During my return trip to Greifswald, I had a couple of days free to travel around Germany. I guess I could have visited Berlin – this is my third time in Germany and the only place I’ve been in Berlin is the airport – but then I figured it would be more fun to revisit a place I really loved rather than trying to see something new. So that is why I decided to return to Quedlinburg. It is as close to a perfect fairy-tale town as I’ve ever seen, and I’m happy to say that after 9 years, it is still the same insanely pretty place that I remembered. If it wasn’t for the cars, you could see exactly what it was like 500 years ago. In fact, this time it’s even better, because my friends in Germany put me in touch with a local lady who gave me a personal tour, so I got to learn a lot more about the town and its history.
The one thing that struck me about Quedlinburg is that it is almost impossible to think that people actually live in those houses, so I’d always wanted to see the inside of one just to feel that it’s real. The town has a festival during which some houses would be open for tourists, but alas, I was a week early for it. However, as luck would have it, the tour guide lady actually lives right in town (her house is in the newer part of town, which means it was built in the 1700s as opposed to 1500-1600s. That in Quedlinburg counts as “new”) and she gave me a home tour! The inside is pretty much like a modern home, except when you look out the window you can see a Medieval castle . To her, it’s perfectly normal, but to me, it still feels like fantasy.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a travel post without a photo of the local cat, so I’m going to close out this one with not just a cat photo, but a dog photo as well:
It’s been a year of return trips. Earlier this year, I went back to Singapore, and recently, I took a 10-day trip to Germany to make a short documentary about the Vietnamese alumni at the University of Greifswald (the alma mater of my parents, sister, and brother-in-law). It was quite exciting to return to a familiar place and see it virtually unchanged – it was almost like coming home. I was too busy with shooting the documentary to do much sightseeing; luckily I did have a couple of days free at the end of the trip, and Greifswald is a small town, so I still got to visit all of my favorite places like the Marktplatz and the village of Wieck. I also got to try currywurst for the first time (eh, overrated. I’d take a normal bratwurst with mustard over that, thank you very much.)
Another exciting thing is that I got a taste of fall weather in Europe, which I’d never experienced before, having only traveled there during the summer. Well, the novelty wore off fast, I can tell you, because it rained virtually every day while I was there. I basically lived in my trench coat, as you can see from the photos. But that’s northern Germany for you.
It’s again my turn to pick the inspiration for SIA, and I chose a watercolor by James McNeill Whistler, “Variations in Violet and Grey“:
This is the third Whistler we’ve featured in SIA, and the second I picked. As you guys know, I’ve been trying my hands at watercolor painting for a while now, and it struck me that watercolor is such a popular medium, yet I can think of no famous painter that mainly used watercolor (Egon Schiele is the only name that came to mind.) It’s probably because watercolor is not as long-lasting as oil paint, and it’s more suitable for quick sketches. Anyway, I went on the MET collection to see if I could find some watercolor paintings. There are quite a few sketches by Whistler and John Singer Sargent, but I picked this one because, despite being almost all neutral colors, there is still an incredible sense of life and movement in it, and because the scene reminds me of the market place I saw during my trips to Europe.
Send me your outfit photos (flat lays are welcomed too!) by next Monday, September 25th, if you want to participate. I’m looking forward to it!
Today is the first day that feels like… I wouldn’t say fall is here, but summer is definitely on its way out. There is a hint of crispness in the air, a touch of mist among the trees (though it could be smog), and even though the sunlight is still hot, it no longer scorches but falls more gently. Of course, it will be at least another month or two before it can truly feel like fall around here, but I’ll take what I can.
And to celebrate that, I’m wearing the new top I bought from my trip. I don’t usually buy anything full prize, but when I saw this in the store, I had to get it. I love anything with a ginkgo motif (I already have a brooch), and the fact that it’s made of rayon just sealed the deal. It’s the perfect transitional piece – the fabric is light enough for summer, while the print is appropriate for fall.
After I wore this tunic with jeans for SIA, I thought that the silhouette looks familiar, but I couldn’t place it until I realized it was similar to what Indian women often wear in everyday life – fitted trousers (churidar) with a tunic (kurta). Even the embroideries are reminiscent of the designs on the kurta as well, though perhaps not as elaborate. So today I decided to recreate the silhouette more faithfully, with actual trousers instead of jeans and flat sandals instead of heels. The funny thing is that the outfit can also be seen as a modern take on the traditional styling of the Vietnamese áo dài (which is a long tunic over loose-fitting trousers). But that’s what I love about style – you can take your inspiration from almost anywhere!
I’ve been feeling disinclined to wear any jewelry lately. Mostly it’s because the tops I’m wearing are pretty attention-grabbing on their own (like this fish-print blouse), so any brooch or necklace would just clutter up the outfit. Besides, I’m getting bored with all of my accessories, but don’t want to buy any new one. Also, it’s really hot and muggy these days and I just want to put on a shirt and be done with it (to the point I didn’t even bother changing my jeans + sandals pairing.) It’s going to change in the fall, I’m sure, but for now I’m going to stick to a “minimal jewelry” look.