A winter beach generally appears desolate, even denuded. Where (in the festive summer days) a multicolored carpet of towels and an assortment of umbrellas met the eyes, populated by beach-goers of all ages, there is now an expanse of unadorned sand. It does draw me, though, even along with the lonely, open sensation that it communicates.
Then too, though empty in comparison to its summer time capacity, the beaches we visited weren’t entirely empty of people. Other tourists like us walked across the sand or along the the walkway separating the sandy beach proper from the restaurants. Others scattered themselves across the sand, sitting or laying on blankets and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. We also came across groups of Africans hoping to earn a bit from the tourists through sand sculptures or by hawking cheap plastic sun glasses. A sailboat glided out in the sea, visible from the Malvarosa beach.
While the sea’s intensity varied by location and day —
calm to the point of lethargy at Malvarosa,
more energetic at Las Arenas and El Saler
–over all I found it quieter than I have grown to expect from encounters with the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the US. The Mediterranean waves did less roaring and foaming at the shore and more lapping and caressing of the sand. I generally prefer watching rowdier water, but it did make collecting mementos from the surf a bit easier.
Of the three, El Saler was my favorite with its pebbly shoreline, and pine-tree-backed beach.