So here it is, our first winter in a little bit under one and a half years. I can't say that I missed it.
With the dropping temperatures and the slowly dying daylight comes a bleak and greyish colour palette: overcast dark skies, seamlessly blending in with the now more menacing city buildings, all complemented with the barren winter trees, plucked leafless by the increasingly cold and violent winds - typical impressions of the beginning of European winter.
After a year of sunshine one thing is certain, this is not gonna be easy. Appropriately to this change of seasons I'm facing some of my old enemies again: a 9 to 5 job and the daily routine that comes with it.
I was able to evade those guys for quite a while now, but I knew that eventually they were going to hunt me down, mercilessly, like a pack of blood hounds. But it's not just me, Nikki is facing her own demons. A foreign country, a foreign language, friends and family far away.
It all seems like we're supposed to set in for a long hibernation sleep until the sun shines again.
But of course we can't do that and I found myself growing increasingly negative. it's the typical vicious circle when you find your perception shifting towards the dark side, selectively (and unconsciously) amplifying all the bad and consistently overlooking all the good.
It was time to break that before it gets out of hand. So last weekend I decided that we should go for a bit of a hike into one of the protected forest and wildlife areas at the outskirts of Vienna: the Lainzer Tiergarten.
I was quite exited on that morning. Just the thought of being in a forest and possibly seeing some wildlife seemed like we were finally getting back on the right track, and I could tell that Nikki was looking forward to it as well.
We took public transport to get there, which took us a bit over an hour. Once there however, we found ourselves staring at a closed gate. The area spans over 25 square kilometers and is surrounded by a stone fence with multiple gates serving as entry points.
For some reason our gate was closed and locked, the next gate being over an hour away. Instantly I could feel the familiar swell of negativity rise up: disappointment, followed by frustration and anger. Why was it closed? It was not supposed to be closed... it seemed like some cosmical malice that was directly targeting us (the typical thinking pattern when you have a negative attitude).
Defeated, we silently walked back to the metro. While sitting in the compartment and waiting for the train to leave the station, I found myself thinking. We can't let the day end on a note like this, not now. I grabbed Nikki.
"Come on Nics, we're getting out"
"Why? What's happening?"
"We're jumping that bloody fence"
Generally Nikki doesn't like doing stuff she's not supposed to do, but in this case she made an exception (I think she could see that this was an emergency). And so we jumped the fence, I couldn't really see any valid reason why the gate was locked in the first place.
But once on the other side we spotted at least one possible explanation: there was a big boar roaming around in the forest not too far away. Oh well, we were headed in the other direction anyway (rather quickly).
Another side effect of our illegal activity was that we had the forest to ourselves (with all the eeriness that comes with it). After a while we reached a second fence, realizing that the whole area we were in was locked off, not just the entrance gate.
So we quickly jumped over that one as well, making us from that point on "legit". We ended the day with a hot coffee before we headed home. Admittedly this might not have been our most noble endeavor and probably not the smartest either, but dire times sometimes require drastic actions.