The German Hamptons
For a long time, I have been hearing murmurs of an island with sand so white, it’s blinding. Of an island where wealth abounds, of an endless stretch of beach-baskets, lapped by the North Sea. Sylt, the people whispered, Sylt.
Others told me it was a snobby haven of tax evaders, ridiculously expensive and there are spots as nice as Sylt on the North Sea, minus the pretension.
The train took 2.5 hours and we waved at Denmark as we made our way across the (what is essentially) marsh that separates Sylt from mainland Germany. At high tide, the island is clearly an island, surrounded by delicious blue sea. At low tide it is all but visibly connected to the mainland.
The weather could not have behaved in a more fitting manner. There was, for the first time in many, many months, not a cloud in the sky. The breeze was gentle. Locals and tourists filled the cafes’ outdoor seating areas, their chairs turned in rows as if having an audience with the sun. There were a lot of ice creams and refreshing beverages going on. The strand-korb we paid 8 euro for the pleasure using (after paying 3.50€ for the pleasure of entering the beach … a concept utterly foreign to an Australian) trapped the heat of the sun with pleasing efficiency, creating a warm little nest in which we could sunbathe. Which we did until our pale winter skin went pink.
When we left the beach, bound for ice cream sundaes of considerable size, we put our feet in the North Sea. Not as cold as expected by flipping freezing. And, if truth be told, a little magical.