Mid-summer madness: Mon, Jul 26, 2004

I gather the UK summer is not too good this year, so I thought I’d write and tell you about what it’s like out here now. Not to gloat, far from it. Actually to help you cope with it and to let you know that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Last year I was in Chamonix in July and August so did not experience the full summer here. This year is different. Yes, I know there’s been no rain since May and in fact up to the last 2 weeks its been pleasant with shade temperatures reaching 33 to 35 degrees C each day. There’s also been a gentle breeze which has helped. But now all that has changed. Temperatures soar to 40 degrees and above by 11am, there is no breeeze and the humidity is high! Let me summarise my typical day for the last 2 weeks…………………

Get up at 9am. Ride down to town to pick up post and get bread. Back home for breakfast.

10am - Clean and skim the swimming pools.

11am - Time to escape the heat. Shut all windows, shutters, curtains. Turn off all lights in villa (to stop heat build up, not to save electricity!). Cover doors with mosquito netting and curtains. Sit in house all day trying not to do anything that involves any effort or moving around.

2pm - Visit local pub because it’s got air-conditioning!

3pm - Swim and straight back indoors.

9pm - Sun goes down, humidity stys high and mosquitos come out to play. Stay housebound. Time for TV and bed.

So that’s it………the UK summer doesn’t seem so bad after all does it?

Now it’s probably not well known, but only 2 hrs car journey from Lanjarón, is the vast desert badlands of Almeria. Reputably this is the hottest and driest part of Europe. It’s a lovely drive via Granada in which the scenery changes gradually from the greenery of the Sierras to the white and sandy vastness of the Almerian wastelands. What scenery it is, wild and uninviting. Near the town of Tabernas is the film location where the old spaghetti western films were shot, including “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, For a Few Dollars More” and a “Fistful Of Dollars”. At the end of the filming some locals bought the film set and have now created what is unimaginatively called “Mini Hollywood”. Its very touristy but also very authentic. All of a sudden you’re transported back to the wild west, to the “Town With No Name”! Shoot outs and jailbreaks are staged for the tourists, all very well done. There’s also a reasonably sized zoo, although I don’t know how the animals coped with the 40+ heat. It was bad enough for us!

Written by:
Richard Hartley

Richard is an avid blogger and the founder of Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada. He is author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada