Until I talk to someone who hasn’t spent every summer holiday at the beach, I forget that “beaching” is a skill, much like driving or sewing. It takes experience to know how to beach, and to bring just the right amount of stuff. Enough to be comfortable all day so that you don’t have to make the long trek back up to your room or car, but not so much that you give up halfway across the sand because of the effort it takes to haul your bag over your shoulder while sinking six inches into the hot sand with each step.
It takes baking for hours in the sun each year to know when you need to apply sunscreen-enough to protect your skin, but not so much that you don’t tan. To know when to shift your chair into full sun, and when to seek out shade, and what book, music, and sports equipment to toss into your tote bag. As a child, there were more toys. As an adult, there is more sunscreen and water.
All the effort is worth is, for the days spent listening to waves as they crash on the shore, seagulls as they beg for food, and children laughing as they build castles. For the dreams that come that night of floating on the waves while the sun paints freckles across my nose.
This year, our summer holiday was spent in Alvor, Portugal, a small town in the Algarve region of Portugal. The area is famous for its white sand beaches, turquoise water, cliffs filled with fossils, and rock formations that stretch out into the water.
Photography by Rebekah Burder. Please do not reuse without credit.