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Something unique to buy in Germany?

Old Jan 24th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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Something unique to buy in Germany?

I'm going to visit Germany in August or September for about 2 or 3 weeks. I want to buy some souvenirs as usual. But I don't want something expensive and I don't want to buy products of famous brands such as clothing. I want something cheaper and traditional, something would remind me Germany. So, what would you recommend me to buy?
aegean97 is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 07:05 AM
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I always buy souvenirs to use in my kitchen. Something related to the local cuisine. From Germany I have brought cake knives, soup spoons, wine openers and other nice things from department stores or in specialty shops. One of my favorites is a cake server that has a "pusher" to slide the slice of cake off it.
laurie_ann is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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I think Laurie's is a good idea. I bought a kitchen timer once that was shaped like a ladybug. Very cute. Go to a department store and see what you can see.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 08:16 AM
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I've been traveling to Germany regularly for about 20 yrs and I struggle with this question all the time.

Some of the classic "made in Germany" gifts are wood carvings (figurines) or Christmas ornaments, clocks, beer steins, Hummel figurines, and felt hats. I can't say I've ever bought any one of those as I'm not a collector, I don't like to receive (or give) knick-nacks that require shelf space, and frankly speaking, a lot of the stuff I see just isn't my style.

So I too have reverted to kitchen items - both edible and non-ebible. I do have various beer glasses that I've (ahem) "acquired" over the years. Around Christmas I bring home some stollen or other Christmas goodies. At other times of the year I just bring home pictures and memories.
J62 is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 08:16 AM
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Music. CDs. There is quite a lot that is sung in German - not only classical, Schlager and oompah-oompah but also modern rock and pop music. Do some research on Youtube first to find out the names of singers and bands whose sound and style you like, and take the list with you.

Some popular names to start with: Silbermond, Juli, Rosenstolz, Herbert Grönemeyer, Roger Cicero, BAP, Udo Lindenberg, Söhne Mannheims, Udo Jürgens - just to name a few with quite different styles.
quokka is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 08:17 AM
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Where will you be travelling in Germany? Different regions have different cultures and it might help to find a souvenir that reminds you of Berlin or Bavaria or the Rhine or whatever, and it might be something different depending on where you are.
Woyzeck is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 08:31 AM
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Germany is the only country I am aware of (apart maybe from Austria, but that doesn't really count) that uses a special "knife" (they don't have a blade) for fish. So fish knives as cutlery would be quite unique.
Alternatively, Germany in general doesn't export its best white wines. So a dry Riesling from the Mosel or Rheingau regions could make for a truly valuable souvenir (given the pretty inflated prices the better ones tend to trade at during auctions).
hsv is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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I also buy Christmas ornaments from every country we visit. Flower pots, kitchen towels and small bowls have been some of my latest purchases. I am also starting to buy tiles with the word "kitchen" in the language of the country I am in. That also works for my last name in that language. Although I am not crazy about clocks, that may be an option for Germany.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 09:29 AM
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Clocks may be an option in Germany only if you have major $ to spend (or they'll be plastic and stop working after a week). (My brother has a great cukoo clock he bought in the Black Forest - but I think it was more than $200 - and that was about 20 years ago.)

We have long since given up on souvenirs. If we see a piece of art (on the street, in an artists' collective or a gallery) that we really like we will buy it. And we're always on the lookout for special/interesting Christmas ornaments (have some great hand carved ones we bought in Brienz, Switzerland quite a few years ago).
nytraveler is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 10:13 AM
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Good suggestions so far. Although some of these are not traditional, I would add:
- table linens -- there's a huge selection and if you look, you can still find beautiful pieces that are decorated by hand
- paper table products -- again a huge selection of place mats, napkins and runners designed to be disposable
- porcelain -- gorgeous pieces you can use everyday from expensive Meissen to more reasonable Villeroy and Boch
- Crystal/Glassware -- Leonardo is a popular brand
- silicone products for the kitchen -- bake wear, utensils, pot covers, you name it, now all made in brightly colored silicone
- jewelery -- many unique gold and silversmiths
- felted wool -- from clothing to purses to book covers
- Pens/Pencils/Markers - Stabilo, Staedtler, Faber-Castell are just a few German brands

And of course food and wine. Mustard and tomato paste in tubes, honey, hazelnuts, Nutella, Milka or Ritter Sport chocolate, Kinder Eggs.

