Before this weekend, I had only heard of other people’s holidays at the North Sea, but I had never been there. Dutch, Belgian and German people speak with affection of this sea. However, in my imagination, the North Sea was the last place for a seaside holiday, so grey and brutally swept by bitter winds I imagined it.
Finally, last week I spent a few days on the Frisian island of Terschelling. I was rather sceptical of the fun I could have on this cold and windy plateau. However, on Terschelling I could finally understand the passion of so many people for the North Sea.
My Italian conception of ‘sea’ is one of bodily comfort in light clothes and endless dives to fight off the heat. The word brings to my mind blossoming bougainvillea in the dazzling sun of a midsummer day. None of these sea experiences could be found on Terschelling. This northern island is enclosed between the restless waters of the North Sea and the ebbs and flows of a sea—water flooded plateau, called Wadden sea. One of the hotspots on the Wadden sea is walking on the sea. Not on the water, but on the mud. You wait for a low tide to uncover the bottom of the sea, put on a pair of wellies and walk on the mud of thinnest sand and sea sediments. This, in the coolest blowing wind, with the likelihood of either getting a wellie stuck in the mud or being caught far afield from the shore by the return of the tide and perish in the endeavour.
On the mudwalk I started to enjoy myself once I overcame the eerie feeling of sinking. I caught fresh oysters in the sand, cracked them open with a blade and enjoyed them with a few lemon drops. I rushed a bike as fast as I could all along the dike that shields the island, until I stopped thinking and the world became only this line between water and land. I scared a flock of geese that took off like a rising wave of dark angels. It proved quite a rough, windy and cold sea experience, but an unforgettable one that I would recommend to you too.