our theme camp Gymnasium gearing up for Burning Man 2017 – new campmates welcome!

Theme camp Gymnasium has become a big part of Active Naturists project, and we are set to continue at this year’s Burning Man festival. We’ve already scored some tickets for the core crew, and a few of us are applying for Low Income Program, but the rest should get tickets through the Main Sale: registration opens next Wednesday, and the sale itself is in two weeks (info and dates here). We are open for new campmates too, so if you would like to participate, please e-mail us or leave a comment below!

If you read this blog, you must have heard about our theme camp quite a lot, but if you are new here or would like a reminder, here are some key links:

Marshall’s beach in San Francisco

Marshall’s Beach in San Francisco is a great place for a sunny afternoon within easy reach of downtown;  you can be naked there and enjoy one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

naturist 0000 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

That’s where Tam and I headed after Burning Man last year; in the wake of spending more than a week in a dusty desert, we were clearly drawn to large bodies of water (and it doesn’t get any larger than the Pacific Ocean).

pelicans 0000 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

We could have been just chilling on the beach, but we thought we’d rather have another session of acro-yoga, as I didn’t get enough of it during the festival, because I was mostly taking pictures of it.

naturist acro-yoga 0000 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

We kicked off with the ‘front bird’,

naturist acro-yoga 0001 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

and then moved on to more complicated poses.

naturist acro-yoga 0002 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

Tam was keen on practicing ‘basing’ with hands,

naturist acro-yoga 0003 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

and it worked out pretty well.

naturist acro-yoga 0004 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge surely provided a perfect backdrop for the photos.

naturist acro-yoga 0005 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

To me personally, it was also a bit ironic to do it by the symbol of San Francisco, because the very first time I tried acro-yoga was also naked, in the Golden Gate park of San Francisco, for which we ended up getting fines, even though it was before nudity became outlawed in the city.

naturist acro-yoga 0007 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

Well, this naked acro-yoga session ended just fine, since Marshall’s Beach is officially recognized as a naturist spot, so as the neighboring Baker Beach (where we went after Burning Man in 2012).

view 0001 Marshall's Beach, San Francisco, California, USA

And as pretty much any beach on the West Coast, Marshall’s Beach is poised to have a stunning sunset!

camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2016

Burning Man festival this year saw the second installation of our theme camp Gymnasium, which refers to the Ancient Greek institution for athletics, philosophy and socializing. You can read more about the concept of our camp on its webpage, but here is our report with some imagery that should help you imagine what it was like (or evoke some good memories, if you participated in our events).

naturist philosophy camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Even though our theme camp was first conceived with an idea to revive the ideals of the Ancient Olympics, this year besides the athletics we put more effort into another aspect of the concept of ‘gymnasium’ in its original meaning – philosophical discussions (with wine). For one session, each participant received a quote of a Greek philosopher and lead discussion on its subject, which let us cover all kinds of topics. We also had a session when we talked about our personal attitudes towards nudity as well as our views on the possible role for naturism in the [default] society. The common theme was the feeling of liberation and bonding with others that brings the simple act of social nudity – and the photos here seem to confirm that.

An entirely new idea for this year was the gymnastics wheel (aka German wheel). Several month before the festival, I stumbled upon a photo with German wheel gymnasts from 1920’s and immediately got an impression that it would be a big hit at Burning Man. As you can see below, it provided a perfect link between the theme of our camp and the theme of Burning Man this year  – ‘Da Vinci’s Workshop’.

naturist gymnastics wheel Vitruvian Man camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

We of course refer to the drawing of the Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci, and expectedly the Man himself took the iconic shape this year.

Vitruvian Man

We were so happy to see that our idea was immediately understood by other burners – as soon as we rolled the wheel onto the playa, we had people queuing to take a picture,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and it seemed like it was self-explanatory that one was supposed to get naked for a photo à la Vitruvian Man 🙂

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This was a big success in terms of bringing all kinds of people to try a new fun activity in the buff and in public,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0004 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and they were creative with poses.

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0005 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

But we didn’t forget the primary function of the gymnastics wheel,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and  the flat playa surface was perfect to roll it.

We had to be careful to avoid possible injuries, as even one rotation proved to be a lot more difficult than we had anticipated. The gymnastics wheel turned out to be a great magnet for people back at the camp too – dozens of passers by stopped to try it every day; only a few managed though, even with helpers.

