In Istria, winds have names, just like in Italy, France, and other Mediterranean countries. So locals never refer to the ‘wind’, they always mention the name of the wind they’re talking about, which would be either the Bura or the Yugo.
So I’ve overheard people say things like:
“The Bura blew over all my flower pots!”
“Go close the window upstairs - the Yugo is banging it!”
Since these winds which blow over the Adriatic Sea have a very strong influence on the weather, the Bura and Yugo are always mentioned in weather reports.
I’m getting to know these two temperamental winds better. Before, wind was just wind for me, but now I know that each has its own very specific characteristics.
“Is this the Bura blowing today?” I would ask, only to be contradicted: “Noooo! This is the Yugo!”
So I’ve been asking people what the differences are and this is what I’ve been able to gather:
The Bura is cold and brings sunny weather and clear skies.
It comes from the North.
It blows in strong gusts.
The Bura makes a lot of noise and blows roof tiles off houses and uproots trees.
The Bura can be very dangerous on the seas.
The Bura (Bora in Italian) is very, very strong in Trieste.
It lasts for a few days only.
The Yugo is a warm wind which brings clouds and rain, and damp, humid air.
It blows from the South (jug means ‘South’).
It blows continuously.
The springtime floods in Venice are blamed on the Yugo (called Sirocco in Italian).
It can last for a week and even longer.
Lately we’ve had too much Yugo. Most of January has been cloudy and damp, but relatively warm, with many long spells of Yugo and rainy weather. As a result, I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about the Yugo. The dampness brought by the Yugo has been blamed for all sorts of things... Our neighbour told me his knees hurt when there’s too much Yugo. My aunt complained that her cukerančići (a type of sugar-coated biscuit) are too soft because of the Yugo. The mold appearing around doorways is also blamed on – you guessed it – the Yugo. Winter is the season when locals cure meats like pršut – which won’t happen with the humid air of the Yugo. We’ve also been inconvenienced by the Yugo. The newly plastered walls of the house we’re waiting to move into are not drying!
As a result, everyone has been anxiously waiting for the Bura to blow through town so that all will be well again. So after an extended period of Yugo, the first strong gusts of the Bura finally arrived last night. I was sure this was the Bura – because I could hear its fury as it whistled past the windows and rattled the shutters. This morning we woke up to clear blue skies and a bright sunny day. The Bura had worked its magic and blew away the clouds and damp air, bringing a noticeably colder but crisp winter day.
Welcome Bura! May our neighbour get relief from his knee pain and the mold stop growing around doorways! My aunt’s cukerančići will turn out just perfect, and hopefully the plaster on our walls will dry quickly!