Here in Spain, the city of Valencia changes quite a bit during the month of August. Stores close early or shut their doors for a month, plans are made to spend the month with family in a local town where the family is from (often discussed as mi pueblo,” and the pace of life changes. Vacations to see other parts of Spain are serious plans indeed. Travel of all sorts is commenced with much-awaited glee. Many people visit the same places several years in a row, and share the time with families that they know from previous years.

August is a month of crystallized summer, with hot, balmy days and nights, time spent at pools and beaches, leisurely meals with family and friends, and a much-needed change of pace for many people around the city. Meals are colorful and rich with tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables, while melon is served as a sweet complement to any repast.

Truly, August here is a breather, a chance to relax before the cooler months of the year.

The last weekend in August was somewhat overcast, providing a break to the intense heat that comes from the Mediterranean sun, and many people chose to spend the last weekend of the summer at the beach. I took a few pictures, but put my camera down for the experience that came after the beach: lunch. I’m not sure of the exact count of people at the table, but the conversation was as delightful as the food. A number of people that I had met on my trip to Germany were there as well, and for several hours we feasted on incredible flavors and laughter. That was not a meal I will soon forget.

Now, shortly into September, the pace of life has returned to its busy routine. Students are back in school today, and for most people in Spain and Europe, summer is over. Soon enough, it will be summer again, and  opportunities to make memories will present themselves anew.

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Henry James

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