Friday, October 10, 2008

Nudism alive and well in Germany

It is nice to see the Germany still warmly embraces nudism.

"Expat life in Germany: Caution, naked cyclists crossing ahead

...But for many, it's sport with a difference. Some don't just choose to travel light - they wear no clothing at all. It's what the Germans call being "naktiv" or naked and active.

Naktivism, as it's also known, dates back to the early 1900s, when the German youth group, the Wandervögel, hiked around the countryside skinny-dipping wherever they found water.

A feeling of freedom: the emphasis on being active sets 'Naktivists' in Germany apart from traditional nudists

This prompted the idea of Freie Körper Kultur, or free body culture, and the creation of nudist beaches along the Baltic coast.

Nude sunbathing soon spread to some public parks, too. One of the largest and most popular, Munich's Englischer Garten (the name refers to the style of gardening), has bylaws to protect naked sun lovers...

Almost every weekend during the summer some 20 men and women, aged up to 70, expose themselves to the elements - and onlookers - on cross-country cycling tours around Bavaria...

Such incidents, however, are few and far between. Bavarian state television recently broadcast scenes of the Nacktradler being applauded, as they boldly biked along the promenade of one of Bavaria's swishiest spa towns.

"Most people we meet are either encouraging or curious," says von der Tour. He recalls an elderly lady who once stopped to quiz them...

Might this encourage expats to swell the nude cyclist ranks? I post a photo from the Nacktradler website and float the idea on Toytown, Germany's online expat network.

Printable comments range from "Gross, unhygienic" and "How uncomfortable" to "Can we make this into a caption competition?" I put some of these reactions to von der Tour.

It's more hygienic not to wear textiles, he contends, since clothes tend to rub against the saddle, causing sores...

For the full story click here

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