Spain update Jan 2021 - Fri01jan
Friday 1st January 2021
Regarding the transition to 2021, our hope for peace was the first wish of the new year that was not fulfilled. The fact that some of the Avenida de Madrid inhabitants already started to exercise was telling much of the intentions for the year end… Our expectations were more than confirmed…Around 10 minutes before midnight the dogs became restless and a few minutes later the first loud bang exploded above our head and immersed our garden in pink light. Our dogs practically shivered apart out of fear and searched protection in all corners of the living room. And so, we toasted to the new year in the company of 12 nervous galgos, one borzoi who did not care at all and Elodie who slept through the noise. It started well… The next days the trend continued. Corona did not disappear at once and Trump showed his best side and he thus confirmed what everybody knew for a long time, indeed…
Friday 8th January 2021
Here in the far Casarrubios the temperatures are literally and figuratively down to below zero much to” Julian the constructor’s” frustration. During our shopping yesterday, it even started to snow and in a short time everything was with a white blanket. Anyway, despite the fairy landscape I am worried because also today it is snowing hard and tonight at 22:00h Dirk Beirnaert will arrive at the airport and they will leave on Sunday. The weather forecast informing that next week it will be -7°C and that it will be icy cold in the following days does not bother me much because Dirk made me buy thermal underwear…What really worries me is that between now and Sunday it should stop snowing because they will leave for Belgium. Dirk says that the “péage” roads are free but watching the television images with snow-covered roads in northern Spain is not favorable for my peace of mind… When in the evening Dirk must leave to the airport, he is no longer comfortable about it, it is snowing more and more, and Dirk Beirnaert’s plane is delayed with one hour. And thus, Dirk is searching for all road information he can find but he cannot find more. When his co-driver sends a message at 21:00h that he is on board and that they will take off in a few minutes Dirk decides to leave 10 minutes later. According to the pilot’s information he will hurry and instead of 1:55h it will take only 1:40h. When I ask him if it is not too early, he says wisely “with that kind of weather you never know” which is a prophecy that would turn out later. After a 2 hours’ silence I start getting worried and I decide to call him. What he tells me is giving me goose bumps, he is almost at the airport, but he does not know how he got there. The roads are impassable and full of left behind cars; some even cannot get off the verge of the road! It is terrible he says, and he hopes to make it to the airport because he can only drive at a speed of 30 to 40 km/hour.
Before we hang up, I insist to call me when he gets there. When he does so I hear him shiver from the cold and I advise him to wait in the car in the parking because the airport is closed. After I did not hear from him in an hour, I call him and Dirk starts with “you cannot believe it” … when I ask what I cannot believe, he tells me that Dirk Beirnaert’s plane has been diverted to Barcelona after having circled a few times above Barracas!!! I can hardly believe it… It is 3:00h when Dirk is shoveling one meter of snow at the gate and the driveway to get in with the car. Meanwhile in Casa Belgica 2 trees have succumbed to the weight of the continuing abundant snowfall that is whipped up by the bleak wind to all sides… It takes forever before he can drive in and can finally report on the past events. While Dirk is telling his story, his co-driver is sending messages from the Barcelona airport where he is queuing in an endless line of about a thousand stranded passengers waiting for news regarding the continuation of their journey.
During what is still left of the night the two “Dirks” exchange messages and it is already early in the morning when Dirk’s co-driver gets a breakfast voucher and the message that he should follow the departures of the flights to Madrid because he must return with the same flight he arrived with. Wishful thinking it rings in my head, Madrid is under snow. Not much later we receive the message that Barcelona cancelled all flights to Madrid and Dirk advises him, if possible, to book a flight to Belgium. When he replies that the will take the first flight to Belgium at 6:00h he is staying in small hotel at the airport. I feel immensely guilty for our co-driver, for the weather but mainly for the dogs. Dirk as well as I realize that travelling tomorrow will be impossible. The shelter is inaccessible, the roads impassable etc… While we think about the consequences I go back in time when Dirk and I were stuck in Medina for more than a week due to snowfall. While I get ready to inform everybody, and while I call Marianne telling that Dirk will not arrive on Monday, he goes outside to get rid of his frustrations on the snow….
Monday 11th January 2021
On Saturday and Sunday, it did not snow anymore but if has frozen all the harder (-7C° till -12°C – 17°C at night!!) what made the shoveling of the snow not easier. With the help of Vali and Julian first the garden and the driveway were shoveled with passageways and yesterday Dirk shoveled the driveway at the street side before the snow was getting too frozen. Many neighbors were doing the same and the common goal resulted in the fact that the neighbors in the 16 years that we have lived here talked to Dirk for the first time: shared sorrow is half sorrow isn’t it? Concerning the shelter, it is just like us isolated from the outside world. Because we were worried yesterday about the food storage of the two workers who spend the night there and who are since Friday also unreachable Dirk suggested to meet them halfway on foot with food and home-made soup. It is a bad idea Marie-Carmen told us, due to the thick snow carpet the way to the shelter could not be distinguished from the rest and it is in fact extremely dangerous according to the workers. They still had enough food till tomorrow. I took the liberty of asking them if they could make a movie, yes…