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0075 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

In their defense, I have to note that in the first days we only knew one, difficult way of holding yourself in the wheel during rotation: pushing up with your arms with all power while maintaining them as straight as possible. That was until someone came by and said that there had been a workshop on gymnastics wheel at Hellfire Society camp. (On what subject isn’t there a workshop at Burning Man?) So we went there, and the camp lead gladly arranged another workshop specially for us. It turned out that while our technique wasn’t impossible, the typical and much better way to hold yourself during rotation on the wheel was by hooking your feet.

naturist-gymnastics-wheel-camp-gymnasium-burning-man-black-rock-city-nv-usa-s

After we learned that, the success rate among all the newbies to gymnastics wheel skyrocketed, and we were on the roll 🙂

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our first athletic event in the week was the running race.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This year we only had a short race on our street,

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

but it was a nice way to get attention from our neighbors and passers by.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0004 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It was all for fun, but it was a competition nevertheless.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0005 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It was no surprise that David won the race, as he was among the top runners at Bouncing Buns trail race two years ago.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our Gymnasium also offered daily fitness exercises, with Matt leading push-up sessions every morning.

naturist camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This year we had a certified yoga/acro-yoga instructor among our campmates,

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

so we had a few sessions at the camp

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and also played a bit on the playa.

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

We probably should have spent a little more time posing with those amazing and massive art pieces,

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5702/30885939485_b68b54a42d_z_d.jpg

but unfortunately some of them were burned much earlier in the week than we had anticipated (e.g. the pyramids on Friday morning).

naturist camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some installations were quite interactive and served as great frames for photos, literally.

naturist camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Other installations referred to familiar views of the “default world”, like NYC skyline at the Kostume Kult, making the whole experience only more surreal…

naturist camp Gymnasium 0006 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

(I wish we could sip our morning coffee in Manhattan just like that!)

Unfortunately I enjoyed my nights out in an immediate manner, and recorded neither my own naked dancing on the ashes of the burned Man and at the White Ocean nor the performance by a couple of naked fire-spinners at the Mayan Warrior art car, which was probably my favorite mutant vehicle in terms of the music (and certainly in terms of the lights). But here is a short clip from that night I found online, where you can see those two naked fire-spinners, but resting in the crowd at the time – perhaps a video with their performance will appear at some point too, but I’m just happy to have witnessed it.

As you can see, our camp was primarily focused on providing interactive events rather than art and installations,

naturist camp Gymnasium 0005 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

but we arranged some decorations to highlight our reference to Ancient Greece.

naturist camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This year we added a statue depicting Hercules wrestling Diomedes for his 8th labor. By the way, I haven’t been able to find an explanation behind that ‘penile grip’ – so if there are specialists in history of art among the readers here, please enlighten us in the comments 😎

naturist camp Gymnasium 0007 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Speaking of wrestling, finally getting to our camp’s most famous feature – naked oil wrestling – with more than 600,000 views of our last year’s wrestling video on Vimeo and a mention in the Independent, we can truly say famous!

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

As you’d expect, our wrestling matches are preceded by oiling up (with a pure Greek olive oil),

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0006 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

which feels great in the arid environment of Black Rock City.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0008 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our entertainers led the show,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0010 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and we had a good turnout of spectators and participants for all three matches that we hosted.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0043 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Just like last year, we used sumo wrestling rules, as the simplest to adopt at a festival setting.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0023 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

The wrestlers had to stay within the boundaries of the blue mats,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0039 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and only their feet were allowed to touch the ground.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0037 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

There was a great deal of pushing

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and lifting,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0030 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

or even carrying the opponent outside the rink.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0020 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Though pushing was certainly the favorite technique,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0024 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and sometimes our puzzle mats did not withstand all that force.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0018 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

But some matches looked a lot more elegant,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0040 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

almost like a dance.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0026 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And surely it helped to possess a good grip (which the oil made more difficult)

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and/or ability to escape one (which the oil made easier).

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0016 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

We had some well matched participants,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0015 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

so their matches were intense

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and unpredictable.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0013 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0014 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Sometimes we’d need a few judges to decide who stepped outside or touched the ground first, but often enough the victory was clear.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0025 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

When the most active participants had wrestled each other a few times, we selected those with most victories for semifinals and finals.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0034 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

You could tell the finalists took the competition seriously,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0027 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

although all they’d get was a laurel wreath and glory, just like in the authentic Olympic Games 😉

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0036 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

After the winner was determined for each of our three competitions,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0038 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

we awarded them at our ‘temple’.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0042 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And the winners awarded us with their glorious smiles 🙂

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0009 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Besides giving the golden laurel wreath,

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we added one more touch of the Ancient Greek ceremony by scraping dust, oil and sweat from the winners with a strigil (bought on eBay, supposedly authentic!)

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And here is a video compilation from the wrestling matches – our only video from Burning Man this year. Enjoy, hopefully it’s a good reward for your long wait for our report!

 

our Gymnasium project at festivals and beyond

The preparations for our second time at Burning Man with our theme camp Gymnasium are in full swing. If you’re new to this blog, you can read about the idea behind our project on its webpage, and make sure to check out the blogpost about our amazing first experience last year! Our schedule for 2016 will be available soon, and we already know our new location: 8:15 & D.

We also went as Gymnasium camp to FreeForm Festival a month ago, but unfortunately we had to cancel our famous naked oil wrestling – big success last year – due to terrible weather. A chilly drizzle lasted almost the whole last day of the festival… We still had lots of fun the day and night before though.

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But we’ll go on with this project beyond the festivals, and on this coming Monday, the US Independence Day, we are hosting a wrestling session at our favorite beach in NYC area – Gunnison on Sandy Hook peninsula. We shall have a workshop on different wrestling styles and then a fun match in the afternoon. Look for us on the right side of the beach, with an orange banner that says ΓΥΜΝΆΣΙΟΝ (Gymnasium). The workshop starts at 3pm.

naturist gymnasium 0005 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Fifteen shades of tan… on Sandy Hook beach

naturist 0002 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Finally, summer weather has come to New York and it’s time to open beach season here! My favorite beach around is Gunnison on Sandy Hook peninsula in New Jersey. I’ve written about it on multiple occasions already (just make a search on the site for other blogposts), but I have some nice photos to share from last year – in anticipation of yet another great beach time this summer!

The best way to get to Sandy Hook from New York City is by Seastreak ferry.

view 0003 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

I used to post the discount coupons for it, but it seems there’s no need for it anymore. According to the ferry website, starting this year, with fist departure of the day, you always get a $30 return ticket to the beach (regular is $45). A sad news is that there is no late departure from the beach anymore – the last ferry to the city is at 5:45pm, while it used to be 7:45pm – no more sunsets on the ferry? However, there is a shuttle to the late ferry departing from the town nearby. Update: the late ferry is back on the schedule!

The ocean water is probably still too cold to swim properly this weekend, but there are plenty of other activities to do on the beach! Volleyball is very popular at Gunnison beach, as expected from a naturist location.

naturist acro-yoga 0017 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USAnaturist acro-yoga 0016 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

But our favorite pastime last summer was acro-yoga.

naturist acro-yoga 0012 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USAnaturist acro-yoga 0013 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

It was great to see how engaging it was, as a few strangers joined,

naturist acro-yoga 0015 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

while I was practicing acro-yoga with my friends David, Eddy, Antony and others. (Remember our spontaneous handstand class 3 years ago?)

naturist acro-yoga 0014 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Acro-yoga creates a great connection between the ‘flyer’ and the ‘base’,

naturist acro-yoga 0004 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and it’s even greater when done in the nude.

naturist acro-yoga 0003 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

It’s quite an amazing experience,

naturist acro-yoga 0002 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

if you  do it in the open air, especially in a place like this beautiful beach

view 0001 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

with Manhattan skyline in the background.

view 0002 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

But we also experimented with a log as the base –

naturist acro-yoga 0007 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

floating in the air yoga?

naturist acro-yoga 0010 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Probably the most entertaining acro-yoga pose is ‘the laughing dragon’ (you might remember some more pics of it from last year’s Burning Man post).

naturist acro-yoga 0018 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Well, the more participants the merrier!

naturist acro-yoga 0000 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

So, Sandy Hook is a perfect place for socializing and getting your all-over tan!

naturist 0001 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

PS Sandy Hook is also good for watching airplanes coming to NYC airports. Who can spot an airplane on one of the photos in this post? Where does it seem to be landing? 😉

PPS If you like to bring a lot of stuff with you to the beach, which can be difficult while walking on sand, you should support this campaign for funding of the extension of the matted walkway!

camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2015

Here comes our report from Burning Man festival this year, when 18 of us gathered together to create a camp themed around Gymnasium as an Ancient Greek institution for athletics, philosophy and socializing. You can read more about the concept of our camp on its own webpage; we launched this project a few months earlier at FreeForm Festival, and here you can see how it came about at the festival of festivals, Burning Man. (But keep in mind that this is by no means an attempt to write about the festival as a whole, there simply “too much” fun stuff happens to be able to grasp more than just a fraction of it.)

