Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Successful Saturday!

It was nice to wake up and have no aim for the day, just the prospect of wandering (I feel as though I've said that somewhere on my blog before) - my bones were a bit tired from the heat of Padua the day before.

Miss S came with me after breakfast on a sandal hunt - though I told her she really didn't have to. I tried on the ones I had seen the day before and was unhappy with them, so after a couple of hours we parted ways and I took my leisure in all the shops.

With my friend gone, I was let loose. I found all sorts of fantastic deals, buying things that were 50 Euros on sale for 12, and the like.
I went to a lovely leather shoe shop were there were loads of size 35s!!!

(Note: with insoles, I am a US shoe size 5, a UK 3; these are the equivalent to 36, so 35 is even smaller.)

Got these dress sandals (been ages since I had any!) - black and silvery leather with a band of black, clear, and aurora borealis crystals along the thingummy-jig. Original price was something like 110 Euros, on sale for 79, and she gave them to me for 69 and made an extra hole in the straps to fit my tiny ankles. Even better, the soles are not slippery leather, but rather surprisingly grippy - with subtle but effective tread, kinda like the Michelin rain tires. I would not wear them to the opera here because I'd have to pick my way between the high cobblestones. I'd rather chance them on the flatter pavements of London, so I do NOT know how so many of the women wore real stilettos...

Then I went off and got a slew of pretty tops and skirts and a pair of capris. Oh, come on...oh alright, I will put them up on Flickr and you can see them there, address to follow at the end tomorrow.

I returned to the shoe shop to pick up a pair of tan sandals for 39 Euros (originally 69). The most perfect pair of sandals I've ever owned and I wore them to the opera that night with this skirt and - well you'll see the rest in a bit.

It was enjoyable to wear a pair of sandals and not worry about anything. I like to wear shoes and not have to be conscious of curling my toes to keep them on or scrunch up this toe to avoid the itchy stitch or the pinchy bit. You know? I just like to put on shoes and walk, which is what these allow me to do:

I breezed into the shop, picked up the size 35 box, gave it to the assistant and said "Questa, per favore." She was shocked, but I told her I'd tried them on earlier that day and now I want them.

Neither shoe my absolute first choice, but beggars can't be choosers, still better than anything in my size I could find in London.

Probably my limited choice of clothing size has encouraged me to try expanding on my style this year, and rather than refuse an item of clothing at first glance, if it fits and suits me, despite my own taste, then I'll take it.
That applied to yesterday's sundress - it would be a style I admire, in fact I went into the shop because I saw it on a mannequin in the window and loved it. Still, it would never have been a dress I'd have bought because I don't technically have enough up top to keep it on and plan to sew on some straps. But I love that retro 60s print and I thought after trying it on, "I'll keep it on somehow." (It did take a bit of hoisting up throughout the day, though it fit me very well elsewhere.)

Anyway, I've digressed more than yesterday. Sorry if it's too much detail, but hey, we're all friends here, right?

Where was I...?

I dropped my numerous purchases off at the hotel, and there was still much time to go until dinner, so I returned to the piazza next to the hotel and browsed through the murano glass things in the stalls, looking for gifts small enough to pack. While I was out there, dark clouds rolled in and by the time I got back to the room, it was pouring down with plenty of thunder and lightning. Miss S was back, we dressed for dinner, and provided with nice umbrellas from the hotel, we picked our way between the puddles.

We were at the Trattoria Al Pompiere (firemen), just like in 2004. They specialise in plates of prosciutto and salamis, but I decided after all I wasn't in the mood for that much of it.

Antipasto: paper-thin ravioli (yes really) stuffed with basil pesto, and topped with olive oil, toasted pignoli (pine nuts), sundried tomato and black olive pesto, which added just the right touch of saltiness to the sweetness of the basil and pine nuts.

Primo: Sea-fish tartare on lemon drizzled leaves. Sorry, I read the German title which called it Seefisch so am not sure what the English title was though Miss S thought it was Lakefish. The tartare was flavoured with that leaf that tastes like aniseed, the name escapes me...

Dolce: THE BEST so far. Semifreddo of honey and poppy seeds with a lavender sauce. I mean really, how can I tell you what that was like?
The people at the table opposite kept staring at the look of bliss on my face and ordered it when their dessert menu came round.

Finally on to the opera - you thought I'd never get there, didn't you? I took so many pictures of this set that I will have a challenge choosing the ones to post.

The rain had stopped, but the breeze was a bit too fresh, so I was wearing my bolero and later on also a stole.

Some of the candles when the lights were first lowered:

The procession:

The piece de resistance, when the top of the set opened to reveal all the bishops standing in what we had thought was just a wall:

Our seatmate offered to take a pic of us during an intermission, and I forgot to change the setting from Night Landscape to Portrait with Flash, hence the weirdness:

Imprisoned (in the little box of light) before facing the firing squad. I do enjoy the more sculptural sets:

It is a very melodramatic opera, set in the 17th or 18 century. Tosca herself was quite the diva. An opera singer playing an opera singer!

Tomorrow, last impressions of Verona town.

And now I post this before my laptop freezes!


Jennifer said...

Olivia, I have been meaning to write something on your blog forever. Of course, upon hearing your thoughts about living in Texas, I just had to write...

