Pack Your Wellies and Rain Gear!
Living in Cardiff one thing you will realize fairly quickly is that it rains-A LOT! With ease, I would say it rains at least 4 days a weeks during the winter season. And don’t let a morning of sunshine fool you! It can be blue skies and the rain will still manage to make its appearance- I like to call these “sun showers”. The rainy season is their version of winter, but compared to my hometown winter of snow and negative temperatures I will easily take the 40 degree weather and rain any day!
Now first off, do not go thinking that this means it rains all day everyday. Often, the rain will come in spurts and last for only about 5 minutes-hence why you must ALWAYS be prepared for a storm. Secondly, do not for a second believe that the rain is debilitating- the people of Cardiff do not let it stop them! Rather quickly you learn how to adapt and manage through the storms. Trust me, I’ve even surprised myself! Back home I would take rainy days as opportunities to never leave the house. Now, I walk to the city center, gym, grocery store and of course classes regardless of whether or not the weather conditions seem like a Hurricane Katrina simulation! Below are a few of my tips for dealing with the rain and staying dry during the winter wetness!
1) Invest in a good umbrella! While in the states I bought an umbrella on clearance for about five bucks. With winds that sometimes come off the bay, you want to make sure you aren’t relying on a $1 piece of junk that will flip over on you with a light gust of wind and break, only to leave you in the showers with no coverage. Because everything is a little more expensive here, I would say bring at least one umbrella (maybe even an extra for reserve) so that you are ready to face the storms. Hint: My backpack has two water bottle holders on the sides. Thus, I use one of them as as a place to store my umbrella so that it is easily accessible for when pop-up storms arrive.
2) Bring rain boots. I recommend bringing a pair of cheap rain boots that will do the job of keeping your feet dry and warm, but that you do not have a deep emotional attachment to. For starters they are heavy, so when packing they will account for a little bit more weight. I brought a $10 pair of Target boots that I am planning to pitch at the end of my journey. A) If something happens to them, I really won’t care since they were cheap B) When I go home that is extra space and weight for souvenirs. You can buy rain boots here, but be prepared to spend between £10-20, at least, which equates to about $17-35.
C)Have a jacket with a hood. Sometimes with how windy it gets an umbrella ends up turning into more of an all-out-battle with the blustery day than being an aid in keeping you dry. In these situations, I leave my umbrella packed away and rely on my hood. I brought both a winter and rain coat equipped with a hood. With the raincoat, I would recommend one that can ball up and store away easily-this will come in handy for traveling!
D) Walk as far from the road as possible when traveling on the sidewalk. Puddles tend to accumulate on the side of the road quickly; so, when cars and busses speed by don’t be surprised to see a wall of water raise from the ground only to completely drench its next casualty. Yes, that scene that they play in movies really does happen! So, be attentive as you walk- otherwise you could be the next victim of the dreaded rain wall, forced to sit through your lectures looking like a wet dog.
In conclusion be prepare for the storm, but know that, with ease, you will quickly become an expert of traveling in the rain!