Cycling against a hairdryer

The gloves are off; i'm ready for 2013.
The gloves are off; i’m ready for 2013.

In the Netherlands wind is wind. And in winter the wind is always chilly. In my mother tongue a föhn is a hairdryer.

Here in Slovenia a föhn (fen) is a wind from the mountains and that wind is always warm. In winter it can make snow disappear with the blink of an eye, in summertime the wind can blow wildfires at high speed through forests. Föhn winds are believed to be the cause of suicides, accidents, violence and headaches. But on Saturday the föhn brought me nothing but happiness when it treated Slovenia to an early spring.

Saturday started chilly. When I left Ljubljana by bike around noon it was 5 degrees Celsius and I was afraid my gloves weren’t up to the task of keeping my hands warm. The tyres made small drops of dirt from the wet road jump up on my bike and trousers. It was a true winter ride. But that lasted for ten kilometres. Then the wind picked up, clouds dispersed, and the temperature took a ten degree leap up. Grey became green, white became blue.

My hands were sweaty in no-time and I had to take the gloves off. I zipped my jersey open and rolled up my sleeves. The föhn blew the heavy scent of earth in my nostrils. Nature was waking up. It was January 5 and spring was here. I braced to pedal against the strong headwind and realised that for the first time on the bike I was happy with a headwind.

It’s now Monday and winter is back. The sky is grey and the temperature is 3 degrees Celsius. I hope for a swift return of the föhn.

Slovenia in the first weekend of January. Normally the green would be white here.
Slovenian hills in the first weekend of January. Normally the green would be white here.

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