Monday, October 20, 2014

Trip to Italy! Venice: It is Unrecommended to Feel the Pigeons

Miss me? Not only I was taking a blog break, but I was taking it in Italy!

L and I have been planning a trip with our Moms for a couple of years, and spent the last 12 days traveling around Italy by plane and by train. We visited 4 regions and saw a lot of art, architecture and really old things, shopped a bit there (and here), ate a ton of food (and drank with the locals) and bonded with the Cats of Italy, while leaving Vizzini on his own for the longest time ever. What an adventure!

I took hundreds of photos, which I won't bore y'all with, but here's a little view of what we saw and did in each area, along with the goodies we bought. And of course, as this is a fashion blog, I recorded my outfits.

I took a very small capsule wardrobe, mostly composed of clothes I'd already decided to get rid of, with the goals of having a wardrobe that would:

  • travel well,
  • cover a variety of temperatures in different regions, 
  • have a mix of casual and dressy, 
  • still be fashionable and comfortable, and
  • gradually get smaller to accommodate any purchases.

I didn't take pictures of all of my separate items - I had been in a flurry of planning, work and cleaning for the previous two weeks before we left and was kind of busy. I'll mention which items were left behind (with a "Donate or keep" sign) as we go.

My travel outfit:
I like to look presentable when I travel. I also like to wear the most items when I'm actually in transit, so that I can adjust my layers accordingly.

  • Jacket - Banana Republic, thrifted, last seen here in May with geometry
  • Top - Talbots, thrifted, can't find when I last wore it, but it's been a long time
  • Skirt - Club Monaco, last seen here (3rd outfit), in August
  • Boots - Doc Martens, consignment, last see here in September to see The Wooden Sky
  • Jewelry - crystal studs; silver metal cord with pearl pendant, gift from Mom
I wore the jacket most of the time, both for warmth and as an extra pillow. 

The big wrinkly mushroom skirt was wonderful and the floral Doc Martens were excellent walking shoes.

The top stayed behind. I rarely wear it, event though I like the cut. I thought it would be a great travel top: no wrinkles, a little bit of warmth and a versatile colour mix. It ended up being stinky (I sweated in it a great deal), washed poorly (took 3 days to dry) and generally annoyed me.
I wore the skirt several times, usually as my travel clothes between cities and towns. By the end of the trip, the hem was filthy - good thing it's washable.

I took several of my rattier camisoles with me, and left almost all of them behind.
The boots weren't a good choice, in hindsight. They were difficult to get on and off (the metal in the last set off the detector in airport security a couple of times), and they were hot to wear. However, keepers!

All four of us flew from Victoria to Vancouver, and caught a 9.5 hour flight straight to Frankfurt. We splurged and went Business Class all the way. Our flights to and in Europe were both via Lufthansa.
Moms being cute. Mine is on the right; L's on the left. L looking sleeping in the second row.
As we flew overnight, we all tried to get some sleep. When we arrived in Frankfurt, everyone on the plane loaded into a couple of buses on the tarmac, and were transported to a gate. We missed our connecting flight to Venice by 10 minutes, even though I sprinted the length of the Frankfurt airport - my first instance of getting really sweaty.

We arrived late in our Venice hotel, got settled in and changed into lighter clothes to go for a wander around.
The light in this hotel was like a 70s Vegas lounge. 

  • Dress - Hemp & Co., purchased here in September 
  • Shoes - Kenneth Cole Reaction, consignment, last seen here in June
  • Scarf - blogger gift
  • Jewelry - a purple crystal pendant

I bought this purple dress specifically for this trip, and it was the most wonderfully comfortable item I wore the whole time. You're going to see a lot of it. I'm not sure how much I'll wear it now that I'm home again, but it was a fabulous travel dress.

The shoes are my very beat-up sandals; they were also the best shoes I took with me - and I left them behind as well. By the end of our time in Italy, they were just thrashed. Thank you, sandals!

The first of many hugs with L:
The end of a long and frazzling day of travel.

We were hugely amused by this list of hotel instructions.
Hee! "It is also unrecommended to feel the pigeons."

It was a full moon the night we arrived.
Looking over the Rialto Bridge, which spans the Grand Canal. Those stripey poles are for gondolas.

Our first full day in Venice. The outfit.

  • Top - Oxmo, last seen here in May with cracked ice
  • Trousers - handmade, thrifted, last seen here in August with a mandarin jacket
  • Shoes - Enzo Angiolini, thrifted, last seen here in November 2013 (they've been living under my desk at work since then)
  • Jewelry - Shi Studio pendant

I love the colour of this top, but again, I rarely wear it. The shoes were already very beat up; I've had them in mind for this trip for many months. Both items were left behind.

The trousers were a nice change of pace for days when I didn't want to wear a skirt. Keeper!

Our Venice hotel provided breakfast. It was a very warm day, although cloudy, and we headed out early to explore Piazza San Marco.
Gondolas lined up for the tourists, facing the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

We meandered around the streets - Venice is a walker's dream.
From one of the many little bridges.

The first Cat of Italy!
An angel-lion? No matter - he seems to have taken a shine to L.

Ah, there's our first real Cat of Italy.
All Italian cats have a very aloof quality.

When the tide comes in, the lower piazza areas and streets flood. This bride was posing out in the middle of the square, surrounded by water.
The water was up to 6 inches deep; there were temporary elevated sidewalks in several areas.

We visited the Doge's Palace, and went up to the top.
Looking down on the square.

We took a gondola ride!
Venice is an incredibly old city, and so beautiful.

