Warm, blazing sunshine, white sands as far as the eye can see, the constant movement of the waves... in and out, bright colored umbrellas and beach chairs peppering the soft sandy shores, lifeguards looking cool, squinting to read a book, and cooling off in the salty water when you just can't stand the heat anymore... this is what I think of when I think about going to the beach.
... but this is not what I think about when I think about beaches in Germany. The Northern part of Germany is surrounded by two bodies of water, the North Sea and the Baltic sea. When I first moved to Germany, my mother-in-law wanted to take me for a day trip to the North Sea. I was very excited having beaches like Virgina Beach, Myrtle, and Wilmington in mind (Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina), but found the cold, rainy, muddy, day (at least weather-wise) to not be the beach experience that I had imagined.
The North Sea is quite unusual because every six hours the water recedes and then comes back in. The ebbing cycle (when the water goes out) leaves beautiful water formed patterns and mud behind, or "Matsch" in German. You can walk where the water once was and many tourists often take a horse and carriage ride through the "Matsch". Even annual horse racing events are held on the "Meeresgrund" (translated bottom of the sea) .
However, I must say that my idea of going to the beach does not include wearing a winter coat, scarf, boots, gloves, turtlenecks, and everything else one needs to stay warm. This past fall we had friends visit us when they were traveling through Hamburg on the way to the Northern beaches. I sat the whole time wondering if they were really crazy and will remain forever perplexed at why one wouldn't instead travel to a nice warm beach somewhere South... I guess to each his own.
...thanks to my brother-in-law for the great North Sea photos. For more lazy days at the beach, (and hopefully warmer ones) ... visit Jane at Spain Daily.