the place.
For travelers with an eye on their budget, many pousadas also offer a camping option with bathroom and laundry facilities. From your base in town you can take guided walks to the dozens of waterfalls and natural swimming pools that dot the region, trek up some of Sana’s steepling granite peaks or enjoy a very agreeable couple of days’ pony trekking. There’s also enough rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, kayaking and white water rafting to keep the adventure sports enthusiast absorbed for days.
And after these strenuous calisthenics, what better way to wind down than in a hammock on your chalet deck, caipirinha strategically placed at arm’s length, with the calls of roosting flocks of parrots and the chattering of the river lulling you to sleep? Keep a weather eye on your drink though, as the local Micou monkeys, emboldened by human contact, are rather partial to those cachaça-impregnated lemons.
I should point out one small inconvenience. The nearest bank is 12 miles away in Casimiro de Abreu and, as telephones are a relatively new phenomenon in Sana, many of the town’s pousadas, bars and restaurants don’t accept credit cards.
However, carrying cash does not present the safety risks that it does in Rio. You are less likely to be mugged than savaged by a member of the town’s bovine community which outnumbers the human population by some distance, in other words, not very likely at all.
There is no direct public transport link between Rio and Sana. Take an air conditioned coach from the Terminal Rodoviaria Novo Rio to the town of Casimiro de Abreu (the journey last about three hours), from whence you can catch one of the large number of VW Combis that shuttle between Casimiro and Sana. Don't worry when you hit a dirt road as you wind your way up into the hills; the district council in Macaé has plans to pave it but it hasn't happened yet. The Repousa da Sana is about two kilometres before the town centre on your left. Ask the driver to drop you there. There are two websites in Portuguese that you will find useful, the general information site, www.portaldosana.com.br, and the Repousa da Sana's homepage, www.repousadasana.com.br.
Any T-shirt, tea towel, apron, flag or mug emblazoned with the silhouetted image of the bull from the Osborne sherry adverts, superimposed on the Spanish flag. Tourists think it looks cool and “Spanish” – but the jingoistic image is satirised in areas of the country where there is strong regional feeling.
Photographs of the gorgeous old, Colonial-style tiled villas that line the streets of the beachside Cabanyal district – before they are bulldozed to make way for a big dual carriageway designed to shave five minutes off people’s car journeys to the beach.
Friends and family visiting Japan swear by yukata. These light, cotton kimono are easy to pack, cheap, and double up as dressing gowns if the thought of wearing one to the pub on a sunny Sunday afternoon doesn’t appeal.
Completely unlike anything that you might imagine would be Indian. The region is where south-east Asia meets the subcontinent and the bamboo-and-chilli fusion permeates its food and fashion. Pick up exotica at the state-owned Nagaland Emporium on Baba Kharak Singh Marg. As it’s a government venture, there’s no haggling.
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