The 13 beaches I love most

There’s a story to every great moment in our lives.
These are stories about how I fell in love. The feelings are there. Haven’t faded. Not even a bit.

1. Horgabost
Isle of Harris, Scotland
Petra (to the bus driver): ‘Two tickets to Horgabost, please.’
[I had found Horgabost on UK’s list of 10 most beautiful campsites, but I wasn’t expecting the paradise that I found there. It’s been a year and I still pinch myself… is this place real?]  

Horgabost; Isle of Harris, Scotland
2. Dyrhólaey
Petra (upon arrival): ‘Wow!...’
Petra (after a few minutes): ‘I don’t want to leave this place. I could stay here forever.’
[And I rarely say that.]

Dyrhólaey, Iceland
3. Oldshoremore
Petra: ‘Hello. Are we anywhere near Sandwood Bay?’
Very nice man working on a boat in the harbour: ‘Well… I will tell you, but first, I will have to ask you—what are you planning to do there?’
Petra (surprised): ‘Well, just walk along the beach and watch the sunset.’
Very nice man working on a boat in the harbour: ‘You’re not far, but there’s a 2-hour walk to Sandwood Bay.’
Petra (very surprised): ‘Ah…’
Very nice man working on a boat in the harbour: ‘You could go to Oldshoremore instead. It’s close and it’s one of the prettiest beaches in Scotland, in my opinion.’
Petra (looking happy)
Very nice man working on a boat in the harbour: ‘You don’t happen to have a washer, do you?... We’ve lost it…’ J
[Oldshoremore: it didn't just live up to the expectations, it exceeded them. Talk about fate.]  
Oldshoremore, Scotland
4. Jökulsárlón
Petra (to Marcel): ‘A seal! Right over there! I wonder how they got into the lagoon…’
[…via a channel connecting it to the ocean, we would later find out. Extra: this amazing beach, chunks of ice as far as the eye could see.]

Jökulsárlón, Iceland
5. Balnakeil
Petra (to Marcel): ‘The best things in life are free. At times like these, when you’ve got pink sunsets, green seas, and creamy sands… you don’t need anything else. We should only feel grateful.’
[no comment]

Balnakeil, Scotland
6. Seilebost
Isle of Harris, Scotland
Petra (to Marcel): ‘I’m hungry. Let’s go find some food. The egg roll was great, but I could eat more.’
[We didn’t find stores or restaurants. We found this amazing beach and another wow instead.]

Seilebost; Isle of Harris, Scotland
7. Copacabana
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Petra (to Marcel): ‘I’ve never seen anything like this. It is the most beautiful beach in my life.’
[At that time, it was.]

Copacabana; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
8. West Beach
North Berwick, Scotland
Petra (to Marcel): ‘I want to see the puffins! Let’s go to the Scottish Seabird Centre!’
[That’s how we got to North Berwick, which is still my favourite inhabited spot in Scotland, and saw the beach… and fell in love…]

West Beach; North Berwick, Scotland
9. Matosinhos
Petra (to Marcel): ‘I want to go to the beach! I want to have a swim in the ocean!’
[One underground ride later.]
Petra (to Marcel): ‘This is one great beach. And it’s so close to the city [Oporto]. I can’t wait to take my clothes off and get into the water!...’
Matosinhos, Portugal
10. Plage de Bon Secours
Saint-Malo, France
[This was probably my first love. It was September 2000. I just sat and watched La Manche, that grim light and those greyish waves… and I told myself that I had probably never seen any sea or beach that could fascinate me like that.]

Plage de Bon Secours; Saint-Malo, France
11. Farr Beach
Bettyhill, Scotland
Petra: ‘Hey! Why are you back so soon?’
Marcel: ‘I’ve come to tell you that I won’t make it to lunch with you, guys. …I’m going surfin’!...’
[I’ve gone to the beach later on to watch him with my friend Alison. The light, the waves, the sand… they were all incredible. I’ll always remember that afternoon. I secretly wished to be in the water and ride those waves, too. History came first at that time. But there’ll always be a ‘next time’.] 
Farr Beach; Bettyhill, Scotland

12. Jurmala
Petra: ‘Don’t forget to take your beach towel.’
Marcel: ‘Damn! I dropped it… the sun from the Sun Museum… you and your crazy ideas!’ 
[And he was apparently right. There was no need for a beach towel. It was the last day of May, at a pretty high latitude, the wind was cold… but our spirits were high.]
Jurmala, Latvia
13. Aphrodite's Rock
Ice cream seller: ‘Would you like a flake bar with your ice cream?’
Petra: ‘Yes, please.’
[As I felt the ice cream melting on my tongue, I could sense the murmur of the sea and perceive everything as the white version of dark Dyrhólaey.]

Aphrodite's Rock, Cyprus

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