The Art of Summering

Posted on August 3rd, 2010 by Theresa

Guaranteed scorchio and sunshine and blue skies, sultry evenings and the scent of jasmine and a glass or three of fine chilled white wine for under €3 a bottle, there’s nothing quite like a Spanish summer. She says, after coming back from a 12-day stint of English drizzle and cloud and occasional burst of sun.  Not to mention the price of the wine …

So much summer do the Spanish get that they actually have a word for it: the fabulous veranear, ‘to summer’ or ‘to spend the summer’. A great many Spaniards still take their annual holiday in a monthly block, in July or August. Others veranear for the whole period that school is closed, from late June to mid-September. The landlocked go into day-light hibernation, those who can flee to the coast, Madrid turns into a ghost town, and the news on TV brings us an endless round of seaside reports featuring jolly swimsuited señoras who almost manage to convince us that happiness is a tiny towel-shaped spot on the beach in Benidorm. As for Government – national, regional and local – it simply grinds, if not to a halt, to a fairly good imitation of one.  Probably not the best time to buy a house / get the bathroom re-done / renew your driving licence / give birth.

It is, however, the perfect time to ‘quedarse de rodríguez’, an expression which has no sensible linguistic or cultural translation in English. Who the hell is Rodríguez, you might well ask, and why would anyone want to ‘stay like’ him?  Well, after García, ‘he’ has the most common surname in Spain – and I’m not being sexist, but the expression is, and the Rodríguez in question is most definitely a male. In the good old bad old days when school was out, wives and kids were evacuated to beach apartments, country villas, the in-laws’ pueblo, while the men stayed home to, er, work – and hang out with their similarly ‘unfettered’ mates.  This macho staying home, however, seems to be in decline. Sadly, for Spanish blokes, as more and more women work and holidays get shorter in line with northern Europe, the bliss of staying in town en plan rodríguez is increasingly confined to just the odd weekend.

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4 Responses to “The Art of Summering”

  1. Peter Harvey Says:

    I arrived in the UK on Saturday for almost 4 weeks. Think of me.

  2. Theresa Says:

    Ah, but now the forecast is good …. And to scorchio could have added ‘sweat, stifle and swelter’. Enjoy ..

  3. Barry Freeman Says:

    I took the AVANT train from Puente Genil/Herrera to Malaga yesterday (just as fast as the AVE but €15 cheaper for a smooth 45 mins journey). Another clear sky day had dawned and would bring another relentless afternoon of nearly 40c in the shade. I couldn’t believe how different the weather was on the Alora side of the mountains when the train popped out of the tunnel. As I stepped out of the terminus that seems to shun the informative word ‘Malaga’ in its signs, grey skies and low cloud sprinkled me with holy rain that people on my side of the mountain would pay good money for in August. Once airborne it was clear why Malaga was so grey and humid. A massive bank of cloud was trapped on the coastal side of the Sierra Nevada, which acted like a dam holding back a wall of water. Only the very tops of the mountains were visible, but on the northern side, Granada and Cordoba were cloud free.
    Should you ever feel the need to have your brain baked in August, I know a very good place!

  4. Theresa Says:

    No thanks, Barry! How interesting about the ‘sky dam’. Enjoy relatively cool Malaga.

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