Antique oil lamp from RhodesI like bringing home little trinkets to remind me of our travels. We have collected Christmas ornaments in the past. With three weeks and so many amazing destinations this time we brought home quite a few goodies. I love especially having things that I’ll use every day.

It’s hard to pick favorites but I dearly longed for oil lamps, and we stumbled upon a too perfectly full of jumbled antiques to be true shop in Rhodes and selected two lamps for our kitchen. The lovely shopkeeper told us the story behind them …

At the end of the day, when all the day’s work is done you’re meant to light them and give thanks for your blessings. She also told us to pray that we’ll always be as happy as we are now, when we’re young and healthy. I thought that was just beautiful, especially after drinking the ouzo she provided us. Her store was a treasure trove and I just wanted to wrap it all up and bring it home.

Antique klikatera from RhodesBut we were on a budget (already blown at that point — we bought the oil lamps with anniversary gift money from my momma) and had a looming EasyJet luggage weight limit, so I narrowed it down to an intriguing piece called a klikatera (this is how she wrote it for me in English). In the old days, we learned, before grandmothers had chocolates for their grandchildren in Greece, they boiled fruit, like a quince, down with sugar and served it in this dish. The glass dish rested in a pewter holder with the spoons and forks circling it. I loved this mental picture, and loved it even more when she sat us down and served us a dish of delicious candied quince.

Foolishly we packed these treasures in our carry on luggage to protect them from the baggage throwers at the airport, only to have the forks confiscated at security in Charles de Gaulle in Paris. I *always* end up in tears at that airport.

Painted bowl from the Spice Bazaar in IstanbulI had only an hour at the shopping traveller’s Mecca, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. I sped in dizzying circles through the behemoth covered bazaar, and bargained for a painted trinket for the Christmas tree, a set of red tea glasses and a print of the old Constantinople city. Earlier in the day at the Spice Bazaar I selected a pepper grinder and a small painted bowl.

We also bought some handcarved wooden spoons from a charming mountain man in the tiny Turkey village of Sirince. He sits all day at his little workshop and crafts spoons for the travellers who comes his way.

Provencal outdoor tablecloth from ... ProvenceIn Provence I picked out some fabric to make curtains with in my living room, a tablecloth for our patio table, and a few odds and ends like a frommage knife, assorted lavender-scented goodies and foodstuffs. Oh, and (ahem) three bottles of pastis.

On our last day in Paris I came across an antique book market and browsed through stall after stall of beautiful old books. My heart lept when I saw the box of 5 euro books with the offer of the third free with purchase of two. I chose three little leatherbound 19th century beautifully illustrated religious books. They’re in French and Latin so I’m not quite sure but I think they’re devotions.

Late 19th century books from ParisFinding my goodies tucked away in the luggage made unpacking a bit like an Easter Egg hunt — ooh look, there’s the jar of pesto wrapped in a sock!

Well, my chores are done for the day (ok, so my only chore was ironing my pants for work tomorrow, sigh, back to work) — it’s time to go light our lamps.


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