I think I am in love.
With a place, mind you, not a person (although the people here do seem mighty fine, in their dashing coats and rakish scarves and beanies). It is seriously beautiful. Even the cold -- which everyone is complaining about -- is part of the charm. I have a sneaking suspicion I was born for this kind of climate. The coldness is not of the paralysing variety; in fact, it's downright invigorating and I find myself craving its freshness.
And the trees. And the old buildings. And the City Park...
We are in an apartment three stories up which looks out over dozens of uneven rooftops and chimneys, into a valley dotted with houses and sunshine, and across to the mountains. The street itself is right near the town centre, and bustles in the nice sense, lined with bare-bones trees and brick-fronted buildings that date back to forever ago. Every quarter hour, we hear the clock on the tower chime out and it's a comforting, rich sort of a sound.
Our days have been spent -- so far -- in exploring the town and the surrounds. We spent one happy afternoon in the museum and gallery (haven of inspiration!!) and another investigating myriad little stores that seem so much more fascinating than ones back home. The bakeries -- oh my! And good food here seems so extraordinarily cheap. Oh and there's a children's bookstore that fairytales are made from. It had its own castle, fairy dell, wormhole, forest room, candyland, and playhouse. I'm not kidding.
Also, people smile. Just random strangers smile at one. At first I thought maybe I had the word "Queenslander" tattooed on my forehead. Then I decided that people are just nice around here. It's very pleasant.
In moments when I can, I steal my sister's camera and take pictures so I can share some on my return. I am also writing in my journal, lots, and that's unusual and fun.
I will reply to comments when I get back, because I'm on a library computer and it's being as quirky as one expects library computers to be. Suffice to say, this is a Very Nice Trip indeed.