After moving to Kefalonia in January 2009 we stayed at a rented villa not far from XI beach. Over the first few weeks we explored the island while we waited for the winter to end. Things slowly improved weather-wise then all of a sudden on the 1st of May, it was as if “Someone” had flicked a switch and the beautiful sunshine we had been expecting arrived! This was our cue to start investigating the array of beaches round the Island.
So it was for Alyson & I , when we first walked through the gates to Vassiliki Apartments on Kefalonia – it felt right. We were sold. We were ʻ home ʻ.
Alyson and I visited Kefalonia in June this year ( 2010). Unfortunately , due to other commitments we weren’t able to enjoy the company of Tony and Tracey on this holiday ; though we were always in touch on our blog through the excellent WiFi , that is available at the resort. For us , it was a return to an island we had enjoyed visiting seven years ago, when we stayed in a ‘ textile ‘ hotel just outside of lovely Skala town. At that time , there wasn’t any opportunity to stay in ‘ naturist ‘ accommodation on the island , but now rightly so, that has been rectified through the peaceful Naturist Club of Vassaliki.
What made Vassaliki home for us was the people and the environment we were in. I say ‘environment’ because this is the magic of the place that sets it at ‘diamond’ standard for us. You can be nude from the moment you arrive , to the last minute you leave , without a second thought. But as we have found, many ‘naturists’ still want to dress for dinner in the evening. There is no problem with this – indeed the mix of dressed and nude in the evening and at dinner goes unnoticed and provides a unique eclectic mix that adds to the experience for all.While we were visiting , there was a friendly bunch to socialise with , as we wished – or to keep our own company when we wanted. Sam and Mark arrange two evenings a week that provide fantastic ice-breaking opportunities ; there is the Wednesday night Mezes, at fine local restaurants, and on Saturday night they provide their own BBQ . The BBQ has a clever and challenging puzzle that draws everyone in , and allows you to get to know your neighbours. If you visit , we recommend you don’t miss out on either of these evenings – they are truly magic and great fun. The Mezes are fantastic – with more than you can eat and drink , and we met such a range of interesting and friendly people from the UK and around Europe.
Mark and Sam’s BBQs are special. From the table settings and layout through to the exquisitely cooked food – they excel themselves. Everyone seems to be ‘family’ and we have to admit , as the wine flows , the volume seems to rise – just a little. After all – we are Naturists!
Just a quick note on the accommodation – it is excellent. I said it would be a quick note ; I think if you want to see all about the accommodation and much more ,I know that Charlie Simonds has produced one of his superb ‘Naturally’ videos at Vassaliki. Mark showed me some of the quality photos Charlie took , while he was visiting , with some of the beautiful ‘Angels’ .
Mark and Sam have a love for the sea. Their personal treat to themselves is to go out on their amazing power boat, that they keep locally, and go waterskiing and snorkelling. We were fortunate, indeed honoured, to go out with them one afternoon and have an adrenaline filled few hours. The nude waterskiing was left to Mark !!!
Mark and Sam’s love for all things nautical has extended to the two wonderful naturist excursions they provide and we joined. Mark is a qualified sailing skipper and instructor although Iʻm sure there are more technical qualifications I should refer to – but the bottom line is , he is safe , and you feel very comfortable with him at the helm. If you want a rush of excitement go on the RIB trip. We embarked from the nearby , and beautiful harbour town of Argostoli and visited some awesome nude beaches – each one deserted , and accessed only by sea .The RIB is a powerful & luxurious boat , and soon after leaving port shorts and T-shirts were shed. As we left the harbour to visit our first beach we spotted three huge turtles that were returning to lay their eggs , a wonderful sight. We lunched at the most rustic taverna you will ever visit , though to save the blushes of other diners , we all dressed, for the time were there.
