The weather we’re currently experiencing in Pittsburgh is definitely typical of the time of year-low temperatures overnight, slightly warmish during the day, and showers…lots and lots of April showers. However, with this ever changing, ever fluctuating weather it made me think of extremes-the hottest place I’ve ever visited and the coldest place I’ve ever visited.
This was a tie, a very very close tie. When I visited Nicaragua eight years ago this month (boy, I am getting old), I don’t think I had ever been to a place that hot. At my host family’s house in Costa Rica, temperatures in Nicaragua and the rest of Central America were regularly reported and I was always amazed by the temperatures in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua that registered close to 40 degrees celsius (for reference 40 degrees C is 104 degrees F). Lucky me was living in the Central Valley, an area of Costa Rica that enjoys relaxing and temperature weather year round. To say I was hot when in Nicaragua was an understatement. The only times I felt relaxed and at peace were inside my bedroom at the hostel, swimming in the hostel’s pool, or at night when the sun had gone down and I didn’t feel like I was baking to death, slow cooker style. Unfortunately, I didn’t take advantage of as many things as I could have when in the land of the Sandinistas, but should I return, mentally at least I‘ll be better prepared for the oppressive temperatures. One good thing about the heat was that it enticed my to try my first ever tamarindo juice-a bit of cold, refreshing heaven rushing down your throat.
I loved Seville, Spain…I just hated my final weeks there. Why? Well, daily temperatures were about 105 and above. What was the mot ironic is that my host mom would say the equivalent of “you ain’t seen nothing yet” as in she was referring to the temperatures of the summer months when she and many others fled the brutal weather for the coast. As is the case in most of Europe, it was a world without air-conditioning. The computer lab at the center where I took classes had a/c but other places, it was basically non-existent. I would leave my host family’s house feeling clean, fresh, ready to go, and within five minutes of walking along Calle San Jacinto in the Triana neighborhood, my shirt would be drenched with sweat. Every free moment I had I went to see the movies-while I certainly enjoy this pasttime I went more for the chance to sit in a/c for two blissful hours. Unfortunately one time I went I was attacked by a mosquito. I ended up coming home from the movie theater with more than 10 welt size bites. I survived the heat but learned that anytime from May until perhaps October I don’t want to venture anywhere near Seville…
I’m used to the cold. Unlike many people who panic when temperatures dip into the low 40s or an inch of snow coats the ground, I’m a veteran of temperatures in the single digits and snow storms that produced more than a foot of snow. However, with that said I know there are plenty of places in the world that could put my cold experiences to shame-i.e. Russia and the Arctic. But the long weekend I spent in Niagara Falls, Canada a couple of years ago certainly came close. I had first visited Niagara Falls as a child but this was during the summer. When I traveled there as an adult, the weather was “typically” Canadian. I dressed as best as I could as in multiple layers, ear muffs, gloves, scarf-but the cold still made it through the fabric barriers. What was amazing to me was feeling just how cold the tempearatures were and imagining how even colder the rushing waters of Niagara Falls were…simply unimaginable.
Julie is a travel and food blogger who lives in Pittsburgh. Travel is her greatest love but when she’s not traveling the world, she’s either testing out a new recipe in the kitchen or playing the part of foodie in Pittsburgh. She also recently published her first novel, The Tears of Yesteryear, a work of historical fiction set in Pittsburgh at the turn of the last century.
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