Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waterfront Walks

Perhaps it's because I'm from Nova Scotia and have always lived close to the water, but I find that I really enjoy being near the ocean. Strange that someone who never goes in the water deeper than my ankles would spend so much vacation time near the ocean.

The oceans, rivers and lakes have always been important to mankind. Water is essential to life itself, so civilization grew up around access to water. The oceans of the world have always been an important source of food.  Transportation and commerce, especially in times past was  much easier with access to the oceans, and many wars were decided by which power controlled the ocean, so many important cities have grown up in places that allow the ocean to be used and enjoyed by people.

Here in El Campello I am told they have 27 miles of coastline – the longest in the area, and much of it is beachfront. The El Campello beach (Carrerlamar) and the Muchavista beach around the cove both offer  beautiful seafront Promenades that allow the public to stroll along the beach in comfort. There is a wide expanse of sand, a short wall and then an attractively paved walkway running the length of the beach. The El Campello beach allows only limited vehicle traffic on the road running along the beach, and most days it is used as an extended promenade for pedestrians. On the other side of the road are shops, restaurants, and bars with apartments over them. What is nice is that you can walk the length of the beach without anything interrupting the view. It makes for a very pleasant walk and we have gotten into the habit of taking this walk at least once a day. If ambitious, the Muchavista promenade allows a similarly beautiful but longer walk for over 3 km along the beach but without the benefit of so many restaurants and bars for “Pit Stops” along the way.

As I walk this Promenade I think of other similar waterfront walks I have encountered in my travels. In Brazil, the town of Santos had over 5 km of beautiful walkways along the beach. In Campeche, Mexico  they call their beachfront promenade the “Malecon” and Cozumel, Mexico has a similar area to walk along the waterfront. My Home town of Halifax has a beautiful waterfront boardwalk along much of it's waterfront, and during my cruising vacations when other passengers  discover I am from Halifax they comment about how much they enjoy this easy access to the Halifax waterfront. In Hamburg, Germany the city was designed with a beautiful lake in the centre that allows the public complete access to all of the shoreline with parks and pathways around the lake. Canada's capital Ottawa has managed to retain public access to much of the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal riverfront land and maintains beautiful walkways along them that can be enjoyed by all.

This doesn't always happen. Very often the rich or the powerful purchase this prime waterfront land and put fences to keep the public out. In Shanghai, China I enjoyed the riverfront walk along the Bund, but was disappointed when I tried to walk along the other side of the river only to run into a sturdy fence across the boardwalk blocking access where the famous “Oriental Pearl” tower somehow purchased access to the waterfront and no longer let people walk the waterfront without paying to visit their “attraction”. In Bristol, England, I was only able to stroll part way around it's famous “Floating Harbour” before running into expensive private residences blocking further access. I was so impressed by that lake in Hamburg, because they allowed the rich and powerful to build their houses and businesses beside the lake, there was however a road and a public pathway between their houses and the lake so that although they could purchase a permanent view of the lake, everyone could come and have the same view anytime they wanted.

These are only some of the beautiful waterfront walkways I have found on my travels. I'm sure there are many more examples of both public access to waterfronts and places where beautiful waterfront views are reserved for “Private Use” only. I am happy to be able to enjoy the beautiful beachfront promenade here in El Campello.

1 comment:

  1. 23 km of seafront - about 16 miles, ranging from the sandy beaches of Mutchamiel and Campello´Carrelamar beach, through to rocky coves, perfect for snorkeling and scuba.

    Thanks for appreciating the rtown - we love it here too!