After months of preparation, the last days before the festivals were very exciting but also a bit scary – with this endeavor being our first experience as such a theme camp, something was likely to go wrong! Indeed, our early arrival/construction crew had a flat tire at the start of the trip in San Francisco, and as we collected all the stuff that we planned to carry to Black Rock City, we realized we had to buy an extra trailer. We resolved all the issues smoothly but experienced another setback due to the weather, as on Saturday before the opening of the festival, when we had planned to construct our camp, a severe dust storm took place; we could only enter Black Rock City in the evening and started construction early on Sunday.

naturist gymnasium 0001 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Well, luckily we didn’t plan on building anything complicated, so we raised most of our shade structures before the rest of our campmates arrived. (Then later on in the afternoon a strong gust almost blew off a part of our shade structure, bending some of the carrying metal parts and tearing apart one of the tarps, but we were able to fix it; although it doesn’t say so in the instructions, it is apparently important to fix the structure with additional ropes and rebar.)

naturist gymnasium 0005 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

The final touch was putting up the banner of our camp.

naturist gymnasium 0009 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Our location was great – at 7:30 Portal and A, we were at a busy intersection, but also with  easy access to the Esplanade and an open view all the way to the man.

naturist gymnasium 0002 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

And that view proved to be nothing short of amazing on the first night, with the supermoon rising next to the Man statue.

naturist gymnasium 0004 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Another nature’s wonder was a mini-tornado coming to us from the playa –

view 0005 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

it was not any dangerous though, as you can see in the video below.

Well, this video shows a few other things too, but there’s still a lot more to the story (and two more videos) – so keep on reading. A couple more words about the camp:

naturist gymnasium 0013 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

We had a simple bike rack available for the visitors (note the horse head masks used for its decoration, I’ll mention them later).

naturist gymnasium 0014 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

For decoration, we used an olive tree (artificial – live plants are prohibited at Burning Man), columns adorned with ivy, and a small statue of Poseidon (without a trident, to make him look more like a generic Ancient Greek athlete…) – next time, we plan to team up with a 3D-printing camp to make a bigger statue.

naturist gymnasium 0015 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

The schedule of our activities was put daily on the blackboard.

naturist gymnasium 0018 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Our first event included two running races – a 100-yard sprint

naturist gymnasium 0006 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

and a longer, approx. 1.8 km run from our camp to the Man and back.

naturist gymnasium 0016 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

The sprint was won by Chris, and the long run by yours truly 🙂

naturist gymnasium 0007 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Admittedly, there weren’t that many participants, but it was still very early in the week, while many camps were still wrapping up their construction. We had other races planned, e.g. piggy-back and barrel-run, as we did at FreeForm, but we had to postpone and eventually cancel those due to dust storms and because the horse head masks which were meant for the final run of that race were stolen borrowed without asking from our bike rack. We also had to cancel our only night event – ‘discus  (LED-lit frisbee) throw in the dark… and in the buff’ – because the nights were bitterly cold in the second half of the week! (Though as you can briefly see in the video above, we still managed to dance naked at some night parties getting warm by the fire from the art cars.)

Our ‘Naked Philosophy’ session was more of a personal introduction among our camp mates, as we did not know each of us in person; and then we discussed our experience in naturism and what it meant for us.

Our most successful event by far was the naked oil wrestling, and here is our second video dedicated to it. Unfortunately some of the video is quite blurry, because oil got on my camera, and most of the footage was not usable at all :-/ Oh well, at least it was a GoPro in a sealed casing, so the camera was totally fine after washing.

Our naked oil wrestling drew a lot of attention, even people in fancy mutant vehicles stopped to watch the match.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0012 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

As at FreeForm Festival, we used sumo rules, which are the easiest to follow from all wrestling types, and added some Greekness to it with olive oil (and nudity), as a reference to the authentic Olympics.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0014 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Each match started with ceremonial wide steps, and then opponents tried to push each other

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0004 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

until one of them stepped outside the ring;

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0025 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

and the soles of the feet were the only part of the body allowed to touch the ground – so pushing the opponent down could also work.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0041 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

But perhaps the most effective approach is simply carrying the opponent outside the ring, preferably keeping him upside down! 😀

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0043 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

For each pair, the victory was decided in 2 wins out of 3 matches.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0026 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

We didn’t structure the whole event as an ultimate competition though – anyone could challenge whoever they wanted, and more than once. But we had two wrestlers that stood out

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0022 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

and were well matched –

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0048 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

so their sparring was very intense and captivating.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0038 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

But even the fiercest match ended with a hug.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0039 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

And both of them received well-deserved golden laurel wreaths!

our winners!
our winners!

(By the way, I lost their contact, so if anyone knows them – please put us in touch!)

After the final match, all wrestlers were welcome to go to an amazing massive group shower ‘perfoamance’ at the camp called ‘Something Freaky Foams This Way’. Next day, we arranged the same competition at their camp – so that people queuing up to get foamed would try their strength in wrestling and entertain the public, and skip the line.  We got in touch with one of the organizers of this camp at FreeForm Festival, and this was the best collaboration we could ask for – getting clean and relaxed felt particularly amazing after days in the dust and then even more so after wrestling. Decent showers are obviously quite sought-after at Burning Man, but this camp brings the whole experience to the next level by making it a massive group (40 people at a time) and entertaining activity (with countdown and music, water and foam sprayed under high pressure).

