I’ve always loved being outside. I don’t mind the weather — getting cold or wet doesn’t bother me. I don’t even mind the summer heat if I’m outside and can stay out of the sun. When I was in middle school and high school and my friends and I would get bored, I always suggested going for a walk. (Which also partly explains why I have so few interestingly wild stories from that era.)
So I wait, all winter. During the coldest and darkest months of the year, I still get out a fair bit, but winter takes away one of my favorite pieces of European living — sitting in a sidewalk cafe. Going out for a cup of coffee is a treat anytime of year, but getting to enjoy it on the sidewalks of a grand Viennese square, reading a good book and watching the horse-drawn carriages go by is especially sweet. And going out to eat, especially with the kids, is much more relaxed and enjoyable under the stars, where volume matters less and there’s always a place for them to get down and play.
I don’t really know if I can adequately convey how much enjoyment I get from sitting in the open air, enjoying Vienna and soaking every bit of it in. It is one of my favorite parts of living here. I like it way more than is probably reasonable. I think it’s fantastic and wonderful and it brings together so many things I like at the same time — being outside, drinking coffee, relaxing, great people-watching opportunities and getting to really BE in Europe (because the inside of cafes are pretty much the same anywhere).
And now, my long, indoor, winter hibernation is ending. The cafes are spilling out onto the sidewalks again, the street side tables are out, the umbrellas are going up. Vienna is preparing for spring, and I am so happy to be able to enjoy the city in this way again.