Our intention this morning, upon waking, was to go on walkabout after breakfast. But as we stepped outside of our hostel towards the small cafe around the corner we got rained on. With big rain drops. Not the end of the world.
It’s not like we haven’t experienced inclement weather during our travels. We bundled up in five layers of clothing just a few short months ago against the cold, rain, sleet and snow while trekking through the UK (Irish Republic, Northern Ireland, Scotland, North Wales and England).
Since our arrival on the Continent (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic) we’ve stashed our warm protective gear at the bottom of our rucksacks. And its been nice to walk around in the sunshine in just shirtsleeves. This year Europeans are glad to see rain whenever it comes—record heat, wildfires and water shortages have plagued the UK and the Continent this year. We’ve experienced temperatures as high as 39°C/102°F which is mighty hot for Europe. The hostels and small non-tourist hotels we frequent rarely have air-conditioning (just unscreened open windows).
So it’s not a problem for us to be out & about in foul weather (we’ve done it many times) it’s just that I don’t want to unpack all my rain gear for just a day—better to just let the morning rain abate and then head out later this afternoon. After all we’re here a week so there’s no real rush. But it’s a reminder that September is the first month of autumn in the temperate northern hemisphere: spring begins on 1 March; summer on 1 June; autumn on 1 September and winter on 1 December (for the southern hemisphere temperate zone spring begins on 1 September, summer on 1 December, autumn on 1 March, and winter on 1 June).
We have more time in the Czech Republic and Hungary (both Schengen group countries) before travelling to Romania and Bulgaria. We’re allowed 90-days in both Romania and Bulgaria (a total of 180 days) and I imagine it’s going to be cold. We’ll be there from October through the end of March (autumn through winter). We will once again have the luxury of time when we trek Romania and Bulgaria—the 90-day (total) limitation in the Schengen group countries (26 countries) is antithetical to our style of travel and we’ve visited a few places we wish we could have stayed longer.
We would have enjoyed seeing more of the Netherlands, Germany and Poland for instance. And we’ve missed Austria completely. However, once we leave Romania and Bulgaria (both non-Schengen group countries) after a 180-day absence from the Schengen group our Schengen clock resets and we’re allowed another 90-days in the Schengen group. I’ve mentioned before that trekking Europe (as opposed to visiting on holiday) can be complicated. We’ve got some further planning to do before we leave Europe so anything is possible. We’ll keep you abreast of our plans.
Field Notes: When I head out later today, once the rain has stopped, I will probably leave my camera at the hostel. The sky is grey overcast and completely blown-out. The forecast for the rest of the week calls for partly cloudy (some sun) conditions and hopefully there will be enough clouds in the sky to offer some visual interest. There is nothing quite so boring as completely blown-out overcast skies or solid blue skies. Dark, stormy and dramatic skies are the best but I will settle for blue skies with puffy white clouds as an acceptable default sky. So today’s walkabout will be about exploration not photography. SFD