Holiday Dream

It was empty. Really empty. The parking lot. The ticket offices. The overpriced restaurant with photos on the menu. The gift shop selling souvenirs of dubious taste. All of it, closed. It had the mystical aura of an abandoned place. Not a single tourist on a location designed to host armies of vacationers on all-inclusive holiday packages. It was a dream come true. The whole place entirely for a few locals and myself, a semi-local. No crowds. No strangers on the pictures. No waiting in line for the nice photo spot. And all the time in the world to take in the moment and the location. Three things made it possible: a weekday, a cold wave, and a pandemic.

I met less than ten people on this snow hike in the Murnau peatlands

The stairs to the world longest castle remain empty as it snows in Burghausen

I was entirely alone at the UNESCO world heritage site of the Wieskirche

The emptyness striked me most at Linderhof Palace, which led to this blog entry

Segfault

We all distort reality. We bend it, such that it better fits our inner fairy tale. One would think that the tale is just a slight adaptation that puts things into a better light for ourselves. But ever since I first realized this, I have been shocked to which extremes it goes. From people who firmly believe that absolutely everything is their fault, to others who would never in their life even come close to the idea that anything could potentially be their mistake. And when one confronts them with the objective evidence, silence. A gaze to infinity, like an internal segfault. And this leads me to the most frightening question of all. How much am I distorting?

"Just a tiny little bend". Take care. Keep your balance.

Evasion

I read a lot as a kid. Like, really a lot. One adventure book after the other. Until at some point, I came to the stupid conclusion that this was a sort of evasion of the allegedly important things I should be caring about. That was a pretentious thought, as it implied that I would ever know what was important and what not. Even worse, the list of allegedly important things is infinite, and thus there would never be a free spot for the inconsequential. Not even in times of quarantines and lockdowns. A year ago, I decided to reserve a fixed time to indulge in evasion, no matter what. And no surprise, the books and games have taught me quite a lesson so far.

The new computer has definitely contributed to this controlled indulgement :-)

One, two, many

As humans, we are terrible at numbers. In particular, when it comes to dimensions and orders of magnitude. Probably I am not the only one who wanted to do a "small pasta" and ended up eating spaghetti the rest of the week. And it gets worse the less used we are to what we are measuring. Last week, we had the heaviest snowfall in Madrid since decades, and many claimed flat roofs would not stand the weight. It sounds plausible. Snow is indeed heavy. But how heavy? And how much does a roof stand? It turns out we were absolutely fine. It is hard to have a feeling for numbers. Not to speak of exponential growth, as we saw last year. I prefer sticking to one, two, many.

Now trees, on the other hand, are a different story

We teared off the sunshade on the terrace before the structure collapsed

Left: How cute, a bit of snow in Madrid! Right: Two days later

Spoiled

As the last hours of 2020 slip away, online media seems to be full of hate against the past months. Indeed, for a large group of human beings, it has been a horrible year. Many of them are dead by now. Still, they are not the ones reading, feeling identified with, and clicking on those headlines. Sure, the bulk of us had to do some sort of sacrifice. Being alone, traveling less, facing economic challenges. But when I read the headlines stating that it was so bad that it cannot get worse in the next year, it feels like the bulk of us is a bunch of spoiled humans. Humans who forgot, or who never listened to, what they were told in history class.

The good news is that we can learn :-) And what better way of starting off a new year than finding new insights!

Happy Holidays :-)