Summer and Reading at the Beach

Summer has arrived, at least here in Holland it has and the forecast on the 19th of June was 35°C (95°F), the hottest day in recorded history, at least according to the news outlets, but who knows, it was going to be really warn.. It’s a special occasion in our rainy and windy country. So as soon as a bit of sun shines, thousands of people flock to the beech,

I once flew over Holland, and it looked much like the picture here. The coastline instead of its regular yellow sandiness was rather a nice pinkish mauve.

or sit on the ‘terrasjes’ – the outdoor tables of cafés.

Outdoor tables might bring to mind sitting in a beautiful back garden. ‘Terrasjes’, however, usually just means that you are sitting on the sidewalk.

Everyone clears their face of the grumpy- rainy- weather look and start to smile and be polite. The only grumpy people are the ones stuck in offices.

Now, let me tell you a little secret, I’m not a beach/sun worshipper. When the sun comes out from behind the clouds, I’d rather sit indoors. I know summer is wonderful, you need your vitamin D and who doesn’t like a tan? But I’m just not that kind of gal.

When it’s winter, I do miss the sun like anyone else in Holland. On clear days the sun becomes a hi-bye neighbor; you run into each other and just say hi and bye (in winter, sunrise is around 9 or 10 am and sunset is around 4 or 5 pm). At those times I fantasize about the universal image of summer, sitting on a chair at the beach, the sound of the rolling waves in my ears, sun shining, and of course a good book.

I have a reading list for this purpose and even put aside couple of books. Then I remember what happens when I go to the beach.

Two years ago my hubby and I decided that since we’d never gone on a ‘beach holiday’, we’d do just that. I’d just finished courses for my MA and he was working and studying. We felt it was time for a much needed vacation, so we got ourselves a 10 day holiday to Costa del  Sol – no museums, no city’s to visit, nothing but beach and sun and sea.

Three days in and I just couldn’t sit in the sun for more than 2 hours without feeling fidgety, sand+sunscreen+contact lenses just don’t mix with reading a book. SPF 50 (sensitive skin) does not give a tan, and it’s hot, I mean really, really hot. That same day I went to the reception and booked a tour to The Alhambra, I told hubby it was a present. On day 5 we were off to visit Malaga, the shopping centre, Cordoba, anything we could to not sit at the beach.

I did manage to read a book on that holiday, in the evening before supper, when we were in an airconditioned room. But the other 5 books that went on holiday with me  stayed in the suitcase.

The 19th of June was supposed to be really hot day, it reminded me of this particular holiday and why I don’t go to the beach with the rest of the Dutch nation,

and why I sit at home with the fan on, a cool drink and a book.

Do you like to (get to) read at the beach?


P.S. It’s been cloudy, rainy and chilly since the 19th!


10 thoughts on “Summer and Reading at the Beach

  1. I’m not a summer beach person either (I like the beaches in Holland in the winter! I remember eating herring sandwiches and having a cappuccino in one of the cafes one the pier, it was lovely!). In the summer, I prefer to read in my garden.

    I love the story of your holiday- so funny!

    1. Beaches here in winter are very… the only word I can come up with is pensive!? or maybe they just make me feel like that, but anyway, thanks for your comment Letizia 🙂

  2. Thank you for explaining to others why some people (me too!)
    do not like the beach and
    are perfectly happy to stay inside the house ( garden doors are open…)
    with the fan blowing, cool drink and a good book!

  3. The beaches in San Francisco are never that crowded. I imagine I’d get claustrophobic if it got that crowded here.. :o) And our weather? Usually foggy in the summer, it’s been rainy and muggy the past two days. Highly unusual. I think your plan to sit at home with all the required necessities is ideal!

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