Sunrise or sunset?
Personally I favour sunsets. There’s one serious problem with sunrise, it happens far too early in the day for my liking. Whereas sunrise gives notice it’s time to leave a cosy cocoon so the working day can start, a sunset is generally a signal for fun to begin.
It feels unnatural to me to drag myself out of bed to watch the sun appear over the horizon, even if it does breath light and colour into the world. Sure it’s the dawn of a new day which might be filled with hope and many wondrous things, but sunsets mark the end of a day. You already know when it’s been a satisfyingly good one and can relax, drink of choice in hand, to enjoy the free light show in the sky.
The cocktail might be known as a tequila sunrise but that’s not when you be sip it, unless you’re seriously hardcore. Sunset bars do a roaring trade but have you ever heard of a sunrise bar? Maybe there’s a niche for a coffee shop with sunrise views.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the early morning vibe when the world is waking up. I cherish rosy memories of whistling milkmen leaving bottles on doorsteps and passing family bakers where the smell of freshly cooked bread could drive you delirious. Where we live now there’s an early morning buzz around the harbour which doesn’t happen at any other time of the day. Little blue boats unload their catch, chefs and abuelas clamour at the fish stall to buy the choicest specimens, old men with cigars clamped between their teeth sit around a table noisily playing dominoes. It’s a scene which makes me feel at one with the world.
But you know what? I prefer to experience it from the night side; heading home at sunrise when the world is waking up. There’s something deliciously decadent about getting to enjoy the dawn chorus before falling into a bed which embraces you with the warmth of an old friend. The other thing about the early morning vibe I enjoy, what’s happening in the sky is only a bit part player.
Sunset is different. Sunset is a performance which requires no great effort to enjoy. A rainbow of colours spreading across the sky can often distract us from what we’re doing. No matter how many spectacular sunsets we see, a good one will drag us outside to stand and stare in awe at the heavens. Sunsets are wonderfully social affairs – all over the world people gather to watch the sun go to bed. I think of sunsets and I visualise enjoying them with other people.
It’s impossible to pick out a favourite place to watch sunsets. That’s the beauty of them, you get wondrous sunsets all across the globe. Zadar in Croatia stands out because it has the longest sunset I’ve ever witnessed. Plus there’s a gimmick there which makes it even more special.
The irony is that although I’ll take a sunset over a sunrise any day of the week, one of the most memorable travel moments I’ve enjoyed to date involved a sunrise; climbing Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide, in pitch darkness in order to sit with the gods and experience the birth of a brand new day from above the clouds.
That was extra special.
Where sunsets are flamboyant fun, sunrises tend to be more intimate affairs, possibly best enjoyed in the reflective company of your own thoughts.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+