Hot Hot Hot in Madrid

You know you are getting more Spanish when the first heat of summer arrive with a bang, and you immediately start using ‘low blood pressure’ as an excuse to lie on the sofa all evening, avoiding the housework.

The key phrase to use here is ‘he tenido una bajada de tensión’, or for even more dramatic effect, una super-bajada de tensión, ‘bajadas de tensión’ (blood pressure collapse) being common amongst just about everyone in Spain when it’s hot, including it now appears, me as well!

Bajadas de tensión can be cured by various means, including: a) Rapid ingestion of Coca Cola/Sugary food, b) Doing nothing when there is lots to be done c) Telling everyone about your bajada, repeatedly d) all of the above. I’m getting good at this, and there have only been three days of heat so far!

On another note, as soon as the sun came out a few days ago, the Retiro park filled with people with bajadas de tensión stripped down to their underwear. Strapping young men in nothing but tattoos and tight boxers, women in bras and tangas (g-strings) – does this happen in your part of the world?

I’m sure it’s a more pronounced phenomenon than this time last year – am I just getting old?!

Apologies for the lack of illustrative photos to accompany this point – just think ‘slightly grungy lingerie ad with trees’, and you get the picture! Instead, here’s a favourite old photo of mine from 1998, of a man in the park selling chistes (jokes):

Joke Seller, Retiro Park, Madrid

Anyway, that’s enough for today, I feel another super-bajada de tensión coming on, and I may barely make it back to the sofa…

16 thoughts on “Hot Hot Hot in Madrid

  1. Graeme

    The current forecast for next Tuesday in Madrid is for a maximum of 14º – with rain. That should sort out your bajada de tensión.

  2. Kaley

    I’m in Salamanca and it’s the same way here. I really dislike waking up in the mornings and feeling STICKY. And what’s more, it’s APRIL! 🙂

  3. Jessica

    Too funny about people walking around in their underwear!! Gave me quite a chuckle. We’d get arrested here in the States if we did that. (Not that I would ever be tempted…) 🙂

    I’ve only been to Spain in the summer, so that’s pretty much the only kind of weather I associate with it! It’s been about 12 years since I was last there, so the heat sounds kind of appealing, but that’s probably just nostalgia speaking!

  4. Nicole

    Being from the States, I’m pretty sure that here people would get arrested if they were to walk around in nothing but their underwear. Here in Michigan, there’s a current debate on whether or not thongs should be banned from beaches. I suppose I’m in for a bit of a culture shock when I come to Spain for study abroad next year! 🙂

  5. Jan

    We have the advantage of living a mile high in the mountains, it’s always about 6 deg cooler… including in the winter!

  6. Lee

    Come on, folks. You know it’ll rain again. Hasta el 50 de mayo….(BTW the photo looks like it’s from the 60’s. But I know it’s really from the 90’s – I was here then too. Amazing how much everything has changed.

    1. Ben Curtis Post author

      It is indeed – I have photos of markets from 8 years ago that look like they come from decades back, and now sadly no longer exist…

  7. LCharles

    Estoy pasando un mes en Huelva, o sea, estoy a punto de volver a ee.uu. despues de 3 semanas y media aqui el la capital y en la sierra de Aracena. Aunque mucha gente queja del calor, no me molesta. Al menos no este calor. Tenemos 32 grados aqui y para mí es perfecto. Ojala que pudiera quedarme aqui para siempre. No quiero volver a ee.uu. ni a nyc.
    La choquera.

  8. Gary

    You may be interested to note that there is no law forbidding public nudity in Barcelona – one heavily tattooed man walks the streets stark naked

  9. Rachel

    When I lived in Spain, it took me forever to understand the phrase bajada de tensión. It never occurred to me that lower blood pressure could be a good reason to do nothing.

  10. Daniella


    Does ‘chistes’ has another meaning or was the man from the photo really selling jokes?


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