It was the smell of wiener schnitzel that woke me up.
The last two days of relentless rain in Salzburg meant I hadn’t any option other than to continuously sample Austria’s national delicacy.
As the smell subsided, the warm glow behind my hostel curtain promised the European sunshine I had almost forgot existed.
I raced the sun outside and watched it climb over the mountains that hugged the delicate city before a bus took me to the nearby village of Fuschl.
The early morning air blew a new life into me as I made my way down to the lake edge where the water mirrored the sky.
As enticing as it looked, I cursed myself for leaving my swimwear packed away at the bottom of my backpack.
Yet, the soft movement of the lake drew me in and I found myself taking off my dress and entering the water in just my underwear.
For me, this was no small feat.
You see, as a woman who is classified as “overweight”, society has long told me to cover up as much of my body as I can, something I generally adhered to.
You would never catch me in a two piece let alone my underwear in public, but on this morning a strange feeling came over me – any inhibitions holding me back had disappeared.
As I floated on the surface of the water gazing at the cloudless sky above, I felt free. Free of my body and free of any anxiety I had ever felt. Complete, utter, beautiful freedom.
For the locals who swam with me in the lake that morning, they wouldn’t have noticed anything out of the ordinary.
If they had caught a glance of me all they would have seen is a woman bathing in the fresh mountain water.
As the hours wore on I sunbathed, swam, got carried away in my book and allowed the sun to encase me as it warmed up the day.