AMONGST the COVID gloom the people of Madrid have taken to the streets to take advantage of a massive snowfall and enjoy what has become a winter wonderland.
As Storm Filomena brought the heaviest snow to hit the capital in 40 years, roads were closed, the airport shut and bus services ground to a halt.
But that has not stopped the hardier residents of the capital making the most of the Christmas postcard conditions.
Teacher Deirdre Carney, 42, witnessed the scenes first hand, telling the Olive Press: “We’ve never seen anything like this in Madrid. People are snowboarding down Gran Via and skiing across Plaza Mayor. It’s a mixture of joy and bewilderment for everyone.”
The American, originally from New York, who has lived in Madrid for three years, and been a frequent visitor to Spain since childhood, added that despite the chaos the Madrileños were taking the conditions in their stride.
As well as skiers and snowboarders a team of dogs hauling a sled has also been spotted.
Madrid is not the only place that has been affected by snow, with a red weather alert now covering half the country.
Temperatures are set to remain low and more snow is forecast up until Thursday. Another 20 cm of snow is expected for Madrid in the next 24 hours and temperatures could plunge to -12C by Thursday.
Last night (Friday) firefighters and the army were called in to rescue drivers stuck on motorways near Madrid and in other parts of Spain, and to help clear roads.
Authorities have asked people to avoid non-essential travel.
Large parks in Madrid have since been closed as a precaution.
But for some the snow has not been good news. At Cañada Real, the largest shanty town in western Europe, residents were seen creating bonfire to keep warm.