The other excursion, not to miss – is the naturist yacht day , on the beautiful ‘ Ino ‘. This is luxury nude sailing of the highest standard , aboard a magnificent 40’ white yacht. Aly had been a little apprehensive prior to this trip ; she doesn’t count herself as a boat person – which is a bit funny really , as every boat trip I have encouraged her on , she has loved (admittedly there has been one trip , we did some years ago in Lanzarote that was even more bumpy , than I would normally say is fun!!). This day out was one of the highlights of our holiday ; not only are you aboard a superb sailing vessel – you are at the helm sailing her. On the day we went , it was one of Mark’s sailing friends, Chris, who took us , another ex-pat who enjoys living on the Greek islands & who specialises in yachting holidays. We spent an exhilarating nude day , sailing on the azure blue waters and visiting an uninhabited island with a traditional lunch aboard, preceded by some snorkelling and cooling off , in the island’s arcing bay. Truly a day to remember.
They say that ‘home is where the heart is’. We have another place we now call ‘home’.
We have decided that we will be taking Tony and Tracey ‘home’ with us next year to visit Mark and Sam who have created their special naturist jewel of diamond standard.
Some people are brought up with naturism and others come to it later in life. I was the latter, I don’t believe there are many of us, but now I have been introduced to it, I don’t see why many others can’t be too.
So what do you say when you are 2 years into a relationship and your potential “Yes” declares that when he goes to the beach he doesn’t wear swim wear and would you like to join him?!!!
Yes, you did read that right and for some reason he had no qualms in declaring this. I say declare, but it didn’t appear that he’d worked himself up to making this statement, it just rolled of the tongue like ‘I prefer Chinese food’ or ‘Cornwall’s a nice holiday spot.’ Was I surprised? A little hesitant perhaps but not surprised. It was in fact a running joke, even to my friends, that I would often come home from work and he’d be preparing dinner in the buff. It’s a nice welcome to come home and find the cutest arse making a gourmet delight – you should all encourage your men to do so ladies!
The next question was – did I go? The answer was “yes” – but in stages. We went down to Studland beach in Poole on one lovely summer’s day. I was really tentative, so to assist me, Mark chose a nice spot a little hidden in the dunes. At first I went topless because I had done so abroad and therefore had no qualms about it. This was all going ok, I felt I wasn’t on show and quite relaxed, so after an hour or so, I ventured to the next step. The removal of the bikini bottoms. Ever tried undressing discreetly on a sand dune? I’m sure I made a complete palaver of it, but he very kindly didn’t batter an eyelid and just let me get on with it.
Ok, so mission accomplished. I have to admit, I do remember reading the same line in my book over and over again in between glancing around me to make sure this was reality and that no one was looking at me. What I failed to realise at that point was that this was by no means the end. Slowly, but surely I was beginning to feel a little cooked. I have your typical “English Rose” type complexion and therefore did not as a habit, lie on a beach and so by now I was in dire need of cooling off in the sea. But that presented a problem. I would have to come out of hiding and reveal myself to the rest of the beach. So I instinctively reached for my bikini bottoms but Mark, taking my hand, guided me out of the dunes towards the sea. At that moment, I think I felt a resounding empathy with those coming onto a theatrical stage for the first time. Admittedly I was not going to perform, but my upbringing, social etiquette and beliefs were at risk. What if I did like it? Would I have to admit this to others who most likely would not understand? What if I didn’t like it? Would that then get in the way of our relationship? A dilemma indeed!!!
This of course was ridiculous. Mark was proud of me that day. He would never have applied any pressure and was fully prepared for me to express a dislike. I have to say at this point I wasn’t won over. But then during the holidays that followed, when we found a secluded piece of beach or a naturist section, I sometimes joined Mark in nude bathing – sometimes I didn’t! For some reason, it seemed right when in a hot country, to make the most of the sun and not sit around in wet irritating swim wear.
The crunch came when we booked a week’s holiday in June to a Mediterranean naturist resort. We are the sort of people who normally do not go for the “package holiday”. Anyway, so we chose a small-ish resort, bit the bullet and went. After the two hour windy drive, we believed we were approaching the correct area. We headed down the mountain to what appeared to be desert and all we could see was one little green oasis patch in the distance not far from the sea. This oasis in the middle of nowhere was of course our holiday location and proved to be ideal for naturism and epitomised the whole idea of returning to nature. The place was beautiful. It had lush green grass, stunning flowers and was impeccably clean – both in the rooms and all the communal areas.
