Trains, Planes, and Sweaters

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Early last week, I boarded an eastbound train. Bound for Montreal, and a mid-winter, mini-break with a friend. One night in Montreal, a nice dinner, some shopping, lunch, a brief visit with my friend’s daughter and grandson, and back home. 

train at Fallowfield Station
This train is bound for Montreal…this train.  

I love riding the train. And I love shopping in Montreal. 

I wasn’t actually shopping for anything in particular. I had no list of wardrobe “needs” like I normally would if I were spring or fall shopping. But when Holt Renfrew in Ottawa closed last year, I cancelled my Holt’s credit card and cashed in the points I had accumulated for a Holts gift card. And it had been burning a hole in my wallet for months. 

At Holt Renfrew in Montreal, I tried on numerous sweaters, and blouses, and I finally chose this wool and cashmere, colour block sweater from Vince. It has a boat neck, dropped shoulders and a rounded hem in the back. I like the relaxed fit, and the slightly boxy shape. And it’s so, so soft.  

Vince sweater, Paige jeans and Paul Green boots    
Vince sweater, with Paige jeans and Paul Green boots
I love the interesting tweedy texture of the sweater which makes it look more as if it’s been woven and not knit. I love the colours: milk chocolate brown and kind of a mushroom grey/brown that’s hard to describe. The Vince website called it toast and khaki. Whatever… let’s just say it’s brown-ish. And it looks great with my favourite brown-ish hoop earrings.

Vince colour block sweater
Happy to be able to wear these favourite  brown hoops from Magpie Jewellry. 
I like my new sweater with my Paige high-rise skinny jeans and my brown Paul Green ankle boots. But a couple of nights ago, I chose to pair it with my comfy brown/black Yoga jeans, my new black cross-body bag by Mackage, my down coat, and my old black Cole Haan boots. Better to wear old boots for tramping slushy Ottawa sidewalks on my way to an early movie. 
Vince sweater with Yoga jeans
Vince goes to the movies
But I much prefer my new Vince sweater with the brown Paul Green boots, and my brown Max Mara coat. Or even with these chocolate brown NYDJ leggings, my suede Stuart Weitzman boots, and this wool scarf that I bought in New Zealand many years ago, on Hubby’s and my first ever big trip. I hardly wear the scarf; it’s more of a keepsake really. But it’s grey-browns go really well with my new sweater. I love it when a new purchase fits so nicely into a wardrobe niche… don’t you?

Here are some of the other colour block sweaters I found on-line. I like my colour blocking to be… not too, ah, colourful. Just big chunks of brown, black, grey, cream, and sometimes navy… in geometric planes. Get it…trains…planes….? I know. Bad pun. Sorry. 

Vince colour block sweaters
You can find most of these sweaters here and here.
So the next time I venture into the city, maybe to catch Yann Martel at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival, I’ll no doubt be sporting my new Vince sweater. Maybe in this configuration. Simple, casual, comfortable, and just artsy enough for an artsy event.  

Casual and booted in my Vince sweater
Vince goes to the Writer’s Festival 

Shopping in Montreal was once a tradition for me. For several years I went regularly with friends, once in the fall and once in the spring. We’d board the train after work on Friday night, yak the entire two hour ride to Montreal, check into our hotel, shower and change for dinner, shop all day Saturday, dine somewhere really nice on Saturday night, then home after breakfast on Sunday…. hopefully juggling a few more packages than on the trip down. Then, for some reason, it became harder and harder to find people who wanted to go. And then we stopped. 

I’ve only made this trip one other time since I’ve been retired. Despite the fact that there’s no need to travel on the weekends, meaning I’m able to take advantage of cheaper mid-week train fares, not to mention hotel rates. But, this trip has whetted my appetite for train travel and for Montreal shopping once again. 

Since I’ve been thinking about and writing this post, I’ve been listening to songs about trains. There are a ton of them. This one is my favourite.

You know, I can’t believe it’s been three years since I retired. Three years tomorrow, actually. So it’s high time I started doing more of the things I intended to do when I made that life-change. I don’t mean the big trips that I would make with Hubby. I mean the small day trips, or overnight trips with friends. Like to… Montreal for a bit of shopping, a nice dinner…you know. 
And now that that’s sorted… it’s high time I started my research for my spring shopping trip to Montreal. Only a couple of months to go, after all. 
Now it’s your turn… anything you’d like to weigh in on here, folks? Train travel? Shopping trips? Sweaters?

The FABulous Journey

Linking up this week with: Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style,  #IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as Lamb, What I Wore at The Pleated Poppy, Style Me Wednesday at Shopping My Closet, Passion 4 Fashion at Rachel the Hat, Fun Fashion Friday at Fashion Should Be Fun, Casual Friday at Two Thirty-Five Designs

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33 thoughts on “Trains, Planes, and Sweaters”

  1. I did a lot of train travel in my early 20s, when I first moved from Scotland to Germany – railway stations weren't as nice then as they usually are now, and I'd often find myself waiting on a railway platform somewhere in the middle of the night, which could be a bit scary. However, I have to agree that the actual time spent in the train can be very pleasant. I remember one time (around 1980) when I was travelling from Kassel in Germany back to the UK with a couple of friends (we were doing our year abroad from uni). We shared a compartment with an elderly lady, who told us she had gotten on in Frankfurt. It was Christmastime and we had clementines – we offered a few to the lady. She was very grateful and put them away in her bag, saying that she couldn't get them in Frankfurt. We were quite perplexed – can't get clementines in Frankfurt?! Of course, she had come from Frankfurt an der Oder, which at the time was in East Germany! Anyway, we haven't yet made the journey to Montreal – my husband hates to drive through the city – so that's an idea for his last bit of leave this year, thanks!