Here are some more photos from the wrestling matches at our camp and ‘Something Freaky Foams This Way’, if the ones above and the video aren’t enough.

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Besides planned events, we had a few spontaneous activities, e.g. dance practices by Antony and damoN.

naturist gymnasium 0021 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Unfortunately, we don’t have any footage of our fun session of a naked Greek dance with music from ‘Zorba the Greek’. It was lead by our new friend from another camp, and he rightfully suggested we would like the idea of performing this dance naked, which he said was his fantasy from a while ago, when he learned it at a Greek restaurant.

And if you follow this blog, you shouldn’t be surprised seeing some naked capoeira here 🙂

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And with Tam around, acro-yoga was bound to happen sooner or later –

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0019 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

to our own and guests’ entertainment.

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Then we toured a bit around the playa and did more acro-posing with some of Burning Man’s most interesting art constructions in the background.

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This structure proved to combine very well with acro-yoga,

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as its multiple lines were quite easy to align with the body parts of the posers.

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0004 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

From afar, it looked as if the giant metal ball was resting on Antony supported by Tam’s legs…

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or arms.

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Then we posed with the Man himself –

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can you spot him here?

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And how could we forget ‘the Woman’?

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0011 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

(This statue is actually called R-Evolution.)

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0013 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

And one of the Mars Molecules seemed to be designed perfectly for acro-yoga, not just as a background, but as a base too.

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0014 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Here is a composition with three men again.

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0015 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

And now, three men intertwined into one ‘laughing dragon’ –

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0016 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

laughing and causing laughter in viewers alike.

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0017 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

There were a few other camps that offered activities in the buff. Besides washing your body from all the dust, sweat and, in our case, also oil at the ‘perfoamance’ camp, cleaning the nose from accumulating dust seemed like a good idea too… and of course there was a camp for that – Neti’s (naked) Nose Spa – and naked too! I really liked how I felt afterwards, so when I got home I immediately ordered a neti pot. Some events were missed due to dust storms or cold nights (e.g. black light naked twister), others I simply forgot about (e.g. naked skateboarding session).

naked skateboarding at Burning Man 2015

The camp across the street from us, Decadent Oasis, provided the best light show at night, with their technicolor ever-changing palm trees and great music. We were invited to do a striptease for their bachelorette party, though we first had to find some clothes to put on 😀 They also had a slackline,

naturist 0000 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

and we were treated with a show of really good slackline walker  who was naked and walked it all way through.

naturist 0002 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

He must be quite good at balancing, as I remember this guy on a unicycle at the Naked Pub Crawl 3 years ago.

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Speaking of which, the Naked Pub Crawl was again among the best events at Burning Man

naturist naked pub crawl 0001 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

and certainly the largest naked one.

naturist naked pub crawl 0002 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

You can see more of it in the first video above,

naturist naked pub crawl 0003 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

but as you can guess from the name, it involves cycling naked around Black Rock City with hundreds of fellow burners and getting drinks at participating camps.

naturist naked pub crawl 0005 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Duckpond camp offered some extra entertainment with their ‘mechanical bull’ ride,

naturist naked pub crawl 0004 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

but unfortunately my favorite part from the Naked Pub Crawl 3 years ago – the slip’n’slide “duckpond” – was absent, being apparently prohibited by the state health agency… A slight consolation came from a slide at another camp, which was down a giant sheep’s ass 😀

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But we did plenty of naked cycling on our own too,

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exploring the playa and its installations.

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One of the most intriguing and impressive was the Totem of Confessions,

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which featured plenty of nudity in its decoration among other elements.

view 0002 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USAview 0003 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Another view of the R-Evolution statue.

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Riding on the bike in the heat of the day felt pretty nice thanks to the light wind (unless it turned into a dust storm!)

naturist 0005 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

But the best conditions seemed to be around sunset time – the sun wasn’t scorching but it was still very warm before the onset of the cold night, and the air was still – that’s when we liked strolling around in our altogethers. But the photo below shows how you can be well protected against the elements while being naked!

naturist gymnasium 0020 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

And for comparison, this is how the same place looked like one day after the end of the festival…

view 0006 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Sad that everything has to come to an end, but on the other hand Burning Man celebrates immediacy, so realization of the temporary nature of… everything is part of the festival.

view 0007 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

We made sure to leave no trace behind us and were ready to go home for the next adventure. Gymnasium proved to be a great experience for its organizers and visitors alike (hopefully all of them, let me know if not) and will hopefully develop only more in years to come!

