I would like to thank the Guardian newspaper for the inspiration for this post. After seeing their inspired post and gallery and underwhelming pictures from a UK summer holiday (You can see them here and believe me they are worth it, make sure to check out the great description of the Morecambe Bay photo) I thought we needed to compare it to a Summer in Spain.
There are bad things about Spain, of course there are, there are very few paradises on Earth. However, as always, we prefer to concentrate on the positive and to accentuate it and if that means denigrating another place and taking the Mickey a bit then we will do it just to make a point. So, how is your Summer going? A bit damp? Let’s compare shall we. What can you look forward to in a British (or Northern European) summer and what do we get here in Spain instead?
1) Rain, heavy, incessant rain that doesn’t seem to stop for about three months. Showers, heavy showers, long spells of rain, thunderstorms, three days of drizzle…. How do we compare in Spain? Well, if we have two days of rain we actually enjoy it (I said “if”) but it’s more normal to have huge thunderstorms occasionally and as everyone knows sheet lightning and a deluge are much more fun.
2) Operation Stack. If you don’t know what Operation Stack is you have never tried to get to the continent to get away from the heavy, incessant and depressing rain. How does that compare with Spain? Well 1 August is usually full of traffic, that’s called “operación salida”, and 31st August is usually full of traffic when everyone returns home after their month off. Apart from that it’s fine outside of the Madrid rush hours.
3) The human version of Operation Stack usually performed at airports is the French Air traffic controllers making your lives a misery. How does that compare with Spain? Well, we don’t need to get away from Spain so when the French go on strike we don’t really notice it apart from our visitors being inconvenienced by having to stay in Spain for a few days more.
4) “This is the seaside town that they forgot to close down” in the immortal words of Morrissey. How does that compare with Spain? Well, the seaside towns here are usually thriving in the summer and maybe a bit quiet in the winter but they are still warm and you have the beach all to yourself.
5) If you do make it to the seaside one day in the summer be prepared for cold, and I mean cold, water and not so many blue flags to put it in a nice way or, to put it another way, plenty of crap floating past you in the sea. How does that compare with Spain? Well maybe the bit around the Mediterranean as the bit on the North Coast and the Windsurfing Paradise around Tarifa have cold water from the Atlantic, it’s quite warm at this time of year, in fact, some would call it rather like a bath. And if you avoid Benidorm there’s plenty of space on those golden beaches (I would always suggest avoiding Benidorm of course)
6) Blackpool pleasure beach with its cheesy, downtrodden charm as the rain drips off the rusty attractions or Port Aventura, Warner Brothers Park or Terra Mitica. Water parks where you get to cool down in the water because you want to or traditional UK theme parks where the constant drips of rain cool you down like it or not and they rip you off for ten quid to sell you a plastic sheet to cover yourself because you forgot your raincoat.
7) Going out for a night out and not spending 100 pounds minimum. Still possible in Spain. In fact it’s Saturday night as I am writing this and I have just been out for a great meal with the family for 60 euros, just over 40 quid. About the same as a clotted cream tea for two eaten quickly while shivering in a sopping wet Cornish beer garden.
8) Sitting on the balcony at night with a drink and having to take a few hundred blankets and a large umbrella. We all know that Northern Europe aspires to the a Mediterranean lifestyle but we also know you will almost freeze to death when you do it. We abuse our balconies and terraces as the outdoor lifestyle in the evening is irrisistible.
9) Equally, going to the beach at night and having a great picnic with friends and family and finding hundreds of others doing the same rather than having to worry about groups of drunks, the odd druggy and pan handlers bothering you if you dare to venture out after dark is quite refreshing.
10) Did I mention the rain? Three days of sunshine followed by a thunderstorm does not a summer make.
What do you most look forward to in the Spanish summer or even if you are going to defend the great British/German/Swedish summer?
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