I arrived in Berlin on a cold March day, and was met at the airport by my ‘landlady’. She rented the top floor of her house out to employees of my company who would be seconded to company HQ for six month periods from all over Europe. There I was, a pale and skinny Brit not long out of university, and abroad for the first time without the company of friends or family.
Berlin is a marvellously bike friendly city, so my landlady and her husband owned bikes and she would cycle off to the shops daily. Her husband had had a mild stroke, walked with a limp, and didn’t get out much, so I was offered the use of his bike and at weekends I would use it to explore a little further afield. Other than that I didn’t have enormous amount of contact with them, as my small apartment could be accessed by fire escape and I could come and go as I pleased.
I didn’t have any friends there. A drink after work with colleagues was the extent of my social life, so I welcomed the weekend bike rides, where I could head off in any direction and see more of Berlin. Of course I did all the tourist bits of it throughout the remainder of March and into April, when the weather did begin to get better, by which time I would be cycling for its own sake, rather than being on a mission to see the Reichstag, or the remains of the Berlin Wall, or KaDeWe (Ella adds: it’s a famous department store) or the dark imposing bits of the former East Berlin.
I also learned of the Grunewald, the Green Wood, on the western fringes of Berlin, and not so far from where I was living, as a great recreational place at weekends. So it was that I found myself cycling through it one warm Sunday morning in May, and it was a great ride, as the shade of the trees made the cycling more pleasant than riding in direct sunlight around some of Berlin’s streets.
I chanced upon the Teufelssee, a lake in the middle of the Grunewald, and -hold on- are those people naked over there? Indeed they were. Some of them, anyway. There was a relaxed, clothing optional arrangement in place, although a number of them were naked. What should I do? Stop? Cycle on? Join in?
In the end I cycled on, but I was amazed to have witnessed such a thing, so much so that the next week, towel and sun tan oil in a knapsack, I made my way back to the Teufelssee and spread the towel on the grass, sat down on it and slid off my shorts to be naked in public for the first time. It was an indescribable, exhilarating experience. Couples, families, single females and single males like me. Some totally nude, some women topless, some people in bathing suits.
Of course, being a Scot, I’ve been out in public ‘commando‘ before. Everyone knows that nothing is worn under the kilt. So the sense of freedom of movement didn’t seem particularly strange. But this was the first time my genitals had been fully aired in public. It wasn’t remotely ‘erotic’ or arousing and in the midst of dozens of others unclad seemed quite normal. Even the sight of some beautiful German frauleins wasn’t arousing. Delightful to see, but not arousing in that context.
Hugh finds an SL location that reminds him of Berlin’s Grunewald
…before he takes to the waters of an SL locations serving as the Teufelssee
Since then, when opportunity has arisen, I have skinny dipped or gone nude on beaches without fear or embarrassment. The great regret of my life so far is that there haven’t been enough occasions on which to do so.
Nothing is worn under the kilt (It’s all in perfect working order) 🙂
Ella adds: Hugh’s mention of nothing being worn under the kilt prompted me to drag a photo from our now extensive photo library of just that: nothing being worn under the kilt. Text was provided by Hugh, but the photos are of one of our regular models standing in for Hugh, who doesn’t use SL, but who has been reading SLN as a result of it being linked to a RL naturist blog.