travel

A Dubious Guide to Europe’s Beachknitting Venues

ramsgateHaving spent a fair share of time knitting on a beach in Nerja this week, I’ve been reflecting on the many beaches I’ve knit on over the past few years, and the unique features of each. Here’s my unscientific and not-very-extensive roundup of the standout beach-knitting venues I have encountered.

Ramsgate, England: Good people, gangster gulls

ramsgate - gullFrom what I’ve read, this is a town you might have come to for a seaside holiday if you were some kind of middle class in the 19th century. The folks are much friendlier than the ones you encounter in London, and it’s a relief to get a smile from a stranger. In June, the beach isn’t really full so it’s easy to find a spot to plop down. The gulls here are the downside: huge and aggressive. Hard to get a good knitting rhythm going here because you need to keep flapping your arms to intimidate them as they inch in on you.

Swansea, Wales: Space enough for poetry

swansea4

Birthplace of Dylan Thomas, the shopping mall next to the beach has “More Poetry is Needed” in huge letters on the wall over the parking lot. Passive voice notwithstanding, there is a lyrical spaciousness that opens up in your brain when you’re at the seaside there. The beach at Swansea stretches along the coast of the Gower peninsula for I don’t knowswansea2 how far. I walked the 10 km from The Mumbles to Swansea and it was all beach as far as I could see. Then, the distance from boardwalk to where sea touches sand is another massive expanse. So much space, every other human being looks tiny. Lots of room to cop a squat and knit without overhearing other conversations. And the seashells are striped in pink and blue colourways like my favourite sock yarns.

Glyfada (Athens), Greece: Beware strangers bearing gifts

glyfada roseThe streets in this part of Athens have posh stores. In January, the only swimmers are those healthy ones who believe in a brisk swim every day of the year. The summer businesses are closed and it’s fun to see the crusty shells of what must be some great party vibes when the season’s on. This time of year, if you have that cold North Atlantic blood, you splash your feet in the water and sit on a towel and take in the warm sun. Some mysterious disturbance offshore may result in long-stemmed roses coming in on the waves, and a friendly stranger may bring one to you. Word to the wise: don’t chat too long, or he may decide to follow you home on the tram.

Paphos, Cyprus: Sunset knitting venue of choice

PaphosI only know Cyprus in the winter, when the locals say the weather is terrible. For me, winter is a sunnier version of Newfoundland summers. There are rainy days, and sometimes the waves get too rowdy for safe swimming. But there’s lots of free space at the beach, and the sun will bring out your freckles. It’s a town that feels safe for me to move about after dark, which makes it even more of a pleasure to linger by the water and watch the sun go down in a spectacular light show that is different every day.

Herceg Novi, Montenegro: Best beach that isn’t really a beach

 

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Herceg Novi’s Bla Bla Beach is only place I’ve ever felt truly at home in a commercial beach bar setting. The view is spectacular, and because I’m using a lounge chair and umbrella, the comfort level is a notch above my usual towel-on-the-sanHN - knitting glassd arrangement. The coffee is divine, partly because I didn’t have to bring it from home. I’m here first thing in the morning when the water is silken and the crowds haven’t yet gathered, but this is my most social beach-knitting venue. It’s not a beach per se, more like a concrete quai with swimming pool ladders for getting in and out of the water. Use extra caution if working with a round ball of yarn.

Got any recommendations?

What are your favourite spots for beachknitting, in Europe or elsewhere?

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