Tuesday, October 12, 2010

September 29 - Oct 4 – Gijon (again)

General Strike
From our vantage point at the campsite on the cliffs overlooking Gijon, we watched like generals over the battle going on down below us. We could hear the bands playing marching music, the inflammatory speeches of the union leaders, the cheers and shouts of the protestors, and the occasional boom of a firecracker (as our imaginations run wild, could these be gunshots?). We certainly didn't want to get any closer to find out what was going on, but the next day it appeared as if the town was totally back to normal, so hopefully there were no incidents.

Gijon has a wonderful Thalassotherapy Spa, where for €19, you can spend 2 and a half hours floating around in its hot seawater pools being buffeted by jets of water, and being bubbled around like a boiling lobster. On the basis of this alone (and maybe the beautiful beaches and the nice atmosphere of the town), Tracy has decreed that Gijon is now the place she wants to live.

Revising Like Crazy
Tray's History of Art exam is just over a week away, so she is cramming like crazy for her first exam in about 15 years. As you'd expect, she's being very methodical and disciplined, and panic has not descended - yet.

Windswept Away
The first time we stayed in Gijon at the end of August, it had been a little gusty, so we asked the campsite lady if it would be this time. She said no, they just always have a couple of windy days at the end of August, and it should be fine this time of year. For the first few days she was right, but then it started to get more blustery over the course of the day, so we moved from the windy cliff edge to a sheltered spot at the back of the campsite by a wall, and protected by a tree.

Unfortunately, by the evening the torrential rain was blowing sideways at us, while the wind was getting stronger and stronger and coming from the only direction that we had no shelter from – the van was getting rocked like a herd of clumsy elephants was jostling past. By midnight, it was getting pretty scary, and Tracy looked up on the internet what the forecast was – by 2am, they were predicting 110kmh winds.

So, we braved the storm and decided to move again, parking next to the shelter of the reception building – this stopped the van from feeling like it was going to get blown over, but the wind continued to howl all night, and it felt like something could come flying through the window at any point.
A very frightening night.

The Calm After The Storm
After a fairly sleepless night, we just thankful to be alive, and to find that the van wasn't damaged. You had to feel sorry for the people whose tents had literally been blown away – they looked like zombies in the morning. In town, a few young palm trees had been blown over, but no real harm done.

Our only real worry now, is that the storm was blowing in from the Atlantic, and heading towards the Bay of Biscay, which we will be sailing through in 2 days time – I feel seasick just at the thought of it.