January Spring in Madrid(?)

Here I am in Madrid, Spain. It’s nearly 4pm and I’m watching a Spanish movie, “Adosados” (1996) after a lunch of pasta with green olives and Ribeiro white wine.

The thing is, the sun is getting a little lower now, over the building being constructed across the street. But I still have the sun shining into my living room. And all the windows are open. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not really warm. Well, “warm” for me is a relative term. I don’t know the temperature but I know that I’m perfectly comfortable in my jeans and sweatshirt. There’s no wind. Definately no rain. There’s no clouds in the sky. And there’s almost no wind. It’s an absolutely perfect day for me, but….

… IT’S JANUARY 24th, 2008!!! AND THIS IS WINTER!!

Last year at this time I certainly had all the windows closed and was bundled up for cold weather and cloudy skies. Okay, maybe there wasn’t a cloudy sky, but it was certainly cold! Wasn’t it? Maybe there is something to this whole Global Warming, Climate Change thing which the US Government has denied…until recently.

Yesterday was the same. I had a meeting downtown on Gran Vía at noon and then met a friend at the Plaza Mayor at 2pm. From there we walked to lunch on the Calle de Santiago for a wonderfully delicious and filling 8.50€ Menú del Día. After that we had a walk around the Madrid de los Austrias – and I wasn’t wearing my jacket, but had it draped over my shoulder bag the entire time. What’s wrong with this picture?? My British friend even remarked about how clear and blue the Madrid skies were. I could only agree.

While having a coffee in the historic Café del Nuncio (photo) on the Calle de Segovia I was perusing the different historic photos of Madrid hanging on its walls. I always love the old Madrid photos but one in particular caught my eye. It was a 1920 photo of the Río Manznares at the Puente de Toledo – a lesser known bridge to tourist due to its location – and saw that there was about as much water in the river then as there is now!

I always attributed today’s lack of river water to the over-development of the villages UPstream but maybe I was (partially) wrong. Maybe the river’s ALWAYS been like this. I wonder why then the river expanse is so wide? Maybe for the potential, possibility for flooding over the Manzanares’ banks? Hmmm.. I’m guessing no. But WHY would the original architects build the river walls so darn high then? That’s the question.

In the Plaza Mayor there were a number of terrazas open for business. Sure, I’ve seen terrazas open on FREEZING COLD days in Madrid and Barcelona, catering to the tourists whom have come to Spain from arctic countries expecting tropical climates only to find this, and having gas burning heater poles over the terraces to heat the incoming tourists expecting such warm naturally. I guess I can’t blame them. Spain has the image of being warm all year ’round but it really isn’t – until lately.

Currently, there’s a constant inversion later settling over Madrid city. Today, they said it was “African Dust” – whatever that is. But they recommended people stay indoors and NOT do outdoor exercising – even though the temperature and weather conditions are perfect to do so. What’s going on here??

I’m hesitant to complain about the winter weather here in Madrid because I absolutely LOVE IT. But realizing this is not altogether natural makes me pause. I saw some movie which took place in Madrid during the time of Spain’s Civil War and there were several scenes where it was snowing – IN MADRID! SNOW! How has the climate and environment changed in the past 60 years? ONLY 60 YEARS!?

There’s a slim chance that I might STILL be around 60 years from now. (we’re all “long livers“) How will Madrid be then?

 
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One Response to January Spring in Madrid(?)

  1. jamongris says:

    Temperature inversions, although unusual are not exceptional in Madrid. Its geographical problem is that it is more or less in a bowl, with many surrounding mountains, and on calmer wind free days, the air can get trapped in it.
    If you look down on Madrid, especially from the Northerly Sierra, you can frequently see and orange tint to the air, which is basically trapped pollution. Yet while standing in the centre looking directly up, like today, the sky appears clear blue.
    And it’s not just the US government that denies global warming. If you want an entertaining read, and an alternative view on global warming, check out Michael Crichton’s book, “State of Fear”. You can read a review of it here :-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Fear

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