We have to, of course, tell the tale of the first “naturist moment” – everyone has one!!! We decided swimming in the pool was the way ahead – somehow being beneath the water to begin with feels like a slow introduction to the idea! We took our obligatory towels with us, but decided to be brave and carry them rather than wrap them round us, especially as the pool was a stones throw from our room.
Deep breathes at the door, ready, steady go…. And who did we meet? Two gorgeous female German models and a film crew! We believe someone up there was having a laugh with us!
To this day, I still look on that holiday with fond memories – excluding the part where they asked us to play volleyball for the German television programme! When we looked apprehensive, they said, don’t worry we’ll blur out your faces, Mark’s response was, ‘it’s not my face I’m worried about!’ The memory that stays with me though is the people. The atmosphere was relaxing, friendly and easy-going. If you go on a normal holiday, no-one speaks to each other, which is the opposite of a naturist resort. I didn’t realise until this experience, how much the holiday could be enhanced by the people you met. Age and status was not a factor. We made very close friends with a retired couple and regret not visiting them at their B&B in Devon yet. I got prickly heat through the week and I was offered numerous advice and potions to try by the people around us.
I also felt beautiful. It may sound daft, but I felt like my body was acceptable. I didn’t feel fat and even didn’t worry about what to put on for dinner that evening (we did dress for dinner). This made me even more attractive to Mark and confidence oozes sexiness.
So what misconceptions are there around naturism? I think the biggest one for women is the media concept of what is beautiful. It has been in the press a lot recently about models being too skinny, but you must remember that these people are a minority. Don’t think for one minute that you could not come to a naturist resort because you are too fat, have stretch marks etc. you will not be any different to anyone else there. I did joke about the models turning up on the one occasion, but excluding them, at a size 14 I was probably one of the slimmer people there. Men may ogle at magazines, but at the end of the day they do really prefer curves, what’s the point if you don’t look how a woman should look like?
If you are worried about your size, how is having skin tight lycra against your skin any better than being naked? I bet you anything the unnatural bits bulging out of the bikini / costume looks worse than your natural shape, try taking a look in the mirror and decide for yourself! Being naked, you do feel beautiful and liberated.
In the naturist environment people could not pass judgement on who you are, what you earn, whether you are fashionable or whether you rate alongside existing friends. What a difference it made. Even the staff – though clothed – made a difference. They made the effort to talk to you as individuals.
I am not saying that I don’t take pride in my appearance any more, I do, but I don’t get so stressed and hung up about it as I did. I haven’t changed overnight, I still like buying clothes, doing my make up, looking nice in the evenings, but I have given up shoehorning myself into things that don’t really fit to try and convince myself I am a size smaller.
A lot of women can do topless, but taking the bikini bottoms off seems a bit too far. I won’t say that is daft because I felt exactly the same and still do on some days when I am lacking confidence more than most. A man asked me why the other day…could I think of an answer? I think it is seeded in a security thing, there is a certain amount of security in keeping the bottoms on. Security of what? I have no idea! But as he quite rightly pointed out, if you are embarrassed about a man seeing you naked, they aren’t interested in seeing that part anyway, there is nothing there. Their eyes are more naturally going to appreciate the breasts surely. That did make me think that maybe there is less to removing the bottoms then.
If at the end of the day you don’t think you are bold enough to make that step but like the idea of naturist beaches or holidays, come along and try it out, keep those bottoms on and only remove them if and when you’re feeling comfortable, which I have no doubt will be within less time than you think.
But won’t men be looking at you sexually? No, they don’t. I won’t deny they look at you at all, walk around with blindfolds on, but because it is a natural thing, and not sexual, they just look at you as who you are. Will your husband be looking round at other women? If he is proud enough to be stood with the woman he loves, why would he need to look round? Why do you need to be any more jealous of a woman in the same state of dress as you than if you were on a standard holiday. I’m sure the woman flaunting in a bikini made of no more that triangles and cheese wire is more of a concern than the these ordinary women who don’t give two hoots who is watching and have no desire to flirt.
