NewsSilent nights

Silent nights

The volcano on La Palma really seems to come to rest – for many “the best Christmas present for a long time”.

Not everyone is convinced yet: “There are still people who ask themselves whether this is definitely, whether it is really quite safe,” says Juan Carlos Pérez from La Palma. “Some are suspicious and believe that the volcano could erupt again. But that would be an event with the lowest probability, very unusual. ”So no more cause for panic. “Now is a good time to be happy,” says Pérez. Most of the people are also happy. “You can tell on the streets. There was tension in the air here … except for the ash and the smell of sulfur. Now you feel that the people are like liberated. “

Last Monday evening, the still nameless volcano of La Palma retired. It no longer spits out lava or ash and almost no sulfur dioxide, and the earth no longer shakes. Because the volcanologists are cautious people from experience, the responsible authorities want to wait until Christmas Day to officially declare the volcano extinct. “The island was in a kind of war,” says Peréz, the administrative director of the astronomical observatory Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma. This war is over now. Pérez’s telescopes, which despite their location at over 2,000 meters above sea level, far from the volcano, which was sprinkled with its ashes, are working again.

“The silence of the volcano is the best Christmas present I’ve received in decades!” Exclaims Rüdiger Wastl. Wastl, who runs a restaurant within sight of the volcano, the “Franchipani”. He lost his house and everything in it on the first day, September 19th. He and his family have had tough months. Now things are slowly improving. Wastl, who comes from Dietzenbach in Hesse, says a little more thoughtfully: “We have actually already received the greatest gift: that somehow everything went off relatively lightly. You have this huge burden off your shoulder. “

Relatively lightly means: everyone is still alive, father, mother and child, and they have been able to rent a house again, not far from their restaurant. Life can go on, life will go on. First of all, Christmas is celebrated. Wastl keeps his restaurant closed until January 6th, which he usually doesn’t. “We want to spend Christmas with our son. You just noticed during this time: The most important thing you have is not what you own, but the people you live with. The family and friends. That sounds so trite. But after such a catastrophe you feel it more clearly than ever: that it is actually the most important thing you can imagine. “

Even those who are less concerned about Christmas will meet with others these days to exchange experiences and future plans. “I make fillet steaks for a couple of friends,” says Thomas Klaffke. The Wilhelmshaven resident would like to return to his house in La Bombilla, which was spared from the lava but is in the restricted area because the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels there are still dangerously high. “It will probably be mid-January. If you can’t do anything, you can’t do anything, ”says Klaffke, who has a cheerful disposition. “First Corona, then the volcano. What should happen now? More is not possible. It can only get better now. “

This is how many people think on La Palma. Juan Carlos Pérez will meet for a family dinner “in a very beautiful country house” on the island, “with the antigen test in hand”. The volcano is silent, the virus is not. “We’ll talk a lot about the volcano and about rebuilding the island,” says Pérez. “And then you can smoke a good La Palma cigar. Very good cigars are made here. And good ideas are bound to come up around a good cigar. ”This will be the best time to be happy for a long time.

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