Sunday, 21 July 2013

Surviving the heat and other tales of woe

I think pretty much everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing nice hot weather at the moment. My Twitter feed is filled with people commenting on the warm weather. This week has been interesting and challenging for me, a Northern European cold weather seeker. Whilst no means as hot in Vienna as it was a month or so ago (5 days of 38 degrees on the trot), the constant high temperatures leave little respite and the humidity has its own agenda.

The first part of our week was spent in Sweden, where the temperature was about 10 degrees cooler than Vienna (or the UK I believe) and the wind was fresh and cool. Deceptively so because The Beard and I ended up getting the worst sunburn either of us has had in about 10 years. Nearly a week later and while I am no longer neon, my skin is still recovering.

So, lesson #1 (and in the words of Mary Schmich), wear sunscreen. It jolly well hurts when you don't. I'm actually really annoyed at myself because as a paler than pale northern European I know better. One year in Central Europe does not give me an immunity to the sun, no matter how much I wish it did.

Back in Vienna, the heat can be a little oppressive in the city where wind is sometimes a little scarce. Yesterday I went to Ikea for a few bits (going to Ikea on a Saturday in Vienna is not the hell it is in the UK), which is out on the northern side of the city, and the wind was strong and had a tinge of cool to it, which was wonderful. Ikea itself was warm and a bit stuffy though. All this heat (combined with the sunburn) does me no favours and by the time I got home yesterday my legs and ankles looked like I was 8 months pregnant. Complete with heat rash. Curse my allergic genes. Thankfully, the bath came to the rescue.

Which brings us to lesson #2, baths are not your enemy in hot weather. A long soak in a Dead Sea Salt filled tepid bath (I was in there for 1.5 hours) was the perfect solution to cool me down enough to be able to stand everything else. I'm sure it did my skin the world of good as well.

And while we do our best to keep the flat cool, it is virtually impossible to keep it at a temperature that my heat hating self likes. Actually both of us run really warm, so whereas many people would find out flat comfortable, for us it can be unbearable. This summer I had to cave and ignore my eco warrier inner voice, and buy an air conditioner. We don't use it to turn our flat into a fridge, that would be awful (and judging by the time it takes to knock the temperature down just 3 degrees would take forever), but we do use it to bring the temperature to a manageable level, the kind of level that means I'm able to do things like clean and cook, and sit here with the laptop and not die.

So lesson #3, buy air conditioning. You will not regret it. That, combined with a bunch of strategically placed fans, will make your life much more bearable.

I can't say I enjoy the hot weather, but I am getting used to it. My colleagues and I have found a way to keep our offices cool, so that makes that more bearable too. I can't wait for the sunburn to heal so I can actually go out in the sun again (this time with sunscreen) and go for a swim in the river to cool off!

1 comment:

  1. It's still pretty cold here in the north of Poland. It's mostly sunny, but temperatures hardly exceed 20 degrees. I hate the heat, but would really like to spend a couple of days without reaching for my fleece jacket.


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