First of all, growing up in Texas and Arizona (then Missouri), I was the biggest little anglophile you ever did know. I dreamt of the day I would leave my roots in Nowhere, USA and move to London. I was completely enamored with England--its size, the accents, the culture, the music, the greenness, the history, the better get the idea.

I saw "A Room With a View" when I was fourteen or fifteen and it became my all-time favorite film. I named my daughter Lucy! It's pretty common to you but you'd never guess how many Americans tell me how odd it was for me to give her that name!

Anyway, a couple of days before my eighteenth birthday, I went to London and continued to spend my summers (and some autumns and springs) there for several years afterward. I've spent time nearly all over the UK and Ireland. I nearly (and I mean nearly) married an Englishman.

Well, I suppose my point is that although I am extremely fond of Great Britain, pretty much ALL Americans are to some degree as well. We loooove you (that's "lurve" to you, girl). When you encounter crass, ignorant Americans, you can still be fairly certain that even if they think you're strange, they also think you're pretty cool. And sadly, it's not a Texas thing at all. I encounter backward yokels all over the country. This is partly due to the fact that most Americans don't travel out into the world or learn foreign languages. Heck, it's possible that most Americans don't travel outside their region WITHIN the US!

Well, as we say here in the States, "Have a nice day!" (And we mean it.) :)

Jennifer said...

And another thing!

I am crazy jealous of you right now. Italy, pfft!

Anonymous said...

WOW...That set is absolutely breathtaking!!! I cannot even begin to imagine how glorious it was in person! wow! you are such a lucky devil. Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait! haha Wait until I finally make it to Europe! There will be no stopping my ventures!!! hehe

Memoria said...

Oh! and Memoria left the above message hehe not "anonymous"

Olivia said...

Hi Jennifer - I think I've seen you around on other welcome to my place!

What a thrilling and enjoyably long comment to read.
So in the end you decided to marry an American? How old is your Lucy?

Before we moved to Texas, we were spending every holiday there. After moving, my Dad complained that now we'd moved, we were spending holidays back in England!

As for yokels, rest assured we get our fair share here in Britain...but they have different names and know just as little grammar as their American counterparts.

I love A Room With A View - wrote an analysis of the movie for a communications class at uni so watched it to death, and have read the book times beyond counting.
I loved the name "Honeychurch" but you're right about the name Lucy.
COincidentally, there was a very very English girl in my high school called Lucy - Claire was another unique name, as well as Emily and Charlotte.

It's funny, but in uni I knew a red-haired freckled girl called Emily Charlotte...I used to tell her how perfect that was.

And finally, when I was growing up here in the UK, my mother used to fret at the people she used to work with who didn't know what towns were outside their own.

And so we are equal :P

Hope to see you around again soon, your comments are most welcome!

Olivia said...

Speaking of Texas, I've just seen the news about the American heatwave.

Tomorrow, Dallas will be 102F, but my Dad was right when he estimated Houston was usually about 10 degrees cooler than the Big D - it's going to be 93F! Good old Houston seems to be escaping the heatwave.

Olivia said...

Ooh Memoria - sorry I missed it, your comment didn't show up for hours.

I am so glad that another of my real life friends has the guts to comment on my page!

'enry 'iggins!

Jia Li said...

I agree with Jen on what she said about most americans not ever leaving a area, I once met a 80 yr old woman in the Yukon who had never been outside Whitehorse...Could you believe that! I wouldn't be able to spend all my time in a little town surrounded by mountains all year...

Rebecca said...

Aaah, Tosca!
"Ma falle gli occhi neri..."
Her balck eyes. I love that part!

Olivia said...

JL - some people simply can't afford it.

Rebecca - I am in a bit of a Greek vein today. In (modern) Greek, I think black eyes are "mavra matia".

tooners said...

I love the sets too - can only imagine what it must have been to be there in person!

NY has been having some really hot temps... but things seem to be breaking this week, from what I caught on the news.

That's the bad thing about some sundresses. You do have to have a little on top for them to stay up properly.. they tend to gap in the places you don't want them to gap in. Some nice straps should do the trick.

I love the party shoes.. so pretty. I love heels like that but I hardly ever wear them. I do have one pair that I fancy quite a bit and wear them to weddings, but my feet always wind up killing me by the end of the night.

You have small feet! You'd probably love looking for shoes here in Bahrain. They mainly come from Asia and are too small for many - I wear a 40 or 41! I can hardly ever find shoes my size, but they always have shoes in your size. The brown sandals look nice and comfy, but do you ever get pain in the balls of your feet or heels from not having any arch support? I have probs w/ this sometimes.

Really nice pics!

Olivia said...

Tooners - oh i missed this comment.
I didn't have a gap problem with the sun dress, rather I had to keep pulling it up all day, as I said I haven't enough up top, although it fit perfectly on the waist and back.

I rarely wear heels higher than kitten heels for shoes, and 2 inches on boots.
I have a rather sexy 3 inch heel boot from Nine West, but it hurts the ball of my feet, so I fixed that with a pad.
Along with the usual 2 support inserts.

Yes I have high arches on my feet!
Some shoes are too flat.
Even in comfy flattish shoes, after enough walking I will get pain in the ball and heel of the foot.

I think the most perfect flat shoe I have ever owned is my tan leather driving moccassin from Aldo. Most of this type are abominably flat, but the Aldo design is a little more sporty and instead of the rubber spots, it has a slightly more substantial sole and a great deal more support inside.