Familiar: The beach vacation is a family staple in the Malone household. My mother spent her childhood summers nearly drowning off the New Jersey beaches while her "chaperoning" cousins sunbathed and my dad grew up on Lake Michigan, which might as well be an ocean for its expanse and majestic nature, all that's lacking is the salt. After moving to landlocked Minnesota, they missed the ocean and made sure to ride the waves a few times a year. However, now that I'm gallivanting across Europe, not the Eastern Seaboard, I miss out. 2012 marks the first year I'm not going to Nantucket with the family, a vacation we've been going on for over a decade now, because I have to start this little thing called grad school. I thought I was going to completely miss squishing my toes in the sand this summer, but St. Andrews came to the rescue.
Foreign: In Scotland, it's not uncommon to sport flannel during the summer. If anything, Edinburgh's proximity to the Firth of Forth only perpetuates this volatile weather of gale force winds and bipolar days of sunshowers. It's not the first place you'd expect to don a bikini and even if the weather is inviting, the Edinburgh beaches usually aren't. Although I've been to the sea in Edinburgh before, you don't exactly want to dip your toe in water when a factory is up the shore. If there's one good thing about St. Andrews' distance, it's that its beaches are tranquilly removed by contrast. This coupled with its laid back student culture and ice cream parlors makes it the perfect place to become a beach bum. All you need is a day when the sun and surf are up and fortunately for me, they were on my visit last week. I may not have had time to spend a day tanning on a towel with a good book like I would on any other beach day, but I did take advantage of walking through the waves on the East Sands. There was something perfectly natural about getting my feet licked by the waves like I do every summer, but also a little surreal because I'm still in Scotland.
This is my final post from St. Andrews, but there will be more beaches in future posts. The next time I blog, you'll see a whole other ocean.