Highs and lows in Austria | 1

Day 1: Fifty shades of grey

I began checking the weather forecast about two weeks before my vacation. It was then that it started to dawn on me: I was going to be in Austria, in the mountains, where heavy rain can render the tons of fun things you can do outside impossible. But I decided to be in denial: It wouldn’t rain – if anything, it would drizzle pleasantly, cooling the hot summer air down to a tolerable degree of warmth. Nevertheless, I bought a nice book for quiet nights in a rocking chair on the hotel’s patio, just in case.

As the departure day came closer and the weather forecast became even worse I started to panic: Of my ten days in beautiful Dienten five would drown in thunderstorms and torrential rain. I bought a second, way thicker book for quiet afternoons at the indoor pool. The day before I left I helplessly stuffed my suitcase with everything I had – baggy pants, fleece jackets, longsleeves and various items I could wear in layers.

I also prepared mentally: There’s no bad weather, there are only the wrong clothes – oh, how I hate when people say that.

And then I arrived. After a seven-hour drive from Offenbach dark grey clouds in the most disgusting shades of grey blocked the view of the magical mountain scenery I had so longed to see. The rain came pouring down and produced fast-flowing streams below my feet. Not even the hiking guide wanted to leave the hotel and so the first walking-tour was cancelled. “I could be in Thailand now or Hawaii” I thought – and realized, just as I had finished this useless thought, that I was not. I was here, in Austria, in the rain, and no amount of whining about it would make it any better. So I decided to turn the situation around: I was going to make the best of it. I grabbed my boots and my rain jacket and I walked. Not very far, not very high, but I walked, in the rain. After gaining a little altitude I felt the throbbing heartbeat in my chest and the fresh clean air in my lungs. After two hours I returned to the hotel. My pants? Soaked. My boots? Dirty. My mood? Good, actually. The conscious decision to stop bitching about something I could not change had made me feel calm and somehow happy. Snuggled up in an easy chair with a piece of chocolate cake and book number one I felt confident that I would have a good time, come rain or shine.

Lesson learnt today: A bad situation is not getting better by whining about it. Get out in the rain and make the best of it.

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