Monday, 21 December 2015

Spanish weather for the English

FIRST point to make is that we have never been here in the summer. Back in the 70s we took the family to Majorca but even then it was not July or August. And yes we have been on holiday in Spain nearer to summer but never in it.
So what we have seen is the winter in Spain. Given my reason for being here – my chest – our focus has been on the dry south-east, the  Costa Blanca, Calada, Almeria - even the Costa Malaga. Except two winters back when we chose to take our caravan to the western end of Spain, near Cadiz so on the Atantic rather than the Med. It was very good and very different but I will get there later.
Our first winter trip was in 2008/9 and we have missed a couple of years due to the desire to see the family at Christmas. Even then however we have indulged ourselves with caravanning trips through France, northern Spain and Barcelona.
But to the weather - and it needs to be noted that in choosing this part of Spain I was very keen on the fact that it is virtually Europe's only desert. I mean it, this place is in the tenth year of an officlal drought. The only blue in the rivers is on the maps. They are dried up Ramblas. In which some Spanish have built some houses and flogged them to, mostly, Brits. I presume they pray against the rains.
It is warm since there is little cloud ever and the sun blazes down. But the nights can be cold and on the coast when the sun comes up it warms the Med, the warm air rises and sucks in cold air from the coastal mountains behind it. Down nearer to Granade where the mountains really are big and snowclad the mornings can even be frosty - not that there is much moisture even there to actually freeze.
But by about 10 a.m. the chill wind is dropping and the mercury is climbing. Here it tends to be about 18-20C on a typical day, 16-18 if a cold one. Nice, yes? And it tends to stay warm right until the sun goes down. But it cools fast then due to absolutely no clouds.
The owners of this house and others we have rented are English and so largely unaware of what the winter is like. Our daytime temperature would be a cool night for them. So heating equipment is a bit perfunctory. The one exception was at Bedar where we were in a casita on the owner's land. There we had a blazing log fire whenever we wanted it. But that was before the flood (more elsewhere).
Dressing to suit is not easy - the Spanish consider it is winter and wear what we consider vast amounts of clothing - mostly brown and black and a lot of it puffer jacket style. I tend to wear a fleece in the morning so I can dump it when the sun gets going. But walking the dog can be a trial - at 9-ish it is jumper AND fleece weather. By 11 the jumper is too much but walk in the shade and the fleece may not be enough! By 11 p.m. there is a chill and something extra is needed. Sometimes.
Am I complaining? Absolutely not since the key for me is the temperature range and the humidity. The latter is closer to zero than it EVER gets in the UK and the temp this time of year is about 8-9C at night to 16-20C daytime. That's a range of 12 at worst.And no chill factor except for that brief morning breeze. The UK range in winter is nearer to 20C and the humidity nearer to 65% on a good day!
Mind you, I still need the old bluey once in a while.

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