Remember in Cheetah Girls 2 when the sassy-spotted-cheetah-sistahs took to the sunny Spanish streets of Barcelona to strut their stuff?? With all of those beautiful views and terraces – filled with color and life and SUN???
Well, friends, I am here to officially state for the record that THE CHEETAH GIRLS LIED. Those sun-soaked moments of blissful warmth portrayed in the Spain-based Disney Channel Movie ARE ALL A SHAM I TELL YOU!
I mean, yeah, I’m not in Barcelona and yeah, it is the middle of the rainy season in the Basque region, and okayyyy maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but still. False advertising is false advertising and I blame those sneaky Cheetah Sisters for skewing my mental view of what a sassy, sun-filled, Spanish adventure would look like!!!!
But in all seriousness, Bilbao is one rainy place. And this naive lil Texan thought that just because she had some cute rain boots, an umbrella, and a reasonably upbeat attitude, that she’d be able to tackle the relentless amount of gloom & doom that constantly pours from the Basque heavens above.
I knew, heading into my study abroad experience, that I’d have to face the challenge of dealing with daily rain showers. It was apart of the adventure! But knowing something is way different than experiencing it. And holy moly, am I experiencing it.
It rains so much in Bilbao, that the Basque language has its own word to describe the light, consistent, mist of rain that just never stops: txirimiri. Doesn’t that word just SOUND like the omnipresent feeling of rain???
I like to joke that my best friend here in Bilbao is my umbrella. And when I forget my umbrella in my flat, OH BOY do I automatically know what kind of day it’ll be.
BUT (and this is a big but) with all this rain comes positive aspects too. The constant presence of rain means green green green scenery. And it’s beautiful. The city center of Bilbao is tucked away in between two rolling hillsides and every day I’m lucky enough to walk to class with a breathtaking view not too different than that of The Shire. AND because rainy days are so very common, this makes the sunny days in Bilbao that much sweeter. When there is sun in the city, not a single person stays indoors. Whether it be walking through the streets of Casco Viejo, exploring the nearby coastal neighborhoods and beaches, or grabbing some wine and a baguette for an afternoon in the park, sun in Bilbao means dropping everything and going on an adventure.
Another positive part of spending my semester in the waterlogged city of Bilbao is that I have a newfound appreciation for the 21 years of sunshine and warmth Texas has provided for me. I never thought I’d say it, but THANKS TEXAS for the scorching summers and blistering sun!! I guess I had to travel hundreds of miles away in order to appreciate it, but, ya know, grass is always greener and whatnot (except maybe, not in this case, cuz Bilbao has the literal greener grass… Sorry Texas you lose this round).
IN SUMMARY: If you are thinking of visiting Northern Spain in the springtime, just be warned – Raven Simon dancing and singing down a sun-bathed cobblestone street is an INACCURATE representation of what you’ll find in the perpetually rainy (and also beautifully lush) Basque region. Don’t forget your umbrella.
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