Gota Fría – code red24 September, 2019
San Vicente del Raspeig, 16 September 2019
The last few days it has often been in the news that the southeast of Spain was hit by heavy storms with lots of rain and thunderstorms. As a result, several villages were flooded last week, schools were closed as a preventive measure, hundreds of people were evacuated and, unfortunately, there are also six victims to mourn. It was madness, and the fact that we were in the middle of it makes me realize that we really had a lot of luck. Apparently it has never been so bad in more than a hundred years. You should almost experience it as an ‘honour’ that you were able to experience it. But that would, on top of all the misery, be very disrespectful. I have to say that I didn’t really realize how bad it was. It only dawned on me at the moment that guests immediately returned from a trip because the road was flooded, or because the road was blocked by huge rocks and debris. Agreed, it rained a lot, constantly heavy showers without stopping. At first I was happy because I was thinking about the garden and the trees and plants that would gratefully suck up the water to their roots. Soon, however, I had to revise my opinion. I have to admit that we don’t really follow any more news. At the very most, I would like to read messages on FB. There I read, among other things, that weather code was pronounced red and schools were closed as a precaution. I wasn’t really worried because in Belgium a code red often causes panic, wrongly, and often isn’t at all as bad as one might think beforehand. But I can assure you that code red in Spain is indeed red, dark red.
The guests, and we of course, were locked up in the villas for almost 4 days. If they dared to make a trip, just because they were tired of being stuck inside, they had to give up after only a few kilometers. We advised everyone against leaving, but who are we to stop people? Luckily everyone has come back in one piece. In the end it was the guests who showed us movies and pictures of how ugly the storm was. I was terribly shocked, and only then did I realize how exceptional it was. There had even been whirlwinds.
Because we actually found it very sad for our guests that they didn’t see any sun for a large part of the holiday, I decided to invite the guests here in our private living room to dine together on Thursday evening. It was a very pleasant evening. Everyone was having a great time, and it made me feel like we had friends visiting. It felt so familiar, so cosy, and so special. I find it so surprising time and again that in such a very short time of a few days you can still get a special bond with people. A special bond, because you can’t call it friendship, although it’s very close. The big difference is probably that you know that you won’t see the majority of the guests in the first years, maybe never again. They will be coincidental, or in this case less coincidental, passers-by in our lives that we will remember with very warm and grateful feelings. I’m glad I’m old-fashioned in that sense, because we have a real ‘guestbook’ in which we invite people to write something down.
Really writing, by hand, with each their own unique handwriting. For me, that’s still something I can really enjoy afterwards. The very peculiarities of everyone who writes something will always remind me of the uniqueness of every guest who has ever been here. I will look back very often, especially when the season is over, in the quiet months, where in my me-time I will wallow in the sweet memories of the period that will be behind us. Perhaps it will also be brought out in moments of we-time with Wim, and we will talk, laugh and muse together about these memories that we write together in our unique story here in Lavinia.
As usual, I’m quite a bit of a wanderer from my original story. However, I would like to return to my experience that Thursday evening with the guests in our private home. Because there were a few smokers there, we went outside at a certain moment, while exceptionally it wasn’t raining for a while. From our own terrace we have a beautiful view over the city of Alicante and a bit of the sea. What we could see was so unique, so beautiful, and gave me a special group feeling comparable to the experience at a camp of the youth movement. You feel connected, and in this case the common denominator that gave me that feeling was the unrelenting lightning in the distance.
It was constantly struck by lightning, all night long, so that the sky was illuminated again and again in various places. Once in a while lightning struck the sea, and you saw a bright white lightning bolt against the dark night. I thought it was a very special spectacle, and when I write it down now, I also notice a bit of guilt, because I know that hundreds of people are in trouble, or even worse, someone is lost. How happiness and sorrow can be so close together…
In any case, we were able to closely monitor the situation in the villas because each guest kept a close eye on ‘his’ house. That was actually a great relief. Now we could go to sleep, knowing that people would warn us if there was a problem somewhere. Luckily all of that didn’t happen, and we only had a very small puddle of water in here and there from the torrential rain.
When in the long run we got some messages from worried family and friends to ask if everything was okay here, it became clear to me how exceptionally bad it was. I wasn’t at all aware of the fact that the news in Belgium and the Netherlands also reported about it. So don’t worry, dear family and friends, we are doing very well here and fortunately we have no damage! Meanwhile, the sun is back and we easily reach 28 degrees! Enjoying is again ‘top prio’ in our list!
Annemie ofte Ana
The link to our guestbook you can find here
Some professional and beautiful amateur videos can be found here on Youtube
For your information: La gota fría literally means ‘cold drop’. It is a weather phenomenon that occurs especially in the autumn and is accompanied by very heavy rainfall and wind speeds between 100 and 200 km per hour. It is also typical that the temperature drops a lot. A gota fría is normally of short duration. The more scientific name is DANA, and is the result of the collision of the still warm humid Mediterranean air from the east to the cooling air of the Atlantic Ocean from the west.