We have always loved the spontaneous nature of travelling in a motorhome. The making it up as you go along planning. The ease of changing your mind at the last minute. Yes, so wonderful… hmmm. So we looked at the weather forecasting app and it showed us two cool zones – one to the west via Lisbon and Porto and on towards northern Spain. One to the east along the Mediterranean Coast towards Malaga and the mountains to Granada and then towards Madrid and the cool north. But… the weather forecasting app was incorrect. There was no cool in the mountains or anywhere else, sadly.
We left Portugal on Saturday morning having our last nata at a motorway services. Which in hindsight was probably a bad omen. It was the least lovely nata of the trip. Then we drove across the border into Spain and along the motorway to Seville. Here we stopped on the outskirts for fast food and groceries. It was 30℃ in the shade. And there wasn’t a lot of shade. We kept going. By 5.30pm it was 36 in the van and we had arrived at a town called Antequera to spend the night parked outside the sports ground. We had travelled nearly 400km. We did our best to cool ourselves and the van down and then I lay on the bed quietly contemplating the situation. Denis meanwhile googled air conditioners. His contemplation has always been more action based while mine is just quiet desperation. I was remembering the tunnel under the town of Béjar. Do you remember? I would gladly sit in that scary tunnel now… Cave dwelling? Yes. Yes, that too. Underground? Yes, please! Wet, windy, cold Ireland? I am so sorry I misunderstood you!
A couple of hours of that and we were both ready to venture outside where it was cooing down. We found a park with benches and sat watching a couple throw a ball to their dog, children playing tag and a lady sitting under a tree. It always puzzled me to see the Spanish students in Greystones sitting together on the damp grass in the middle of winter chatting. I understand now. It’s what works here. It’s what you need to do and the Spanish system plans for it. They put park benches everywhere and in the cool of the evening people sit and meet their friends. We were recovering, so we went to the cafe for a drink. Denis had a cold beer. I wanted a hot tea, an Avoca pear and almond scone and a little light rain so I had an iced tea. I can’t for the life of me remember what was so bad about a rainy day in Ireland…
Next morning I went for a walk early while it was still cool. The town was buzzing. Everyone was out walking or visiting the bar, there were groups of men drinking beer at 8am. At least I think they were drinking beer I was trying not to stare. This town has a lot of interesting attractions but it was already too hot to walk around by 9am.
Spain, you are absolutely magnificent but I feel we’re going about you the wrong way. Is there a manual, a user guide for those of us unaccustomed to your heat?