Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Silly Souvenirs: Something to Crow About

Pelop2013 084We don’t buy many souvenirs that can’t be consumed within a few weeks or months of our return. Honey and spices are among our favorites because they tuck so well into the suitcase and are flavorful reminders of good times and tastes we have had during our travels.

From a practical standpoint, when you spend a good deal of the year traveling, as we do, the last thing you need is more ‘souvenir stuff’ to collect dust in your absence.

So I can’t explain when I became focused on ceramic roosters; the kind that are often used to decorate European kitchens. It was somewhere between Italy and Portugal or possibly, France that I decided in order to look more European, our kitchen ‘needed’ a colorful ceramic cock!

The Rooster’s ‘Tale '’

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Portuguese tile
Before you label me quite feather-brained, let me tell you a bit about the rooster in Europe. 

Take Portugal for instance. . .

As the legend goes about the Galo de Barcelos, a man accused of stealing was sentenced to death by a judge who was about to dine on a roasted rooster. The convicted man told the judge that the rooster on his plate would rise and crow to validate his innocence. And sure enough, as he was placed on the gallows, that rooster raised up and began crowing – and spared his life!

To this day, the rooster represents faith, luck and justice in Portugal. And roosters like those in the photos above and below are found in every tourist shop!

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And then there is Italy. . . .where the story is told that back in 1516 a crowing rooster in the middle of the night is credited with waking the powerful Medici family and foiling an assassination attack on them. As a result, Guiliano Medici ordered the creation of a ceramic rooster pitcher and they were given to the peasants for good luck. The rooster continues to symbolize blessings, prosperity and well-being.

Back to ‘my’ rooster quest . . . those  beautifully sculpted Italian ceramic roosters don’t fit in our small travel suitcases and I am not birdbrained enough to carry one back in my lap on a 10-hour flight from Europe. 

Meet “Dooley” – our kitchen rooster:

Sometimes things are just meant to be.  At a recent auction that our animal-loving friends at Dooley’s Dog House in Kirkland had organized for homeless animals, I found my rooster. 

While he isn’t quite the sleek, tall, good-looking Italian ceramic version I had in mind, my somewhat reasonable (okay. . .$15 bid) secured his homecoming at our house. (I did note no one else seemed interested in bidding on him, let alone taking him home)

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kirklandprt2 002While he isn’t a suave Italian specimen, he is turns out to be one talented cock!

He’s actually a cookie jar – one of a collection of whimsical jars made by a long-ago company AMC in New York – and he crows - every time you open the jar!) 

And by coming home with me, he’s already provided some good fortune  for some homeless animals out there. . .

So what about the souvenirs you buy? What are your favorite things to bring home? Practical or silly?  Tell us about it in the comments below or shoot us an email.  Hope to see you back here on Travel Photo Thursday!
And stop by The Tablescraper for some Sunday reading at "Seasonal Sundays" - you'll find some posts by us and many, many other entertaining writers!

Until then, hope your travels are something to crow about (sorry, I couldn’t resist)!!!


  1. I guess sometimes things just take our fancy - and we don't really know why.
    Happy travels, and collecting, and have a great week. and thank you for stopping by my blog today.

    1. I always enjoy a visit to your blog, Jill. Thanks for the return visit here.

  2. Your rooster was worth waiting for. I enjoyed hearing the folklore on roosters. A few years ago, when painting in Italy and driving through Tuscany we stopped at Volterra, where alabaster is mined. The town was filled with every possible items made from alabaster.I did not buy anything as it looked too common. We stopped for an evening drink and as we drove from the town, an alabaster lamp glowed in a window of a shop which had closed for the day. This is a memory that haunts me and soon I will return and purchase this lamp.

    1. Oh Helen, how many times have I been overwhelmed with the 'too much' of something in our travels. I think the Greek 'eye' is one of them, but then when I get back I wish I'd have picked up a couple of them. Good luck - hope you get back to buy the lamp and that it will always shine brightly for you.

  3. Great title to your post, Jackie! That was a fun little history lesson and I think it's neat on your interest in them :)

    1. Thanks for the comment Mike. I've received a couple of emails from others who have roosters as well, so guess I am not alone. Have a great day -

  4. Love your kitchen rooster! I am your newest follower. Stop by for a visit sometime.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

    1. And I am your newest follower as well! Thanks much for the visit today - come back often, the welcome mat is always out!

  5. I like your new Rooster! We were in Portugal and I saw those funny little Roosters and started to buy one but I didn't! Now I wish I had. I love Roosters and have quite a few around my kitchen.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    1. Thanks for visiting Sheila. Hope to see you back here often!! You'll just have to go back to Portugal and get a couple of those roosters. . .


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