Everything began almost silently with the closure of the libraries in mid-February. Little by little, bookstores and clothing and stationery shops also closed. The bars could only serve at the tables and closed at 6 pm. Here and there, you could see the slogan "#everything will end well" and then a series of restrictive measures by the Prime Minister. Parliament was closed, so the measures never became law. And with these measures, freedom of movement and freedom of work was removed from the constitution.
The regions increased the dose to the point, that the masks were forced. The television spread panic with alarming news and manipulated the data (every death was attributed to the corona virus, without investigation, without autopsies – the bodies were cremated immediately).
Something very suspicious began to happen. At first, a very vague feeling that someone had exaggerated the danger. Then it became clear that the whole thing was a pipe dream. While media talked eagerly about the virus, the usual unknowns were carrying out their own plan: political, economic, social. Some private television stations (ByoBlu) were denounced for broadcasting "unscientific" news, while state and private television stations (those of Berlusconi) hunted each other to describe a situation of highest alert.
Fortunately, there were also doctors who, when interviewed by counter-information channels, immediately explained the state of affairs and provided elements to avoid giving in to the panic that was created in the population (Francesco Oliviero, Stefano Montanari, Massimo Mazzucco, Roberto Quaglia, Marclelo Pamio). I have enough to stay calm and not believe everything.
I continue my walks (otherwise forbidden), and I change my schedule so as not to encounter the Carabinieri patrols. Half an hour of sunshine at noon (for vitamin D). The streets are deserted, you cannot leave the house; in the supermarkets they ask for the mask and try the fever. Everything can be tolerated if you are in a different order. And more and more walks convince me, that nature is not against us: it offers us oxygen, pure morning air, sun, exercise. She does everything to keep us healthy and alert. This certainty is the best vaccine against this banal flu.
On the other hand, I cannot believe a prime minister who imposes restrictions through fines (up to 3000 euros), who lies, who declares on the eve of Easter: "I do not work with the favour of darkness": it is like saying: "Do not think of an elephant" (see GeorgeLakoff's book "Don't think of an elephant!"). Then suspicions have a basis, and the whole house of cards collapses miserably. It is likely that the government will fall at the end of the emergency, and rumours of an italexit from the European Union are spreading.
In all this I have something positive to record: a greater awareness of myself and my body, which is gradually being freed from lies and ideologies; the mask itself has made me think about my identity: if I cover my face, others do not recognise me, but I know who I am; society does not know my body, as if a person can only deal with his face in society. Only I recognise it, and I understand that you cover it because it is considered unworthy, because it is reviled, because it is the cause of sin, etc. Thucydides reports from a speech of the Spartan king Archidamos (433 B.C.): "What we are, is our wisdom; what we do not want, is our courage". And these words have become my guidelines in daily life.
– Guest article by Vittorio, Italy
Milt (USA) was one of the very early birds at NEWT. Since 2009, he joined several NEWT groups for naturist hiking weeks in Austria. In 2019, Nude Zealand was on the agenda. We could simply participate and enjoy the NZ tour, because Milt did a great preparation work. Now, we have got his report about our nude exploring of New Zealand in 2019:
I’ve been meaning for weeks to put together a brief report for you about Dan, John, Rainer and Milt’s Excellent Adventure looking for naturist opportunities in New Zealand. I would have to rate our efforts a grand success. We were nude more often than we might have reasonably expected.
► 6 to 10 Feb 2019: Te Anau
After Dan, John and Rainer arrived in Auckland early in February, we soon flew down to the South Island, where the Southern Alps in Fiordland National Park are famous for stunning scenery. Our first day out from our base at Te Anau, we crossed a river on a walk wire, a kind of minimalist suspension bridge, guaranteed to keep the average out-of-shape textile tourist away. Later we hiked nude up a stream looking for an elusive waterfall. All in all a good start.
The next day was cool and rainy, but we climbed up to a gorgeous alpine lake in a hanging valley and went for a skinny dip in its chilly waters.
On the third day we made a special arrangement with a water taxi to take us across a river to a beautiful circuit hike to a high lookout. Our special arrangement gave us an hour’s head start over others who came on the regular ferry schedule, so we were able to do essentially the whole circuit nude. Late in the day we managed a skinny-dip in nearby Lake Manapouri. And since it was late in the day, we walked nude back to the car along part of the famous Kepler Track (one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks) while running into very few late walkers.
