About Jimena de la Frontera, the province of Cadiz and Spain as a whole, focused on this small village in the mountains

The end of summer? So it seems…

fin verano copia (Photo: TioJimeno) One of the things most foreign residents of Spain -specially those from colder climes- don’t really understand is that August 31st, today, marks the end of what we here often call ‘official’ summer. Our colleagues at TioJimeno have even come up with a ‘poster’ (Good-bye, Summer, good-bye). There is a note of sadness in many a face, though a twinkle can sometimes be seen in parental eyes. Public swimming pools begin to close down.>Parents begin to check their summer-red credit cards in preparation for another downturn caused by schoolbooks and clothes. Kids of all ages begin to feel that hole in the pit of their stomachs that tells them school will be starting soon, and many of them have been studying for their catch-up exams in September.

But why does summer end so soon?

Once upon a time, one could be certain that Spain closed down altogether during August. It is still difficult to get anything done, though that is changing, too. We spend more time out of doors, mostly in the cool of the evening. Siestas are the order of the day: nothing can be done in the afternoon, particularly after the kind of lazy lunch preponderant in the heat. ‘Summer hours’ at most businesses means that no-one is there after 3pm.

August, sometimes extended back into July as well, was the holiday month.

When Prospero once helped run a bar in Sotogrande, many summers ago, the difference between August 31 and September was almost incredible. The till rang at full speed until the early hours, well into the dawn of the 31st; the following day and evening it hardly registered anything at all. A tennis club there has an annual amateur tournament called Alone at Last – played close to the beginning of September.

But what is often misunderstood, specially by those taking advantage of cheaper prices in the not-so-high season, is that towns and villages return to normality, to their routines and daily lives. It takes a week or two to get re-acclimatised and conversations revolve around two subjects: what-I-did-in-the -summer and back-to-school/work.

As far as we are concerned, we’re pleased to get back to what passes here for normal. Aren’t you?


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