Where do you look? I also cannot deny you won’t take a sneaky look, but in that split second, because a big deal is not being made of it, ‘ooh I just saw your willy!’, because they are everywhere, the novelty wears off in minutes. You can hold a perfectly normal conversation in the buff without it mattering one bit. Which brings onto another question, how do I behave? No differently. Although you may have a greater awareness of your personal space as hugging people would require skin contact rather than clothes contact, it is not a problem. Ask yourself, when you meet someone for the first time do you give them a great big bear hug, or shake their hands and if you are someone with a more European outlook, you may kiss the person on the cheek. Where in this is there more body contact than necessary?
This may be a bit more awkward if you are there with friends, family or colleagues. We tackled this when we took my sister on holiday with us. My sisters primary fear on her first introduction to naturism was seeing her brother-in-law naked, and my husband can’t deny that the same thought went through his head. But again it was only awkward for that first moment and it is surprising how quickly it passes.
The Europeans have been practising naturism for many years, it seems only the British that are prudish and hung up on the idea that is not right. But aren’t the British hung up on everything these days? Health and Safety, the government telling you that you can’t smoke, shouldn’t drive big cars, speed cameras. I’m not saying be a rebel, but do have your own mind and not those of others around you. It almost feels like school peer pressure, that society as a whole has been taught that you wear clothes, therefore it must be correct.
So this is a nice little tale of discovering something new and liberating in life – only that it did not stop there! We are now opened a naturist holiday resort on our favourite Greek island of Kefalonia and Cape Town South Africa.
The biggest hurdle to overcome when venturing to open a business with an unusual concept is gaining buy-in from those around you. The first sentence from the owner of the property, from whom we are leasing in Greece, once being told the nature of the clientele we were selling to, was, ‘as long as they don’t have sex in my pool’. The “nudity equals sex” misconception is still present in many peoples association of naturism. There are strict sexual behaviour rules in naturist societies and it is even more taboo as it is a very family orientated community. It is clear that it is often a lack of knowledge that evokes this stigma
I was extremely nervous telling my family, friends, colleagues etc what we were venturing to do, but once I finally gained the confidence to do so, not one of them disappointed me. They all surprised me with wholly supportive responses and praise at the balls we had to actually do something. The hardest was telling my old place of work, where I had a fairly good professional reputation. It turned out that two of my old team found out inadvertently before I told them, but they both waited for me to come home and asked me directly before spreading the gossip. I was so proud of them and proud that we had that friendship that they respected me. As it was, I told everyone and I think they are more curious. I have to admit, I haven’t gone back into the work environment, but if I do, if our venture fails, I won’t be worried about it, a little nervous, but this experience has made me a better person who can take jokes on the chin.
Of course there were a few friendly jokes over a few glasses of wine – mainly questioning a man’s ability to control his admiration! Why not laugh about it, it can be funny. It is not belittling the concept and in no way do you laugh at the people who are naturists. But if you take the time to laugh with the jokes, you will find that you are educating whilst not actually stifling people’s curiosity to try something new. Getting defensive will only put people off. I believe many of our new found friends from living in Greece this last year will give it a try and that is a positive, because without having met us they would never have had the opportunity to try it.
I won’t be going around introducing myself as ‘Hi I’m Sam and I am a naturist’, because I don’t see it as a label or a different way of life to anyone else. We just like to lay in the sun with no clothes on to get an overall tan, it feels liberating. And as for swimming naked, that is even nicer, no more sitting around in damp irritating bikinis or shorts. There are people out there who see it more as a way of life and want to do everything naked, good on them! It may not be my choice yet, but they have every right to it. Every hobby or belief has a spectrum, some are more religious than others, some live and breath golf, others only play once a month, why not have all aspects of naturism?
But I would like to say, if your man is confident to do something like this, you are curious but unsure, come and give it a go, or vice versa. Naturists are the nicest people in the world. They are always wanting to welcome new people and will make you feel so comfortable and confident just by being them, you won’t even notice the change in you straight away until you go home and think about it. You will have a great time and I can’t wait to meet them all and hopefully you too this summer.