On the fourth day we took the textile boat tour of Milford Sound in the morning, but in the afternoon we climbed up to Key Summit east of the Sound, and then had a great nude adventure following the ridge to the south of the Summit. The weird "Hobbit trees" of the patchy forest and the expansive views of several alpine lakes made that one of the most memorable of our excursions. Once again, thanks to our late-in-the-day timing, we (or at least the less cold-averse among us) were able to hike nude back to the car following part of another of the “Great Walks”, this one the Routeburn Track.
Quite simple: To see friends from the USA again and to do something together with them, to get to know new things, to meet people and to speak with them, to finally report about it.
And that's how it turned out:
► 01: From Austria via Florida …
In 2017, 48 naturists from 10 countries got to know each other during NEWT. One evening, Milt presented nude hiking in the USA. Afterwards he informed us, that he would be in Florida in February and March and that interested naturists could visit him there. That was a great offer. Horst and I visited him in the naturist club "Sunsport Gardens" in Florida, met other naturists there and explored the quite wide surroundings.
During our visit we learned, that Milt wanted to explore New Zealand nude in February 2019 with Dan and John (also USA). That was the next temptation.
► 02: … to Aotearoa
From 6 February to 5 March 2019, Dan, John and I were able to explore New Zealand with Milt - well prepared and relaxed thanks to his precisely elaborated planning. We travelled 10 days on the South Island, then on the North Island.
The Southern Alps, Fiords - "Fjord" is written "Fiord" here - and Sounds, an extensive network of well-marked hiking routes, water-rich rivers, numerous waterfalls, lonely beaches and much more are to be emphasised. Particularly impressive were giant ferns (trunk height up to 8 m; leaf length up to 3 m), cold rain forests with lush vegetation, columnar Kauri trees and redwoods, which need a group of several people to embrace on of them, geothermal energy around Roturua, boiling lakes and bubbling hot mud holes even in the middle of the city park, thermal bathing opportunities in approx. 39 to - in the "Hot and Cold Water Pool" next to a country road - approx. 46°C hot streams. The "Hot and Cold Water Pool" was very special - especially hot from an inflowing stream, cool in the main current. So it was very easy, to create a pleasant mixing temperature by gently moving back and forth or to feel two temperatures at the same time.
We travelled between Auckland on the north island and Queenstown on the south island.
Our activities are associated with many memories:
Midsummery days of up to 29°C on 15 October prompted some naturists, to use the golden autumn for nude hikes or biking tours. So did R., who encountered at the weekend hundreds of weekend promenaders in the area of the 'Dortmund-Ems' Canal and the 'Venner Moor', 'Münsterland'.
One of them reported about his encounter with the nude hiker to the 'Münster' daily newspaper 'Westfälische Nachrichten', who – after consulting police officers – published an informative article "Freie Körperkultur im Venner Moor: Nacktwandern ist keine Belästigung"*) (wn.de) for the readers.
*) Explanatory notes from the translator regarding this article in the daily newspaper:
- The German title 'Freie Körperkultur im Venner Moor, „Nacktwandern ist keine Belästigung“' can be translated to: 'Naturism in the Venne Moor, „Hiking in the buff is not a disturbance“'.
Background information: Disturbance of the public.
- The article explains, that a journalist has contacted the spokesman of the police in Münster (Westf.) as well as a managing officer 'Citizen service and order' of the town-hall in Senden. The bottom line of the information stated in this article is, that hiking in the buff is neither a criminal, nor – in general – a regulatory offence in Germany.
For the 3rd time, the Maze of Senses in 'Kohren-Sahlis' (between the cities 'Leipzig' and 'Chemnitz') offers a naturist day on 19 August. The visitors experience with a number of experiments, how easy mental delusion may take place – and how well they can recognise facts, when they consciously and critically observe visual, acoustic, and sensory facts. Of course this is best done in the nude – focused on the essential, without any distraction of the senses. Already in 2017, some participants of the nude hiking days in Saxon Switzerland visited the 'Maze of Senses'.
This time again, the naturist photographer Norbert Sander, who recently accompanied us at the 'Thüringer Naturisten-Tagen', will be present. He offers his two books "Bühne frei: Nackedei" and "Nackedei 2" and will also take on request individual naturist photos of visitors of the maze. Perhaps, he can socialise with more naturists, in order to find some interested to appear in his third book planned for 2019 – or to work with him for other of his photo projects.
