Naked Rules!

On our way northward from the island of Rab yesterday, we decided to deviate by taking the ferry to Krk, where subsequently a bridge would connect us to mainland Croatia. Lunchtime destination? Buncaluka Naturist Resort on the southern tip of Otok Krk. It’s a lovely spot, and it was a lovely day – Father’s Day after all – until I got scolded by a German patron for… ready for this? Being naked. We had taken our cue from a German couple next to us; he was naked, she had a pareo around her waist – we followed suit. But when I dashed down to pay the beach attendant the rental fee for our lounge chairs, a less-than-pleasant restaurant patron ceased conversation to issue me a citation.

“Bitte?” says I.

“WEAR SHORTS!”

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Beach-side bistro at Buncaluka

To be fair, I was naked in the restaurant area, which is exactly 0 meters from the beach area, and I had actually read something about the need to cover up in the bistro, though it’s always very difficult to tell exactly what that means. And what’s more, we had been interacting with our server for at least 45 minutes, who certainly had noticed our weapons were not concealed, yet he did not seem alarmed by us or the similarly attired couple at the next table. Apparently the actual rule here is live and let live.

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Naked surveillance

In each of the French naturist resorts we’ve visited, nude dining is always permitted, though most guests do not exercise the option. Where we’re staying in Valalta, it’s similarly nebulous – put clothes on to eat, unless you’re at a beach bar, or near a beach, or … well I don’t know exactly. Go across the fjord to Koversada to have lunch at the fish restaurant and you’ll find more naked patrons than not. You’re at a naturist resort for God’s sake. Is it such a stretch to be naked?

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Should I dress to walk home?

I suppose there is the argument to be made for hygienic conditions in an area where food is served, (though I find naturists to be more conscientious than most about hygiene, especially compared to the typical beach town crowd) or maybe the other patrons simply don’t want to “see your junk” while eating their grilled squid, but that’s not actually my point.

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Seems clear to me.

Given the relentless rhetoric about naturism as ultimate freedom, the rules and regulations that govern most naturist places are often complicated at least, and downright contradictory at best. I was particularly amused by a sign right outside the restaurant and bar of an Italian naturist resort that said, and I quote, “Naturista? Si Grazie!” But walk three meters beyond that sign and sit at that bar and you get reprimanded by an old Italian woman for indecent exposure.

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Buncaluka – It really is a beautiful spot.

Perhaps I’m sounding overly-sensitive, but we have found time and again that it literally takes the better part of an entire week to learn the explicit and implicit rules of virtually any naturist place we have visited. And it works both ways! My wife was once chastised for wearing a scarf around her midsection at a French naturist resort, despite the fact that she was covering a scar from a recent surgery. “You must be naked in the pool area! Undress or leave!”

So with that, here is a summary of the typical resort rules for European naturism:

  • You must be naked here.
  • You can’t be naked there.
  • No nudity after 8:00 pm
  • No nudity before 8:00 am – even in the shower!
  • No clothes when swimming… unless you’re wearing a swimsuit… or you’re an adolescent… or you’re shy.
  • No display of genitalia, at times and under certain conditions, which may include breasts, (but not man breasts) in places were food is served, unless it’s OK with the server, or you’re drinking a beverage with a sexy name or a pun invoking some absurd double entendre, like White-ass Russian, or Skin and Tonic. (There’s an entirely different post to be written about self-deprecating signage at nudist places, but for another day.)
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Naturism on the Island of Krk

I’ve grown weary from reading the long and winding thread of forum posts regarding the decline of naturism and the aging of the naturist population. But the fact is, if I visit a textile hotel and end up in a state of paranoia wondering if I’m pissing off the locals, I’m not likely to harbor fond memories about my relaxing vacation. For those who live in the eastern United States, it’s something akin to showing up to a summer wedding without a coat and tie, only to realize you’re the only person there who didn’t meet the dress code. Are you the only person smart enough to know how to dress in 90-degree heat, or have you ruined the bride’s most special day in ignorance of the dress-code? We keep saying that nudity is all about acceptability and tolerance — except when it’s not.

Of course, there’s also another post to be written about photography at naturist places, and the fact that I’ve included a few pics in this post, taken before I saw the “camera-slash” sign, but after I had seen several others taking phone-shots of their friends and family on the beach amidst a sea of naked people. Just another tangent that makes the simplicity of nakedness way more complicated than it should be.

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And there you have it!

Don’t worry newbies. It’s not just you. It really is that confusing.

 

 

 

The Best Nude Beach in Europe?

