Das Schmetterlinghaus Has Me All Aflutter

Flutterbys.

Yes, yes, I know it’s butterflies. But I never fully grew out of my childhood habit of calling them flutterbys. Which I call them tends to be tied to my frame of mind. The more charming and wondrous the moment, the more likely I am to revert to the wording from a time in life when nearly everything is charming and wondrous.

Vienna’s Schmetterlinghaus is filled with lots and lots of flutterbys.

Even before arriving, I was already in a happy place. It had been the most relaxing of days, starting with exploring the gardens at Schönbrunn Palace.

This was followed by a yummy lunch, complete with locally produced food and lemonade made in-house.

The restaurant was situated next to an urban garden, which I love to see. I’m a city dweller at heart, but I also enjoy growing my own food. My dream is to one day have a greenhouse, but until that day comes, I do enjoy puttering about – mostly unsuccessfully, but I try – in my little container garden, and am always looking for new ideas.

So I was in a pretty mellow mood when Ron and I struck off on the short walk to the butterfly house. Not even getting caught in the cloudburst of all cloudbursts brought me down. In fact, deciding that since we were getting half-soaked standing under what cover we could find, we might as well get all-soaked and make a run for it, kinda made things better. There’s something freeing about racing through the rain, not caring that you’re getting drenched. We were such a sight that the cashier burst into laughter when we barged through the door, streaming water and looking like a couple of drowned rats.

We squeegeed the worst of the water off of ourselves, paid our admission, and headed inside, into the most idyllic environment. It was warm, it was quiet, and the path wound its way through an abundance of foliage.

It was beautiful. But the plants, of course, weren’t the real reason we were there.

It’s amazing how something so small and delicate can be so mesmerizing. I’d stare at the same butterfly sitting motionless on a leaf for ages, hoping I’d get to see it fly away. And invariably, just as I gave up and decided to move on, it would twitch its wings just a bit, and I’d be enrapt once again.

And while I never did get a photo of one in flight – I was too busy pointing and squeeing any time I saw one flit past – my rainbow coloured hair brought an unexpected bonus by apparently looking enough like a flower to entice a butterfly into landing on my head.

It didn’t stay long enough for a photo. But I remember the tickly feel of it in my hair, and can still see the grin on Ron’s face. It was a great reminder that not every experience needs to be viewed through a camera lens.

I was so smitten with the butterfly house that, once we’d strolled the entire path, I asked Ron, “Can we go around again?” He laughed and said I sounded like a kid asking to go on an amusement park ride a second time. Truth is, he wasn’t far off. Because as fun as the roller coasters and tilt-a-whirls and scramblers are, sometimes you just have to take time for a lazy ride down the river on an inner tube.

Which is exactly the kind of interlude the butterfly house provided.

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