GEO WISSEN no. 61 – 'Wind and sun all over your entire body'
'For the case that hikers in the buff have to cross a built-up area, they have clothes in their rucksacks'
The German periodical GEO WISSEN [en: GEO KNOWLEDGE] spends in its freshest issue time on the topic 'Time for your soul' and offers regarding advice, 'How to slow down our life – and how to realise, what is really important for us'.
In addition to hints for healthy usage of the 'time wasting smartphone', the periodical focusses i.a. in a section 'The art how to live well' on several hobbies, which can help to free us from the stress of everyday life and to let us find inner peace again.
In a double-page photo article, the reader is also introduced to the topic Hiking in the buff entitled 'Wind and sun all over your entire body'.
It began in Austria at the NEWT 2017, the 'Naked European Walking Tour' founded by Richard Foley, which takes place every year in the Austrian Alps. Among the 48 participants from 10 different nations of 3 continents were also some US boys. Very soon, old acquaintances from the NEWT 2014 were refreshed again, and new friendships were established. Milt renewed his former invitation from 2014, to visit him in Florida at the naturist resort Sunsport Gardens.
Without much thought, we spontaneously accepted the freshly produced invitation and did not worry about, what we would expect there to be and how long the visit should last. Finally, we spent four weeks at – compared with our western European experience – very warm summer-alike temperatures of up to 35°C / 95°F under a cloudless, blue winter sky above Florida. We spent a beautiful, unforgettable time on the naturist site Sunsport Gardens in Loxahatchee at West Palm Beach and by excursions in the area. Sunsport Gardens was founded in 1965 by a German naturist, Hugo Förster / Forester. Today, Morley Schloss continues his heritage.
Of course, there was a challenge. We were asked to report on Nude life in Germany and some European countries. On the one hand, this involved some preparatory work, but, on the other hand, it gave us the opportunity to bring European naturist life closer to USA and Canadian friends. So we set about preparing our report on nude hiking and biking in many regions of Germany and other European countries.
We couldn't let the matter rest, because at annual event in the 'Harz' Mountains, bodypainting is always part of the schedule. And in August 2017, we did a stunning nude body-art performance in the harbour of 'Münster (Westf.)'. Consequently, this led to a second workshop on Nude art in the world. In doing so, we did not confine ourselves to Europe, but looked e.g. also to Brazil and the USA.
During this time, the 'Midwinter Naturist Festival February 15-20, 2018'' took place there. Official comment on the website of Sunsport Gardens: »The Midwinter Naturist Festival was a great success. We had a record number of attendees and over 290 activities. All 6 days had perfect weather.«. During several days, workshops were on schedule from 7 am until midnight, partly up to six in parallel at various locations of the terrain. The workshops covered quite different and various subjects, i.e.:
- A Course in Miracles: Mind, Body, Integration, Purification, Wholeness
- Amateur Radio Demonstration & SIG Meeting
- Basic Digital Photography
We were invited to participate in workshops and to present our workshops. Naturists from the USA and Canada were deeply impressed due to the amazingly free nude life without real problems in various European countries. Even more astonished were some, when we explained to them, that we grew up in Germany with the ever-heard message, that the USA were the home of freedom, free speech, and free choice of lifestyle – therefore being a dream of life by some people in Europe. Now, some people in the Americas may partly dream of even more freedom of lifestyle in Europe.
Several trips took us to the clothing optional beaches Blind Creek Beach and Haulover Beach, to Palm Beach (place of yearn for those, who must show the world at all costs how much money they can spend, and place of domicile of Donald Trump), to Miami Beach (Art Deco architecture), several times to the Everglades, to the Loggerhead Marine Live Center, which is on duty of charity for the rescue of injured sea turtles, and to a Seminole Reservation.
In the Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach, an art exhibition did really impress us Washed Ashore: We Create Art to Save the Sea!: Hopefully, this will cause some people to think about the "madness of plastic" and maybe change own behaviour. The motto of washashore.org, "We hope, that someday we cannot continue to do this art anymore, because we will run out of this material!", is a call worth of consideration.
