August Madness




Cabezera como siempre


WE are well and truly in the middle of what must be the maddest month of the year in Spain. Up the road in Mojacar friends are moaning daily about the increased traffic, and the fact that a 15 minute car journey now takes 45 minutes, and then another 25 minutes while you try and find somewhere to park.

The predicted heat wave arrived, and has stayed with only a few days of relief provided by summer storms, which have caused damage in many places, and resulted in deaths in a few tragic circumstances.

Almería remains on alert for forest fires, although to date we have been lucky, unlike other parts of Spain and Portugal where the fire services have done a tremendous job, risking (and in a few sad cases losing) life and limb to put out fires which in most cases could have been avoided.

There have been more deaths on the road this year in Spain than in previous years, with eight deaths alone reported in Andalucia over the recent three day August ‘Bank Holiday’ weekend.

And then we have the fact that Spain is on holiday all month. I still can’t figure that one out! If you know that the restaurants are all going to be packed, the roads backed up, the beaches full, the supermarkets empty of produce but full of people, and the weather so hot that you can hardly move why would you go on holiday? A week sure; a couple of weeks nice; but a whole month?

The real problem is for those of us that aren’t on holiday as we can’t get anything done. Want to order something in Spain in August? Forget it. Fancy a quiet meal and a chat with the owner in a friend’s restaurant? Think again. How about a nice ride out on the Harley to a favourite chiringuito on the beach (so not in Almerimar then)? Wrong, try again in a month’s time.

Only a month or so ago many a bar, cafe and restaurant owner looked fraught and concerned over when they would start to see trade picking up. Now the majority are looking fraught and concerned as to when they will next get a good night’s sleep. They are not moaning, and am sure they appreciate and welcome the business hugely, but I suspect they wish that the holiday season could be spread over a longer period, and that people didn’t all want to eat at the same time!

Then again, August is the month for BBQ’s on the beach, late night drinks in the cool summer evenings, and for fondly remembering the coldest and wettest winter for years that preceded this hotter than ever summer. It is a funny old world as they say, and before we know it the beaches will be empty, the supermarkets will have stopped resembling war zones, and the bars, cafes and restaurants will be quiet again. The predictions are that we are in for a long hard winter as Spain attempts to avoid a double dip recession and implements the necessary, but painful, austerity measures. For that reason alone it is great that August is so mad! One month a year when Spain becomes Spain again, full of tourists, heaving bars and restaurants, noisy, vibrant beaches, laughter and music into the small hours.

August Madness… I love it!

Costa Almeria Living: By Chris Marshall


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