And here is our third, bonus video with damoN performing on the playa. This was shot while the festival was still rocking, just outside Black Rock City. In case you thought it was difficult to escape from the crowds at this massive festival, it is actually easy to find a place where you can be alone when you would like to reconnect with your ‘inner self’; and the vast open landscape of the desert will only help with that. But it’s good to know that you’re next to the city full of your friends or yet-to-become friends.

celestial bodies at Sandy Hook

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Now that the beach season is open in NYC, here is a recap of last year’s fun times at Sandy Hook, and to complete the full circle (and start the new one!) – a couple of photos from the first beach day this year. (Well, first beach day here – as you know, I was in Miami in March :-))

Before I forget, here are useful links for the Seastreak Ferry that goes to Sandy Hook: two $25 dollar offers – Groupon 1 and Groupon 2; and $30 coupon from  website (regular price for return ticket is hefty $45).

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I’ve written on Gunnison Beach of Sandy Hook on multiple occasions (just do a search for “sandy hook” on this website for more); so if you’ve read my blog for a while, you know it’s a kind of beach where you go with with a group of friends, and even if you go alone, you end up with with a few friends anyways 🙂

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… just sometimes you need to dig them up from the sand!

naturist jump

With my friends, our beach day is rarely a passive pastime, as we literally jump around, and frolic in all ways possible.

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While I did some acro-yoga with one David, I was happy to see another David to be almost fully recovered after his surgery and back to do his gymnastics tricks, including a backflip.

naturist flip

Looking forward to doing more gymnastics and capoeira with him this year, just like we did it two years ago! If you’re there, feel free to join us 🙂

I did report about our ball games at Sandy Hook last year, and I hope to do only more of these year. It’d be awesome if we could manage to play foot-volley,

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though unfortunately one of my best friends who was good at football juggling has moved to Hawaii.

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As the evening approaches, the beach is emptying out and calms down.

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If you stay till sunset, you may be a witness of a grand show provided by our two brightest celestial bodies.

crescent moon 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Last year, I discovered that there is a campground on Sandy Hook. Unfortunately, if you want to stay on the weekend, you have to reserve it well in advance (most Fri and Sat nights for this summer have been booked out already)! The campground itself is not nude-friendly, but you can go back to the beach and experience it like never before.

night naturist 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

These are pictures from Christian and Giorgio –

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they were inspired by the full moon.

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But if you are not lucky enough to capture the full moon,

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you can enjoy the lights of a different kind:

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New York City at night provides quite a spectacle too.

night NYC view 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

However, I was looking forward to seeing sunrise at Sandy Hook, as the beach faces eastwards.

sunrise 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Arriving to the beach just before sunrise, to our surprise we were not the first ones, but it was still very different from a day scene there.

sunrise NYC view 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Well, and even the ‘city that never sleeps’ looked kind of sleepy in those pale morning colors. But the sun was about to come out,

sunrise 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and we looked away from the city skyline. I don’t see sunrise very often, and there is always something inherently exciting about seeing the rise of our parent star.

sunrise 0003 Sandy Hook, NJ, USAsunrise 0005 Sandy Hook, NJ, USAsunrise 0006 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

It was even more exciting to experience that naked; not to mention that even in August, dawn time is a bit chilly, so the first rays of the sun were very much welcome on my skin!

sunrise 0007 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

The  beach was still pretty empty,

sunrise NYC view 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and shorebirds such as plovers certainly took advantage of that.

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It is always funny to see how they follow retreating water in search of newly revealed food

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and then hastily run away from approaching waves. They literally live on the edge… of the ocean.

plovers 0003 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

And here is a couple of photos from my first day at Sandy Hook this year – this past Monday. That was apparently the last week until the end of summer when Gunnison Beach was open in its entire length, as already this weekend part of it was closed for an endangered plover species to build nests in the dunes.

shrine 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

No, this is not how plovers’ nests look like. Somebody had built parts of this construction, but then I found it destroyed by the strong wind later in the day. I repaired this “shrine”,

shrine 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA adding an animalistic twist to it. Well, to me it was just an artistic expression, but I can bet that if it ever gets fossilized and then later discovered by future archaeologists, they will get some twisted story to explain it 😀

naturist 0015 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

By the way, I have a strong suspicion of who might have initiated this construction, as someone I got to know last year built something of this kind but even more impressive. This summer has just begun though, so surely we’ll have more stories to share from this amazing place!

Sima bog near Moscow

 Русский

naturist 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

There is a very pretty bog not too far from Moscow, and it was one of the most interesting places where I’ve enjoyed outdoors the natural way, naked. It is a peat bog called Sima at the Zvenigorod Biological Station of Moscow State University, where I spent quite a lot of time during summer practices in my student year. It was so nice to come back there a few years later. Student excursions aside, it’s an ideal place to find oneself at peace with nature.

