BRITS in Spain are warned of a dangerous heat dome this week – and I was there in the middle of it.
Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, was my destination of choice, expecting to enjoy some tapas in the center followed by a day at the beach.
But temperatures are soaring up to 45C across the country, with Spain’s Met Office Aemet warning the intense heatwave is ‘rare for the month of June’.
Despite being someone who liked the hot weather, I found it was even too much for me.
On my first morning, upon waking up at 8am, I was informed that it was already approaching 30C that day, before I even had a chance to have my morning coffee.
You’d think you could skip the morning and wait until the evening to cool off, but no – it was still 32C even at 7:30pm.
Now I don’t want to be that Brit complaining about the hot weather, not when we so rarely have it in the UK – but it certainly makes holidays abroad that much more difficult, and I can only imagine how dangerous it could be for families with small children.
Even as we tried to explore the city center during the day, we hunted for shady spots like every other tourist, desperately trying to escape the beating sun that made you sweat in seconds.
Other tourist attractions like the City of Arts and Sciences were empty mid-day despite it being a weekend due to its open space not offering much respite.
At noon, I nearly passed out despite constantly stopping at bars for cold drinks (along with a few frozen cocktails), thanks to a headache that constantly tormented me no matter how much water I swallowed.
Our all-day exploration plans were dashed by lunchtime as we nearly collapsed at our hotel before taking a nap purely from heat exhaustion just hours after leaving the breakfast.
And that day at the beach we were hoping for? This didn’t happen at all as we could barely walk on the sand without burning our soles.
With no shade in sight – the parasols had long been rented – we pulled away and retired to the cool fans of a nearby cafe, staring miserably at the sunbathers.
I have experienced much worse heat before, thinking back to 41°C in Budapest and 44°C in Dubai, but somewhere it was much worse.
However, it was not all bad – we managed to make the most of tourist attractions such as the old markets in the main centre, thanks to many buildings with air conditioning and fans.
And it also meant that we spent more time relaxing in our hotel, which had very cold rooms and a shaded outdoor pool and pleasantly cool water.
But Britons considering a trip to Spain should heed the warning and take it as seriously as the heatwave in the UK.
Valencia hit highs of 34C which were almost unbearable for most of the day – other parts of Spain such as Andalucia will hit highs of 44C so I can only imagine the dangers that tourists will face without some planning.
Spain heat wave advice
- Stay indoors
- Wear factor 50 sunscreen
- Stay hydrated
- Call 112 in case of emergency
So my best heat wave advice? Make sure you have a hotel pool to cool off in, lots of indoor activities planned, and keep drinking plenty of water — and you can forget about the beach.
Here are some other ways to survive a heat wave.