In every known place they stand. The souvenir sellers. Pens, tablecloths, bowls and t-shirts. Everything can be rocked with an "In ❤️ [any location]" print. Or perhaps with a print with the city's name in childish neon colored font. There are as many tasteless souvenirs as there are tourists. Maybe that's why I've cultivated my interest in collecting. To support the local vendors in getting rid of their ugliest creations. Namely, I collect coffee mugs with souvenir prints. But not the nice hand-painted mugs, but those mass-produced mugs. In our family also called "dirty mugs".
My collection of dirty mugs started when I discovered at the airport in Tokyo that I had a few Yen left. What should I buy? It wasn't exactly easy to find anything, because everything was much more expensive than my coins. But finally I found something. It was on a shelf with a reduced price. The mug with pieces of sushi. Not very tasty. Not very pretty. But it had something. It became mine.
Since then there have been a few mugs. In fact, so many that we will soon be allowed to buy an apartment with a bigger kitchen. We have a large wall shelf with five shelves that is filled with about 30 mugs. In one kitchen cupboard, two shelves are overflowing with 30+ mugs. Then there are always some dirty mugs in the dishwasher. Because I don't collect the mugs to put on a shelf. The mugs are used every day to drink breakfast coffee in. If the mugs don't pass the dishwasher test, I throw them away. It's a hard life to be an idiot in the Gyllenberg family.
I actually have a hard time highlighting any particular ful mug as a favorite, because all mugs bring with them special travel memories and the feeling of adventure and vacation. But it is clear that there are mugs that have a better balanced handle or that have just the right weight when you hold them. Mugs that have just the right material and a perfect thickness on the rim you drink from. I'm talking about my Queen Elisabeth II Jubilee mugs.
So white. So perfect. The ultimate dirty mugs. If any of these mugs were to break, I think I'm going to cry. If there is a mug that I don't like? Maybe it's those souvenir mugs with a hole for a spoon in the handle. It's really not comfortable to hold.
I have to admit that my collecting may take some time out of the holidays. Especially when we travel in countries where you don't drink coffee. For example, I've combed through scores of markets in Thailand, only to find that they don't have mugs. Then I feel a little empty. Without a mug, no travel memory for breakfast. In other countries, there are muggles in every small village. Then it can usually get a little out of control and result in a heavy hand luggage on the way home. Because I have to assume that half of the mugs will not survive the dishwasher test. Kind of like the expensive tulip mug I bought at Keukenhof in Holland that didn't survive the dishwasher test and I'm still a little bummed about.
Now that the cupboards and shelves are full, should I stop buying new mugs? Probably. Will I do it? Not a chance. Some people build empires. I collect dirty mugs.
How do you do? Do you also collect souvenirs when you travel?