The Rialto Bridge again.
It's very touristy, even in October. Vendors were selling tourist crap and roses everywhere you looked, and there were still tons of visitors on the sidewalks. I can't imagine how insane it would be in high season.

Highlight of Venice: L and I found a little restaurant off a side alley, full of locals. We had the vino de la casa russo (red house wine), with shrimp and polente, and spaghetti with anchovies and onion. Amazing food!

Funniest moment: The 9 hour time change really messed with me. I woke up on the first morning, checked my watch - yup, it's 7:30 and we're going to be late meeting our moms for breakfast! I woke up L, showered, he showered...and then I realized that if you look at a watch upside down in the dark, it looks like a different time. It was actually 2:30 am! Oops!

After such a short taste of Venice, we were up early the next morning to catch the train to Firenze/Florence! Travel outfit.

  • Sweater - Coldwater Creek, thrifted, last seen here (3rd outfit) in March
  • Long-sleeved t-shirt - Plum
  • Skirt - as above
  • Boots - Miz Mooz, last seen here (3rd outfit) in March
  • Belt - thrifted
  • Jewelry - leaf pendant

The sweater's been an around-the-house item for several months, and the long-sleeved tee is one of two that I brought on the trip for possible cold weather layering. Both items were only worn this one time, and then they were left behind. The weather in Venice was the coolest of anywhere we went, and none of the heavier pieces I'd taken were necessary.

Although the boots have been with me for a few years, they've become very scuffed and worn. I wore them one other time while in Italy, then left them behind. They were uncomfortable, and way too hot to wear. Good riddance!

My birthday landed on our last brief morning in Venice, and Mom bought me this wonderful Murano glass snake pendant.
It came with a black rubber choker, which reeked. I'll use this on my own silver chain.

Also as a birthday present, L bought me this gorgeous necklace and earrings set.
I love the purple, yellow, orange and pink beads. So pretty!

Next up - Florence!

Oh, and a reminder: Shoe Shine is this coming Friday! 


  1. Oh wow, what a birthday! I love that you traveled with your mothers - that suggests a very happy family life indeed! Venice looks dreamy. You and L look fabulous too - thanks for sharing a piece of this fabulous experience with us. xo

  2. I think we'll forgive your absence since it was to such a lovely place. As long as you continue the travel pics. Reminds me of the times before kids when we travelled to Europe. Dream on! Xo JJ

  3. Oh my goodness Sheila! I'm so happy for you!!! I've been once to Italy, and absolutely loved it! I can't wait to see more photos of your travels! And how very clever to take items that you were able to part with should you need luggage space. Brilliant!

    I'm like you....I always find myself thoroughly cleaning my homje before I go away. I'm sure my cat sitter cares not one wit, but I do it just the same.

    Okay, gotta ask...typo on your title? Feeling, feeding...the citizens prefer you don't feed the pigeons, and I'm sure the pigeons prefer you don't feel probably both, LOL.

    Welcome home!

  4. What a great holiday, thank you for sharing it with us!

  5. Fabulous!
    Looks like you had a wonderful getaway!
    Welcome back, I beg your cats were happy to see you.

  6. Sue, nope, it's not a typo (at least, not on my part) - it's from the hotel "guide". :)

  7. Oh, you sly dogs, I mean cats, sneaking off to Italy. What a great idea! I can't write too much here because I'm verklempt. The history, the architecture. I'm so glad you got home safely despite your previous peculiar arrangements.

  8. Oh, yes I see it now Sheila...LOL. I did get a chuckle when I read that the information folder was a property of the hotel. Typical of me...too much information and my eyes start to wander. Gets me into trouble sometimes, :)

  9. What an incredible tripe Sheila! Looking forward to reading more about your travels - what a great trip! My sister has been to Venice and she had so many beautiful photos like yours too! I've never been, maybe one day. I definitely want to splurge on a business class trip one day too..might be a long way away though! I've heard it's worth saving up for. Certainly looks comfortable! :)

    I wonder if people have run into strife trying to feel the pigeons, or if they meant to say feed! Who knows!

  10. How wonderful! I'm so thrilled for all of you that you went on this trip. Thank you for sharing your photos with us. :D

    You look so amazing, I can't believe you made a travel wardrobe of things you could get rid of; it's genius.

  11. Sheila! I'm so happy for you! This is exactly the kind of experience we remember for the rest of our lives. Especially since you shared it with your moms.

    And such funny stories! Love the pigeon instruction and waking up at 2:30. You didn't merely wake up: you got hubby to shower! An anecdote you'll tell for years.


  12. ooohhh - venice!
    how wonderful! we were there in mai (lot of pics on my blog) for 7 days. it´s really the most beautiful city of the world :-)
    love your "leaving-behind" strategy!

  13. Wonderful photos! Glad you had an adventure during the blog "break." Italy is grand!

  14. What a spectacular birthday location - I've never been to any part of Italy, so it was a treat for me to travel to Venice vicariously. Your family gave you some rather lovely presents too.

    I'll get your book off to you in the mail when I'm back from my vacation.

  15. Venice! Birthday! Traveling with your Mums! All sounds just fantastically beautiful, interesting and cozy! The strategy of leaving your old wardrobe behind strikes me as very original. Can't wait to see more. xxx

  16. What an amazing trip!! How wonderful you were able to experience it with your moms!!

    PS, thanks for the note, I certainly understand it is hard keeping up multiple accounts! I appreciate your kind words and knowing you're still reading along :)

  17. OMG those moms must have been soooo happy!
    How very nice of you and L to take such an amazing trip. I've never been to Venice… I can only wonder-


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