This has been a much longer and harder winter than normal here in Girona province, nowhere near as bad as in more northerly countries of course, but everything is relative as they say.
Here we have had several epic storms, some of which hit the headlines internationally, along the Costa Brava and inland flooding with very high winds causing extensive tree and roof damage.
Well the good news is that after a walk in the Empordà this week there are finally signs of spring, although it is several weeks behind Barcelona and the Penedes.
The first colour to appear in the countryside is the white almond blossom, closely followed by the pink plum blossom and then in the sheltered areas the spectacular yellow mimosa.
It is also nice to see bees buzzing around as they have been hit by various diseases that have decimated their numbers and the smell of the blossom in the warm sunny days is wonderful.
So, the economy might look like hell but at least we can appreciate the wonders of spring in this beautiful area.
Walking along a fairly deserted promenade in Palamos today after some of the worst storms in recent memory over Christmas. Some coastal towns on the south of the Costa Brava like Blanes, Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar suffered severe damage to their beaches, promenades and even flooding to buildings along the beach from the 6metre high waves and 90km winds. Other places like Cadaques were cut off because of snow which in itself only happens rarely in these days of global warming. Here in Palamos they had a scare as one of the large ferry boats broke its moorings and floated out to sea before being rescued and towed to port again.
Still, we are on the Mediterranean and after a few dramatic days everything will return to sunny, calm and quiet winter days very soon!