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 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!