Well, maybe… yeah!

I mean, that’s a pretty high standard when you consider beaches on the Greek Islands, the long stretch of naturist friendly shores on the French Atlantic, and then Spain… Oh Spain! With your beautiful islands and recent legislation that states that any beach is a nude beach, unless it’s not.

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The paved path to the nude beach

But then there’s Croatia. Back when Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, it became the “go to and get naked place” for so many Germans who had grown weary of rainy days in July. And so the tradition continues, not only in several naturist resorts (See Valalta, Koversada, and Solaris) where the staff is required to speak Croatian, GERMAN, and maybe a bit of English, but through the northern regions of Croatia at large. Just tonight, in fact, we had dinner at a restaurant in the charming island village of Rab, and nearly every other person in the place was speaking German.

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Naturist palapa heaven

But alas, that is the bread and butter business of nakedness in this beautiful landscape that winds down the coast of the Adriatic Sea. And to that end, most of the naturist destinations are in the north on the Istrian peninsula. But as it turns out, many of the Dalmatian islands are quite naturist friendly as well.

This is our second visit to Rab, and as it happens from a naturist perspective, this one is turning out quite a lot better than that last. When we were here several years ago, we tried to GPS our way to Kandarola Beach, but found ourselves on a gated road with no way forward.

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Kandarola naturist beach

After that, we made our way out to the Lopar peninsula, allegedly famous for FKK (naturist) beaches, only to find hordes of people in swimsuits sitting beneath the FKK signage. All quite disappointing given the legend that purports that King Edward VIII discovered the joys of “naked in the sea” on the place that is known today as Kandarola Beach; thereby giving birth to the Croatian naturist movement.

Amazingly, or not… it seems there are very few Croatians on the naturist beaches of the Adriatic, but instead, the aforementioned Germans who seem quite happy to change their euros into kuna and raise a tall Weissebeer to the frugal joys of eating and drinking in Croatia.

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Naked on the water taxi. 🙂

As for Europe’s best nude beach, Kandarola is most definitely a contender! Long sandy beach suitable for volleyball – NO. Beautiful little cove with palapas, sun-loungers, and restrooms and a beach-bar nearby? YES! In fact, I suspect you could be naked on pretty much any part of this peninsula, and in the worst case, somebody might give you the “put your pants on” glance, but from all I can tell, naked is a critical component of the economy around here.

In an effort not to repeat the sins of our past, I did a bit of research on getting to Rab’s premier naturist destinations, which led me to believe there would be a boat waiting for us at 9:00 am outside our room at Hotel Istra in the harbor village of Rab. Maybe that happens in July or August, but in June, the only bargain boat goes to a dock just beyond the naturist beach, and thus, we opted for a water taxi instead. At $30 round-trip, we thought it was money well spent. In fact, on the return, I asked the captain if I could wait until the Rab harbor to put my clothes back on. “Not a problem!” Should have asked on the way out.

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Wooded areas around the beach.

As reported on TripAdvisor, the beach is a gem. Like most in Croatia, it is situated on stone slabs, but with palapas and beach loungers it would be difficult to find a better place to enjoy the sun and sea breeze in the altogether. And also as reported on TripAdvisor, we found a nice cross-section of beach goers ranging from families and young couples to the more typical middle-agers and beyond. The nearby bistro overlooking the beach required an effort to be clothed, but quite candidly, I’m not sure anyone would have cared had I chosen to dine naked. It’s just sort of a chill kind of place.

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Life is good!

So it took two visits to Rab Island to find the best nude beach in Europe. Is it really the best? Well, it’s up there in the top ten to be sure. Well worth the trouble to get there even though that requires a trip on a car-ferry and probably a night or two in a local hotel. But it was truly a lovely day in a place where the nudity ratio was 95% or better – more than you can say for most naturist resorts in Europe these days. That, by itself, puts this on our “gotta get back here someday” list. For the Meandering Naturist, that’s a big deal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Boatload of Naked Germans

So that’s a thing!

When we were here at Valalta ten years go with our teenage children I remember seeing a flyer for the “FKK Fish Picnic.” FKK, of course, is the German nomenclature for naked (Usually naturism, but be careful – sometimes sex clubs!) But at the time, it seemed pricey, and a day floating around the Adriatic – naked – was not getting high marks from our adolescent offspring.

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Swimming at the Fish Picnic

But now, the nest is empty, so I say, “Let’s give this a whirl!”

