Lightweight

The amphitheatre at Petra, Jordan.

Mrs. E, the family and I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Israel and Jordan. Why call it a whirlwind? I still consider two weeks barely enough time to start to know a place without rushing about. Especially if that place is as historically and politically layered as Israel or Palestine.

But, with friends at the Embassy getting ready to return stateside and dogs waiting for our return, two weeks was what we could swing, and so it was wheels up from DCA, connect through Toronto and on our way to Tel Aviv.

What made this trip even more different from the way I travelled in the past was my decision to take nothing but carry-on luggage. In my case, a PDW S.H.A.D.O. 24l backpack and a Mystery Ranch 21l Urban Assault Pack. Travelling light. Contrast that mental image with the photo below. I am a creature of extremes.

Returning home, after 8 months, via London, around ’96. To be fair, one of the cases was Mrs. E.’s… That was then.

2 t-shirts, 4 (Mack Weldon Vesper, and J Crew mesh) polo shirts, two pairs of lightweight trousers (Dockers tech fabric and Asos poly-tech “seersucker”), one pair of Ghurka shorts, one pair of slip-on sneakers, a pair of summer Blundstone’s, 5 pairs of underwear, 4 pairs of socks, one hat, one linen cardigan, one safari jacket and a scarf. Aside from the chargers, books, Traveler’s Notebook, Lifeprint printer, Lenovo lens, meds and mints, that was the extent of my kit.

I’ll be… errr… unpacking more about the trip, my takeaways about travel and whatever else springs to mind in the next few posts. Stay tuned. And special thanks to Steve of the IDF, and the Parisian private contractor at the a-Za’ayem checkpoint. Thanks for the rescue. (Told you it was an adventure….)

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Weaving Into Summer

Reading through Alexander Kraft’s “9 Rules for Living Elegantly” for The Gentleman’s Journal, I have to say Rule #5, “Never Wear Sandals” certainly rang true. (well, to be honest, the whole article resonates with me, which will come as a shock to no one.) A gentleman shouldn’t thrust his exposed toes onto the scene unless he is on the beach, and there are many more suitable and interesting choices in summer footwear.

Now, I’ve long been a fan of espadrilles, loafers, Belgians, slip-ons of any kind, really.

Antibes, 1996, with my soon-to-be brother-in-law. I had three pair of espadrilles on rotation. Blue, white and black (for evening.)

And, as I sit at my desk in a pair of leather TQT Reef flip-flops (they don’t make it past the front door), I wonder why I don’t rely on my trusty staples-of-summers-past.

For one thing, espadrilles used to be cheap. Paying anywhere north of $20 seems like highway robbery to me (save for the suede versions, but still…) Especially for shoes that get thrown away after you walk though them.

For another, my permanently busted-up feet need arch support. And most soft shoes don’t afford any degree of support. Some, if they are made of heavier materials, can take insoles. Most can’t.

H. London’s Spanish-made woven slip-ons.

Enter the above pair of woven slip-on shoes by H. London purchased a year or two ago, on-line, through Asos.com. (They don’t carry them anymore, but they can be found … here.)

It took me a season or two to work up to wearing them, perhaps because of the design? But, having worn them, let me say that these are the perfect hybrid of espadrille and leather-soled loafer. They are supremely comfortable, stretchy because of the weave, have a bit of arch support, and are sturdy enough to take some in soles. Pair them with linen trousers, shorts, jeans and khakis.

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The American Cousin

I know… Bryan Adams drove a red one in the movie….

Running errands and dropped into my local Kroger this afternoon to be greeted with a Rosé Cadillac.

Even nicer, I got a chance to meet the guy behind the wine, the American version, Charles Bieler, of Bieler Pére et Fils. I’ve kept the Aix-En-Provence “Sabine” rosé on regular rotation at home for a couple of years now. Now, it was time to sip the Washington State version. Yum! How I love spring and miss St. Raph.

Le fils, Charles, of Bieler Pére et Fils, with the autographed bottles that are now on my bar.

“I like to say it’s the brash American cousin of French rosé. The French you have to lean in to. The American comes right up to you,” he explained. “I wanted to show that we could make an elegant (or did he say ‘sophisticated’?) rosé in America and Washington State has the vineyards to do it… ”

Twenty years of success has proved him right. Follow Insta @BielerWines #roseroadtrip. I hope you get a chance to meet him. I wish I could have stayed around longer.

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