Tag Archives: canals

Carnevale in Venice

After much self-inflicted internal debate, my flight attendant friend, Ali, and I decided to chase Carnevale in Venice. We had the same days off & needed to ditch the upcoming snow storm in Philadelphia. Italy was a dream.
After a few days working, we were both exhausted & didn’t know if we wanted to put in the “effort” to go to Italy. Luckily, our intuition (& my roommate, Courtney) spoke up.
We were suddenly reminded that we should “not be lazy” or “settle for the easy way out.” We should seize the moment & fly to JFK, to Milan, catch the train, & to the boat, to Venice to celebrate Fat Tuesday.
The idea clicked like a lightbulb & we were off. Escaping the snow storm for 50 something degree weather & delicious pasta was a no-brainier. We were excited!  



The flight to Milan brought about new flight attendant friends. They took care of us & invited us out. This is pretty common among flight crew. We really do stick together.
It took about 13 hours of actual travel time… 2 planes, 2 trains, a bus & a boat. 





 After a long day of travel, we finally made it to our hotel – which we booked at a Mc Donald’s cafè, thanks to wifi and Booking.com





 We each indulged in a long, hot shower, got primped & dressed, and stepped out for the night.
What I must say is that, in this case, the journey was truly more important than the destination. We made friends with our fellow flight crew on the way over. We met the most amazing young woman on the train from Milan to Venice who talked to us about everything from growing up in Europe, to education, to politics, to young love & so much more…she even shared her mother’s homemade, & Venetian trademark, tramezzini sandwich with us. All of these people fed us, loved us, made feel right at home, and engaged us in the stimulating conversations.
We made the trek to the car-less city to partake in the largest Carnevale celebration on the continent… & when we arrived at Saint Mark’s square, we had a real-life “womp womp” moment. The ground was covered in confetti & the crowd was clearing out. We missed the festivities that we’d traveled so far to see… 





 It was ok, though. After the experience we’d had to this point, we were optimistic… We knew there’d be plenty of after-parties. So, we walked the winding roads & stopped for some of the best spaghetti bolognese I’ve had in my life. Maybe it was the best… or maybe I was famished from our busy day.
We stumbled on the cutest local bar – Devil’s Forrest Pub – where the bartenders seemed to love us. They gave us free drinks & beads all night. They even took shots with us. 





They also pointed us in the direction of the biggest party of the night, “Arsenal.”
After what felt like a journey through The Labyrinth, we finally made it to a long, straight path along the water. The path lead to a historic-looking warehouse that was in the distance. 



This is when I turned to Ali with my fear… Maybe we were being lead to the large, annual feeding of local vampires. Maybe this was the part where all of us unsuspecting fools were fed to the blood-thirsty beasts…. But, man, what a way to go!
We continued on until we made it the huge night market/rave. With food, drinks & multiple rooms of music & flashing lights, we joined the masked & costumed guests on the dance floor. We did Arsenal! 



 Needless to say, we were absolutely exhausted after our big day. When we decided to leave the party, we discovered a water taxi that would save us about an hour of walking (that is if we could find our way back). Side note: Venice is a city with no cars, which means no cabs to drop you off… We hopped on the boat & got off at the stop that we thought was the closest to our hotel.
We wanted to get a good night’s sleep, so we could take advantage of a full day in Milan. It was a nice concept, anyway. A few hours would have to suffice.
In the morning, we enjoyed our free, breakfast at our hotel. The sun was shining, the day was gorgeous, and our view was overlooking the Grand Canal. Boats & gondolas rode by us as we enjoyed the most important meal of the day. 









 We prepped for the day & started our voyage back to Milan… or, at least we thought. We ended up running into some of the crew members from our flight, & joined them for drinks & (inevitably) lunch along the water. We knew it would be a voyage back to Milan, & we couldn’t do it on an empty stomach… Spaghetti bolognese was definitely in order. 





 After soaking up the sun, we took the boat, to the bus, that would take us to the train, to get to Milan. We met with a couple other flight attendants from our flight for dinner. We’re all pretty new to the industry. We had a lot in common & a lot of stories to tell. It was nice getting to know each other.
Although I wish the night could’ve gone on forever, and we could’ve seen more of Milan, time was a factor. We needed sleep & we needed to catch our flight home in the morning… A shuttle to the airport, then two plane rides would have us back home in Philadelphia.
Four days to travel to Europe & back may seem crazy to most people, but to us, it was normal. “No time wasted,” is often our motto. So, when we have days off, we make the most of it… Do you?