Seems there must be a few regulars on this excursion as the boat was packed by the time we got there about 15 minutes before departure, mainly with naked Germans. Clearly, I have no issue with naked, and I have many friends who are German, so the only reason this is noteworthy is that there is most certainly a propensity of Germans at the naturist resorts on the Istrian Penisula of Croatia. Simple math when you think about it. A drive to northern Croatia for a German is roughly the same as a drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, or Washington DC to the Outer Banks. The only difference being that when you make that trek in Europe, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be flanked in nakedness, whether that’s your cup of tea or not.

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A naked friendly island off the shores of Rovinj

This particular excursion was operated by Valalta resort, which meant you could walk to the boat naked, be on the boat naked, and once we arrived at a remote little island past Rovinj, wander the island naked – which we did. The advert boasted Croatian music along the way, which consisted of an accordion player serenading us with stuff you would likely hear in the Paris Metro and scarcely pay attention to, but there was no getting around this guy. From polkas to John Denver, he was in your naked face for much of the journey. Romantic and introspective? No. A really good time as the Germans on the bow got to their third or fourth drink? Absolutely!

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Fish picnic done – Scraps go to the food chain!

The second port of call on our six hour journey was in the sweet town of Vrsar, across the Lim Fjord from Valalta. We know the town well, having stayed several times in Koversada; just a stone’s throw away. The captain told us (explicitly in German, then in an abbreviated version in English) that we were entering the harbor and to get some clothes on. Was hoping it might be naked day in Vrsar; alas, no. But we still made it to our favorite little wine bar at the top of the hill in the shadow of the campanile. About the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

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Who doesn’t love the accordion guy?

Valalta runs several “FKK” excursions each week in the summer, and I’m hoping we’ll take one or two more during our stay here. Sea breeze + no clothing = a very nice state of being on the Adriatic, which makes you wonder why anyone would bother to wrap themselves in wet nylon when the defacto rule is, “No clothes. No worries.” We made a pass each direction past Koversada Naturist Resort on the way to Vrsar, but there were plenty of other islands decorated with naked bodies where the inhabitants waved vigorously when they realized there was a boat of naked humans floating by.

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The Blue Bar on Koversada. No “Cover Charge!” 🙂

Wouldn’t that be something if a boatload of naked humans was not actually a thing?

While there’s still a ways to go, Croatia is most definitely leading the pack on this front.

 

 

Naked Time is Here!

Having just finished an enormous project that has largely consumed the last two years of my life, I am happy to report that the Meandering Naturist is at it again! This time writing from the terrace of our sweet little apartment at Valalta Naturist resort near Rovinj, Croatia.

As far as naturist travel is concerned, it’s been a very good year for us, including our first visit to Paya Bay in Honduras, (Pictured above.) several naturist stops on the eastern coast of Australia, (some of which I have yet to blog about) and a few other diversions along the way that have afforded us a few precious moments of one-on-one time with the sun. We will spend most of this summer in Europe, where I still have a couple work projects to finish up, but there will also be some time to revisit a couple of our favorite naturist destinations, while discovering a few more – namely, those on the Canary Islands.

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The walking path on Ile du Levant

This is our second visit to Valalta, noting that there have been vast improvements to the place since our last stay in 2007. (We have made it to Koversada several times since then – literally across the way, by which I mean, across the fjord!) We’ll squeeze in a reconnaissance trip to a famous naturist beach on the island of Rab during our time here, before heading back through Italy for a brief stay at Le Betulle, one of the few naturist resorts in that sun baked country. We also look forward to returning to Ile du Levant for a few days – an annual pilgrimage of sorts while getting some work done in France.

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Walking near Es Trenc, Mallorca

But once I log off for the summer, we’ll head for the islands of Spain. First, back to see our friends Grant and Jordi at Skinny Dippers Resort on Mallorca, then a scramble through several airports to make our way to the Canary Islands, or more specifically, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, and Gran Canaria. This is all new territory for us. A bloggers dream, methinks!

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The new bar at Valalta

I think that all adds up to about six weeks of livin’ with nothin’ but the radio on, interspersed with pretty intense work projects along the way. But I am optimistic that this will afford me some serious blogging time as well. In fact, I’m a mere 30,000 clicks away from a half-million hits on my blog since I first got started back in 2013. Don’t know that there’s anything like a Tony or an Academy Award for that, but I do love to write, and it’s especially pleasing to hear now and again that my naked meanderings have helped even one more person figure out this naturist thing. To that end, I will always be indebted to a guy named Don from a “Compuserve Board” (Remember those?) who first pointed me to a place called La Jenny during my desperate search for a place to take my family on nakation.

