Stop hoping that the intense summer heat wave from Africa is going to whizz round the side of Spain and let us off for a year. You know it won’t be long before you find yourself struggling to breath easily when you leave your flat in the evening, or having several cold showers a day to try to maintain a reasonable body temperature, or joining the masses in saying ‘Que calor,’ all the time. The horrible heat wave in Andalucía is coming, so get prepared.
So far this summer we’ve been damn lucky in Seville. I think everyone panicked at the start of May when temperatures got up to the mid 30’s and we thought we were in for one of the worst summers in history. Luckily the unbearable heat hasn’t struck us yet. I mean the one which leaves you zapped out, lethargic and in zombie land for a few days. Last summer was agonizing at times when temperatures got as high as 55 degrees, which my wife loved as she was pregnant at the time. If you’re reading this from the UK and are dreaming of your sun packed holiday, then just think about us lot over here, desperate for the summer to fly by, or until we fly away to escape the oven.
I much prefer cold weather, not that it ever really gets cold over here, because it’s easy to put another layer on or have a warm cup of tea. When it’s scorching though, there aren’t so many options to cool down, especially when you live in a city where the only breeze feels as though it’s been heated up by one of those turbo powered hairdryers. Imagine sitting with your face just above the oven door when it opens, well, that’s what it’s like in Seville when you come out of work at 13.00.
There is air con I suppose, but I’m not a massive fan. Firstly, it’s bloody expensive and if you’ve got it on all day then you can kiss away that mini break in September when the electricity bill comes in. Sometimes it’s necessary, like when you’re teaching. Today I turned the air con off with ten minutes to go as one of the students was ‘cold’. I thought we could last the rest of the class without it, but within two minutes they were asking to put it back on again. Some of the public schools don’t have air con here and I really feel for the students and teachers. I don’t think my body adapts well to air con anyway. It’s realised that I’m trying to trick it into thinking that it’s still in spring, but it knows that as soon as I go to bed, in the room where we don’t have air con, then it will think I’ve gone to sleep in a glass tent in the Sahara.
If you’re a heat hater, then here are a few ways you can combat getting a roasting over the next couple of months.
- Make sure you have plenty of ice in the freezer. Not only for your glasses of water and wine, but also for slipping down your pants. Refreshing, I’m told.
- Avoid any contact with the outside world between 14.00 and 20.00. Stay in your flat and make sure your blinds are down from about midday. Before you go out check it’s okay by waving your arm outside to make sure your fingers don’t get burnt.
- Get a decent fan – air con is evil – plus it’s a lot cheaper to run. We got one from El Corte Inglés for about €20 last year. You can even drip the ice cubes in front and imagine it’s raining.
- Cut down on your booze, especially at breakfast. Alcohol causes your body to dehydrate and will double the affects of heat. If you’re going out for a session then keep drinking water as well, he says, normally forgetting this vital rule.
- Drinks lots of water – apparently ice cold water is bad for you and your body absorbs tepid water better. I still love that gasping feeling of a freezing glass of water though.
- Don’t eat soup or drink coffee. You can try iced coffee, which I had in my first year but never really got on with, but iced soup is a bit grim.
- Avoid any vigorous physical exercise sessions during the day, unless you’re training for the World Cup in Qatar. Early morning or late evening runs are the way forward.
- Find the coolest part of the floor in the house and lay on the floor. That’s what my dog does and it seems to work. She normally lays in front of the fridge, so that could be worth a try. I remember a mate of mine stayed during August once and he slept on a lilo under the air con, but that was when I didn’t realise how expensive it was.
- Wear a damp hanky on your head; Benny Hill style.
- Don’t sleep with silk sheets. I’ve stored mine away for the autumn already.
- Make friends with anyone who has a swimming pool.
- Leave Andalucía for the summer, something I often consider during those long sweaty nights, but one has to work.
So those are my tips for keeping cool in the summer in Andalucía. Have you got any secret ways of making sure the summer is mildly more bearable? Leave me a comment down below.
For further reading, with slightly more serious and valid points, check out these articles too: