My European Nudist Adventures in Naturism at Friedrichsbad German Spa & Camp Full Monte
Guest blog by: Jason Moore
I think that for most of my life I’ve been a naturist / nudist at heart. I recall learning of the concept when I was younger and just thinking that it sounded like a fun lighthearted thing to try; akin to running through the sprinkler nude as a kid.
Growing up, nudity was treated rather clinically in my household. I don’t think I was ever explicitly or implicitly taught that nudity was bad, a body was shameful or that naturism was unacceptable (thankfully). Nonetheless, naturism was foreign to my family and friends, which is understandable. So the experience of actually trying it was inevitably put on the back burner for a number of years. That said, it crossed my mind from time to time in the normal course of things.
From what I read and then internalized, I think what appealed to me about it, pre-nudie, was that it seemed like a totally freeing experience. I think part of me has always been a Romanticist. I was always in awe of nature, in search of adventure, giving more weight to emotional transaction than rationality, a wanderer looking for authenticity and an idealist. Naturism, therefore, seemed like a natural fit.
Naturism conjured up images of walking through the woods nude on a sunny breezy day, smelling the trees in the hot air, washing up nude on a beach and drying off on a rock in the sun with saltwater in your hair. Just reading nude on a blanket in the sun with a cup of coffee in the morning was enticing. It just seemed very pure, as if that’s how ideally things were meant to be. In a way it also appealed to the minimalist in me too.
I think that being nude and socializing with others seemed appealing from the standpoint of simply meeting people. People who seemed friendly, genuine, respectful of each other and who also valued this freedom of being nude. I thought I’d meet people with common values who seemed to be fun and interesting to spend time with.
Being nude also seemed to be about connecting with being human and letting go of antiquated notions of how you should be and how you should live your life. It seemed like a way of getting back to the purest core of what it is to be human, with no charades.
And on a less intellectual and more practical level, being nude is the bee’s knees. It’s the most comfortable you can possibly be; so said being nude at home told me.
It wasn’t until a few years after school when I was traveling alone, abroad, that I thought I should maybe give it a try. It really just came down to the situation being ripe. In Europe there are just more naturist opportunities and the risk of running into an acquaintance was negligible (a thought which, at the time, was something that concerned me).
Three weeks into my trip I was feeling run down from doing tourist things with a heavy backpack, getting over a cold, living out of hostels and probably not having the best diet. So I decided to make a day out of relaxing and as a naturist baby step I chose to visit a notable spa called Friedrichsbad in Baden Baden, a town I was passing through in southern Germany.
At this German spa, nudity was mandatory. I knew this was something I wanted to do… but even as I was approaching the building, I was apprehensive. I think it was really just that I didn’t know what to expect or how others would receive me coming from a culture where people generally freak out about their own and other’s nudity. And although it was something I sincerely wanted to try, I think growing up as a typical American, you are lead to believe that being nude with other people isn’t “normal” (which is still the case I guess, but who wants to be normal). That was the barrier I had to work through in my head.
Regardless, I entered the spa, paid, and was given a locker key. The Russian lady at the desk asked me if I knew that this was a nude place to ensure there would be no surprises. I just nodded and gave an overly cool, “Of course.”
I went up the stairs and turned the corner. There were nude people just doing their thing. I was beyond the point of no return; I was soon to be among them. I went to my locker and in a couple moves slipped off my clothes. I was free of my clothing!
It felt great, but I hadn’t completely arrived and wasn’t completely at ease until I started interacting with people. Once I started talking with people (even in broken German), that’s when the seal was broken, that’s when I was reassured that it’s cool, no one cares, it’s not a big deal and it’s awesome!
That’s when it really hits you; when any doubt you had is put to rest. It was otherworldly and it was mind-blowingly liberating and refreshing. It was the first time I was nude among people who took such a nonchalant and maybe even positive attitude towards nudity.
So that was the beginning of a great day. I enjoyed floating among the marble clad columns, staring up into a beautiful dome and letting all of my textile misgivings dissolve into the water.
It really was a cool place to lose my clothes too! The spa is around 140 years old, built on top of a Roman bath, tastefully neoclassical and apparently even Mark Twain had visited (which ups the cool factor by x1000). The experience was unbelievable, almost like a rebirth of sorts. (Germans are awesome by the way.)
Even though this experience, in the grand scheme of the universe, was totally inconsequential (I was nude in a building with other people), it left a profound stamp on my psyche. It confirmed all the positive things I had read about and thought naturism to be.
So over the next few weeks, as I traveled into the Balkans, along the Mediterranean, I made a point of continuing the experience. The spa was awesome, but it was a quiet place for the most part and really didn’t give me a chance to meet people and socialize.
So interspersed with the usual tourist activities, I visited a couple FKK beaches. Mostly on islands off the Croatian coast (near Rovinj, Hvar, and on Lokrum). It was really interesting. You meet locals and people from all over the world. Often you don’t speak the same language but everyone gets along. I met some of the friendliest people who were either brought up nudie or through life have all learned to embrace it.