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The “swimming pool” at Charco del Palo

And for that matter, I just reconnected with a guy named Chris who responded to a message board inquiry years ago to tell me about nudity at Therme Erding near Munich. We were there just yesterday, as that has since become a ritual every time we come to Europe.

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A promo photo from Gran Natura Hotel

So there it is. On one hand, the internet makes it increasingly tricky to out yourself as related to one’s naturist proclivities. But on the other hand, this little corner of the internet has served me well in finding those who care deeply about preserving and promoting naturist values, while at the same time – I hope – demystifying the whole thing to the curious and eager to be clothes free.

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Naturist bliss at Paya Bay, Honduras

Given the time I don’t have to spend putting on and taking off clothes in the coming weeks, I’m hoping I can use that time to catch up on a few more blog posts, and maybe even touch off another debate or discussion that typically always leads to the same conclusion: “You have one set of body parts or the other. So what’s the big deal?”

We’ll keep you posted on that. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seclude! It most certainly is.

Hey! Wouldn’t it be fun to make our way from Cairns to Brisbane by Train? There must be a naturist place half way in between to break-up an otherwise 24 hour journey. Turns out there are a couple, but the one that caught our attention is called Seclude. Why, might you ask? Well… it’s secluded!

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So secluded, in fact, that the options for getting there are actually quite limited, especially if you don’t have a car. Tony and Yvette set up this beautiful little Garden of Eden on nearly 200 acres nestled in the hills between Proserpine and Airlie Beach. So when I saw the train stopped in Proserpine, I thought, “Great. Get off the train. Rent a car. Drive 20 minutes, and drop our gear!”

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Turns out there’s only one place to rent a car in Proserpine, and that’s at the airport. And essentially, only one time to rent a car at the airport – shortly after the arrival of the afternoon flights. Which coordinates with the train schedule (which doesn’t really run on schedule) not at all! So Tony kindly booked us a car to meet us at the train and drive us up the long dirt road to his idyllic little retreat.

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Turns out Seclude has three self-contained (and stunningly gorgeous) little chalets, (not that little, actually!) and two distinct identities with corresponding websites; one that markets to naturists (which Tony and Yvette are deeply keen on), and the other marketed to people who simply want to get away from it all, but without exercising the option to get naked. The first unit booked sets the rules for the ensuing days. Never will you find naturist and textiles sharing the property at the same time.

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Tony designed each of the three chalets; each ultra modern, beautifully designed, and with verandas overlooking the surrounding mangrove and rain forests. Air conditioned and equipped with an extensive movie selection through Apple TV, you could settle in for a month to enjoy the seclusion. What they do not have, however, is an over-abundance of WI-FI, as service comes through a satellite hook-up with a small monthly allotment and a narrow bandwidth. Despite my attempt to adhere to their urging to limit internet usage, I fear I may have left the legacy of burning up their monthly allocation. In any event, achieving full seclusion was not a challenge.

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As it happened, we booked first for our time period, extending over the New Years Eve week-end, which meant I got to attend my very first Nude Years Eve party. With three couples staying at the resort, and our lovely hosts joining us poolside, only 75% of the crowd made it to the new year. I was there!– and I’m happy to report that it was quiet, but memorable!

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Should you choose to visit, be sure to ask Tony and Yvette about the development of their bucolic little resort, which began with a shed and an outhouse that were both nearly consumed by unrelenting landslides during one of the rainiest winters on record. You would never know that today, which the charming chalets, carefully manicured lawns, and thoughtful layout of the entire grounds that allow each visitor the seclusion they are yearning for. In fact, Tony tells us that’s the biggest difference between their naturist and textile clientele. The naturists seek to socialize with one another. The textiles, once arrived, become all but invisible.

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Fortunately for us, Yvette prepares food hampers and BBQ kits upon demand so one really never needs to leave the property to find food. The portions were generous and the ingredients were fresh and creative.I would have regretted missing a single meal there.

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Would I go back? Absolutely – but maybe spend a week… with a car! Tony and Yvette are wonderful hosts, and deeply passionate about the naturist cause. I would hope that one day they might become a full time naturist establishment, as high quality clothing-optional establishments are hard to come by, in Australia, or anyplace else. Call them up, make the first booking, and drop your gear. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Gourmet Naturism at Twin falls

I’m finally getting back to blogging about our naturist journey down the eastern coast of Australia, which included a day visit to the remote, but beautiful resort known to locals as Twin Falls Nature Retreat. With a bit of trepidation about negotiating the last three kilometers of dirt track with our little rented Hyundai, we were duly rewarded with Ian’s dry humor and Yolanda’s gourmet cooking.

