Day Trip to Lyme Regis on the Devon-Dorset Border

There are plenty of shops along High Street in Lyme Regis on the Jurassic Coast. Most cater to the many tourists coming to this seaside town. At this time of year, in early October, it was mostly elderly people. The weather was brilliant, and we even got to sunbathe at the shore for half an hour before we left the next day.

We had the option of taking a three-hour tour, but having only one afternoon in this town (we got there around noon from Exeter), we decided to walk around at our own pace.

There are a few fossil shops, a fossil museum, fossil tours, and even the lanterns are fossil-shaped.

On my former visits England, I used to find coins on the streets and sidewalks. Not anymore. Either it is because the streets are being swept all the time (they looked very clean), or because Brexit is near. Instead of coins, I saw many bird feathers. ūüôā

We walked a good mile out to the spot where one can find fossils. We didn’t find any, but instead I found much sea glass! A fossil collector explained how it got there – land erosion caused a landslide, and brought down a landfill… I brought it with me nevertheless. It had been in the sea for many years, polished by the sand and water, so it had done its job.

Jurassic Coast Lyme Regis

This is a beautiful place to vacation, and I could easily spend a week here. There are several cafés and benches by the shore. Most of them have an inscription dedicated to a loved one.

We watched the elderly get off the bus. They had to step carefully, some gave a helping hand. My husband and I looked at each other, and we didn’t have to say it out loud. This could be us ten years from now.

We saw no one with an iPhone, nor iPad (I used mine to take pictures and was eyed curiously). We were some of the younger tourists there.

Ocean glass

Ocean glass, also known as sea glass or mermaids’ tears, can be found on most beaches. These are glass shards, which sharp edges got smoothed over the years by getting tumbled in water and sand. Their once shiny glass surface becomes frosted-looking after so many years.

For the past six or seven years I have brought back mermaids’ tears from our annual holiday vacations in places such as Virginia/USA, Croatia, Japan, Faroe Islands, Crete, the Azores, and the most recent one, Sicily.

I have always put them in a glass jar, and had one of my children label it (location and date). Over the years, I have come to learn a bit more about these pretty pebbles. As I usually add a couple of stones, snails, shells, etc. to the jar, each jar has taken on its own life in color, smell, and drinking culture.

By far, the Crete jar is smelling the strongest. One dip with the nose and your senses transport you to where the fishing boots are coming in.

The Faroe Islands jar contains mostly brown mermaids’ tears, which reflects their tendency to drink more beer from brown bottles in the Northern European countries.

The most beautiful mermaids’ tears, and best find so far,¬† are from the Sicilian island of Favignana. This was truly mermaids’ tears heaven as there were so many everywhere and it became clear that beach-combing was not a popular activity on this windy island (snorkeling is, I believe).

A good mermaids’ tear takes between 15 and 60 years of being tumbled around in the ocean. Some beaches might offer mostly premature ones (five-year old glass shards), while others, such as the beaches of¬† Favignana¬† offered many overly weathered, hence the most beautiful sea glass. Favignana also offered more white ones than other locations.

Ocean glass floating in the sky

Another thing I learned – while you ask your son to hold up the glass, make sure he does not have an itchy nose. A few tumbled over the fourth floor balcony, a few shattered on the floor. These mermaids’ tears still break like regular glass.

Besides putting them in a jar, you could also try your hands at making jewelry. For a few ideas, visit these websites:

Tears from the Deep and West Coast Sea Glass

The term mermaids’ tears itself is often also referred to in a negative way –¬† plastic polluting the oceans.

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