Adrian and I are seasoned winter travelers due to the availability of cheap flights and our anniversary falling at the end of February. We’d seen some of Europe’s finest cities at their coldest – Paris, Amsterdam and London – and now we were adding Vienna to the list.
We had spent the night in pursuit of sushi. After several days of eating fried cheese (the only traditional Austrian dish that’s vegetarian-friendly), I was craving something healthy. We traipsed through several inches of snow to the city’s best sushi restaurant, found out it was full, then traipsed around again until we found another one. It was bright yellow and served sushi topped with chocolate sauce and cornflakes. I ate 26 pieces. It was surprisingly wonderful.
Adrian suggested going into the city centre to take photos of St Stephen’s Cathedral in the snow. I wasn’t too keen on the idea – we’d already spent ages walking around in the snow that evening. But it was our anniversary, and I didn’t want to disappoint him.
“Just a few photos,” he promised.
We took the subway to the cathedral. I had to admit that it was quite a sight – the roof and towers were covered in a thin blanket of white, and the yellow streetlamps made it look like an old-fashioned postcard.
Adrian struggled to set up his tripod in the snow. I shivered, stamping my feet and rubbing my hands together.
“Are you done yet?” I asked. “I want to go back to the hotel.”
“Almost,” he said. He was practically lying on his stomach in the snow, trying to angle his camera just right. I sighed.
He snapped a few more photos, stood up and grinned at me.
“What are you smiling about?”I said.
“I’m just going to do it,” he said. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring.
“Will you marry me?” he asked.
“What?” I said. “I mean, yes. Wait, what?” We had never really discussed marriage, despite being together for six years.
“I’m not going to get down on one knee,” he said. “You know, because of the snow.”
“That’s fine,” I said, giving him a kiss.
“Aren’t you doing to try it on?” he asked.
“Oh, right,” I said. I was wearing gloves, so I took one off and slipped on the ring. It was a simple white gold band with a small marquise diamond.
“I love it,” I said.
“I think it’s too big,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter,” I said. I slipped my arm around his waist and we turned to admire St Stephen’s again. My hair and feet were wet with snow, but I no longer cared. My sushi-filled stomach rumbled contentedly. In the distance, a drunk man shouted something in German.
“This is perfect,” I said.