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Chasing Rainbows: A Tale of Rain, Sea, and Serendipity

Updated: Jun 25


Winter breaks at the seaside? Wild and wonderful beaches in the dead of winter? Hmm, could be an adventure worth trying!! Would the stormy seas charm me, or would I be left longing for sunnier shores?



📸 Instagram



Feeling daring and a tad bit sceptical, I packed my wellies, raincoat, and umbrella - because, let’s face it, you can never be too prepared for the unpredictable whims of British weather - to give the quietly pretty Kent seaside town of Deal a go … yep, in the depths of winter! Call me crazy, or maybe I was just desperately missing the sea!

And lo and behold, as soon as we stepped off the train, the heavens opened and unleashed a downpour of epic proportions. Racing down the street, we arrived drenched at The Rose, a madly characterful boutique hotel with its achingly pretty rooms, artfully lit dining space, and some seriously good food. Goodness gracious (me!), what an unexpectedly delightful culinary adventure we stumbled upon—thanks to the chef and his kitchen wizardry (formerly of Chiltern Firehouse, famous for its celebrity diners).




📸 The Rose Deal, Kent



Every dish was a masterpiece, each plate a symphony of flavours that danced on our tongues.


From the exquisitely crafted starters to the mouthwatering mains and the decadent desserts that were almost too beautiful to eat, every bite was a revelation that bordered on the divine. No wonder The Guardian hails it as ‘one of the top five hidden foodie gems in the UK’. It was truly the highlight of our seaside getaway, and oh, how I wish I could experience it all over again!


The winter rain continued to pour down like it was auditioning for a lead role in a Hollywood drama (Oliver - did you see what I did there - wink!). The grey skies and relentless rain turned the pebbly beach—often teeming with tourists flocking to its shores like seagulls to a chip stand—into a tranquil haven. The waves crashed against the shore like a soothing lullaby, and the unspoiled seafront, dotted with charming fishing boats and beach huts, transformed into a serene, almost eerie landscape. The pier, simple yet striking, brought back fond memories of the one in my hometown of Durban—see the pics below for a comparison.



📸 Experienced Traveller / Roaming Giraffe



Perched atop it, we stumbled upon yet another culinary gem, dishing out some of the best fish and chips, accompanied by a generous serving of salty sea breeze. Food aside, admittedly, I found myself peculiarly enchanted by the rugged allure of the stormy seas and the tranquil beauty of deserted beaches.



Yet, despite the anticipation of a winter seaside retreat, something was amiss, and I wasn't quite feeling it!


📸 Instagram



Call me spoilt, but when you've grown up with sand between your toes, it tends to set the bar pretty high! It simply didn't float my boat... no matter how much I wished it would! Let's just say my first experience of a winter break at the seaside will also be my last!


When winter holidays meet the seaside, it's a match that, for this beach bum, doesn't quite work —unless, of course, it's a delightful 21 degrees (in winter!), just like back home in sunny Durban. But hey, perhaps it's also because I've been showered in endless sunshine for most of my life (seriously, why am I still here?!).


Despite it all, the irresistible pull of the ocean never wanes, and the simple joy of dipping my toes in the cool (alright, cold!) water made it all worthwhile.



📸 Instagram



Ah, the anticipation of warmer days and sun-kissed shores! In fact, we've been concocting something magical for this summer—it's been in the works since last year, ever since my mum agreed to venture from our family home in South Africa. Convincing her to leave Durban’s golden sands and visit us here in London is no easy feat, and the process is as costly as it is time-consuming.



📸 Getty Images | Durban Tourism



She needs a visa to visit the UK (which costs an arm and a leg!), and then there's the Schengen visa saga for travelling to most European countries (that's another arm and leg!!), except for Türkiye (woohooooo!!!). The visa process is downright daunting and intrusive, with endless forms to fill out - each requiring precise information down to the last cent - it's as if they want to know every tiny detail of your existence!


Speaking of visas, I'm in a bit of a pickle myself. After nearly two decades in the country, I still lack that coveted purple passport, much to my British hubby's dismay! I suppose I'm just a tad stubborn (and perhaps a smidge ‘unbothered’) but the thought of taking that absurd British culture test, leaves me less than thrilled.


Sure, it's an intriguing read, and it could open up a world of travel opportunities, but do I really want to feel like I'm back in school, cramming for a test? And the fee for the privilege? Don't even get me started—I'll pass (for now, anyway), thank you very much! Although, I suppose I may need to (no, I absolutely should!) reconsider … if I ever plan on gallivanting around Europe again or stepping back into the States!


But enough ranting! Exciting news—my mum is coming to visit and has expressed a newfound interest in exploring the continent. So, Türkiye it is! It's truly one of the most beautiful and wondrous countries I've ever experienced, from hiking adventures to beach escapes and everything in between. And while I'm itching to return to Greece for a bit more exploration, there's that pesky visa issue (x2) to contend with.


So, we've found a compromise -  a Turkish province nestled along the stunning Aegean coastline, intertwined in both Turkish and Greek history/heritage, with some of the best unspoiled beaches for a summer escape … it feels/looks like you’re in a tropical paradise somewhere in the Maldives or perhaps Mauritius and even Bora Bora!



📸 CN Traveller



Join us as we set off on our Turkish seaside escape, this time in the midst of summer! Stay tuned for updates. If you haven't subscribed yet, visit www.unapologeticallymel.com to join our journey.

 

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