What is a beach? Just a moment I believe we have a few in Switzerland, not really known as beach, just places next to our lakes where there might be some sand which arrived by some magical transport system. It is all done for the tourists. If you want to earn money in the holiday branch you have to offer everything and what you do not have you do it all yourself. Now you are all waiting for a photo.
I found one. I said if you do not have it you make it. Everyone plays beach volley ball, even the Swiss. It was decided that the Swiss should not be deprived of the fun, and so they implanted a beach volley ball site in our town for a few months. You can see the little tractor they used to do it all. I knew I would have a beach photo somewhere, just insert the word “beach” in the search window for Flickr (my photo hoster) and from my more than 10,000 photos a few arrive where the word beach was used.
The problem is that when Switzerland was created it was the left overs of Europe that no-one really wanted. A place full of mountains, cows and lots of snow and ice. The guy that planned it all forgot about something called “coastline” and so we all had to make the most of it. Of course you get beaches around our lakes, but you have to have a lake. There are a few dotted around. Our nearest is the town of Biel, then a little further there is one in Neuchâtel and Geneva. In between there is a smaller version in Murten. I have seen them all and yes, they have beaches, but more something done with the land surrounding the lakes. In the mountains there are a few, but more mega poinds from the melted wated of the glaciers which are slowly shrinking. Yes a large planning mistake was made with the construction of Switzerland.
In the Italian part of Switzerland, known as Ticino, they have big lakes, Lugano and Locarno, the holiday place for the Swiss that do not hunt for their beaches in Spain or Italy. We tried it often when the kids were young. The problem with their beaches is that you have to find them first of all and when you do there is no room left. You can visit the lido, which is usually on the shores of the lake, but you encounter another problem. The Ticino people are convinced they invented swimming pools. My kids jumped in the cooling water and were promptly dragged out by a bathing attendent who told me, as their mother, that they were not allowed in the water without a swimming hat. My sons were 6 and 11 years old at the time and did not even know the word for swimming hat. It was also not included in my vocabulary, in Swiss German, French or Italian which was spoken in the area, although with a strange intonation (the were Ticino Italians).
Deprived as we Swiss are of beaches, the first encounter my eldest son made with a beach was on our holiday in Mallorca. The place was surrounded by beaches and of course there was a coastline to go with it. My eldest, who is autistic, had absolutely no fear of the water. I was surprised he did not actually take a walk on it, but perhaps someone did it first and it mind have caused a sensation. I have never been a good swimmer. Luckily Mr. Swiss was better, and so I sent him to call my son back to the safety of the beach as he had now become a faint spot in the distance on his way to the African coast. Mr. Swiss also gave up, but my son returned cool and calm and decided, yes, he liked the beach.
Growing up on an island as a Brit, I did not realise that not all countries had beaches. We had many in england, some sandy, some stony and some just mud. There was even a beach at the Tower of London, that was mud, but I was not a spoilt child. I remember going there as a kid with my mum. We had deck chairs to sit on and could swim in the River Thames, although due to the pollution it became a dangerous task. If you did not drown, it might be that you had some sort of blood poisoning from the water. Even the fish gave up and no longer swam up the River Thames from the coast. I believe fish have again been seen in the Thames since the docks were closed.
The last time I saw an english beach was about 10 years ago. I was visiting my dad in London and went for a trip in the evening with my friend and her boyfriend. We arrived at a place called Shoebryness, near Southend.
Note the beach huts on the right, every seaside town has them in GB. To own one is quite expensive, and it is only the selected few than have one. They remain in the families for generations apparently. Otherwise you have to undress and dress with awkward contortions on the beach, hiding your private possessions beneath an XXXL towel.
The River Thames Estuary at Rainham also has a sort of beach, but I would not advise to go swimming there. That is not a swimmer on the left of the photo, but a metal construcion known as the diver. See my photo on the left. Rainham is not exactly a holiday place, but is interesting. In the distance you see the tall buildings of the London docklands area, which was where I grew up. Yes, our family had quite close connections to the beaches of the River Thames. I had two uncles that were dockers, unloading and loading the ships when it was still used as a harbour.
And now for something completely different. How do I explain to my feline Tabby about beaches?
Daily Prompt: Beach