Een armband vol herinnering

When I think back of my childhood and think of the vacations I had with my parents then I think of one thing: Italy. We went almost every year with the camper to Italy to discover new beaches and cities and „La dolce far ninety“. My grandparents travelled as much as we did. My grandpa was a bus driver and took my grandmother to trips with tour groups all over Europe. I loved to hear their stories and the look at the same time at the „travel bracelet“ of my grandma. A travel bracelet is a bracelet with small charms and pictures of the cities she had travelled to. I imagined that there was a story behind every single charm. The story of a journey and a discovery of a new city. Of course, I also wanted to have such a bracelet to collect my own charms on our journeys. My godfather finally gave me bracelet for my birthday and on the last few holidays with my parents together I started collecting charms in Italy.

As I got older and my grandparents spoke less about their travels, I forgot about my bracelet and also the bracelet of my grandmother. While my grandmother with Alzheimer’s gradually forgot charm for charm  and travel for travel, people around me began to collect Starbucks cups of the countries and cities they had visited. I didn’t think about the bracelets for a long time. After my grandparents died I quietly walked through their house in search of an object for me that I wanted to take from their house to remember the feeling of being with them.  In their bedroom I found a jewelry box and when I opened it I saw the bracelet. It was like a movie in my head and I saw the whole stories they told me again right in front of my eyes.

I took the bracelet with me and back at my home I searched my own bracelet to put them next to each other.  My bracelet looked quite empty next to the one of my grandma. I put both bracelets on my arm and decided to start collecting over again.

Last week, Conrad and I went on a little trip to Austria and Munich. I had the bracelets with me and wanted to buy charms of the cities we visited. In the past I remember that you could buy these charms in every gift shop. But we walked from gift shop to gift shop and couldn’t find them „This is something we don’t sell anymore,“ or „We probably have emblems with small cats,“ was the reply of the shop owners.

Between two large souvenir shops at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich, we found a small shop who only sold knifes. And there we found it in the shop window, little charms for travel bracelets. It must be one of the smallest shops throughout the city, which was fully stacked up under the roof with knifes. The old lady behind the counter was quite surprised when I asked about the charms: „I do not sell them often anymore,“ she smiled and pointed at the jewellery store across the street, „Today the girls just buy the charms for Thomas Sabo and Pandora.“ „Well,“ I said, „I’m just old-fashioned.“ and smiled proudly at my little charm of Munich.