I wrote, some time ago, about how we hunted for, and eventually found the city garden – http://www.varshaseshan.com/blog/burggarten-bitte/. In English, somehow, people we spoke to called it the ‘Rose Garden’ rather than the ‘City Garden’. Not unnaturally, we expected to see roses, but we saw none. The garden was truly beautiful, but we saw no roses; did we not look hard enough?
We went after that to a place that stands out in my memory as a unique experience – a Schmetterling Haus. We were told it was a kind of greenhouse, and speaking no German at all, we had no idea what ‘schmetterling’ meant, and no desire to look it up. The people who told us to go have a look at it perhaps lacked the vocabulary to explain what it was too because they told us no more than that. They told us it was a greenhouse that was worth visiting, and that’s all we expected.
We went inside the greenhouse and had a simply fabulous experience.
‘Schmetterling’ is German for ‘butterfly’ and the greenhouse was really a small tropical jungle, created to house butterflies of every size and description that exist in tropical jungles. Wherever we walked, we saw more and more butterflies – hovering over flowers, resting on a bridge, fluttering through the vines – it was spectacular! I usually carry a diary with me everywhere I go, and I began my walk in the Schmetterling Haus by drawing butterflies I saw. I drew wing shapes and put little notes about colours, hoping to remember things more vividly later. I’m hopeless at sketching though, so after a few failed attempts, I simply looked and took in whatever I could.
I can no longer associate name with colour, but I remember so many names and so many colours! There was the Postman, the Owl White, the Tree Nymph, the Painted Jezbel… Each name could be the beginning of a fascinating story!
Stepping out of the humidity and into the city of Vienna again was like entering a different world. The sounds, colours and feel of the place make me wonder, even now, how much was real and how much added by an over-active imagination!