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Sima is a relatively small peat moss bog surrounded by fir-tree forest.
view 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

The bog is outlined by a stretch of smaller-than-usual birches and pines, as well as blueberries and rhododendron. There were no berries of course, when I visited in May, but rhododendron bush was in full bloom.
Rhododendron 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Though transition between the forest and the bog appears relatively smooth, there’s no transition between the bog and the lake in the centre of it: the mire just ends abruptly and the lake is over 1-1.5m deep already at the very edge of it. This used to be a peat pit. Thus the lake looks like a huge pool with black water.
view 0002 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Of course, we couldn’t help swimming there on a hot day like that.
naturist 0004 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Such a dark water surface reflects exceptionally well.
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We didn’t see any fish in the lake, but there must be some, as a couple of seagulls hang out by the lake too.
seagull 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

In any case, it is the bog that makes Sima so special. If from the photos you might think it wasn’t much different from a meadow, this animated picture will assure you that it was a true quaking bog.
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You can feel like a giant quaking the earth! It’s a funny feeling to walk on that jelly-like surface, you just need to make sure not to sink into it. The trail is enhanced with wooden planks, as you can see on the first photo and the one below.
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But if you get off the trail, stay closer to the edge of the lake, where the mire appears to be more solid.
naturist 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Although this place feels secluded, some people just can’t get out of touch with the rest of the world thanks to their mobile phones… However, we did spend most of the time with various activities and observing the nature around.
naturist 0005 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

There were many things to marvel at even at our feet. Besides sedges, cranberry plants and peat moss, we found quite a few carnivorous plants.
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This plant is called sundew due to obvious reasons; this ‘dew’ is used to catch small unwary insects.
sundew 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

They are not alone in that quest, having to compete with frogs
frog 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

and other insects, such as dragonflies.
dragonfly 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Not all dragonflies, however, were busy preying: some demonstrated amazing stunts of sex in the air! (I would explain the fact that camera focused on their reflection in water as a mode of censorship blur, but the reflection was just as sharp and clear!)
dragonfly 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

In any case, we weren’t disturbed by any mosquitos an flies on that day.
Considering the soft and flat surface of the quaking bog, I decided that it was finally the time to practice some gymnastics after half-a-year break due to my ankle injury.

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Even though I wasn’t in the best shape, I jumped to my heart’s content.
naturist 0002 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

I almost got stuck in the mire after one jump 😀
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Actually, there were no issues with that. It was a unique experience of gymnastics in its authentic meaning – exercising naked – in a completely natural setting with a natural bouncy floor.
naturist 0007 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Thanks to this soft spring floor, Sasha even mastered a headstand for the fist time. Then we switched to acro-yoga, doing both core-strengthening
naturist acro-yoga 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

and relaxing exercises.
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Altogether, we had a glorious day in our altogethers.
view 0003 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

I hope Sima will keep its uniqueness, although bogs are prompt to changing due to natural reasons and man impact. Unfortunately, we saw some deep potholes at bog and the trail leading to it that resulted from an overuse by quad-bikers, and later we saw two such all-terrain vehicles on the trail. ATVs are certainly not an eco-friendly way to explore outdoors, and I hope the trail entry will be gated properly. The forest, as in many areas around Moscow, has been also infested by a fir-killing bug.
view 0005 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

I’ll end the story on a pleasant note, however. We also saw quite a few flowers on the trail,
plant 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

such as this exotic-looking spurge,
plant 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

an aromatic and bright-flowered bean plant,
Convallaria 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

and an even more aromatic lily of the valley. Thus, Sima is an excellent place for naturists and naturalists alike!

Tiergarten: perfect park for urban naturism

I’m finally updating information on Berlin, the most naturist-friendly city in my opinion, and I’ll start with its main park Tiergarten in the very centre of the city. Given the park’s central location, it is easy to get there from pretty much anywhere around, so you could even come there after work or on a lunch break for some relaxed sunbathing on one of a few known FKK meadows (Freikörperkultur translates as Free Body Culture) south of Straße des 17 Juni. In the first half of the day, you can also refresh in one of those “showers” from sprinklers on the lawns throughout the park,

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but one of the meadows has a proper shower installed.

The lawns of Tiergarten are perfect for frisbee, ball games, badminton and its new faster counterpart, speedminton. By the way, speedminton was invented in Berlin, so playing it in the centre of the city a la FKK sounds very authentic 😉

Joe and I used to play speedminton in Tiergarten pretty often, as you can see even rain wouldn’t stop us!

