Our family trip to Bilbao, in 2003, started off warm and sunny:
So we have arrived in Bilbao. It is 36 degrees and sunny here — like we magically teleported ahead by 2 months into summer.
But it was all rain from there; the next day:
We set out on our snacking mission at about 7.30h. About 15 minutes in, it started to rain. Hard. Fast. Wet. We sought shelter under the canopies of shops. Somehow Oliver, by placing his fingers in the lowered shutters in front of a chi chi clothing store, caused an alarm to go off. We left that storefront quickly. Eventually, growing ever more tired and wet, we ambled into Cafe Iruna. This joint was jumping, apparently busy not only from the Sunday evening crowd, but also because of special events surrounding its 100th anniversary.
And the day after that:
When we emerged an hour later, the skies had opened. Fortunately we had purchased an umbrella earlier in the day. Unfortunately, our ‘one umbrella should be fine’ theory proved naive, and Catherine and I got drenched while Oliver hung onto the umbrella, for dear life, in his stroller. A thirty minute dash later, and we arrived soaked to the skin at out hotel.
Today it rained, again, and our spirit was slightly diminished as a result. We made the best of it all, though, and took the wonderful Bilbao subway out to the edge of town where we rode across the river in a giant car carrying gondola, walked up the side of the opposite town in the pouring rain, walked back down along the ocean in the pouring rain, and returned, in the pouring rain, to Bilbao. Where it is pouring rain.
The trip wasn’t our first one as a family, but it was the first one where we set out to structure ourselves as a lean, mean, travelling machine. We had two suitcases, a car seat (with backpack straps on it), and a tiny umbrella stroller, with all its helpful rain-protecting accessories left at home to cut down on our travel weight.
This meant that when the skies opened and the rain started to fall in Bilbao, we were woefully unprepared, both for keeping the adults dry and for keeping Oliver dry. Our ultimate solution was to use an El Corte Inglés department store shopping bag as a makeshift set of rain pants, along with a tiny lightweight rain jacket:
Oliver absolutely hated wearing the bag on his feet, something that culminated in him crying out, at the top of his lungs, “NO BAGS ON FEET.”
If not perhaps his first words, certainly his first EXCLAMATION! in the form of a sentence.