When Mark & I moved to Spain after graduation, we decided to collect ornaments from the places we traveled. The idea was someday, when we had our very own tree, it would be filled with our favorite travel memories.
It wasn’t until 2+ years after we bought our first ornament that we actually got our first tree to display them all on – and it was a magical moment. I thought it would be fun to share a post of our favorite ornaments and the places we got them from. Click the arrow on the right to see some snapshots from our trips where we got the ornament.
We took a bus from Amsterdam to Brussels, right after the New Year so we were able to catch the last remnants of their Christmas decorations. The picture on the ornament is of Grand Place, a central square in downtown. This ornament reminds me of searching for the best Belgian waffles and drinking good beer. Check out our previous post about Brussels to learn more!
I was able to visit Nuremberg on a girls trip to Germany to see the Christmas Markets. We took a train from Munich to walk around the markets, listen to the live music and visit a historical museum about the Nuremberg Trials after WWII. Looking at this ornament I’m reminded of a quiet moment during that day, where we found a cafe with outdoor seating and blankets, and each ordered a warm drink to end the evening. Check out our previous post to learn more about the Christmas Markets in Germany.
Dublin was the first stop of our Ireland road trip last summer. This was a special trip since we went with Mark’s parents to trace some family heritage. One of the afternoons in Dublin we were able to tour the Guinness Factory, which inspired this ornament. The toucan is one of the symbols for Guinness used over the years in advertising. When I see this ornament I am reminded of a special afternoon tea with my mother-in-law. To learn more check out our Dublin City Guide.
Florence was a stop during our week long trip through Italy with our mothers. It is my favorite city in Italy, and I’ve been lucky to visit again for work. The picture displayed on this ornament is of Piazzale Michelangelo, which has one of the best views of the entire city! Seeing this ornament I am reminded of wine tasting on my Mom’s birthday, crying at the top of the Duomo (you know I’m afraid of heights) and sipping Prosecco with the most marvelous view at Piazzale Michelangelo. To learn more, check out our Florence City Guide.
We spent 4 days in Split during our trip through Croatia. You may not know this but Croatia is one of the top lavender producers in Europe! We loved this little angel because the purple under her skirt is a bag of lavender. Even years later she still smells amazing! When I see this ornament, I am reminded of fulfilling my dreams of swimming in Krka National Park, reenacting scenes from Game of Thrones and spending an incredible day on a catamaran boat on the Adriatic Sea. To learn more, check out our post Split.
Cusco was our first stop during our trip to Peru in April of 2019. We fell in love with this ornament at a local market due to it’s intricacies and Incan symbols. Since we spoke Spanish, we were able to communicate with the woman who owned the shop and she informed us that her husband Hugo made it. (His name is carved into the bottom of it). When I see this ornament I think of Inca ruins and the views of orange rooftops from our Airbnb each morning. To learn more, check out our Cusco City Guide.
We’ve been lucky enough to visit Amsterdam twice. The first time to celebrate New Years and the second time with our Moms in the Spring to see the tulips. This ornament is Delftware (also known as Delft Blue) which is traditional in the Netherlands. When looking at this, I’m reminded of thousands of tulips as well as sparklers & champagne with strangers at midnight. To learn more, check out our Amsterdam City Guide.
Lagos, Portugal was a place we visited each year while living in Spain. It was only a ~3 hour drive so it made for the perfect weekend getaway. Our first time there together it rained the entire weekend, so we spent a lot of time exploring local shops and got this glass blown ornament. The second time we went was a bit sunnier (and perhaps crazier). Looking at this ornament I’m reminded of floating in tubes with friends at the beach, dancing the night away until 4am and windy sunsets at the end of the world. Check out our post, Road Trip to Lagos to learn more.
This is one of our newest ornaments! A few years ago we went to Portland, ME for a weekend trip with some friends. We spent the day walking all over, eating delicious food an drinking amazing beer. Recently this year, I was able to go back with my Mom for a girls weekend (COVID tested & precaution taken). This ornament reminds me of cherished time with friends and family. Check out our post: Portland, ME (in a Pandemic) to learn more.
Düsseldorf, Germany was the second trip we took after moving to Spain. We were able to meet up with a good friend from College and spent our day visiting all the different Christmas markets together. I’m reminded of drinking glühwein in the cold crisp air when I see this ornament. Check out our post about visiting Düsseldorf & Cologne here.
We drove to the Dingle Peninsula while staying in Killarney. The town of Dingle itself is where we bought the ornament and it was inspired by all the sheep we had seen throughout our road trip in Ireland. Little did we know that later in the day we would be able to hold baby lambs! (Swipe to see the picture). Looking at this ornament reminds me of rolling green fields, snuggling with soft lambs and the long hike to Devil’s Horn. Check out our previous post: The Dingle Peninsula.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is known for it’s colorful buildings stacked into the cliffside of the Italian Riviera. We bought this ornament during our first trip there with our Moms. I was also able to spend my 25th birthday here as well, on a work trip! This ornament reminds me of pebbly beaches, shared daiquiri buckets and the warm sun on my skin. To learn more, visit our Day in Cinque Terre post.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we share some more of our favorites and the stories behind them!