I’d like to thank the family, friends and new colleagues who are 100% behind us, (even those who won’t venture as far as 100% clothes-free), you know who you are! If I have motivated your curiosity about naturism or starting a business, please logon to our website and drop us an email: www.viglanatura.com or www.vassalikinaturistclub.com
I have been asked what folk do in the winter. The answer is, as little as possible.
After working for six months, seven days a week in temperatures of 40 plus, the working ex-pats take a well-earned rest. Many go back to the UK to visit their families and friends, but they have to be here to visit the employment office every five or six weeks to claim their winter payments – about 400 euros per month for each worker. This is not government money, but is paid into the IKA fund in the summer by the employer. IKA is similar to graduated pension payments in the UK and is required by law. Anyone caught ignoring this law is in big trouble, both employer and employee face very hefty fines, yet there are still a few who take the chance.
A few have been caught out by the UK weather this year, getting stranded in Athens for a few days; however, those using Olympic Airways have been well looked after. Food and accommodation has been provided with no argument, unlike some of the larger companies who left passengers sitting around in the airports in England. Biggest is not necessarily best, it seems.
For the locals, life goes on much as normal, working their fields, building etc. The majority of the taverna owners have outside interests as well, and they still have to work when their English employees are taking things easy.
I used to enjoy driving down the road and seeing my boss hard at it when I was off to the hostelry for a quick couple. Some days you’re the dog and some days you’re the lamp post. There are a few people who find a bit of work in winter, tradesmen especially, but there are more menial jobs for someone who wants to make a bit of cash to supplement their “dole money”. Not really legal, but this is Kefalonia, and nobody bothers too much.
In early November last year we had a few heavy storms, and the main road to Argostoli was blocked by landslides. The main road runs down the coast along the foot of mount Ainos which is 5,000 ft above sea level, so as you can imagine there is not a lot of room between sea and mountain for storm water to dissipate, and the result was a lot of olive trees lost and some houses buried up to six feet deep in mud. At one point the road was nearly washed away.
However, the workers were there at daybreak with diggers and trucks, and the road was reopened within five hours later and the houses were soon cleared too. It was a damn fine effort by those guys.
On a similar note, about four or five years ago we woke up in the village of Mavrata to two feet of snow. The locals could remember nothing like it. The weight of the snow, which accumulated on the power lines, brought down 100 poles and about 40 pylons. Despite the severity of the damage, generators were shipped in straight away so we had partial restoration of power in two days and, with some outstanding effort by the power workers, we had full power restored in eight days. The only snow we have seen since that day is a dusting on the mountain top. I hope it stays there.
Winter also gives the local authority a chance to complete the upgrade to the sewage system in and around Skala. Anyone who came last year will remember the state of the roads in that area. Two weeks before the season began we had trenches eight feet deep in an around Skala. In order to be ready for the start of the holiday season, they had to suspend the work, and bodge the roads to make them passable. Now, they are once again digging the place up and chaos reigns again. Single file traffic in places, no traffic lights, no traffic control, you just close your eyes and hope for the best. Highly amusing at times, at others, scary.
The reason for all this disruption is that, at present, all the toilets here empty into a septic tank built from concrete blocks. Most of the liquid waste is absorbed into the ground, but they still have to be emptied by the tanker at regular intervals.
If you have stayed on Kefalonia you will have seen the signs in the toilets saying, “do not throw paper in the toilet”. Pedal bins are provided for used toilet paper as it blocks the tanks after a while, causing big problems. I found this a most unusual custom when I first came, and on my visits to the UK I found myself looking for the bin. When the upgrade is complete, there will be no need for these weird and wonderful contraptions, but, what’s the betting the Greeks will STILL put the paper in bins? They’ve been doing it for years and old habits die hard.
Apart from a few days’ rain, heavy rain, the weather has been very kind this year again. A lot of sunny days, not hot, but not overcoat weather either.