Department stores, grocery stores, and hardware stores are excellent places to look. My favorite weiss bier glasses come from a Bavarian hardware store.
wanderfrau is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 12:38 PM
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Everywhere we travel, my wife buys an English language cook book for the region we are visiting. Sometimes it's not easy to find but we always get one.
tatersalad is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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"Germany is the only country I am aware of (apart maybe from Austria, but that doesn't really count) that uses a special "knife" (they don't have a blade) for fish."

There are special knives and forks for fish in France, Spain, Italy.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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I have collected a Christmas ornament from every country I have visited for the last 20 plus years. When I decorate the tree in December it always brings back lovely memories. They are as different as 3 White House official ornaments, a glass bird from EuroDisney and a tin bird from Bali.
Wa145nzJeffery is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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I'm confused, hsv, about the "bladeless" fish knives of Germany. A Google search only brought up the ordinary fish knife that I have seen all over Europe, and sometimes in the States. The one I'm thinking of has the blade rotated 90 degrees so it is flat as you hold it. You use it to "skim" (separate)the flesh from the bone for something like a trout that is served with the bone in.

I must confess I had to be instructed by my "Practice Wife", who was British, the first time I saw one of those among the place setting when we went to dinner with her parents. Her instructions usually consisted of smart kicks to my ankles under the table until I paid attention to her way of doing things new to the Yankee barbarian.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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You've had some really good suggestions - I like the tableware / homeware responses as you'll get good use out of anything you could buy. I once bought a potato stamper / masher made of wood; I've never seen one of a similar shape since that time. A lot of people seem to visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt shops that are open year round for Christmas decorations. There is one in Rüdesheim and another one in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. They are exquisite but a little on the costly side. Another thing which you may not have considered is perfume or similar (scented handcreams, etc.). Recently buying perfume as a gift for someone I was struck by the fact that every country seems to have their own brands which are virtually unobtainable elsewhere, with a few brands which are pretty much international. I am not sure how many of the products in Germany are available elsewhere in Europe (or the US for that matter) but a couple (like Betty Barclay, Jil Sander or Bruno Banani) I haven't seen elsewhere (please correct me if I'm wrong). You could probably get some inexpensive and eminently packable things from a Parfumerie like the chain Douglas.

lavandula is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 03:37 PM
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I buy little framed mirrors from each country I visit and 1 or 2 art postcards.From Germany, I brought back the Nutcracker wood ornament and a cute little mirror. My mother in law always buys tiny paintings of the MANY places she visits and has a wall displaying them. That is where I got the idea from.
tinabina is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 03:38 PM
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Oh and if you go to Rothenburg, take the "Night Watchman Tour". Loads of fun.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 03:48 PM
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Try going to your local Budnikowsky (the Walgreens of Germany). Lately, they have had a selection of local souvenirs (e.g., mugs, pencils, carrier bags, tissues) for a PITTANCE. Budni rules. If you want something really spectacular, at a great price, a universal gift, they also carry the traditional Dralle handsoap, in a pretty decorated black box - - this is a fabulous traditional soap (I have one friend in the U.S. who keeps asking me for it). Also, the world's best deo stick (for men or women) is the Tabac original. The 4711 deo spray is also twelve shades of classic. You will make like a bandit and make everybody happy. Shop Budni.
dfourh is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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aegean97, where are you actually going in Germany? That might help people make some more suggestions.

lavandula is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 05:28 PM
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Steiff teddy bears!
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