Now this is something that needs to be understood once and for all. Some of my friends and family still think I live in ‘sunny Spain’ and ask me regularly how is my tan coming along. For one thing, these people all look at my Facebook so do they not notice the distinct LACK of tan? The numerous pictures of a rainy scene? Several status’ about umbrellas and wellies? Anyway, this post is dedicated to settling this silliness. Now the Basque Country has it’s own climate. If you look on tourist sites they will all say that it has a mild climate with clearly defined seasons, never experiences extreme weather and is pretty moderate all year round. What tosh! I am here to tell you something completely different. When I first landed in Spain, I was in Spain, down near Salamanca, nowhere near the Basque Country where I was later to make my home. It was also August, so you get the idea. That is the exact picture everyone had in their heads when I said I was moving to Spain – sunny day, hot temperatures, tanning all the time, swinging about in hammocks and drinking sangria everyday. Pah! My first two weeks were indeed full of sun (and a little tanning of course) and when I came to Getxo in the Basque Country, to start my au pairing stint, the weather here was also beautiful and hot and exactly what I wanted. It stretched right into October pretty much which I’m told is not too crazy as summer is often late here, hanging around for August and September at least. I settled into my new life but I still was aware of what was coming – a Basque winter, enough rain to rival Ireland. When it rains here, it is one of two types. Ziri-miri is a light, fine drizzle that floats around on the air so an umbrella or even hood is completely pointless because it literally floats on the air and gets everywhere. It can be a short period or seemingly never stop. Sometimes you can’t see it either so it tricks you to leave the flat without a waterproof. The other type is what I like to call Bilbao rain. Now I know Bilbao is just one city in the Basque Country (but yeah yeah, it’s the centre of the world, as the Basques ‘joke’) but this is what I’ve nicknamed it. Now this rain is heavier, potentially massive blobs of water, and lasts for significantly longer. Since Christmas we have been battered with extreme storms, winds and rain, as you may have seen in the news, and lots of the coast has been destroyed. Waves were coming over the beach, over the path, over the road and INTO THE STREETS. That’s kind of scary. Thankfully that seems to have gone and a couple of weeks ago we had successive days of sun with a bit of power behind it – it was GLORIOUS. Picnics were eaten, the sea was paddled in, walks on the beach were had and life was great. The last couple of days have been a little crazy again. Yesterday we, no joke, had every type of weather, just in the waking hours. At 7am we were woken up by humongous claps of thunder, lightening and then rain, but it was short-lived and died within ten minutes – shortest storm I’ve ever witnessed but hey, not complaining. Throughout the morning we had heavy rain bursts with blinding sunshine inbetween – the sky was black one way you looked and blue with fluffy white clouds the other – a bit trippy actually.
We got off the bus at work and it was sunny (having rained for the entire bus journey) so we pulled off our hoods and had smiles on our faces and then one little cloud wasn’t having it and we were nearly knocked back by giant drops of rain smacking us in the face, in a horizontal fashion. It was hilarious! Hoods back up and dashing to work, where we thought we’d be safe. Oh no, the teachers in the school leave all the windows open to air out the sweaty classrooms after the day (which is appreciated) and I was just loading up my computer when I thought the windows behind me were cracking… looking towards the open window and quite sizeable hailstones were being blown in and scattering all over the floor. Ugh! It lasted for about five minutes then stopped and the sun teased us from behind black clouds then it went quiet. Through the next hour and a half class I played with my kids, asking them every ten minutes ‘how’s the weather?’ as it changes that quickly. They got some good vocab ingrained in them that class.
Today started off raining and miserable, but now as I type this at 1.10pm it is sunny and the sky is full of white clouds, but so far so dry, for the afternoon. I just have to make it to the metro as I have a huge bag to take today that I do not want to get wet. Umbrellas are great for my head but I might have to clingfilm my bags of work folders!
Right, I hope you maybe can understand now a little better (I have to rush off now and fill my belly before work) the kind of weather I live in. Yes, when the Basque Country has committed to summer it is hot and lovely (hotter than the UK hehe), but the winter, autumn and spring are kinda crazy.
So there you have it. Moff.