I leave you with a simple question, “if the monopolies commission is such a good idea, why is there only one of them?’
Hope you get some decent weather soon.
Goats potter around the Lixouri peninsula, where ruined homes and subsided fields still dot the landscape.
The largest of the Ionian Islands, it never feels crowded, even in high season on the photogenic sands of Myrtos, or among the swanky, marina-side restaurants of Fiskardo.
During August, the heat can border on the unbearable, but visit the island in the coming weeks and you’ll be rewarded with temperatures in the mid-20s, even quieter beaches and cheaper accommodation.
Plane. Thomas Cook (flythomascook.com), Monarch (www.monarch.co.uk) and Thomson (flights.thomson.co.uk) operate charter flights to the island from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Stansted.
At Myrtos Beach. Backed by almost sheer cliffs and lapped by unfathomably turquoise waters, it is one of the world’s most photographed stretches of sand. It fills up with boisterous Italians from around noon, so arrive early to claim a sun lounger (7.50 euros for a pair).
Geologists will be keen to visit the Melissani and Dhrogarati caves (7 euros each), near Sami, on the east coast of the island, but they are overpriced, and a little underwhelming.
At the Castle Café, found beneath the ruins of the 16th-century hilltop Castle of St George, near the small town of Peratata. Offering sandwiches and traditional snacks, it is set within a gorgeous, shaded garden and commands stunning views across the south of the island. It is run by an amiable Greek gent – whose mother tends the flowers – and his English wife, who is rather secretive about her recipe for spicy baked feta. Burn off your meal by inspecting the aforementioned Venetian fortress (Tue-Fri 8.30-7pm, Sat-Sun 8.30am-3pm; free).
At the monastery of Ayios Gerasimos (8am-1pm, 3pm-8pm; free). Nestled in a verdant valley a few kilometres to the north east of the castle, the monastery is modern, having been rebuilt in a Byzantine style following the devastating earthquake of 1953 that levelled the original 16th-century structure. The interior is adorned with colourful biblical scenes, and behind the building lies a small chapel, where svelte visitors can squeeze through a hole in the ground and inspect the caves where St Gerasimos is thought to have spent endless hours meditating.
Two annual feasts celebrate the saint’s life, on August 15 and October 20, during which the monastery is overrun with worshippers.
A trip to the nearby Robola winery (the tipple of choice for the drunken Father Arsenios in de Bernières’ novel) is worthwhile – not least for the free tasting.
A taverna. With their plastic chairs, paper tablecloths, lukewarm dishes (Greeks believe hot food is bad for the stomach) and feline visitors, these traditional Greek restaurants can feel like much of a muchness, but a few stand out. The Waterway bar and grill, on the beach below Spartia, has a lively atmosphere and sea views, and Tassia (www.tassia.gr), in Fiskardo, is good for lobster and Kefallonian meat pie.
Exploring the Lixouri peninsula. Kefalonia’s second city, and the surrounding villages, bore the brunt of the 1953 earthquake, and it still bears the scars. Goats, chickens – and the odd eccentric-looking local – potter around the farming region, where ruined homes and subsided fields still dot the landscape.
Finish the day at the Monastery of Kipoureon, which occupies a dramatic cliff top location on the west coast of the peninsula, and where each evening a score of tourist join the Orthodox priests to watch the sun set.
At all costs avoid…
Leaving the airport without a vehicle. Owing to its mountainous terrain and meagre public transport, this is an island best tackled by car. A portable satnav also comes in handy – the Garmin Nuvi 1690 comes with preloaded Greek maps (http://www.garmin.com/)
by Tony & Tracey Dunn.
2010 has been an interesting year for us; we have visited four naturist resorts of different types. Although I’ll give you an insight into these venues , primarily my theme for this short article is to propose ways forward for these ‘ oases ‘ & other naturist venues , to be kept for all to enjoy in the future.
The question I ask readers, is what makes a good naturist resort & how do we ensure its continued survival??
The key issues for the travelling naturist.
We’ve put together a list of key points which we feel are central for a quality naturist holiday.
