During our four months away in Luna (our converted Luton van) we experienced some pretty wild weather. Thunderstorms and gale force winds in Croatia, hail stones in Austria and a record breaking heatwave in Italy that became known as heatwave Lucifer.
Travelling to Italy in July and August, we knew to expect hot weather and a certain level of discomfort but heatwave Lucifer in a van was something else entirely. The heatwave saw temperatures regularly rise above 40 degrees Celsius across Southern Europe including Italy. Hospital admissions apparently went up by 20 percent as people struggled to cope with the heat and we regularly saw wildfires and planes flying over to put them out.
Our van is insulated with polystyrene and has four windows. This was the grand total of our protection from this oppressive heatwave. We found ourselves staying in the van to avoid the heat and parking in the shade where possible. Even this was too much to bare so we journeyed inland towards the Apennines where, due to the elevation, temperatures were slightly cooler. The elevation had a negative effect on our van and we had to return to the coast to have our brakes fixed.
Temperatures were still soaring and we drove inland to a lake to cool off. Upon arriving at the lake and preparing to submerge ourselves and cool off. We were disgusted to find that the water was almost as warm as the ambient temperature. This was the final straw and we decided to drive north and escape Italy.
After a day of driving North on the Italian highways we had a tyre blowout and had to wait to be recovered by our breakdown people. We were taken to a yard but, with it being Saturday, we were informed we would have to wait until Monday to have our tyre fixed or replaced.Unfortunately for us heatwave Lucifer had not yet subsided.
That Sunday was the hottest we have ever been. Stuck in a garage forecourt, we sat in the van avoiding the dangerous heat of the sun. We sprayed ourselves with a water bottle every couple of minutes to provide some relief. We went to sit in some shade but it was even hotter than in the van. To make matters worse we were running low on drinking water so had to trek to a nearby shopping mall looking for water. Eventually we found a McDonald’s. I can honestly say that a Sprite at McDonald’s has never been so satisfying.
We got back to the van refreshed and eventually managed to sleep. The next day our tyre was repaired for only 5 euros. We continued our drive and were soon crossing the alps into Austria. The coll air in the mountains felt amazing and we could not believe that just a day earlier we had been baking in 40+ degrees.