a grand day out

As befitting a year devoted to courage, I continued the process of unfurling from my self-induced state of reclusion and had a grand day out on Saturday. My youngest sister had to go the airport in the morning to fly back to England and since for unfathomable reasons it’s cheaper and quicker to go by car than by public transport, that’s what we did. I dropped her off and then navigated the car downtown, the town in question being Stuttgart (the capital of Baden-Württemberg, which is a federal state of Germany, the one right down in the south-western corner).

We’d started out from home with blue skies and a rose-and-gold sunrise, but we’d encountered the first snow on the way down already. When I’d parked the car and walked the couple minutes to the centre, I sent my middle sister this picture and text:

"It's snowing here."

“It’s snowing here.”

I’d forgotten the acute sense of being connected and at the same time gloriously alone that you get when drifting through a big city, but I recaptured it as I tried my way through some new clothes (everything sorely needed, some of it coveted, practically nothing that fit), navigated some shoe stores (same story), ate my way through a variety of international take-away food, listened to street musicians, smiled at the pigeons huddling everywhere to be away from the snow, and looked out for the small human interactions, the gestures, the words, the movements that make a city come alive.

the new palace

the new palace – a cool place to hang out in summer, when people sit everywhere on the grass and the park benches, but very much less so in this weather

At one point it got really cold and I bought myself a cheap pair of finger-free gloves, choosing, from the rainbow of available colours, the electric-blue ones, which went together awesomely with my choice of nail polish for the weekend, hot pink. The rest of the day, I felt like shoving my hands in front of every stranger’s face and say: “Look! Pretty, isn’t it?” I didn’t. I didn’t take the gloves off again though, not even when I was sitting in a café. I enjoyed too much the feeling of being colourful again. And since you guys are my friends and won’t call the police on me for harassment, I’m gonna shove my hand in front of your faces. Look! Pretty, isn’t it?

gloves

exactly the right colour combination for a grey winter day

I’d toyed with the idea of spending part of the afternoon in one of my favourite museums (an ethnological museum that has the most interesting special exhibitions and is a mine of creative inspiration!), but they closed early, so I didn’t manage. Instead, I spent the time in the two major book shops, feeling calm and happy in a way it’s only possible to feel in the presence of large numbers of books. These are the ones I eventually chose to take home with me:

... aren't those covers pretty?!

… aren’t those covers pretty?!

They are all in the area of contemporary fantasy, which wasn’t planned as such. I pondered the poetry and the crime section just as long and the classics even longer. I was very tempted by a new edition of On the Road, with beautiful photography and set in a clear, stark font, but eventually decided to go for new stories. Now I wonder if there’s a deeper meaning behind my choices. Maybe I long to escape into a magical world as well. (Well, I know I do, I just didn’t know it was this easily translatable into book choices).

I’d also thought about going to the theatre or the opera in the evening, but there was nothing on that particularly interested me and after a whole day of walking and strolling and standing I was pretty tired anyway. Tired, but happy.

Happy because I bought four books whose covers I adore and that I can’t wait to read. Happy because I let myself drift, which is freedom and pleasure in itself. Happy because I smiled at people in cafés and behind counters and people making music and most of them smiled back at me. And happy because I haven’t lost the knack of noticing small, easily-overlooked details in the rushing crowds that make me laugh and think.

Life’s pretty good, all in all.

love hope dream imagine

the sign on the wall (of the old palace)

How was your weekend?

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About wordsurfer

writer, ex-teacher, human rights believer & fighter, traveller, adventure-seeker, freedom lover, global citizen. big on daydreams, less so on reality.

Posted on January 14, 2013, in day-to-day and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Beautiful photographs; I love those gloves (and that nail polish too). Fantastic book covers as well, sounds like an all-round special day, even if clothes shopping went a bit bust.

    My weekend was sport-laden, with the possibility of flu; a friend of my daughter had been staying with us, and now is quite sick. Interesting to wonder if within a week or so, I’ll feel the same. In the meantime, I’ll leave the future where it is, out of my hands! 🙂

    • Ouch… January is, of course, the proper time to get the flu, but still… I hope those germs didn’t like you too much and decided to stay.
      I started one of the new boos (lower left corner) and I love it already. 🙂

  2. Those trees look so unusual! Love the photos and the book covers and titles! 🙂

  3. Aww, it sounds like you had such a lovely day! The gloves coupled with the hot pink nail polish are indeed poetry, and those book covers are FANTASTIC. Seriously, prettiest covers I’ve seen in a while. You’ll have to review you them so we know if the stories are as good as the covers. 😀

    • Aren’t they? So glad you like them! 🙂
      I’ve started reading the one in the lower left corner – I couldn’t resist the cover. It’s set in Paris in the twenties and so far, it reads just like it looks – intriguing, puzzling, beautiful and a little bit mysterious.

  4. Wonderful post. And I do love the gloves. I need a pair that like so I can stop dropping my camera. I’m lucky the thing still works sort of. Gloves make me even more clumsy and I was already pretty bad.

    • Those blue ones were super-cheap. The best are those that are finger-free, but have a top that you can pull over your fingers, so that they look like mittens. That means your fingers are nimble AND warm! 🙂

  5. Love days like this one. The book covers make me want to buy them. Thanks for introducing me to some new authors. I already found a book I want to get into.

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