We know it is summer in our Andalucian hometown when the only time it is liveable outside is before 9 am in the morning or after 9 pm at night. The hottest we experienced was the day we passed a thermometer outside a pharmacy, measuring 52 degrees. Not to forget that time during our first summer here when we were foolish enough to park right in the sun in August in Jerez de la Frontera and came back to 57 degrees inside the car. Not fun…
Of course, one cannot completely avoid the southern Spanish summer heat, but my husband and I have learned to wake up at dawn, go to our allotment garden by seven and do our shopping as soon as the stores open or just before they close at night.
Otherwise, we fight the heat with an endless selection of cold beverages, Spanish hand fans, SPF 50, face spritzers in every handbag, an eternal production of ice cube trays and experiments with cold soups, all windows and doors closed during the day, fully open doors (with mosquito net) and electric fan at night, cooled-off sheets (yes, you can put them in the fridge!) and an emergency sofa bed in the basement should it get particularly intolerable.
We know it is summer in Ronda when the fields are dusty gold, and no green straw of grass is in sight. When there hasn’t been raining for months and no prospect of precipitation either. When the town announces water restrictions (that they themselves never comply with) and even the neighbours stop washing their cars with a hose.
We know it is summer when the neighbourhood kids who run around are tanned as nuts and spend most of their waking hours jumping in and out of any pool that comes their way, as here, the school don’t start until the second week of September. We often hear children’s chatter and laughter long after we have gone to bed. When the toddlers finally get herded inside by their parents, we lay listening to the clicking sound of the geckoes that climb on the exterior walls hunting for mosquitos and other bugs, and as far as I am concerned, they can have the whole lot!
The summer is also the wedding season in Spain. I cannot imagine how the women in the bridal party can stand getting into the rather tight and often synthetic dresses, monumental feather hats and towering stiletto heels to teeter up the cobbled road to the Espiritu Santo church in the height of summer – but what doesn’t one do for love! Summer also means village fiestas with ceaseless Reggaeton music and piped and live flamenco into the wee hours.
Most Scandinavians choose to travel north in this part of the year, and who can blame them? I have always had big plans of finding a holiday substitution post on a weather-exposed lighthouse north of the Arctic Circle every August. Oh well, perhaps another year …