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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Getting Naked in European Cities, Part I

naked outdoors #2Hi, friends and readers:
Each morning, after my three-mile walk on the beach and my swim in the Gulf, I bathe under our outdoor shower, on our fenced-in patio. It feels so good to get naked under the open sky; I’m not sure why. There’s something about feeling sunshine and fresh air on your skin that’s . . . liberating.

In Europe, nudity’s not a big deal. In Berlin, for instance, there’s a section of the Tiergarten, a huge public park, where gay men sun themselves naked on blankets. It’s an area jokingly nicknamed the tunten wiese, or “faggots meadow.” Nobody cares about seeing all these gay men in their birthday suits. And that’s how it should be, in my book anyway. I don’t know why Americans are so modest about their bodies in the first place. I guess it’s our Pilgrim heritage.

I’ve just finished my writing for the day, and now it’s time to relax with a cup a coffee. My boyfriend and I like to do the daily L. A. Times crossword puzzle when he’s home in the morning, so that’s how we’ll spend the next half hour, before we prepare lunch.

I have an appointment in town this afternoon, and then I’ll visit a good friend who’s convalescing in a nursing home. He was my roommate during my law school days, and I don’t like having him lying around by himself all day.
Have a wonderful Tuesday, friends.
The article below was originally published online as "Getting Naked in Berlin"

Travel has done some tremendous things to my life. It’s pushed me out of so many shells and made me open to so many new and different experiences I never imagined for myself. Traveling for so long and to so many new places has certainly transformed me. It continues to push me to try new things—which keeps my life exciting and interesting. New things as simple as trying yoga for the first time or eating Sudanese food. Or, like I tried for the first time in Berlin, getting naked in public!
Though I may seem extroverted and interesting on this travel blog and my Twitter, in reality, I’m not. I’m often scared to death to try new things but with this blog at my back and a desire to see and do as much as possible during my life, “living” often wins over any irrational fears. Travel will always push me toward new things as I’m sure it has transformed other travelers as well. It’s one of the things I enjoy most about living abroad and traveling frequently—the constant push to see and do more. And that’s how I ended up slipping off my boxer shorts and enjoying a sunny afternoon in Berlin’s Tiergarten park.
Nudity in Germany isn’t much of a big deal for the Germans. In Germany, nudity is just a fact of life and men & women alike don’t bother about it. An article describes the German sauna/spa experience:
Germans prefer to be nude in the sauna. For them, it’s no big deal. It’s just a body. German culture as a whole has no problem with nudity. Nudity in the sauna is not about sex, but about relaxing and health.
I first got naked in Germany a few months ago when visiting a spa with my friend Cheryl who runs a European travel & expat blog. It was my first time getting naked in public but after the towel came off, I soon realized it wasn’t a big deal. Everyone else in the spa was naked and no one seemed to care. So after maybe 30 seconds of initial worry I was quickly over it. Not over it enough to frolic naked around the spa, but enough that I was comfortable.
So when sunshine finally reached Berlin this week I decided to test the water again…this time in an even more public place: Berlin’s Tiergarten. The central park is home to many of Berlin’s best monuments (including the gay holocaust memorial) but it’s also where many sunbathers choose to go nude.

See all those pale white folks sitting in the open lawn? Yeah, they’re not wearing any clothes…

I’d known about the naked sunbathers in Tiergarten for a while and was always more than a little curious what happened there behind the bushes. So feeling fresh off my nude spa experience, I took my bike and found a nice little corner in Tiergarten to disrobe. Without any hesitation I slipped off my clothes down to my boxers—and with plenty of other naked folks (mostly men) in the vicinity, I decided “Why not!” and took the final step.
BOOM! I was naked.
It was quite comfortable. There were probably a few sketchy people around, but I was focused on reading my book and trying to look as sexy as possible without attracting any attention. And yes: I used sunscreen! Health is important, yo!
So that concludes my first naked experience in Berlin. There’s something completely freeing and relaxing about knowing it’s okay to be naked in public. Once you get over your initial fears you realize it’s no big deal. I’ll definitely be doing it again! I hear there’s a lake where most sunbathers go skinny-dipping just on the outskirts of the city…


These photos of amateur guys getting naked in public were forwarded in a Group Message From: Kevin on [PublicNakedGuys] a Yahoo group.

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