For your delight and entertainment we have added a two minute video about Storm Gloria. It is at the end of this article.
What we said to our friends was, “You’ll love it here. The weather’s like a mild summer’s day in the UK. Above us, the heavens are usually crystal clear and brilliantly blue, with just enough clouds to make an artists sky. The sea is every shade of green and blue and so gin clear that, when standing on the rocky shore, fish can be seen swimming in it’s depths. Add to this the tropical palms and banana trees and the oranges dripping from their branches and you have a place that you must visit. Especially as we’re here and we miss you. We will welcome you with open arms. Take care.“
Thus it was that our friends organised themselves to visit. We booked them into a local hotel for a couple of days, followed by a week in a nearby apartment. It was going to be perfect. We could not wait for them to arrive and to welcome them with open arms.
With our guests due on Thursday, we began to plan our itinerary for the week. The weather was about to break, which meant the Monday reconnoitre became a mega ride out on our KTM’s. We were on a mission, checking access, views, restaurants and anything else we could think of that would keep an 87 year old and his 60 year young buddy amused. We got back after dark, packed away anything that was not nailed down, and hunkered down in readiness for the storm that was about to hit us. Apparently, it was going to be a corker. They were flying high and it had been what felt like a long long time since we had seen them.
As we were skimming about the mountain tracks on our motorbikes, the campsite staff were asking some clients to move onto pitches that were clear of trees that might fall during the coming high winds. With everyone on the campsite safe and sound in their caravans and motorhomes, the wind strengthened, the clouds gathered and the night became coal black. We snuggled up under our duvet as the storm tried to pound it’s way into our coziness. We went to sleep; in fact we slept like logs.
What a difference a night makes. We awoke to Armageddon. Trees uprooted, an awning blown down and one campervan brushed by a large branch as it fell. We had to take care as we struggled to walk side by side to the seafront. We were still in a howling gale. Then we were assailed by a vicious downpour. The water poured down our jeans and into our shoes. We sheltered behind a sturdy wall. The sea was angry, in filthy shades of grey and raging against the shore. Stones, rocks and boulders had been hurled across the promenade, during the night, with the ferocity of Finn McColl in full battle cry. The angry sea had slammed into concrete benches and litter bins, picking them up and strewing them along the promenade. A slight lull in the rain allowed us to squelch our way further along the blasted seafront. Demolished walls, banks of pebbles and access decking were all strewn asunder. Only the brave or foolhardy ventured out, I think we fell into the second category!
A member of the campsite decided to hold a movie afternoon, to calm the nerves and help keep up moral. Four of us headed out to find a restaurant that would offer us a lunch. Most places were shut; lack of utilities, storm damage, closed roads: all good reasons to not open up. We trawled the streets in the rain and eventually we found an eatery. They fed us in high style as we watched their TV with it’s wall to wall coverage of the torrential rain, strong winds, high seas and driving snow. The campsite had been lucky, it had come away with little damage, apart from jangling the nerves of some campers.
By the next day, Wednesday, the rain had stopped, the wind and sea had dropped to a mere ‘Strong Force 9‘. It is hard to gauge what it had been 30 hours before.
The statistics of this particular storm event makes for salutary reading:
- Winds gusting up to 70MPH
- 20000 homes without electricity
- Waves up to 27ft
- Air pressure at 1049.6 millibars, highest reading recorded in 300 years.
- 13 fatalities.
Our visiting friends made contact with us, having seen a travel warning issued by the Foreign Office. We told them it was fine, assuring them that a little storm like that was no barrier to a nice holiday. And so it was that they arrived the following day, Thursday.
In one week our friends had experienced the aftermath of a freak storm; leaden skies, rough seas, challenging temperatures, followed by glorious sunshine and the heat of Spanish winter sun.
A week later, despite feeling, as our friend put it, that, “I may never pass this way again,” he was also insisting he might visit for a month next year.
From the first hello to the last goodbye, we had a ball; but that is a different story.