August life in Spain.
There is change of pace afoot, here in the inland areas and in particular the Jalon Valley. The approach of August brings a slower and more relaxed way of life to the people who live here. Expats from cooler climes can find the heat challenging and some never really get used to it. It is one of the most common reasons expat residents give for returning to their home country.
It’s actually not that difficult to acclimatise. All it takes is a different attitude. Instead of escaping we need to learn to embrace it and look forward to it. Most businesses and workplaces literally shut up shop. If not for the whole of August certainly for at least two weeks. If you are running a business try to plan an August break. Nothing much gets done so it makes sense.
Here are some suggestions for a joyful and relaxing summer lifestyle.
1. Be an early riser.
Get up as early as you possibly can. The best time of day is early morning. It’s cool and refreshing and the best time to do your jobs in the house and garden. We have more energy in the mornings and getting up at 6.30 or 7 am gives you 3 or 4 hours to do your daily chores before the heat kicks in. It feels fantastic to know that you’re done for the day and the rest of it can be spent in guilt free relaxation.
2. Change the way you eat and drink.
Hydration is essential. Drinking water, of course, is the obvious thing. Most people don’t drink enough water and in summer being dehydrated can make you ill. So, whether you like it or not at least 8 large glasses of water a day will stop you feeling listless and lethargic.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It will dehydrate you more and give you an unpleasant headache for the rest of the afternoon. If you want an alcoholic drink try a refreshing “tinto de verano”, red wine with casera, which is similar to lemonade but less sweet and sickly.
Ordering the right food is important. Carbohydrates are better eaten earlier. So have your toast for breakfast and eat salads and tapas for lunch. Look to the natives for the best way to eat. They tend to eat lunch at 2pm and follow with a siesta around 3 or 4pm. Gazpacho is a delicious chilled tomato soup which can be topped with ham, celery and eggs. Filling but not bloating and extremely healthy. Spanish tapas such as ensaladilla (Russian salad) and tortilla are also good for a lighter lunch. Don’t eat heavy desserts. A plateful of sweet, juicy sandía (water melon) is excellent for refreshing your palette and hydrating your digestive system.
3. Stay indoors or in the shade.
If you live in a town in the Jalon valley you will see that the streets after 1pm are deserted. The town people go indoors to eat their lunch and sleep. This is pretty sound advice! After a leisurely lunch you can feel free to have a long siesta before getting ready to go out again in the late evening.
Just as the sun starts to set and, feeling refreshed, you can enjoy your evening walk or sit somewhere nice and watch the world go by. The best time to dine and socialise is after 9pm.
Just ask the natives. The older generation hibernate for most of the day and you will see them arm in arm going for an evening stroll at 10pm. The rest of the evening is spent sitting chatting with their neighbours outside their front doors. They know exactly how to cope with it and we should follow their example. Night time is for living outdoors and we should celebrate that!
4. Visit your local municipal pool.
If your lucky enough to have your own swimming pool that’s great but it isn’t the be all and end all. The municipal pools are the hub of the town in the summer months. Usually Olympic size, so wonderful for the keen swimmers among you. Get there early and you will have it to yourself. Always a steady stream of folk but never packed with hordes so it’s a perfect place for a picnic lunch.
5. Day trips.
All of the towns in the Jalon Valley are no more than 25 minutes from the nearest beach, the best place to be to stay cool. With a light breeze and the sea to dip in and out of, its the perfect place to go for the day. Just take a parasol and sun cream, it’s easy to forget how damaging the sun can be when the breeze is keeping you cool.
Inland there are some interesting places to visit. The “Cueva de las Calaveras” in Benidoleig are spectacular caves well worth a visit and a picnic at the beautiful Fonts de L’Algar is a must for your summer visitors. The fresh water springs and waterfalls are heaven. Don’t forget your water shoes for walking on the rocks.
6. See a different part of Spain.
August is the perfect time to discover the North of Spain. With milder temperatures but still guaranteed sunshine it is a beautiful part of the world. The Basque Country, Asturias, Pamplona and Galicia, to name but a few. If you’re lucky enough to own a camper van, what are you waiting for?! If not load up your car and take off! Seek your inner adventurer! http://www.
What could be better than a leisurely stroll around an air conditioned mall with a choice of eateries serving Spanish tapas, Mexican or Italian as well as the popular fast food stops?
Any expat will probably tell you, if you’re an avid shopper you may need to travel a short distance from the Jalon and Orba Valleys. There are smaller shopping malls like La Marina Ondara centre which is a lovely air conditioned mall with some fabulous eateries but if you want to do some serious shopping you may be better heading down toward Alicante or Valencia.
There is a larger mall near Finestrat https://cclamarina.
A 40 minute drive and you’re in Alicante city. It’s a fabulous city with beautiful beaches and a marina so plan to stay at least a whole day if not a weekend. Valencia, which is a short train ride if you don’t want to take your car, also has an amazing shopping centre with a huge (and wonderfully air conditioned) Corte Inglés and high end designer stores.
August is a time to slow down and recharge your batteries. It’s a time to holiday and fiesta. It’s a time to celebrate how lucky we are to live in this beautiful place we call home.