August 2015

Rounding the corner from Nyhavn, the inevitable happens. The skies open suddenly and the rain falls. I open my little umbrella and continue on as some tourists duck for cover under shop awnings, doorways, and overhangs. The summer shower is over quickly, and the sun begins to peer out from dim clouds.

As rain goes, it was a trifle. It was way worse in Bergen, Norway. It rains a lot in Scandinavia, so one has to be prepared.

We all want blue skies and sunshine on our vacations. But some days it’s going to rain.

Get over it and get some gear.I’ve passed through a bamboo forest near Kyoto in a foggy downpour that seemed almost mystical, while my socks were weighed down by the water that had filled my shoes. I’ve been drenched and soaked to my skin to the brink of hypothermia at Iguazu Falls and Bokor Station. At times like that, I thought I’d never get dry.

Get over it and get some gear. At least pack a small umbrella, something you won’t mind sacrificing like that pop-up umbrella your company gave you for a Christmas gift last year. It won’t take up much room in your suitcase or day pack. Maybe get a little rain jacket, too, although those aren’t going to hold up to the tropical monsoons. Otherwise, you’re going to be paying someone big money for a flimsy poncho or a trash bag with arm holes cut into it.

If you’re anticipating heavy rain, invest in a thicker jacket with a hood from one of the better outfitters. Rain pants, too, if you’re serious about it. Drying your water-logged blue jeans with a hotel hair dryer takes an eternity. Don’t get me started on drying shoes.

Pack some ziplock bags to protect your camera and phone, as well. I lost a camera to the rain at Iguazu. Use the bags to pack your wet clothes in until you get somewhere to dry them. After a couple of days, those wet clothes are going to smell like death.

Photo: Bergen, Norway.


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