Warm weather has finally come to Minnesota (mid May) and we all hope it is finally here to stay! I am very tired of Mother Nature's not-so-funny joke ... tempting me with one beautiful warm day, followed by a slew of cold, rainy and blah days! Stop it already ... I live in Minnesota, I get cold weather! Now give me my damn Spring!!!
Anyway. Enough ranting. Today was beautiful and just me kind of weather - 65 and sunny. Not too hot (I don't like excessively hot weather) and perfect for walking around outside and enjoying happy hour on a terrace somewhere. And thankfully my day worked out to allow for just that! At lunch I was able to take 15 minutes and enjoy my normally hurried lunch - generally spent eating while in meetings or answering meetings - sitting outside at one of the terraces at work. It was quiet, secluded and perfect. The sun was shining and there was barely a breeze, allowing the sun to warm up my skin. I just turned my face up to the sky and soaked in all the Vitamin D. My skin grew warm and the stress just lifted away from my body like a puffy white cloud. Perfection. And after work I met some folks downtown for a drink, and even though we did not get to sit outside (grrr) I did get to walk downtown a bit, and that was just as pleasant. All in all, and very good day.
Do you know what I mean about the sun? Maybe it is a Minnesota thing and we feel it more strongly because we are deprived of it so many months out of the year. But I just feel the sun and love it so much. The way it seems into my skin and warms me from the outside in and the inside out all at the same time. It makes me feel lighter. I breath more easily.
I remember those moments, pure moments of bliss soaking in the energy of the sun, around the world. Today made me think of one particular afternoon in Wien, Austria.
It was June 29th 2008 and Austria and Switzerland were co-hosting the EUFA European Futbol Championship. I was living in Switzerland that summer and had seen the activity of the first games there - the excitment, the fans, the festivities! Anyway, when it came time to decide when to visit Austria ... well ... let's just say it was not a hard decision to make. Hmmm ... when to go ... when to go? I know! How about the week of the final game?!?!? Worked out wonderfully since Germany was up against Spain and Spain (MY team) won!!! Yay! It was an incredible time to be in the city. The energy was palpable!
Fans from all over Europe were there (complete with decked out double decker buses)! The best was this open area by the museum quarter where there had these huge shoes representative of each country in the tournament and they would match up the respective shoes for each daily match. Final match ... final shoes. I am taking photos when all of a sudden (seriously) a huge group of Spanish fans approaches singing "ole ole ole ole". Then ... seriously ... a bus full of German fans come and disembark and are singing in Germany. Spanish fans approach the shoes. German fans approach. I have my camera poised for the fight I just know is going to ensue! Soccer hooligans! But no ... instead ... they all hug and pat each each other on the back and start singing louder and louder ... and posing for photos! Perfection!!!!
Anyway, the days there were incredible. On the day of the final match, I spent the afternoon at Schloss Schönbrunn, the 1400 room summer residece of the royal family. It is a beautiful spot out in the suburbs of Vienna with extensive gardens and lovely views over the sprawling city. (Side note: I love how old imperial summer residences were sooo far away back then ... but now they have been enveloped by the city limits and suburbs.)
The building itself is a beautiful warm butter and white color that reflects the sun wonderfully making it literally glow. And the pristine geometric gardens are surround by white gravel paths, further reflecting the sun's light.
The entire complex is isolated by all the gardens and buildings, making it a wonderfully quiet haven in the middle of the city. A retreat ... just like the old royals meant it to be. The sun was shining that day and I remember sitting on one of the benches eating my lunch and feeling the sun on my skin. It was perfect. My skin tingled. My mind was clear. The only sound was the occasional laugh and the distant rustline of leaves and a fountain. Peace.
I spent all afternoon there. Just walking, sitting, strolling, writing. The sun shining on me and my soul light and carefree. I wish I could bottle that moment and just pull it out and smell it; smell the grass and flower and sun tan lotion and sun (yes ... you can smell sunshine!).
I cannot wait until my next trip! So excited! I need to feel this again!!!