The only marked difference I discerned between the two carnivals I stumbled upon (respectively in Stuttgart and Vienna) was the noticeable change in sky. The afternoon we drove through Germany was spent with my napping face pressed against the warm windows of Y.'s Lebanese-German cousin's sports car. In a half-sleep state we picked our way through a swarm of jovial Germans toppling out of the carnival's manymanymany Biergartens. I ought to clarify that the aforementioned carnival was centered mostly, if not wholly, around the attraction of bier. The sky against the ferris wheel was a thick teal blue. The color of poolwater, my mother's skirt, and frozen popsicles.
Vienna remains unplaced in my memory. The pastel homes. The quiet. I still can't quite grasp why this fondness continues to grow. Certainly the trams, unexpected kindnesses, and relative affordability contributed in great part to my interpretations of the places I visited. And yet, what struck me most was the false familiarity; there were flower species I knew but could not place, faces I had seen but could not remember, songs I had hummed before but forgotten. A sense of ease is not easily found so far from home, but I suppose spending nearly a week of visiting butterfly houses, eating mochi, napping in parks, Naschmarkt picnics, and walking through empty carnivals canvased by a sky so pale, helps. It nearly hurts to think of encountering a pair of eyes so pale, so silently blue.