Summertime, and the Livin’ Is Tinto

img_2876As you may know, Spain is prohibiting most travelers from the USA from entering the country. This prohibition stems from concerns about the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the USA. For its part, Spain has experienced a small uptick in cases since reopening about two weeks ago, reporting 200 new cases and three deaths yesterday (June29). Most of these cases, though, are located in pockets in Madrid, Catalonia, Aragon, and Andalusia. Several of the cases are linked to persons entering Spain to work on farms and in meat-packing facilities. This isolation allows for quarantine and tracing to take place.  At the same time, masking and social distancing requirements remain and are enforceable by the police by on-the-spot citations carrying fines of up to €1,000.

Here in our nest in Torrevieja, life continues to be good. We see friends, go to restaurants, and take daily walks. We’re planning a day trip with friends to visit some nearby historical sites. And, of course, we read, chat with friends and family via Zoom, and exercise most days. It’s a good life which isn’t terribly different from our pre-COVID existence, if you don’t count wearing masks and social distancing.

The biggest change in our life recently is the arrival of summer. We’d planned to travel all summer, both in Europe and in the USA, but of course that’s not happening now. But we have a couple of pleasures associated with summertime that I’d like to share with you.

The first is swimming in the sea. The Mediterranean is outside our doorway, and we take full advantage of that fact. Most days we meander down to a small inlet near us that somewhat protected from the wave action. We toss our beach bag in the shade of the pedestrian walk’s retaining wall, strip off our T-shirts, and head into the water. It’s cool but not bone-chillingly cold, and you have to go out about 75 feet before the water is over your head. This is, therefore, prime floating territory. Sea salt makes your body very buoyant; it’s easy to lie back and stare at the puffy white clouds that drift by overhead. After half an hour or so, we generally get out of the water, reverse the T-shirt and bag process, and go home. We could hang out on the beach, but I both burn easily and dislike getting sand inside my clothes. As a result,  our little jaunts are perfect.

One other joy of summer here is Tinto Verano – red summer wine. This is a mixture of red wine and lemonade that’s sold in bottles like the one shown above. It’s a bit like sangria without the chunks of fruit floating in it. Tinto Verano tastes tangy and refreshing, and it’s a lovely drink to sip on the balcony at the end of the day, catching the sea breezes and watching the world go by. It comes in alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions, and we like both of them.

It’s not like the problems of the world have gone away this summer. As noted above, COVID-19 is still present in Spain and appears to be racing across much of our beloved home country. In fact, the first member of our family to test positive was diagnosed last week. Too, tourism forms a large part of Torrevieja’s economy, but travelers seem scarce. Our pedestrian walk, the Paseo Marítimo, should be packed in the evenings, and it’s not. Some restaurants have closed permanently. Daunting social issues such as systemic racism top the headlines; on a personal level, we have several dear friends struggling with bad health and, in a couple of cases, deep grief over recent losses of loved ones. But just for right now, and just for this afternoon, I’m going to savor the joys of this summer. Mark and I will head to the beach soon, and this evening we’ll lift our glasses of Tinto Verano as the day winds down. And as we do, we will drink to you, deriving what joy you can from your summer days as well.




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