I threatened recently to write about snow, so here I am.
This came about because I was in Europe in February and it snowed, a magical, happy experience. It was all the more unique because it began at midnight, like a fairy story. The loved one and I were on our way to the U-bahn in Berlin, Karl Marx Platz to be exact – what we were doing there at midnight is a whole other story – but light flakes drifted from a black sky and it was icy underfoot. By the time we caught the train and emerged from the underground on the other side, the snow lay several centimetres thick. And nobody else had walked in it. It was white and virgin, and as pure as the driven snow. (I’ve never understood that expression, now I do.) It was very quiet. And very cold. The snow crunched under my boots, and the air crackled in my lungs when I breathed in.
Friends had been asking me why it was I went to Europe in winter – because this is the second time I’ve gone in winter and they’re starting to think there’s something wrong with me. The answer is logical. Why do British people travel to Australia in the summer? They do it because they don’t get enough sun over there. And they do it because it’s different. It’s the same for me. I do it because I don’t get enough winter over here. Our winter, in the tropics, is hardly a winter at all, and we certainly don’t get any snow. For me, a European winter is a whole other experience and if there’s a chance to rug up and put on my winter woolies and wear boots and scarves, I’m your man. Or, in this case, woman.
Something else to remember is that there are far less tourists in Europe in the middle of winter. There, I’ve said that quietly. Don’t spread it around.