I should admit in the very beginning I am completely biased. October is my absolute favourite month of the year and it’s easy to explain why and how. But the explanation works out only if you are already in Europe, grown up somewhere around or were always curious to visit it and see it in its entire beauty. I would try to convince you that from mid to the end of October is the best season for sentimentally traveling Europe and see it in unexpected light.
I have always had this impression of peace and gold, covering Europe in the autumn. But September is still too hot and looks more less like summer. November is already too cold and one foot to the winter. So, the best and the only real autumn golden month is October.
In my homeland, Bulgaria, we have a funny way to define the real summertime. The rule is simple and easy to memorise. All the months without letter “R” in their name’s spelling, are the real summer months. Regarding that rule, the summer should last four months – from May to August.
So all the rest, contain “R” sound in their names and should be considered out of the summer. But things change. Because of the climate’s changes lately, September already could be easily added to the summertime, especially in Southern Europe. With its temperatures, reaching 25 to 30 C it seems like real summer and everywhere is green yet.
In October you rarely get degrees over 18 C. If it happens, we call it “Gypsy summer”. I have no explanation why, but sounds quite reasonable. Like something secret, hidden or stollen, not coming on time, but accepted like a blessing.
The sun over Europe in October is somehow calm and gentle. The feeling is like it tries to fondle, being shy and insecure. You see, I am already sentimental 🙂 But October usually influences me that way. I become more romantic and …soft. Must be something special in the air and the colours around.
When I mentioned the air…another specific feature of my favourite month for travelling – whole Europe smells on roasted chestnuts in October.
That’s correct. It doesn’t matter if you are in Rome, Strasburg or Istanbul during the season, it’s very common to buy roasted chestnuts right in the street. The aroma is magical. Smells homy, warm and cozy. That chestnut aroma provides the feeling of being home and somehow safe. If you have never thought about that, just buy a pack of freshly roasted chestnuts right at the street vendors, then wander the city, wherever you are. Chestnuts always help enjoying the last sunny rays, accumulating that “golden” light, which warms up, regardless the outer weather conditions. I promise :))
In my hometown, like in most of the big cities, could be seen plenty of urbanised cultivated chestnut trees. You can’t eat their fruits, but they are kind of benefit for the residents during the whole year. In spring time they blossom pinky and smell beautifully. During my favourite October, the chestnut trees make a carpet of fantastic yellow-brick-brownish-orange leaves everywhere in the entire city, along with the falling chestnuts.
I have some sentimental memories from my childhood, when all the kids were rushing outside together, to collect the falling chestnuts. We were told by our grandparents, who got it from their grandparents, the chestnuts possess a miraculous impact. The most practical application is in the wardrobes and cupboards, where the round brown balls are preferred to lay for their anti-moth effect. The belief is (I confirm it works ) the chestnuts protect the clothes against the moths. It’s enough 5 to 10 to be dropped in the drawer. The moths will stay away and no damages would be detected even on the wool clothing.
Now the modern perceptive brings some other chestnut benefits. A bowl full of chestnuts in the middle of the room protects from bad influence and sickness. The chestnuts get shrivelled and deformed with the time just because they are spreading their positive and healthy “heart” away. They are also pointed to be a filter against bad radiation, coming nowadays from the TV, cell phones, laptops and all the electronic gadgets. Last but not least, the chestnuts are also meant to be an anti-stress remedy.
On other side, there is a very spiritual and almost magical chestnut designation. As a high accumulator of solar energy they are believed to be the best possible… mascot. Keeping one in the pocket, it works as a protection against the “gaps” in the nervous system, fights the depression and cures the bad mood. I never tried it, but it’s time to leave one in my pocket. I guess that’s why they are also preferred as insomnia remedy – a few under the pillow and the sleepless nights were gone.
Can you imagine it? All those archaic methods could be verified and completed by just going outside in October and collecting chestnuts from the park grounds, for free. There are plenty of those chestnut trees all over Europe.
I did a short detour with the chestnut story, but their magic always works and I am Octoberly amenable on that influence. Did I also mention the October colours? Here comes the real magic. All the spectres of red, yellow, brown, brick, orange, faded green, golden, mustard…Well…if you have never heard about “mustard” and “brick” colour before, there is a simple explanation…then you should be a man 🙂 You know that male joke that peach is just a fruit and never can be a colour. But I am a woman. The female brain works differently. We are able to recognise some extra colours like ivory, champagne and banana, the men have never heard about. So “brick” and “mustard” colour are the October nuances Europe. First one is somewhere between orange and brown. A mix between yellow and brown-green is the the second one. A very specific trend of October spectre.
Just check on any European park and you will see that carpet, painted in the mentioned above colours. Do you agree it provides a sense of warmth? It doesn’t matter if the sky is cloudy, how many degrees is outside or if it’s already raining. The feeling of warmth in October is everywhere in Europe. Thank God, all the European cities are thickly covered by trees, whose leaves are properly Octoberly coloured. Not sure if the word “Octoberly” exists, but I like how it sounds. At least it represents precisely my month’s addiction.
Because of the upcoming redesign from summer to winter, October life positioned right in the middle of that transformation, gets slower. People intentionally capture and enjoy the last sunny rays. It looks like October opens the humans’ eyes for what surrounds them. We are not that focused on the usual drama, problems, issues. Kind of gentle thrill is tickling inside. A friend of mine belittled the October spirit, by saying all excitement comes from the upcoming Christmas holidays. I don’t agree. All comes with the warmth and the special glowing magic of this particular month of the year.
It’s the only time in Europe when you can go out wearing just a thin blazer. The only time of the year when the rain showers are not rough or freezing, but calm and healthy. The only time of the year when you can enjoy the sun not being harsh. And the only season with so many natural amazing colours around.
Here comes another memory from my childhood. October is the time of the roasted pumpkins. That’s kind of a very cheap, but healthy and delicious delicacy. A pumpkin without its seeds, cut on slices, drenched by honey and fresh milk, baked in the oven. The colour and the smell of the pumpkins are same like October – yellow, glowing and sweet.
If all above is not enough to convince you the most beautiful month for visiting Europe is October, just come and see it by yourself. I already confessed, I am biased, but maybe you would turn to the same statement as well.:) I am just confident there is a magic in the air and you should come and experience it at the right season. A romantic getaway, a short city break or just a sentimentally nuanced road trip in Europe is always worth it in October.