Who’s up for a storming time in Dubrovnik?
I’m not a foul weather person. Simple as that. Well, not quite. You see it’s not that I don’t like foul weather, it’s more that I don’t like the thought of it. It sends me into a panic, especially if I think we might all get caught out in it. Stuart and the kids laugh at me, but they don’t understand; it’s hard wired, genetic. Although a recent experience of a summer storm in Dubrovnik got me wondering if maybe I could change.
Whatever the weather?
Are you a whatever the weather person? You know someone who embraces the act of getting wet, blown away or snowed in? Or are you more like me? Not sure? Then answer this quick quiz question…
When you see (or even hear mention of) the onset of the first flakes of winter snow do you:
(a) Phone up to cancel all your meetings for the week – it’s a good excuse to curl up by the fire.
(b) Dust down the toboggan and fill a flask.
(c) Freak out, stock up on toilet roll and candles, watch every single news report on every single channel and dress in top to toe thermals and moon boots.
I’d like to say I fall into (a) or (b), but of course I don’t. I’m a clear and ashamed c). And my fear of weather; any type of weather is genetic. My Mum has it too and happily passed it down. I’m not afraid of the elements in the appropriate place and time; don’t get me wrong. Snow in a ski resort is perfectly fine with me. It’s when it’s on my drive that I start to scream inside.
A fair weather parent
And of course how I am as a person is magnified in my behaviour as a parent. I was reading recently that Scandinavian parents put their sleeping babies outside in the prams whatever the weather. They just add a blanket. They figure it’s good for them. And I get that. Fresh air, even freezing fresh air, can’t harm if you are properly insulated. So why do I try and trap my kids in the house every time it blows a hooley? Matthew isn’t a sugar mouse masquerading as a 13 year old boy after all.
Taken by surprise in Dubrovnik
Where am I going with this? Well let me tell you about a moment in our Balkan summer which changed my mind. We were in Dubrovnik, resting up after a few days heavy cycling. We had booked to do a kayaking trip around the outside of Dubrovnik Old Town but with a strengthening wind and waves looking rougher than expected, the people in charge got nervous about taking kids out and asked us to come back another day. We trudged back up the steps from the beach wondering what to do next. And then the rain came. The rain and the wind. We were standing just metres from the old town. Nipping in to find shelter within the old walls seemed an obvious thing to do.
An empty old city
In peak summer Dubrovnik is continuously hot, hot hot, and packed with cruise ship passengers and tourists. But they were all emptying out as we forced our way in. We ran through an empty square and into an alleyway where a restaurant umbrella took the weight of the deluge.
Within minutes of the rain coming, the streets were deserted. Everyone went home, and my kids went out to play. Check out this video and see Dubrovnik transformed.
A storming time
Unusually I didn’t try and stop them. There was no point. We were wet anyway. They tore around, screaming with delight. They splashed and they swam and they forced their way through rain pouring down stairs and rushing down the cobbled streets of this historic Croatian city. Suddenly the oppressive heat of the day had gone, the people had gone, the tour guides with their pointy umbrellas had gone. There was just us, and a city that had withstood this kind of battering, from weather and war, for centuries. It was one of the most atmospheric, joyous hours of my life. I even joined in the splashing. And I was sorry when the sun came out.
A changed person?
So yes dear reader, my conclusion is that weather can enhance your experience of travel and a destination, whether or not you have a waterproof coat and wellies. If, like me, you are deeply suspicious of a raindrop, or shudder when you see a snowflake, why not throw caution to the wind sometime? You can always have a hot bath and huddle up by the fire again later.
Unfortunately I don’t have a baby to put out into the cold with a blanket. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll let my sugar mice go out in the snow when it comes our way.
Are you scared of foul weather? Or even just the thought of it? Or do you embrace and enjoy it all? Do leave a comment and help me continue my foul weather therapy!