Simpler travel?

I was exhausted just writing my travel planning post last week! And if writing the post was exhausting, what does that mean for the actual trip???

I faithfully follow Susan of un femme d’un certain age and have mentioned her blog a number of times.  She and her husband traveled to Italy, France, and London last fall.  It looked like a great trip, but she said it was too much moving around.

She just returned from a two-week apartment stay in Paris, with a side trip by train to the Champagne region.  They flew in and out of Heathrow and spent a few days in London on their way home.  No rental car and only 2 hotels to manage.

I told my husband that staying put in an apartment sounded like a slice of heaven! 

He came up with what I consider a brilliant idea for our upcoming trip!  We have an apartment lined up in Italy but had 2 additional hotels reserved in different Italian cities near the end of our stay.  He suggested we cancel those and extend our apartment stay instead.

We already planned a trip to Florence to see friends in Florence while we are there and will stay in a hotel there.  But we are still down two hotels which is a win and a cost savings to boot!

Yes!

He did the deal with the apartment and I had a lot of satisfaction cancelling the hotels! 

We haven’t been to Italy since May 2019 and it is easy for me to get carried away.  So, I need to remember what I enjoy most:

  • Having a cappuccino at our favorite hangout(s)
  • Picking up the New York Times at the local train station
  • Lunch at our favorite beach café
  • Walks along the water
  • Shopping at local spots for food and vino
  • Exploring nearby towns
  • Seeing our Italian friends
  • Afternoon naps in our apartment
  • Tons of reading
  • Ending the day with an aperitivo, also at our favorite hangout(s)

I think our simplified itinerary is going to be just the ticket. End of!

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”

Lao Tzu

Allene

Jeans

I have a love/HATE relationship with jeans – intentional emphasis on HATE.  But more on that later.

My favorite blogger, Susan B., recently returned from Europe. She spent time in Milan, Paris, and London. She also spent a fair amount of time in the Italian countryside.  She shared her packing list in advance.  IMO, she took too many jeans. She only brought one pair of pants that weren’t jeans.  She is always very well put together, but I thought all the jeans didn’t quite work.   In a recent Instagram post, she said she had ‘hit the wall’ with denim jeans. When she looked at her travel photos, she felt that her jeans looked too casual.

Having been to Europe, specifically Italy, I have observed that jeans are increasingly being worn by women of all ages.  But they still aren’t that common on women 60+ and usually not worn every day.  I do see them more frequently in smaller towns and villages, but not that often in the cities.

We have some Italian friends our age who live in Florence.  I think I have spotted jeans on one of them, once!  It is more common to see Italian women dressed monochromatically and wearing casual slim leg ankle pants, but not jeans. Mireille Guiliano, of French Women fame, also choses not to wear jeans.

That being said, jeans are definitely common on the younger Italian women I have observed (along with pearl stud earrings).

This brings me back to the U.S.

My Montana girlfriends wear jeans most of the time. They look great in them.  Jeans are appropriate there for virtually every occasion.  Depending on the venue, jeans even show up at Montana weddings and funerals.  Jeans on women, regardless of age, are certainly common in the western U.S.

Now back to me. 

While I like jeans on my friends (and my husband), I don’t like them on me.  I have a heck of a time finding a pair that fit right and don’t bag out. And I don’t find them very comfortable. I have one pair that I don’t actually hate (and that is high praise, indeed)! I will definitely pack ONE pair of jeans (that I don’t hate) for our next trip to Europe.  They will be the ticket for certain, but not all, situations.

While this isn’t true for me, I know this quote is true for many of you:

Jeans are always a good idea.

#silverjeans

So I guess it is a good thing we don’t live in Montana. I would have nothing to wear!

Allene

Paris Light

This post is titled ‘Paris Light’ because I am not a Francophile or frequent visitor to France like many of you are.  If you want to follow a true Francophile, follow Susan B une femme d’un certain age.  She is a frequent traveler to Paris and has a lot of French inspired posts.

Now back to me.

I went to Paris for the first time with my best chum in March 2006.  I was moving to Dayton, OH and we thought a trip like this was a fitting celebration of our then 40-year friendship. My friend (NS) is more of a French fan than I was at the time.  We flew out of Seattle on British Air through Heathrow and onto Paris.  We stayed on the Left Bank near the Sorbonne. It was an amazing trip!  We walked everywhere and took the Metro with remarkable ease.  We were able to walk down to the Siene and see Notre Dame from all angles.

Highlights included:

Since then, my husband and I have had a number of short stops in Paris on our way to or from Italy.  I remember the first time we went.  I was afraid that he wouldn’t love it.  Thank heavens, I was wrong!

After my first visit in 2006, my husband and I have had the opportunity to branch out a bit more.  We have stayed on the Left Bank a few times and on the Right bank for the first time in 2019.

We have revisited many of the places highlighted above, but have added to our list:

Nothing beats just walking around Paris and experiencing with all my senses. Hopefully, a return trip is in the cards at some point. 

“Paris is always a good idea.” – Audrey Hepburn

Allene

$$$$ T-shirts make me mad

My favorite blogger, Susan, posted this on Saturday.  On Friday, she posted about a cool and very unique top she had found.  I didn’t follow the link, but apparently it was pretty pricey.  Her followers ‘reacted’ to the price.

Her point is that it is better to have fewer things of higher quality.  And preferably produced in a more sustainable fashion.  I tend to agree with her but have never been able to quite follow that path.

According to this article, the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry.  That fact is important to me and makes me want to think ‘sustainable’ when buying clothing.

I have two challenges:

The first challenge is that I always think I am going to lose weight so I don’t want to invest a lot of money in each piece of clothing.  That topic is for a future blog.

The second challenge and today’s topic is quality, particularly t-shirt quality.  I live in t-shirts. I might consider spending $70 on a t-shirt, if it doesn’t bag out, washes well, and stays ‘nice’ for more than one season.  I have yet to find a pricier tee that meets that criteria. My favorite t-shirts are from Target.  They absolutely could be classified as ‘fast fashion’. They cost $9 each and I am on my second summer with them.  They don’t bag out, fit well and wash well. Of course, this year’s version has changed so I am treating last year’s tees with kid gloves. 

I want to take a page out of Sweden’s culture of Lagom – not too much and not too little. Swedish people buy inexpensive Billy bookcases from Ikea, take good care of them and hand them down to their kids!  I don’t think my daughter will want my Target t-shirts, but if I take good care of them, maybe I can wear them again next summer.

On another note, I will be doing some traveling this week (to other mask mandated areas) and may not be blogging regularly. 

Mask up, physical distance and stay safe,

Allene