beauty and the beholder

Kalimera from Cyprus,

If a woman asks, “Do you think I’m pretty?” and you answer, ” . . . from certain angles . . .”, would she be satisfied with your response? Probably not.

If we perceive beaches as potentially beautiful places – and rank them on their beauty – we might be inviting the same derision. Nissi Beach in Cyprus is a case in point.

Nissi Beach is one of the popular sand beaches near Ayia Napa in the south of Cyprus. Judging by the number of chairs and umbrellas aligned along the beaches in this area, they are all fairly popular. Nissi Beach was recently voted (by tripadvisor subscribers) as the seventh best European beach. Adding the fact that it was a strong recommendation from a colleague (before departure from Turkiye), I have to have a look.

Before continuing dear readers, let me inform you that Australians are perhaps the worst judges of beaches, since theirs are so magnificent (literally thousands of them; bereft of rubbish; great surf; nobody on them).

Nissi Beach near Ayia Napa

Nissi Beach is nice enough but beaches are beautiful because they are natural, aren’t they? They are not-made. They have been gifted to us by millions of years of natural forces, with no human hand in the making. Surely, the more we impinge on the natural aspects of a beach, the less beautiful it becomes. Nissi Beach is one of those natural marvels which is being ruined by encroaching humanity.

The cafes and restaurants come right down to the sand, with only a narrow gap for pedestrian access (unless you pay for an expensive hotel room right there adjacent to the beach). The deckchairs and umbrellas cover a high proportion of the sand. Beach volleyball courts take up more. Car parks adorn the interface with more tar and cement (for which you have to pay!). The beach is a kind of adornment being surrounded by the built environment.

Beaches are beautiful because they are natural. Don’t we diminish from their beauty when we build down to the interface? We certainly diminish from their beauty when we make them exclusive.

Perhaps the tripadvisor subscribers who participated in the survey were ranking the beaches on their amenities rather than their natural beauty. Perhaps the survey is nothing more than a marketing exercise. We know that education has changed forever with innovation, technology and child-centred approaches. It means the most important lesson of our formal education is to resist the allure of any clever marketing hyperbole. And when we rank beaches – just as some might compare beautiful women – we assess them on their natural beauty.

AVTIO from Cyprus


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