Many people claim to be a beach person or a city person, but it would be hard for either of us to consider ourselves exclusively one or the other. So rather than proclaim that beaches are the only way to vacation or that cities offer the most culture, we weigh in on the virtues of both.
“Beach People” is something that I want to be. I want to be all about rest, relaxation and beautifully sculpted bodies. The reality though is that sitting around on a beach isn’t fun to me. Don’t even get me started with the “sculpted bodies”, for every piece of eye candy there are thousands of people that should need a permit to appear in public with their shirts off. If I have a day off I’d rather spend it in a bustling city than on a beach any day.
Beaches are like a scene from Wall-E before the people left earth of the spaceship…lazy people laying around. What’s the point? I just don’t get it, why would I want to spend my time sitting there, skin sticking to the sand with sunscreen, while hair-covered Buddha bellies are obstructing the view? When’s the last time you heard an inventor say, “I figured it out when we were at the beach”? Or a world leader announce, “if it weren’t for our beach trip we wouldn’t have reached this accord”? When is the last time you ever heard of anything great being accomplished at a beach? And let’s not kid ourselves, reading a Danielle Steele novel is not a great accomplishment.
This is the scene I love. It’s where things are getting done at a fast pace. It’s where thousands of restaurants creations are waiting to be savored. It’s where there is something for everyone. The negatives of cities get overplayed, but the reality is that the reason so many of us live in cities is because they are great, if a group of people were wanting something they can make it happen. Eva Gabor said it best in Green Acres’ theme song, “New York is where I’d rather stay, I get allergic smelling hay, I just adore a penthouse view. Darling I love you, but give me Park Avenue.”
The energy and options available in cities has always made them my preference, but this trip just might have turned me into a beach person. We have spent weeks hiking, days wandering lost through cities and endless hours on public transport, which makes getting to a beach a welcome break. Every time we arrive to a beach it feels so good to spend a few days in the sand and sun not having to worry about anything except where the cheapest and coldest beer can be found.
I still have a soft spot for cities, but they bring a much more rigorous schedule and require a more alert and busy way of travel. This fits my personality well as I am a busy body, but when we are spending every day exploring a new place in a foreign language cities can get tiring quickly. The exhaustion of discovering a new place still provides me with a certain sense of accomplishment and stimulates all my senses. But, art galleries, ornate temples, interesting architecture, fabulous food and a new neighborhood to explore every day are things I miss most when we’re on the beach.
So, when it comes to picking between cities or beaches I just can’t do it. I love both and now it seems that no travel experience is complete without a little time for each. When it comes to big cities my favorites are Paris, Hong Kong and Sydney among other cities that have stolen my heart over the years. As far as beaches go I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but Sydney’s Bondi beach, Arugum Bay in Sri Lanka and all of Southern Thailand come to mind. While we haven’t solved the issue of beaches vs. cities hopefully we have added to your must visit list.
Where are your favorite cities and beaches?