When the north west wind blows in the middle Ebro valley. Moncayo.
Mount Moncayo. On the western borders of Aragon.(Spain) Source: Wikipedia.
To the east of the Moncayo. There where the north west wind, the cierzo, turns dry, cold and makes us mad, blowing freely on the plains of the central Ebro valley, making dry thistles jump across fields and roads, finding always the way through the smallest pore in your clothes and making you lean your head after turning some particular corners well known to everybody.
Cyclists riding against it feel they are climbing a mountain though it lets you fly like a clipper when it is at your back and you just keep your jacket open as a sail. Your thumbs on the other hand become pale, your cheeks blush, your ears try to hide under the hat and your nose can’t stop running. Yes speed is great in winter. It makes you forget the cold.
Nothing like a far distant horizon, with a line of snowed capped peaks visible in clear days, driving along almost empty roads, purple skies at dawn, clear blue during the day and reddish at sunset when an occasional flock of starlings looks for a shelter to spend the night. In a brownish winter landscape, in lagoons hidden behind rushes and reed beaten by the wind, big grey gooses spend the winter. It’s cold here, but it is much colder now where they come from up in the far north.
In bigger lakes, artificial or not, when the cierzo blows, it makes navigation a challenge, windsurfing an adventure, and water skiing almost impossible. Unlike the sea, waves in lakes are not too high but crests are very close to each other. Swimming a can be quite rocky too, and pretty hard without fins, a frontal snorkel and a wetsuit.
If stopping somewhere, you are met by voices with may be a bit rough but welcoming accent, clear, that calls white what is white and black what is black. Visitors will be surely surprised by the local way of saying that something it’s not little good when they mean that something is in fact very good. Apply that to a glass of local wine and the standard giant sandwich that you get in any village bar.
In that same bar you might find old men playing cards in couples almost in silence, or speaking about anything but the game. Try to play guiñote with them and without saying a word in three rounds they will know what cards you have in your hands. It’s not only good luck what you need to win, but also a clear mind.
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