If you need more motivation, I also found that FKK beaches are often more remote than textile beaches. They are therefore cleaner, quieter, more interesting geologically, lack riffraff and have way cooler people.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I found myself planning a trip into Montenegro (I was still in Croatia). I took to the internet to look for naturist camping and found a spot just over the border which was run by an English couple. I exchanged email with them a few times and was all set to visit. They said the bus from Dubrovnik would probably drop me just across the border where their property was.
When I got to the bus station I asked the ticket agent if the bus would drop me across the border. She said, “Absolutely not” in a really harsh tone as she was simultaneously shorting me on my change (as I later discovered). So next I asked the guy actually driving the bus if he would drop me just across the border and with a totally knowing and friendly grin he said, “Hah, sure, I know where you’re going….” I just smiled back. (Later I found out that this camp had been on the front page of some Montenegrin newspaper and pretty much everyone knows the place since it is novel for the small country).
So I arrived at the camp later that day. It’s called Camp Full Monte. It was started by a super affable English couple, Steve and Denise. The wonderful thing about it was that it wasn’t just “naturist camping.” It was rather like staying in a friend’s beautiful and prolific naturist garden where you can lay out, read, nap, knit or whatever. From the moment you take your clothes off you feel like you’re in a veritable Garden of Eden. The entire layout of their venture was really thoughtful and charming. The owners themselves are great company and committed to your time there. And their guests were very outgoing people interested in getting to know everyone.
The place, for the most part, is totally “off the grid” and is a completely green eco-camp. The food from the garden was amazing. After eating on the road for a month and a half, this was just like having a home-cooked meal. I also tried vegemite for the first time…it was interesting!
As far as guests… there was an American couple volunteering their time to improve the property. The other guests were English, Swedes, Poles and an Italian family that didn’t understand it was a naturist campsite when they showed up (they left). It was one of many highlights on my trip.
At night you can see the Milky Way while feeling the warm breeze and smelling the Mediterranean pines. If not for naturism, I would have never found the place or ever met those people.
After that, the rest is pretty much history.
Sometimes I think about why I choose to be nude when it’s appropriate and not impractical.
First, as mentioned before, being nude just generally feels fantastic on a sensory level. It’s really hard to overemphasize how comfortable it is. On warm days you feel the breeze and sun, instead of sweating to death under your clothing. Wrapped up in a blanket in wintertime you feel the blanket enveloping you instead of a waistband leaving marks around your waist. Swimming you feel the water running over your body. I think being nude awakens your senses in a way people don’t experience while wearing clothes. You won’t want to go back. In my opinion, it’s better for your skin health, too.
Second, I think being with other nudies in a social setting is wonderful. Everyone has instant rapport and a feeling of solidarity with their fellow naturists. I think nude people are generally more authentic as it’s harder to present any sort of pretense in that environment and state of being. I perceive nudies to be more active people that want to do things rather than sit around wasting time (nude sunbathing isn’t wasting time!).
I think nudies, in general, are less judgmental about and more accepting of their own and other people’s body types. Nudies are very inclusive in wanting to create a sense of community based on common ideals, mutual respect and trust. Of course these are generalizations and there are always exceptions; this has been my experience however.
From a psychological perspective, naturism is INCREDIBLY liberating. Taking your clothes off for the first time runs counter to conditioning that has been around since someone at some time determined that humans should cover their bodies out of modesty (probably a really long time ago and born out of the politics of power).
When you do it, it is a weight lifted from your shoulders. It’ll become apparent how ridiculous it is to be ashamed of or embarrassed by nudity alone or with others. In my opinion, many nudies have reached a higher level of maturity than the vast majority of people.
Enjoying a nude day in the sun with friends is one hundred percent innocuous, not to mention that it’s actually as fun and relaxing as any other day at the park or beach. People’s attitudes and actions are more telling of their motives and maturity level than what they are or are not wearing. Once you come to these realizations you see that there isn’t really any reason to wear clothing… aside from when it’s practical to protect yourself from the elements, or the dude sneezing on you on the subway.
I really feel like a freer individual.
Back in the late summer I was on a nude beach on the ocean where there were a couple hundred other nudies. Walking along the beach was an incredibly profound experience. You see people, friends and families all laying under the sun and swimming in the salty ocean, as has probably been done for millennia. Swimming, sleeping, reading, eating, socializing, normal things. Although everyone is unique in their own way, bodies are pretty much all the same.
I feel bad for my friends who can’t get over nudity and all the hang ups that typically accompany it. Or those who, even when put in a life or death situation, still cannot separate nudity and sexuality. I think it’s really interesting that people go to museums to see representations of nude bodies, but then when they see an actual nude body outside of that context they can’t mentally handle it; they become defensive. It’s weird but understandable.
Regardless of any rationalization or intellectualization, being nude is enjoyable and having a healthy outlook on nudity is indisputably positive. Once you try it you will have broken down a barrier and it’ll just become a way of being. I get the feeling that a lot of people want to try it, but not many openly admit it. Perhaps they will have their own adventure someday and come back with a different perspective.
Young Naturists & Nudists America