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weather in a vacation city

September 14, 2015

I know that when you are a tourist is a new city, doing tourist things, and going to tourist places, you can’t truly experience a city.  I would agree that to truly know or experience a city you need to live there for a period of time and become a local.  Having said this, I’d like to say that you can get a feel for a city or community even when you only spend a couple of days there.  There have been cities and areas I have visited that I didn’t fall in love with, or even particularly like.  And of course I have also experienced the opposite, cities and places I can’t wait to return to, as my time spent in them was fantastic.

But now to the title of this blog post… can you really experience a city (or area) if during the time you are there, the weather is outside the normal?  I think people are different when it’s warmer than usual, or rainier than usual, or colder than usual (or whatever other weather phenomenon can be different that usual for that time of year).  About a year ago, I traveled to Washington DC during a several days of hot and humid weather.  To be clear, in this situation, I’m not entirely sure that the weather that week was abnormal, but it at a minimum it’s fair to say it was extreme.  And while we had a great time, I’m not sure that what we experienced and saw reflected local people’s normal life at that time of year.  Similarly, last week I was in San Fransisco.  Apparently it was some of the hottest (for us who are used to humidity, it really wasn’t that hot as in San Fran there is no such thing as humidity), weather they had experienced so far this year.  I heard on the news that they sent kids home from school early, as the schools don’t have air conditioning and it would get hot inside.  Perhaps what is even more unique, was that with this warm weather, came the sunshine.  And sunshine in San Fransisco means no fog.  And no fog means beautiful views (and correspondingly beautiful photos).   We saw the Golden Gate Bridge every time we looked in that direction.  We spotted Alcatraz from the shore.  We went to the observation deck at the art museum and saw beautiful views of the city as far as the eye could see (or until a hill got in the way).   We didn’t carry sweaters and we were seldom chilled by the ocean breeze.   And in our minds, San Fransisco is this sunny, warm, fog free city.  This is not what the locals would say, this is not what the guide books would say.  And so I return to my question – can you truly get a feel for a city or area if you visit when the weather is not the norm?

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