Unbelievably, summer is back, and like Bill Murray stuck in Punxsutawney on the shittest day of the year, it’s gonna be another Groundhog Day of heat, crowds, waves, chicks, noise and parties. Best you do some serious planning this year to get you through the summer without too much drama coz trust me - let your guard down once and the European summer will walk all over you.
Here’s SE’s guide to surviving yet another rough European summer.
1. Crowds. Yep, it’s going to be crowded as feck from Hossegor to Fistral. Inlanders are going to flock to the beaches during their vacations, and all holiday apartments are going to be filled, and restaurants are going to start thriving. The bars are going to be bustling, the visitors are going to be primed for either supplication or congress, depending on the gender, and your only option is to run with it.
2. Nudity. About to return in all its glory, so-to-speak, and corresponding horror. Pray that you consistently come across the finer side of nudity. The dark side of nudity, older men continuously bending over straight-kneed to adjust their towels ain’t pleasant.
3. Heat. Well, it is summer, and it can get hot as hell. Britain will either have a heat wave, a hosepipe ban and people passing out on the tube, or skips the summer altogether. The rest of Europe has boiling hot sand, thick humidity and people in bikinis and Speedos in shopping centres.
4. Roads and parking. Along with the crowds and the influxes, there are going to be way too many vehicles on the roads. Parking bays are going to be maxed out, queues for the tolls are going to stretch back for miles and service stations are going to probably run out of petty. Get a bicycle. It’s the way forward.
5. Waves and lack thereof. It’s the bummer of summer. As the heat arrives along with the crowds, so too does flatness. If a wave shows its face, be it small, tiny, weak or onshore, ride it. The ocean could go dead for weeks, so make hay etc. If a swell comes, and seems to have some push behind it, don’t be slack and think that it’s going to stick around for a few days. It might be gone forever on the next high tide. Surf as much as you can while you can.
6. Crime. Yep, it escalates in the summer months. Vans get ripped off, bags get taken on the beaches, and girlfriends get stolen every night. On the upside you can walk out of the shops with a few extra tomatoes and stuff here and there and no one really seems to care. Not that we at Surf Europe would ever condone the theft of tomatoes of course.
7. Nightlife/Orientation. Here’s the rub. The whole night/day process gets turned on its head and schedules, priorities, surf sessions and the working day takes second place to nightlife. The nightlife starts at midnight, rocks on until about 5 in the morning, and sleep, precious sleep, is only an option from about 6 am onwards. No chance of the dawnies, very little chance of a working day starting at 9 am. Meetings and surfs have to be rescheduled for the afternoon, and the mornings on the beach are deserted ghost towns and empty waves. It’s a new way of looking at any particular 24-hour period and when you finally embrace it, it seems like the right system for the human body to accept.
8. Delusions. Summer time in Europe is prime for delusional behaviour. It’s the time when people start musing about moving to new countries. When people decide that France is where they want to settle for the rest of their lives, when healthy-minded people believe that they have finally met and fallen in love with their soul mates, when people start believing in the milk of human kindness. Summer has a veneer, a shine of sea-spray. Underneath it all the French winter is just around the corner, your soul mate has mated with a few of your mates already, and the milk of human kindness is just about to go sour.
In a nutshell, summer is the best time in Europe by far. Except for the spring that is, but that’s another whole column altogether.