Saturday, October 04, 2008

Blue Sky Thinking

Yesterday was a holiday in Germany, to celebrate German Unity Day. It was quite nice to restart my working life with a four day week, but any thoughts I had of enjoying a long weekend in Madrid soon faded. Instead of it being German Unity Day, the holiday could easily be renamed All Of Germany Goes To Spain Day, as it was impossible to get a flight to Madrid either on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.

I got home at about 22:30 last night after having a fine reminder of just what an unpleasant experience flying can be these days. After a 90 minute delay in departure I got onto one of those planes where someone of my height starts thinking seriously about whether cutting my legs off just above the knee might be the only way to avoid being permanently jammed into the space that I’ve been assigned. Cheap flights you might think, but it wasn’t cheap. The little boy sitting next to me celebrated the flying experience by vomiting profusely about ten minutes into the flight – these things can’t be helped.

Still, I got home and this morning helped to improve my humour. As I walked out into the centre of Madrid this morning I forgot all about the battering I’ve received from high winds and pouring rain in the last few days. The sky had that luminous blue colour that you normally get here in spring or autumn when pollution levels in the city fall temporarily below their now almost standard toxic average. The sun was out and you could walk in it without frying, suddenly life felt better.

El País published on their web site a couple of days ago a beautiful satellite image showing the Pyrenees, the Massif Central and the western part of the Alps completely clear of clouds. As I looked at it I thought what a clever bit of clipping they must have done because not so far further north things were very different. Maybe it will have improved by the time I get there again for Germans Go Back To Work Day.

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