If you want to try something more ancient, how about naked oil wrestling? Tam and I certainly had fun reviving the Ancient Greek tradition.

naked wrestling 0002 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

As I had very little experience in wrestling, it was more of a lesson for me from Tam, but the very slippery aspect of oil wrestling was new to him too.

naked wrestling 0005 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Given that it was olive oil, this exercise must have served as a nice skin rub too.

naked wrestling 0007 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Despite the oil, we still managed to grip each other,

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and each of us (but mostly me) got thrown on the grass too a few times.

naked wrestling 0003 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

The latter was more difficult staying lower with knees on the ground in our final match.

naked wrestling 0001 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

On another occasion, we wrestled two against one, but we certainly need more practice.

naked wrestling 0009 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Another activity that proved to be fun in Tiergarten was acro-yoga.

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We kicked off with some simple threesome poses.

acro-yoga 0000 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

After my incident with getting a fine for doing acro-yoga naked in San Francisco, it felt very liberating to do the same thing in Berlin with even more people and not being worried of getting caught by police! We had fun, and our nakedness only enhanced it.

acro-yoga 0001 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Below is a good example of how good positioning that comes with experience lets even a much lighter ‘base’ person hold a heavier ‘flyer’.

acro-yoga 0002 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

However, when the flyer is much lighter, even the arms may be enough to support the flyer.

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(Excuse our friend for clothes, but she didn’t feel like undressing at that moment.)

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Some of the poses did not only feel relaxing (for the flyer at least),

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but also provided opportunity to suntan those hard to reach places 😀

acro-yoga 0006 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Some poses may seem simple but are fun to maintain,

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and the next step is to learn to transition them into a totally different pose.

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Such dynamic exercises are much more challenging for the base,

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whereas the flyer should follow his directions and enjoy the ride

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until he ends up in yet another unusual but stable pose.

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This pose below serves as an excellent back and hip stretch for the flyer.

acro-yoga 0012 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Here are some standing acro-yoga poses, starting from simple

acro-yoga 0031 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

to a more difficult balancing exercise.

acro-yoga 0016 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Standing on shoulders of another person is probably one of those things that seem scary and challenging primarily for ‘mental’ reasons,

naturist 0000 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

as the weight is the same as when you sit on the shoulders and the height isn’t that dangerous if you decide to jump off. I decided to avoid it though, due to my not fully recovered ankle.

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Sean and Tam made it look easy from the first time!

acro-yoga 0024 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Here is another pose that combines balancing and stretch (and transitioning into it is kind of scary).

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Once you’re in the pose, don’t forget to point your toes (if you’re the flyer)!

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We ended our session that time with the ultimate balancing exercise – two bodies maintained by one pair of arms!

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I hope this blogpost will inspire Berliners and visitors of the German capital to use their main urban park for naturist activities. We can only wish for anything like this in Central Park in New York, Hyde Park in London or pretty much anywhere else in the world!

 

Ågesta: idyllic lawn and beach by the lake in Stockholm

naturist 0001 Agesta, Stockholm, Sweden

Ågesta is an idyllic place within Stockholm city limits. It’s the top choice among local naturists thanks to the picturesque Magelungen lake, small cozy sandy beach, nice green lawn surrounded by trees; there are also basic amenities such as a shower and picnic tables. Just look around, and you’ll find a nice spot for yourself, either next to other people or in a quiet corner.

naturist 0003 Agesta, Stockholm, Sweden

The flat lawn is great for sunbathing, of course,

naturist 0002 Agesta, Stockholm, Sweden

but it would be also perfect for many activities, such as volleyball or football, yoga, martial arts and whatnot. Too bad local naturists didn’t seem to take advantage of that. I taught my local host, who I got to know thanks to TrueNudists network, some basics of acro-yoga. We can only dream of having something like that in New York City! Well, at least a few people were swimming, and in the end of May the water was warm enough for that already.

naturist 0000 Agesta, Stockholm, Sweden

I heard that Stockholm and Sweden in general used to be even more open to naturism, but the attitude is changing with the influence of prudish American culture and influx of immigrants, who are generally more conservative.

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In the city itself, I could only see naked statues in abundance, but strangely enough my bet was that people would probably feel not tolerate if they saw the same thing in flesh…

statue 0001 Stockholm, Sweden

Nevertheless, I did sunbathe naked for a bit at a secluded spot on Långholmen island with a nice view of the city. There is also a known area for nude sunbathing in the western part of the island but unfortunately without access to the water. Hopefully, naturism will be more accepted in Sweden soon again, and one wouldn’t need to look for hidden spots. Meanwhile, enjoy Ågesta and other official locations available from Scandinavian Naturist Portal.

naturist 0000 Stockholm, Sweden