Souvenir Shopping On Your Expedition Cruise
Although a holiday creates plenty of wonderful memories, we still like to bring one or two mementos back to remind us of our experiences. And a polar expedition is no different. If anything, you will want to remember the time you travelled to the end of the world even more than a usual trip away, so a few souvenirs can be a great way to do this.
Even in the remote regions that you will be visiting, there will be a chance to look around gift shops and grab something for yourself or your loved ones back home. A little bit of cash in the local currency is something definitely worth bringing along, should you visit somewhere not set up to receive card payments. Here are some ideas of the types of things available.
Walking around the capital of Stanley, you might start to feel more at home than you thought you would. Red phone boxes and other nods to British culture can be seen everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want a souvenir or two. One thing you will notice is that the islands are very windy. This weather contributes to the large amounts of driftwood which wash up on the beaches and is then skilfully turned into jewellery, ornaments or pieces of art.
Other souvenirs include many things made from local wool (clothing, phone covers, wallets) and pretty much anything you can imagine with a penguin on it. There are even mugs with the amusing image of the ‘penguin of death’ on them, alluding to a penguin’s hypnotic stare.
Iceland can be a very expensive place in which to do some souvenir shopping, but the charming and quirky shops that line the Reykjavik highstreet will still leave you wanting to buy everything you see. You will see multiple stores selling all sorts of outdoor clothing, including traditional ‘lopapeysa’ jumpers made from Icelandic wool.
Just as penguins are on everything in the Falklands, it is the puffin which graces many of the souvenirs in Iceland. There are also items depicting some of the country’s magnificent natural wonders like Gullfoss, Geysir and the Northern Lights. You may also come across one of the cute Christmas shops along Laugavegur.
Whilst there are no shopping streets or local markets on Antarctica, there is in fact a place where you can create the perfect souvenir experience. The Penguin Post Office, as it has become affectionately known, is located in Port Lockroy and is very popular with visitors to this remote part of the world. As well as a few little items, the post office sells postcards that you can mail to friends and family back home. You can even send one to yourself. Imagine the memories that will come flooding back when it arrives on your doorstep a few months down the line.
The first thing to point out is that Greenland has strict rules about what can and can’t be taken out of the country, so ask the person in the shop whether you can take something home before you buy it. The items available usually showcase Greenlandic culture and heritage. Traditional materials and techniques are used to create things that the locals love just as much as the tourists. Expect to find souvenirs made from animal bone, fur or skin as the natives in Greenland respect the wildlife by taking only what they need and using every part of the animal for various different means.
You will see artworks, jewellery, clothing and traditional figures known as tupilaks. In Greenlandic folklore, a tupilak was said to house the spirit of an ancestor or loved one, but nowadays they are tokens that have become popular souvenirs. Nevertheless, it is said that a tupilak has the power to protect its owner from enemies.
Every shop that you visit in Longyearbyen (the capital of Spitsbergen) will be the northernmost shop of its kind in the world. Everything is tax free here too, making it a popular place for visitors to pick up souvenirs. As well as the usual things like keyrings, fridge magnets and postcards, you will find fossils that have been recovered from the permafrost and outdoor clothing that might come in handy during your expedition.
There are plenty of ways you can remember your trip of a lifetime and souvenirs are a great one that also allows you to share your travels with others.