    1. What a lovely story, Patricia. I have an older friend who escaped from East Germany, and came to live in Canada. Like you we never take the car to Montreal for the same reason. Hate to drive there. Much easier to walk.

  2. Great sweater! The colors look great on you, and you styled it beautifully.

    We sometimes take the train to San Francisco – it's only about an hour ride, but it's a nice change. And when we visit Europe we take the train everywhere…

  3. I enjoy trains as much depending upon delays and the type of folk I'm travelling with ( noisy, ill mannered people I have no time for ).

    As for sweaters, I'm loving and the cashmere/merino sweaters they currently provide.

    Please check out the crewneck, V-neck and turtlenecks on show 🙂


  4. Your short break sounds perfect Sue …I felt a stir of excitement when I saw the train 🙂 I love train travel especially in Switzerland where they run on time through amazing scenery! Your new jumper is quite distinctivel in design … Like you, I like the tweed effect and the boxy fit. Great that it makes for new outfits with other items you already have. We re hoping to visit Ottawa Montreal and Quebec this summer and I'd be grateful for some advice. I think no matter how much research I do there ll be places you ll know about that I won't come across!! I have looked to see if I could email you … The obvious questions I have are places you'd definitely visit and any restaurants you'd recommend? After reading your blog I ll try to do some shopping!! But in the main we re wondering about small towns/ areas outside the cities that would be good to visit and possibly stay in rather than staying in the centre of the main cities. I'm presuming you ll have my email so I'd be really grateful for any advice …. we haven't visited this area of Canada before so it's all new and exciting!!!
    Have a good week!

    1. I'd be happy to share any info you need Rosie. You can e-mail me at [email protected]. Let me know if you'll be driving between these cities. That's what we usually do and that way you can visit small places enroute to the bigger places. I don't have your e-mail. I tried to look it up on the e-mail subscription gadget, but was unsuccessful. So I will await an e-mail from you and then I can reply.

  5. I love trains! And I've taken that one from Ottawa to Montreal a few times — it's just the perfect length (although I do love a train trip that involves an overnight as well — (not really) sleeping on a train is the best!)
    and I love that outfit — you should get that scarf out of the closet more!

    1. We took the overnight train once…from Toronto to Edmonton. It was such fun, met all kinds of people, food was fantastic too. Slept in a "sleeper" just like Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot!

  6. You have brought back memories of doing just that with friends. Sometimes we would take the train on Friday evening after work also. Mostly we would go on Saturday and return on Sunday. As soon as we arrived in Montreal it felt as if we had gone to another country. The elegant stylish women…the handsome rumpled men with their scarfs tied just so. The food always tasted better in Montreal.

    I live on the West Coast now and whenever we visit family in Ottawa…we alway…always drive to Montreal for a dose of that wonderful feeling that you can not find anywhere else in Canada.

    1. You're right; Montreal is special. I love how Ste Catherine's street comes alive on Saturday afternoon no matter the season. We were there on a Monday night and the restaurant where we ate was full. Ottawa is a ghost town on Monday nights.

  7. Leslie in Oregon

    I have crossed Canada (from Vancouver to Montreal and the reverse) at least four times by train, on the old Canadian National route. These trips were between 1964 and 1974, and each was absolutely wonderful. What I remember most was snuggling cozily in my wide bottom berth at night, looking out the "picture" window (that ran along the entire outboard side of my berth) at the moonlit countryside. And the delicious oatmeal breakfasts! And, of course, the Canadian Rockies! Even though as a student, I was travelling on the least expensive fares, it was glorious! Sadly, those trips (and fares) could not be duplicated today, Leslie

    1. That sounds wonderful, Leslie. When Hubby and I made our trip from Toronto to Edmonton, He had the lower berth and I had the upper one. Felt like I was in a movie. Because he was over 60 and considered a senior, I travelled for half price as his "companion." Still it wasn't cheap.

  8. Love your new sweater, those vertical colour blocks look slimming. A train trip to Montreal is on my wish list for when I retire. It would be an easy train trip from Toronto.

  9. Like the jumper . Like trains too , often use the little local rattley train from our little village station . Big trains from the big station still feel quite exciting though & bring back lots of childhood memories
    Wendy in York

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I love those little rattley trains that still run in Eurpoe and the UK in places. I remember the train a friend and I took from Munich to Oberammergau in 1988…narrow gauge track, tinny whistle, like a lovely toy train.

  10. Love your sweater. It looks lovely on you. I find it hard to find nice knitwear. As for train journeys? Love them especially when abroad although that obviously depends on the country and quality of the railways. Congratulations on third anniversary of your retirement. Iris

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