With all the factors to consider when traveling, weather should be somewhere on your list, but it doesn’t have to make or break an adventure. Mother Nature can be full of surprises. A weekend forecast full of sun can quickly become a wash out at the last minute–and vice versa. When planning a trip, you want to have a general idea of what the weather may be–considering season and areas of interest–but last minute changes in the weather doesn’t have to mean disaster. It never hurts to have a plan B, but depending on the situation, you can also make the best of whatever Ms. Nature throws your way.
The Great Greek Tragedy
In all my travels, never have I experienced a major weather setback like the seemingly never-ending rain I encountered on a trip to Greece. I was visiting family in one of the coastal towns in March, and we were able to spend a dry day or two exploring the popular tourist towns and sites.
Then the rains came.
I’m not talking about a light mist or occasional shower that a rain coat and umbrella could guard against. This was days of hurricane-like winds and torrential downpours that kept us boarded up in my cousin’s quant apartment. A day of this was doable. We watched movies, raided the fridge, and bonded. Sometimes–especially after long-haul journeys and whirlwind tours–a lazy day can be a god-send, a time to regroup and recharge, a welcomed break, a mini-vaca from your vaca. But after days spent within the same four walls, those walls start closing in. That’s when I experienced my first mental breakdown. My poor cousin didn’t see it coming.
Forget cabin-fever, this was leaps and bounds beyond the normal urge to get out of the house. My mind and body craved exploring this new place I’ve traveled so far to see. As if Mother Nature heard my cries for help, the skies cleared right before a beautiful sunset–a perfect time to travel to Sounion and catch the spectacle from a cliff overlooking the sea.
While the rest of the trip wasn’t great weather–it was still a bit rainy and gray–we soldiered on and visited little towns with cobblestone streets that gleamed in the misty rain. Overcast skies allow for taking pictures without the harsh sun washing out the scenery. Because of the less-than-ideal conditions, most of the places we went to weren’t crowded with tourists. For these reasons, and more, we were able to see the silver lining through all the cloudy skies.
While I can now look back on my breakdown and remember how painful it was, it also gives me a greater appreciation for going with the flow when there’s nothing you can do to change it. Having that episode was like hitting rock bottom, and so there’s no where left to go but up.
Umbrellas of Venice
After what happened in Greece, I was not going to let the weather drain any other travel plans. You’re bound to have one rainy day on vacation, unless you travel to the desert–but that’s a whole other article. So when it started to rain on a recent trip to Venice, I did what ever other visitor did. I opened my umbrella. A parade of umbrellas can make tiny side streets difficult to maneuver. There needs to be an understanding between all parties involved as to who will lift theirs just high enough to easily pass one another. You learn a lot about people in this situation.
Having just one day to see a majority of the city, we didn’t have the luxury of riding out the rain indoors. The next trick was navigating the winding city streets to find the sites on our list with one hand holding the map and the other, the umbrella. It’s easier said than done. That being said, we let our internal GPS guide us to St. Marks Square.
What started as a light shower obviously turned to a steadier stream of precipitation once we entered the square and stood in line to climb to the top of the bell tower. The wet wait was definitely worth it. We were rewarded with temporary shelter from the weather while gazing at sweeping views of the city. Added bonus: the rain had subsided once we made it back down.
Springtime in Austria
When planning this trip to Europe, I consulted the Internet and my gracious hosts on the weather in Austria in April. Both informed me it was a mixed bag. Since it was off-season, it was more cost-effective to travel at this time, so I figured I’d take my chances. The day we arrived felt like the beginning of spring. There was a chill in the air, but totally tolerable. The landscape was lush and green with flowers blooming and birds chirping. But there was also snow in the forecast. We spent two days touring the countryside and surrounding cities like crazy. Filling our days with hiking around lakes, exploring tiny towns, sightseeing large cities, and taking in the culture through our eyes, ears, and stomachs.
Then the snow started to fall.
It was our last full day in Austria. After all the touring we had done, we planned on staying close to home base anyway, but the morning flurries became heavier and continued on throughout the afternoon, blanketing the hillside and turning the trees into a winter white sculptures. It was the most snow they got all year so far. Figures.
We embraced this snow day with snacks and stayed cozy indoors, catching up on TV shows, blogs, and life. It was nature’s way of telling us to relax. After all the touring we had already done, we deserved a break.
No Rain Date, No Problem
After spending all that time planning and prepping for your next adventure, don’t let a little bad weather rain on your parade. Sometimes you can make the best out of an less-than-ideal situation. Of course, it’s best if you’re ready for anything and pack accordingly. This would at least give you the advantage over Mother Nature. If a major storm comes between you and sightseeing, by all means, stay safe, but you shouldn’t have to let a little wind or water drown out your good time.