Barcelona under the rain is not herself. Other cities, much more used to constant rain, like Hamburg in Germany, are adapted to life under the splashing drops from heaven. They’ve even built fake roofs on narrow streets so people can walk under them. But Barcelona, the lady of sunshine, the land of warm and fuzzy days, when soaked under the rain retreats inside herself. She is bowing her head, the surrounding hills Tibidabo or Montjuic weighing down like a hunchback.
If you happen to visit the city and the weather surprises you with rain, don’t get bummed, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Barcelona under an umbrella too. Just make sure to have a transparent one to see the sights from under it.
You can stay inside with a good book. I’ve always found it difficult to stay indoors in Barcelona. I feel like I’m missing all the outside fun, all the sun-lit corners of narrow alleys around Born neighborhood. The balmy air with the silky wind. All the birds chirping a deafening song on the palm trees of the Laribal gardens.
But staying in, if the rain scares you off, can be a wonderful change from our ever outside-lived days of the summer in the Condal City. Great time to catch up with that pile of books that keeps growing next to your coffee table. Or pick up a multi-language magazine, like BCN Més, to discover the latest info on culture and politics in town.
And if you’re lucky enough, you’d have wide windows from which to watch from time to time the pouring rain, cleaning off the streets. Take a break from your book and try to guess the shape of the Tibidabo hill backing the city, as usually the thick, heavy fog accompanying the Barcelona rain hides off much of the landscape.
You can also opt for a Mediterranean meal in one of the countless brunch places or an afternoon coffee at corner cafés, which have popped up lately like mushrooms after the rain. Say, we pick a vegetarian place, La Báscula, since on a rainy day you shouldn’t eat too much. Fill your stomach with the yummy delicacies here and you’ll spend your afternoon snoozing on the couch instead of roaming the wet streets. Albeit, that’s not a bad plan either.
Pick a warm dish, like vegetable quiche or black beans and rice, a distant reminder of older, warmer days in the Caribbean. Pair it up with a freshly squeezed juice or one of the many types of beers they serve there. Eat your dish from recycled plates and cups on old garage doors turned table tops, while the pouring rain makes a rumble outside.
On a wet day in Barcelona you’re not so quick to run outside after gulping down the food, so take a moment or two to fully taste the flavors of the home-made dishes the city is offering.
Another idea is to roam the streets. Believe it or not, Barcelona is dazzling (even) under the rain. It’s a different experience than flip-flopping your way to the beach or biking on the waterfront promenades. I know, it’s raining, it’s windy and uncomfortable to splash around jumping to avoid water pools gathered on the uneven medieval tiles. Maneuvering the umbrella while you’re still trying to see something and – indeed – photograph a sight or two.
But I promise it’s worth it. Barcelona changes face when it rains. The old quarter alleys get washed up, the raindrops fall in noisy pipes all around giving away a rhythmic song. But what I like the most is that the city becomes one note quieter than usual. It’s like a hidden town under the blanket of noise the sunny days and terraces galore bring. Stroll the muddy pathways of the Montjuic hill on a rainy day and you’ll hear the mumbling nature, the whispering wind; the birds, even hidden, will chirp out their songs.
The good news is that rainy days usually announce the impending summer. Barcelona rarely has that depressing drizzle that can last for days, but more like pre-summer thunderstorms and downpours announcing the excitement of sunny days to come.
How did you enjoy a rainy day (or two) in Barcelona, if you happened to experience it?