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Friday, September 23, 2016

Hostel stays: Fond memories of male nudity among strangers



For those who are interested, here are our members' memories of youth hostelling, and the joys of naked boys on road or rail trips.

Note from Kelly (sunbuns), blog editor: The stories below are from email group exchanges on the YMNA, Young Men's Nudist Association, a Google group.  The longest ones are written by David or atitlan, moderator of the group. I also have written many times about this topic, and find the situations one encounters in hostels to be wonderful ways to get to know people and find out things about oneself in the process. ]


If you wanted to travel when I was a teenager, it was either unaffordable - and lonely - hotel rooms or it was youth hostels, which were cheap and always had people to talk to. I stayed in numerous youth hostels in Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy and Israel. No two were alike.
They might be a 16-bedded farmhouse in the middle of nowhere or a huge city building with dorms each holding 100. A hot shower was a luxury only some offered; at other hostels it might be a cold-water morning wash from a basin. There were chores to be done. At one mountain hostel I had to go out and gather wood so in the evening we could huddle around a welcome fire with only gas lanterns to take us to bed.

A real feeling of camaraderie could build up. Strangers became fast friends, particularly if they met up again at another hostel later on. When I was 17, I hitch-hiked up to Scotland and found myself constantly bumping into a handsome dark-haired French lad of the same age. His name was Thierry and he wanted to be a brain surgeon. One evening I persuaded him and a girl to go for a walk in the forest outside our Scottish castle hostel. I still remember the intense look he gave me and the feeling of his hand on my shoulder but we were not alone, nothing happened and we never met again.








I am not sure why you were told all Americans slept nude because that was not my experience of Americans in youth hostels. I slept nude and so did some of the others in the male dorms but most seemed to wear what we in Britain call y-fronts. These did not hide much when it was time to get up,
with morning erections producing tent poles. Lying on a bottom bunk, I would find it difficult not to laugh when the top bunk occupant clambered down, his tented underwear only inches from my face. I always preferred the top bunk to sleep naked.......

The oddest thing about the dorms was the casual nudity. Because we as strangers got to know each other so quickly, we would carry on conversations in the dorm. I remember in Italy a young cyclist with a pleasant but not handsome face getting undressed while talking to me, only for this ugly duckling to turn into a swan. He was hiding a spectacular swimmer's muscled physique. He then stood there naked and full-frontal until he had finished what he wanted to tell me.
My most eye-popping experience of youth hostel nudity came when I was backpacking around Israel.

I was staying next to the Dead Sea, alone in a long line of
inter-connected communal showers after a sticky day on a bus through the West Bank. Suddenly the shower room was invaded by a dozen American 16 year-olds looking very fit in their white towels. These were quickly discarded and it became clear they
were far more dirty than me, covered in mud from a caving expedition. They were full of excited chatter about the events of the day. I was unsure where to look. With difficulty, I averted my gaze and got back to washing myself. 

Until that is I was aware of three of them crowding around and almost touching me. Please could I tell them how to turn the showers on, they had never seen a faucet like these. So I had to give them a demonstration. A testing time!

The attached pictures try to convey some of this. A few of the hostels could be old and basic, like the first photo, others might be more comfortable like the second. The third image illustrates the cameraderie. The fourth an impression of what it was like huddled together in those open showers.
atitlan

On Wed, 13 Apr 2011 22:03 +0200, "Fred Stein" <fredstein3@hotmail.com> wrote:

Bring back happy memories. I was very young in the early 70´s - before the interrail - lifting around Europe - living in Youth Hostels! In a way when the world still was innocent for a young man. Think of some stories but probably a bit off-topic - f.i. how I was taught that all Americans sleep nude (at the Youth Hostel in Hannover) .... I would love to hear stories from your days meeting guys a bit more simple as today...
Sorry for my English - not my native language ....



  Same experience here, Atitlan. I traveled much of Europe via International Youth Hostel Association. In more cases than not, the hostels were reasonably modern with large dorm areas -- a dozen or more sleeping areas in a room. Even those which were older, and re-structured from former usages (large homes, etc.) had shared accommodation with "total strangers". Nudity -- and by that, I mean, non-sexual and comfortable nudity -- was common: changing clothing, sleeping, showering and traveling to-from the showers. Conversations like, "I have 60 Swedish kroner. They're worth just a little more than a French franc. I'm leaving early in the morning on the ferry and won't be able to get to a bank. Do you have enough francs to exchange for me?" were conducted nude, and the exchange made.
Admittedly, this was in the 1960's and 70's. It was definitely a "different time" from today's common "shame in nudity".
Alic


---------- Another Forwarded response to the above messages ----------

Well, thank you Fred! For those who are interested, here is my memory of youth hostelling.
If you wanted to travel when I was a teenager, it was either unaffordable - and lonely - hotel rooms or it was youth hostels, which were cheap and always had people to talk to. I stayed in numerous youth hostels in Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy and Israel. No two were alike. They might be a 16-bedded farmhouse in the middle of nowhere or a huge city building with dorms each holding 100. A hot shower was a luxury only some offered; at other hostels it might be a cold-water morning wash from a basin. There were chores to be done. At one mountain hostel I had to go out and gather wood so in the evening we could huddle around a welcome fire with only gas lanterns to take us to bed.

A real feeling of camaraderie could build up. Strangers became fast friends, particularly if they met up again at another hostel later on. When I was 17, I hitch-hiked up to Scotland and found myself constantly bumping into a handsome dark-haired French lad of the same age. His name was Thierry and he wanted to be a brain surgeon. One evening I persuaded him and a girl to go for a walk in the forest outside our Scottish castle hostel. I still remember the intense look he gave me and the feeling of his hand on my shoulder but we were not alone, nothing happened and we never met again.
I am not sure why you were told all Americans slept nude because that was not my experience of Americans in youth hostels. I slept nude and so did some of the others in the male dorms but most seemed to wear what we in Britain call y-fronts. These did not hide much when it was time to get up, with morning erections producing tent poles.

 Lying on a bottom bunk, I would find it difficult not to laugh when the top bunk occupant clambered down, his tented underwear only inches from my face. I always preferred the top bunk to sleep naked.......
The oddest thing about the dorms was the casual nudity. Because we as strangers got to know each other so quickly, we would carry on conversations in the dorm. I remember in Italy a young cyclist with a pleasant but not handsome face getting undressed while talking to me, only for this ugly duckling to turn into a swan. He was hiding a spectacular swimmer's muscled physique. He then stood there naked and full-frontal until he had finished what he wanted to tell me.

My most eye-popping experience of youth hostel nudity came when I was backpacking around Israel. I was staying next to the Dead Sea, alone in a long line of
inter-connected communal showers after a sticky day on a bus through the West Bank.

Suddenly the shower room was invaded by a dozen American 16 year-olds looking very fit in their white towels. These were quickly discarded and it became clear they were far more dirty than me, covered in mud from a caving expedition. They were full of excited chatter about the events of the day. I was unsure where to look. With difficulty, I averted my gaze and got back to washing myself. Until that is I was aware of three of them crowding around and almost touching me. Please could I tell them how to turn the showers on, they had never seen a faucet like these. So I had to give them a demonstration. A testing time!

The attached pictures try to convey some of this. A few of the hostels could be old and basic, like the first photo, others might be more comfortable like the second. The third image illustrates the camaraderie. The fourth an impression of what it was like huddled together in those open showers.

Stay bare.
atitlan

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