These are the items that I took with me to my Da Lat trip but never worn – you can see why. The flats were not practical for the walking and the biking and the rain, and the polka dot pants don’t go with my hiking boots, and the chambray shirt is too thin to be worn with my cardigan and too bulky to be layered underneath my sweatshirt. The funny thing is, these were the first three things on my packing list. I thought they’d make a good base for an outfit – basic top, fun pants, comfy shoes. It just goes to show no matter how carefully you plan, you can never plan for everything.
And yes, that’s a new chambray shirt. The material is thinner and more breathable, and it fits me a little better than my thrifted one. That totally justified me buying it, right? Right?
Shirt: Esprit, Pants: Old Navy, Flats: Zalora, Necklace: gift shop in Venice
Sorry for the late notice, but here it is, our inspiration for next week’s SIA, courtesy of Jess and John William Waterhouse – “Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May”:
I’ve always loved the Pre-Raphaelite paintings and wanted to pick one for SIA, but I have a hard time deciding because they’re all so intricate and full of details. Thank you, Jess, for making that choice for me :) Remember, if you want to participate, just send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 11th. Have fun!
Do you guys remember that part in Forrest Gump when Forrest, “for no particular reason”, just starts running? And then he meets a bunch of people and has a bunch of revelations about his life? “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”, by Rachel Joyce, is kind of like that, except instead of Forrest Gump, you have a British retiree, Harold Fry, who, on a whim, decides to walk from one end of England to the other, with nothing but his wallet and the clothes on his back, because he believes his walk will save a friend who’s dying of cancer.
This book couldn’t be further from my wheelhouse (it’s more like something my mom would read), but I picked it up because 1) I like road trip books/movies, and 2) this is a British road trip, which of course appeals to the Anglophile in me. In fact, this is a very British book, period. From the characters to the settings, it’s so British you can almost taste the Earl Grey and digestive biscuits from the pages. The story gets a little sentimental at times, but it’s also heartbreaking and beautifully written in simple language, and a fairly quick read, so I really enjoyed it.
As for the outfit, Harold is walking in his everyday clothes and his yachting shoes, which I choose to interpret in a casual outfit + loafers. Basically the worst outfit you can wear if you’re walking the length of a country. I added the necklace because Harold buys a rose quartz pendant as a present for his friend, and this is the best I could do to imitate that. An actual rose quartz pendant would be nice though.
Shirt: Gap (thrifted), Jeans: Calvin Klein, Loafers: 5th Avenue, Necklace: my mom’s
Even though the scenery in Da Lat is perfect for photo shoots, I didn’t really take outfit photos while I was there. Mostly because I was too busy taking pictures of other things, but also because my outfits were kind of uninspired. Functional, yes, but hardly blog-worthy. This outfit and the SIA one I posted on Monday are actually very representative of what I wore, so I didn’t see any point in taking outfit photos every day.
My packing list worked out pretty well, though. I only wish I had packed more T-shirts for layering. Da Lat is said to have four seasons in one day – spring in the morning, summer at noon, fall in the afternoon, and winter at night – so in the morning I just piled on the layers, only to peel them off one by one as the day went on, and then put them on again.
Also: apparently I had a thing for elbow patches while packing sweaters for this trip.
Shirt: Uniqlo, Cardigan: Zara (Zara Boy, actually), Jeans: Hermes, Boots: Payless
Da Lat may be the City of a Thousand Pines and the City of Flowers and the City of Eternal Spring, but what I love most about it is the architecture, which is why I saved it for last. You see, it used to be a resort town back in the French colony period, and the wars didn’t touch much of it, so it is full of French-style villas. Our hotel, for example, used to be the summer house of the Governor General of Indochina back in the day. Even the more currently built houses followed the same style, so the whole town looks like something in the south of France or Switzerland.
Da Lat is known as “The City of Eternal Spring” or “The City of Flowers”, so naturally you find flowers everywhere. One of the few touristy things that my family did while in Da Lat was to go to the Flower Park, and it was worth it. Yeah, you get the tour buses and the people who go there solely for the photo ops, but the place is big enough that it doesn’t really bother me. All the locals kept saying that the rainy season has ruined a lot of the flowers, so I can only imagine how amazing the city must look in the spring when all the flowers are in bloom.
So, Da Lat. My dad had a conference there, so my mom, my niece, and I tagged along. It is actually the furthest I’ve ever traveled in Vietnam, and one of the prettiest towns I’ve ever seen. It’s up in the mountains, so the weather is super nice (aside from the humidity), and the landscape is absolutely gorgeous, all lush and green. Even the flowers seem more colorful. I didn’t get to explore as much as I wanted to – it’s to be expected when you’re traveling with a preschooler – but honestly, you don’t have to go out of your way to find beauty in this town. We stayed at this hotel on top of a pine hill overlooking a lake, so just walking down the hill and around the lake is enough. Most days, my mom and I just took my niece walking/biking and wandered around all days before meeting my dad for dinner. We didn’t really do touristy stuff, and I prefer it that way – no rushing off, no jostling with a crowd to see this sight or do that activity; it’s a relaxing vacation in its truest sense.
OK, I’ll just let the photos do the talking now :)