AS expats have been warned of scorching temperatures this week on the Costa del Sol, thank your lucky stars you’re not in Écija, or the ‘frying pan of Spain’.
Nestled in the heart of Andalucia, rumour has it this little, historic town received its name because it gets so hot you can fry an egg on the pavement.
Just an hour’s drive from Sevilla, Écija is famously dubbed among Spaniards as the hottest part of the country – where temperatures soared to above 48C in the sun.
But how do the locals cope?
“Nobody leaves their houses between 2pm and 6pm. It’s a ghost town, you won’t even find a cafe open,” said Enrique Lopradas, 51, a street lottery vendor and self-confessed ‘shade chaser’.
“I drink seven litres of water every day, wear long sleeves and constantly move to the shade,” he adds as he swigs from an ice bottle, “I also shower three or four times a day and don’t start work until 6.30pm when it’s fresher.”
But Maria Cepas, 50, claims Enrique is making a rookie error.
“It’s a mistake to drink litres and litres of water, that makes you vomit. You need a sugary drink too,” said the nursing home carer, “we have to send out warnings to elderly people to keep drinking things like Aquarius in this heat.”
Friend, Paqui Vidal, 50, explains how her colleague – an olive picker – is forced to leave work sick on the first day of every olive season.
“It can be dangerous for olive pickers, many go home throwing up with severe sun stroke,” added Paqui, an administrator at an agricultural company.
Meanwhile, across the main square, 27-year-old Ana Somoza Torres, mops her brow while setting up tables outside of a bar.
“The only way is air conditioning and more air conditioning.
“We’re in Andalucia – obviously we have siestas every day for at least two hours. You just can’t leave the house until late.”
Although the young waitress acknowledges this can be annoying, she points out that this is the only way of life the locals know.
“I would much rather be in this heat than be cold.”
So there you have it, become a hermit, cover every part of your body and drink at least a gallon of water or Lucozade and you should just about survive the heatwave.
And as for the frying pan egg cooking theory?
Let’s just say it won’t be making its way onto a plate of Full English any time soon.
Although, a semi-cooked, anaemic-looking egg isn’t bad for a first attempt. It was 6pm after all.