It started off as a novelty, something unheard of before in May, but now the novelty is wearing then fast. What is up with this weather? Rain, rain and more of the wet stuff as the grass grows faster than a turbo-charged Usain Bolt. My garden, in fact the whole of Župa, has never been greener, my roses have already bloomed three times, truly crazy weather.
“What can we do in Dubrovnik when it rains?” Is a question I’m being asked more often than “Is the cable car running yet?” And the answer is…well the answer is that I don’t have an answer for either of those questions. We certainly aren’t prepared for a summer season that isn’t full of blue skies and sunshine. I see foreign tourists determined to wear their holiday wardrobe and even though both rain and the temperature are dropping like leaves in winter they are stubbornly wearing brightly coloured shorts and bikini tops. I even saw a lady the other day walking back to her hotel wearing a skimpy summer outfit whilst desperately holding onto an umbrella.
And to make matters worse the north of Europe is basking in golden sunshine. “Oh I had to come in from the garden the other day as I started to burn,” said my mother to me as I could see for myself the blazing sunshine behind her. It must feel like some strange role reversal for British tourists coming to Dubrovnik at the moment.
It also just goes to highlight what a fragile business tourism really is! How many businesses in Dubrovnik are based around tourism? And how many are looking up at grey skies every day and cursing their bad luck. All of them. Sure the sun will come back soon and summer will arrive, even if it is a little late, but losing a month, or more, of income will hit many businesses hard in the pockets. This isn’t normal. And it’s hard to plan your business around completely unusual situations, but the delicate nature of tourism when it is reliant on a factor that nobody can control is challenging. Maybe if we already some indoor facilities, then at least we could offer something. An indoor concert centre, water park or some kind of “dry” inside entertainment.
I really can’t imagine how families with young children are keeping themselves busy in these rainy days. There are only so many times that you can play cards or Ludo. Basically we aren’t prepared for bad weather. The guaranteed sunshine, or at least we thought it was guaranteed, has made us lazy. There is no plan B. And now we are stuck with empty sunbeds on the beach and tonnes of ice-cream still in the deep freeze. This lack of flexibility has meant that changeable weather is enough to destroy plan A.
A couple of years ago I published a text entitled “What to do in Dubrovnik on a rainy day” on my website. It gave some creative ideas to wind away the time whilst showers fell, and was really aimed at people visiting in the winter. Never has that article been so popular as this year. Whatever else happens these days, European elections, end of Game of Thrones, natural disaster or mega event, all people want to read is this text, hundreds and hundreds of people a day are reading it.
But what really is there to do in Dubrovnik on a rainy day? Again we come back to the heart of the matter…nothing. Even if the cable car was open I doubt it would be as interesting for guests to ride to the top of Srđ to see a sea of grey clouds rather than an ocean of blue. The cable car is officially closed because of a “greater force” which is rather appropriate as Dubrovnik is also closed at the moment for the same reason. It was the great English explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who once said “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
But I guess the same quote could be used to explain Dubrovnik’s tourism business in these rainy days, “there is no such thing as bad fortune. Only inappropriate expectations and reactions.” What’s the weather forecast for the next seven days? Let me guess…