Unless one is Professor Higgins, most people know Spain as a sunny place. In fact, millions upon millions of people from all over the planet (my clan, the Vikings rank highest on the list) travel to Spain every year exactly for that purpose, to bask and fry in the Spanish rays. Granted, that was the old planet, and not the seasonally dyslexic planet we now have created. However, it is true – Spain is a sunny place for the vast majority of visitors, for most locations and most days of the year.
Andalucia, being the southernmost and sunniest Spanish provinces, was a reason we chose this as our new home. In addition to the close proximity to family, the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle, reasonable prices, great wine and local grown everything and a few hundred other reasons, the weather certainly was a major deciding factor.
As we left Vancouver, we had had more or less one month of steady downpour, so we were definitively ready for some drier days. We took off in rain, flying east skirting the remnants of hurricane Sandy, touching down in Zurich, (that is Switzerland, for those who like me have black holes in their geography) then on to the Iberian continent. Landing in Malaga, the runway witnessed recent rain. We picked up our rental car and headed straight for the cloud-covered mountains. The motorway became a two-lane highway and then shrunk into a single-lane country road as we approached the mountain chains surrounding Ronda. A Sleepy Hollow like fog envelops us, making the Andalucian landscape of scattered olive trees and ruined stone barns even more painterly and romantico.
By the time we reached Ronda and found our rental home for the week it was pitch black and raining sideways. Our landlord asked us to keep the exterior blinds (generally use for sun-cover) down, as it helped keep the rain out from entering the double-glazed windows plus wooden shutters. Houses here are not constructed for rain, he told us.
Ronda weather is not like the Vancouver consistent weeping skis. In the space of minutes, walking across Puente Nuevo (as in 1751) that bridges the old and the newer town, we had gusts of wind that could flatten a grown man, followed by a lightening-brief moment of clear sky, then seconds later another sideways downpour, which lasted only a minute, mind you, then stopped, overtaken by wind, a flash of sun, then a gust of sideways rain again. Like the people themselves, the Spanish rain seems to have an unpredictable Latin temperament.
We stopped for lunch (a 2 course menu del dia, including beer and desert for seven euro) to escape the rain, and chatted with Antonio, who seemed to run the joint, since he got the optimal viewing spot for the TV soccer game when there were no guests around. Like others, he spoke of how the weather has changed, how months that used to be sunny, now may be rainy and vica versa. Nobody knows what to expect anymore, he said, telling us how the old people around here used to know how to predict the weather. Now, they have to be ready for everything.
As I accustom my tongue to speaking Spanish again, trying to learn a new language’, I feel like Eliza Doolittle learning how to say “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”. Oh and did I mention that the airline lost our bag with the umbrella…