Thanks for reading along, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this post. How do you spend your days off? Have you ever taken a spontaneous trip? 

 *Special Thanks to Alyssa Muckey for assistance with photos. Also to my bestie, An Dyer , for her ongoing love & support of my life, my blog & my dreams!

Back Where It All Began

My first blog post was about my first trip to Amsterdam, which was a total dream come true. I wrote about my revelation of wanting to share my journey with the world, hence “Starting Starting At 30.” A year later, I found myself back where it all began…
No place (other than San Diego) has ever made me feel like Amsterdam. I’ll share it with you the same way I share it with everyone else:
After landing at Schipol Airport, my friends & I rode the train into the city. I’ll never forget that moment when I stepped out into the streets for the very first time. I looked around at all the bikes, the buildings & the people, and my soul whispered to me…
“Ceci.” It called.
“Yes, soul?” I asked.
“We’re home.” It said.
“I know.” I replied.
And just like that, I experienced love at first sight.
After that description, I guess it’s no wonder why my friends & family are all intrigued… since my initial encounter last year, I began planning this vacation with two of my sisters, Monica & Angie, my bestie, An (Haute Pink Pretty), my brother-in-law, Chris, & my bestie-in-law, also Chris (Superman Dyer). The five of them are very influential people in my life. Sharing my flight benefits is my way of finally doing something great for them!
The flight from Philadelphia was great. We bribed the gate agents with chocolates to be seated together and we bought an entire pizza for the crew. Feeding flight attendants will only result great service. Take notes, people! 😉
Once we got all our luggage together, we shared a taxi into the city. We parted ways for a bit to check in to our neighboring hotels to get ready for the day… I’ll spare you the details and jump into the fun stuff.
We started our first day walking around Leidseplein Square, popping into random spots for drinks & quick bites.

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IMG_9392Though I love the city, I must admit, the food in Amsterdam doesn’t really excite me. I prefer hitting grocery stores, like Marqt & snacking on local greens, cheeses & fresh bread.
We eventually made our way to the famous I Amsterdam letters, where we took turns posing & snapping shots.

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It was a beautiful (cold, but clear & sunny) day out, so, we spent time just walking around the city. We admired the adorable architecture, the beautiful bridges, the charismatic canals and, of course, the lovely locals.

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We attempted to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the land to make a game plan for the next day’s activities. We ended our night running for cover from the rain in the Red Light District. We were all exhausted & ready to turn in when the weather took a turn for the wet…

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Day two started with a hunt for a beautiful sunrise.

IMG_9273 An and Chris wanted to capture the beauty of this colorful act on film & I wanted to see them at work!

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My younger sister, Angie, joined us. We thought walking toward the I Amsterdam letters would be a great way to start. Because it was early, we figured it wouldn’t be so crowded. We stopped at the Rijks Museum for a few fun shots before taking full advantage of the lonely letters & capturing moments around the park.

Amsterdam Winter Street Style*Above photo by Chris Dyer, courtesy of HautePinkPretty.com

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Soon, it was time to meet with my sister, Monica & her boyfriend, Chris, to check out the Van Gogh Museum. Photos were not allowed inside the museum… So, if you’re ever in Amsterdam, please go see the amazing pieces for yourself.
We quickly made a plan for the rest of the day that included a canal tour by boat & the Heineken Experience. The boat ride was amazing. The weather cooperated & we got to take in the beauty of my favorite city.

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The Heineken tour was so much fun. We played games, learned about the entire beer-making process, took some fun pictures in front of green screens & of course, we drank lots of beer!

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We all split up for a few hours and regrouped in the Red Light District. We met at a favorite local lounge of mine, where learned about sugar water & local grape candies (inside joke). Then, we walked the trademark territory & took in the “scenery” before saying goodnight.
We knew we’d have to say “doei” to A’dam in the afternoon… We had a train to Paris to catch and we all wanted to take advantage of our morning, so we needed a good night’s sleep.
This visit was a wonderful reminder of why I love this city so much…

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned for more posts about my vacation that include Paris, Dubai & Abu Dhabi!

*Special thanks to Angie Salcedo, Monica Salcedo, Christopher Thompson, Chris Dyer & An Dyer for assistance with photos.

Read more details about our trip here and here, on An’s fashion blog, HautePinkPretty.com.