We all know that when it comes to beaches, sand > rocks. Sorry, South of France, but while you can argue for Cannes over Sundance, or that the cuisine in Marseilles is richer than that of Santa Monica, you simply cannot claim that taking a barefoot stroll along the pebbles of Nice compares to walking along the powder sand of Key West.
But what about beaches made of glass? Yep, glass beaches are a very real thing and, this week, one in particular went viral.
The Internet just couldn’t get enough of Glass Beach in Ussuri Bay, Russia – a stretch of “vodka bottles” that have been worn down into smooth glass pebbles by the crashing water and the, um, sands of time.
The stunning sand polished glass jewels strewn over "Glass Beach" in Ussuri Bay, Russia is from tons of discarded vodka and beer bottles thrown from ships in the nearby sea. A glorious result of much mindless pollution! . . . #ussuribay #glassbeach #russia #travelwithnexustravel #monbulk #travelagentmonbulk
For years, Russians threw away glass bottles (bottles of all kinds, not just vodka bottles as some articles have claimed) on this beach, turning it into a giant pile of litter. But years later, it has transformed into a protected area where locals and tourists go to see a kaleidoscopic array of translucent stones against the backdrop of snow-covered cliffs and brilliantly blue water.
Some people have even gone as far as calling the beach an optimistic metaphor for our future, pointing out that just because we’ve polluted our planet, doesn’t mean we can't turn it around and create something beautiful.
Just how unique is Russia’s Glass Beach? Well, there are hundreds of beaches across the world where visitors can find sea glass, but only a few that are as dense with worn-down bottles as Russia’s. Fort Bragg, Calif.; Hanapepe, Hawaii; and various spots in Bermuda can compete.
Fort Bragg, Calif.
Dead Horse Bay, Brooklyn
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay, which I can only assume is what places like Russia's Glass Beach used to look like. Visitors often come here in search of unique bottles, and to explore a place that’s beautiful in its own post-apocalyptic sort of way.
Here's to hoping our future looks a lot more like that stretch of sea glass in Russia than it does like Dead Horse.