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Located about an hour inland from Port MacQuarie, I had read several reviews with recurring remarks about two things; the lovely (naturist) walk to the falls – an thus Twin Falls – and the treacherous dirt road that means you gotta want to get there. As our timing coincided with a sustained dry period, it turned out that negotiating the entry road was not so bad. Though in the same breath, when there is no water, there are no falls!

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We arrived just a few days before Christmas to find only one other guest on the grounds that day – an enjoyable fellow named Martin who has been coming to Twin Falls for years. He, Ian, and Yolanda seemed like family as they chided and cajoled one another fueled by Ian’s quick witted remarks. Soon enough, Yolanda appeared with heaping plates of an Asian chicken chow-mein. A lovely afternoon dining naked on the veranda.

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While I think this is a popular camping destination, there are two B&B rooms to be had, which looked lovely at a glance. A quiet refuge in the midst of the wilderness and tropical rain forest. And unlike SO many naturist destinations, the WI-FI was fast and efficient due to Ian’s business needs for broadband internet access.

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After lunch, we made the trek up the forest path, Ian leading the way pointing out various plants (including a couple that could totally ruin your vacation), dragon lizards, and spiders while clipping low-hanging vines in preparation for the busy summer tourist season. It was perhaps a fifteen minute walk up to where the falls might have been; but today, we found a small pond nestled in the rocks. Another trail leads up to the ridge where one must don clothing should he wish to make the entire trek. Not exactly a rigorous exercise circuit, but a wonderful opportunity for a naked walk in the woods.

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When we arrived, Yolanda was busy at work in the pool area already making preparations for the upcoming New Year’s Eve party – apparently one of the main events of the entire year. So much easier to bring in the “Nude Year” when December 31 falls in the middle of summer instead of the middle of winter.

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Well worth the effort to get there, next time we’ll make it a point to settle in for a few days and enjoy the serenity and solitude of this beautiful property. Yolanda has an extensive menu, so maybe we’ll have to stay long enough to try everything once.

Thanks for a great day Ian and Yolanda!

A Touch of France in Nelson Bay

It seems simple enough. 25 ℉ at home, or 25 ℃ on sunny Nelson Bay on the east coast of Australia. So we opted for a Blue Christmas in a lovely naturist B&B in the hills above Port Stephens, just under three hours north of Sydney.

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I had already heard through the grapevine that we were going to love our stay in this upscale naturist inn, and my correspondence with Stuart, the owner and innkeeper, led to the realization that he is also the manager and editor of TAN Magazine, the sole remaining naturist periodical in Australia.

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This is particularly impressive since Stuart didn’t have his own naturist epiphany until around 2009 when he discovered the joy of a late-day visit to the naturist beaches near Sydney after long, stressful days in the corporate world. Just a few years later, he would take advantage of the early retirement parachute, and that’s when he and his wife Lucia became innkeepers. Naturist… innkeepers.

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As it happens, (and if I got the story right,) Stuart and Lucia are the third managers of Le Chateau Naturiste, which gained its name, along with bits of French memorabilia, from a previous owner who fancied herself as a naturist and a Francophile. Our room was spacious and tastefully decorated, with a door leading directly onto the veranda, which would become my branch office for the few days before Christmas. While the untimely cloud cover made it a bit chilly for a dip in the pool, it didn’t prevent us from a long walk on the nearby Samurai naturist beach.

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Lucia was quite literally a bit under the weather during our stay, but Stuart was a wonderful host, tending each day to breakfast, and most interested in our evening debriefings (no pun intended) as we explored the environs of Nelson Bay. His enthusiasm for naturism is infectious, as is his commitment to contributing to the positive mainstream image of the naturist cause. Should you pay a visit, be sure to ask him about his television appearances. Remarkable stories, told by a great story-teller.

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We are starting to amass a fairly substantial list of naturist destinations that enjoy warmer climes while ice and snow adorn the plants and trees of our home in the eastern US. My hope, each time, is that we might find a place where we can enjoy January in the same naked glory we enjoy July in France, Spain, or Croatia. While not quite as expansive as the sprawling naturist centers of Europe, Le Chateau is most certainly a step in the right direction.

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I should mention that this is our first stop on our naked odyssey through Oz. You can see the rest of our itinerary here, or simply check back as I muse about our meanderings down the eastern coast of Australia.