I love beaches. There's something utterly mesmerizing and even therapeutic about their beauty. I could spend hours sitting on the beach and looking out to sea, watching the waves roll in. My idea of an ideal beach experience though differs greatly from the traditional one, favoured and enjoyed by so many people around the world. I am always up for a trip to the beach but preferably in the evening and as long as there are very few people there.
I am not a sun worshiper. As a child, I would suffer through family beach holidays, begging my mum to let me go back to the hotel early or suggesting we go on a day trip to explore the local area instead. Even now, years later, I cannot think of anything more boring and wasteful than dutifully spending hours or even entire days lying on a crowded beach. Do you really want to spend those precious holiday days you get for working hard throughout the year roasting yourself in the blistering sun, doing nothing except reading trashy crime thrillers of the kind you can pick up for a few quid at the airport? I know I don't. There's a difference between going on holiday somewhere near the sea and making that sea the sole focal point of your holiday experience. In other words, the traditional Mediterranean holiday experience as we know it is not my cup of tea at all.
When I lived in Barcelona, the ultimate sea, sun and sand paradise, I would not set foot on the beach before 6pm, instead I would go for lovely long walks in Port Olímpic in the evening, sometimes on my own if I needed some time to myself or other times with a friend, so we could do our catching up while enjoying a cup of takeaway coffee, fresh sea air and a nice sunset. If you ask me what it is that I miss the most about living in Spain, I would say those beach walks. No question about it.
So yes, I am definitely a huge beach lover. Except for me, the best kind of beach is an empty, quiet beach, without sun loungers, towels and busy ice cream stalls. The most beautiful beach I have been to in the UK has to be the beach in Berwick-upon-Tweed, a tiny town on the English-Scottish border offering very little in terms of entertainment, where you will struggle to get a decent dinner after 7pm, but which is well worth a visit for its beach alone. My second UK favourite is the beach in Ventnor, Isle of Wight. If you like stunning sunsets, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
This picture, however, was taken on a deserted beach in Northern Wales. I sure wish I was there right now.