No-one likes the rain, but we all deal with it and try not to complain too much, especially those who live in unfortunately wet parts of the world. I’ve often said that despite the UK being a beautiful country, with some wonderful places and great people, I could never live there again because of the constantly awful weather! It’s true that in some places the rain is a welcome break, but I’d hazard a guess that for most people, heavy skies and incessant rain is purely just an inconvenience that has to be endured until the sun reappears.
I’ve never before really stopped to think about the profound impact that grim, dreary weather can have on your enjoyment and your overriding memory of a new place. For example, a couple of years ago I visited Canada for the first time, and thought it was a wonderful country. After travelling around and enjoying the whole experience, I ended up visiting Banff, on what happened to be the most grey, rainy and ultimately miserable day of my trip. Having initially intended to stay for a few days, after a few hours of aimlessly wandering around the small town in torrential rain, with nothing to do but duck in and out of souvenir shop after souvenir shop, I decided that Banff was so dire that I left the next day. I didn’t catch even the slightest glimpse of the glorious mountains for which it is so well known, and therefore my enduring memory of this little alpine town is miserable and wet. It’s is such a shame, but there is nothing we can do to control the weather, and it is virtually impossible to imagine what a place like that would be like when the clouds clear and the sun comes out.
On a similar note, I’ve spent the last few days in the Grenoble area of France, with the intention of some sightseeing and skiing. We spent a fantastic day in the city, heading up the historic Bastille and walking around the old town, even watching the local football team playing a match in the evening! We loved Grenoble, and everything that went with it. However, the following day was dreary, rainy and dull, but this didn’t deter us, feeling like this was a good day to head out and explore the surrounding villages. Later in the evening on returning home, we felt unusually despondent, and I could only put it down to the miserable weather. Despite having had a lovely day, full of happy banter and setting the world to rights with our words, we could no longer gaze up and marvel at the stunning mountain scenery and impressively low snow line, instead having to pick our way through muddy puddles and constantly readjust the umbrella.
Everything looks different in the rain, a little greyer and a little sadder, and you have to remind yourself that this would be the case anywhere and you mustn’t let it sway your opinion of a new place. I am certainly going to try my best to not let it obscure my enjoyment of a town or city, going in to it with an open mind and imagining myself there in sunglasses and a pair of flip-flops!