On our short trip to Rome we managed to catch several days of rain. I considered us really unlucky on that trip – but as I think again, maybe we were lucky? Because we could get the views that are quite seldom for this city. And catch some beauty just before it faded away. It was everywhere: in the dark stormy skies with seldom rays of sun, in the reflections on the wet pavement, in the sudden rainbow which disappeared as fast as it popped, in the raindrops on the cafe tables that got carried away just in a minute after I took that shot. Isn’t it amazing that even such a tourist misfortune as rain can teach us a lesson of looking closely and spotting beauty – because it can be gone so fast?
On one especially stormy afternoon we got up the Spanish stairs, intending to go the the park of Villa Borghese. When the weather corrected our plans. Suddenly the skies got dark with clouds, and though it didn’t look promising – but isn’t it beautiful, the stormy skies with some light in between? The thunderstorm came, dramatically bending the trees, pulling on umbrellas, rain poured down, tourist crowds were running in panic, searching for shelter on the church steps and under any roof. Even my strong Norwegian attitude (“pff, what is this rain after a year of living on the rainy coast?”) was giving way to a light despair: “ok, we are not afraid of rain – but what are we to do in this storm? Walk the romantic streets and enjoy the views?”
I proposed to catch the subway home and then go out eating somewhere in the neighborhood. But when we got to the subway station, there was a crowd, instead of a line, wanting to buy a subway ticket. We realized that we could spend some half an hour in this lovely way – or we could get out and search for a cafe to take a break. However, there was no cafe either, around that station, so we wandered back to the city, crossing the rainy Piazza de Popolo for the third time. But then the rain got weaker, and we left to wander the streets, which felt a bit more pleasant with less crowds.
After walking through the labyrinth of narrow streets, we landed in a terrace cafe, in the middle of the square where the reflections were playing on the wet pavement. I suddenly felt the magic of the moment, noticing beauty which was so fleeting, and thus more beautiful. There were those raindrops on the table, and after I took some shots and turned back to it – the table was gone, carried inside by the waiters. The rainbow popped up – and everybody stopped and took out their phones to snap a pic. And I thought, it is a wonderful sign which disappears so fast. Telling me to look closely and appreciate while it is given – because any second it may be gone. Isn’t this a poetry of life? Realizing how fleeting every moment is: so that you can enjoy the beautiful ones with more intensity, and the through painful ones you can carry on with a stoic mind. That rainy afternoon made me a poet and a philosopher for a day 🙂
As I write now, the last scene of the film “Midnight in Paris” comes to my mind. Where the main character is walking over the bridge in the rain and says: “Paris is even more beautiful in the rain”. I must say, I am not a rain lover (after a year on the rainy lonesome coast my rain love disappeared :)), but I like some cities in the rain: Paris, Barcelona and, now, Rome. They feel so special, so authentic, when the usual sun, heat and the tourist crowd is gone. In the sunshine I can get to the city’s glam, joy and glory, but only in the rain I feel closer to its soul. Agree or disagree?
Any rainy memories from your travels or not travels? Doesn’t rain make some moments more special than others?