Also, a paddling tour on the Fisheating creek in six kajaks for one person each, was very impressive: Little alligators were around us from the beginning. Though, we were travelling in their homeland. At lunchtime, we were looking for a rest: We were just paddling around a bend, when a larger one lying in the sun looked at us and slipped into the water. The friends estimated its length to 15 feet (about 4.60 m). Right here, we got out for our lunch. The animal watched us awhile and then swam its way. When we visited the Grassy Waters, we learned, that alligators are naturally shy and withdraw themselves from people. Only, when they are fed, they do loose their dread and become a danger to humans. Therefore, it is forbidden to feed alligators. Violators are prosecuted by the police and punished, fed alligators must be hunted and killed. During a visit to a Seminole Reservation, we learned that crocodiles in contrast are very aggressive by nature.
Oh yes: we also did a few nude hikes. However, because of the legal situation in the USA, our friends paid always heed to get ourselves covered in good time ("Cover up!"), when we were to encounter other people wearing textiles.
– Report: Horst and Rainer, photos: Horst and Milt
High above the valleys rises Macun. A secret place with 23 glacial lakes. The glacier is hidden under huge masses of ancient rock. And since there are people here, they tell the story of 'Dragun', the dragon who sleeps here under the ice in a secret cave. What does he look like? Nobody saw him until now, but then …
There he is, approaches to a woman. Don't worry, dragons are nice fellows.
She isn't afraid. And soon, he carries her heavy bag.
Together, they begin the log descent to the valley. "Don't you feel cold?", she asks him. "Why should I? Yet, I have fire in my blood!" When I'am in the mood, I melt some ice in my cave. Down at Zeznina, he is willing to return, but she asks him to accompany her further, up to the alp, please. Dragons are shy, don't want to be seen. Dragons are curious. But also at the alp there is nobody. Quickly, he empties her bag on the ground, takes a look at every piece and returns musingly to Macun and the sunshine. In the evening, he disappears into his cave.
Still now, I hear him. He breathes heavily after his ascent through the Shadow Valley, lies exhausted in his cave, boulders of amphibolite everywhere. Color gray to gray-green, greenish-black he reads in his booklet when he spits something fire. Density 2.75 to 3.15, is written there. Main parts of the mixture are hornblende and plagioclase feldspar, it is continuing. Biotite, chlorite, garnet, epidote. That sounds dangerous. Amphibolite has great strength and is weather resistant.
That calms down the Dragun, and he'll be fireproof, too. But to try this, he lacks the strength. He prefers to sleep until it is summer again. It was so nice to hike with him.
He dwells at the 'Lais d'Immez' beneath the glacier. Please do not tell anyone else!
– Text and photos: Peter, 16 October 2017
Translation of content of the natury website to English has made an amazing progress. Kudos to Bernard from England and John from Ireland for their voluntarily offered translation work. From now on, the printable brochure, postcards etc. are also available in English.
The Mackenberg nature reserve is one of the few in Westphalia, whose soil quality is so sparse, that several autochthonous orchid species have been preserved here. It is a remnant of the limestone mining in earlier centuries and today in the spring a mecca for orchid friends. At 28°C, the full sunshine heated up the air on Friday – reason enough, to head to the nearby nature reserve and to search for orchids. Lady orchid (orchis purpurea) were numerous, as were the white helleborine (cephalanthera damasonium) and the lesser butterfly-orchid (platanthera bifolia) not to be overlooked – but no bird's-nest orchid (neottia nidus-avis), which is also autochthonous to the location.
… in walking barefoot comes up: sandals taken off, because they can be carried better in the hand instead of on foot. You can hardly let the feet sink more gently in, than in such a comfortable environment! Instead of walking on barefoot trails, I use the AIREX Balance Pad now in winter: You sink in there also (a little) and keeping the balance on the flexible ground trains the muscles of the feet particularly, when lifting a leg from the mat!
The BjN = 'Bund junger Naturisten e.V.' [en: registered association of young naturists] is active since 2016 and initiates naturist excursions and holiday camps for young naturists. The members themselves decide, which initiatives are to be taken. A project worth supporting!
In August 2016, the young naturists went on an exploratory tour into the past, following the traces of the life reformer Fidus (Hugo Höppener, see chronology 1887), who attracted worldwide attention, especially because of his Prayer of Light, which became an icon of the youth movement at that time.