If you make it to the Baltic Sea nowadays and you can find a square meter on which to park your blanket and your family, consider yourself lucky because the Baltic Sea is a real family summer vacation hot spot.
Proximity? Well, it is in Poland, but considering the lack of highways and packed trains getting there in the summer, you may find it easier to hop a plane to Greece.
The beach? The sand is really quite nice and ideal for making sand castles and babki, but the water is pretty chilly and the beach is packed.
The weather? When the weather at the Baltic Sea is good, you can compare it to any “hot country”, but when it is bad, it is bad -rainy, grey, cold and windy.
The cost? That’s certainly not it because the prices along the Baltic in the summer season are just as high as in Greece or Turkey.
One year, we flew to Crete for a 2-week vacation. Actually, we were newlyweds so it was our honeymoon, a few months delayed. We stayed in a hotel on the beach and also rented a car and travelled around the island. We visited a lot of beautiful places, ate delicious food and enjoyed fabulous weather. We also took a boat trip to Santorini. I even went topless on the beach for the 1st time. We had a blast. Oh, the good old days. (We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. My topless days are over.)
During the same 2 weeks, our friends went with their son to the Baltic. They drove more than 8 hours (we arrived by plane in about 3 hours). It was sunny the first week but rained the second. They had to find something indoors to entertain their son and themselves. They spent much more on food than we did, as well as spending a good lot of time inside at shopping centers and cinema multiplexes. After comparing notes, we realized the their trip cost double ours!
I first became aware of it when I overheard some of my female students talking about the health benefits of iodide. They insist that their children go to the seaside for at least 2 weeks each year. Some parents even send the kids with grandparents or aunts or uncles if they cannot go together. Nothing less than a 2-week stay by the Baltic Sea is sufficient to iodize your kid for the school season. Iodide (jod) is said to boost the immune system and is best delivered to the body by breathing it in through the delicate spray of the sea. I have also read the eating root vegetables grown in a place high in iodide (such as soil near the sea) is said to be beneficial as well.
I have children now and my students, mostly the female ones, are astonished to find out that I do not guarantee my kids a stay at the Baltic each year. As I hear my kids coughing from the other room, I wonder if I have done them a disservice or if it is just a bunch of malarky.