3. Facilities, including cleanliness of resort/rooms, Restaurants etc.
4. Value for Money.
The key for all, whether they be wanting a ‘quiet time ‘or a ‘hectic, action packed time ‘is to want a high score on all the above.
For example, Trace & I, seek peace & tranquility so we still seek high scores on all four items. A person or couple wanting action etc would also seek high scores on all, although, maybe with greater expectations on the ‘facilities ‘issue.
Obviously, one can’t seek a naturist break in Norway, with an expectation of wall to wall sunshine (generally!!!). Similarly, to travel to Mexico will score low on ‘ location ‘ , for all , due to the length of travelling time to get there.
Ancillary, but all important issues which are obviously to be considered are flights being on time, good check-in, good in-flight catering & transfers (with hire car, taxi or coach).
Key issues for the Resort.
From our list above, it is abundantly clear & not ‘Rocket Science ‘that the successful & profitable resorts will attempt to achieve high scores in every category to maximize the number of visitors & consequently increase the revenue/profit pro rata!!!
This will enable the resort to survive & hopefully flourish. However, the successful resort will have to add a minimum two factors
2. Guest rapport.
Note , any resort will know that its remote location may detract from appeal , however , by providing high scores in the other areas the resort can still be popular & an overall success.
The key to any successful business, whether it be a manufacturing company or a holiday resort is turnover (& profit!!!) – This is generated in the holiday resorts by people visiting & supporting the venture.
Without people visiting a resort —-it will not survive!!!
Textile destinations will come & go depending on the financial climate – they are like small businesses, there will always be people who will ‘have a go ‘.
More rarely do totally new Naturists ventures open. Two that come to mind are the ‘Vassaliki ‘in Kefalonia & ‘Skinny Dippers ‘in Mallorca. Both these are on our ‘to visit ‘list; their Management must be commended for the brave commercial stance they’ve adopted in such a difficult business climate.
Naturist resorts need support or they will slowly go out of business. This is fact – the events which generated this article are those which occurred at the Sorobon Beach resort in the Dutch Antilles, in the South Caribbean.
The resort was owned by a Dutch chap, a dedicated Naturist – he built it up over 25 years & it was excellent as a peaceful haven – BUT he didn’t keep nurturing it. He didn’t advertise, consequently he didn’t get a full quota of visitors & slowly the custom drifted away, particularly the European naturist contingent.
On my resort scoring chart the location of Sorobon would be very low ; it requires flying to Schiphol ( Amsterdam ) – only the Royal Dutch Airline KLM service the place from Europe !!!!! As a result, although the American contingent could get to it easier, because his advertising was minimal – it didn’t frighten them off
– NO ONE, OR VERY FEW, KNEW ABOUT THE RESORT, AS TIME MOVED ON!!!!!!!!
In the final analysis, Sorobon was ripe for being taken over – & so it has been – Naturism has survived, just – they are keeping one month for it in 2011!!!!!
This then brings me to my ‘Rub of the Nub ‘ message . For naturist resorts to survive they need support from us naturists ……………………..the resorts themselves must continue to advertise & work hard at promoting their good points ……………………….moreover, if we don’t
‘Use ‘em – we’ll lose’em ‘
From the glories of New Zealand’s Middle Earth to the medieval charms of Tallinn, there are plenty of places offering a fresh reason to visit in the year ahead.
April 29 will be a glorious day in the capital for those who enjoy a spot of royal pomp and glory. By all means join the throngs celebrating the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but a better idea is to avoid the inevitable price hikes and visit later in the year to splash out on a new luxury hotel. The W London, the first W in Britain, is opening in Leicester Square in February, providing its signature urban-cool chic. The more traditional will prefer the St Pancras Renaissance, reopening in the iconic building above the Eurostar terminal, its Gothic revival turrets housing 245 stylishly renovated rooms. Other new openings include the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge; the Corinthia, overlooking Trafalgar Square; and the Four Seasons on Park Lane. FK
France is having to face up to the fact that Austria may soon overtake it as the most popular destination for British skiers. Unlike their expensive neighbours, Austrian resorts have taken the pragmatic step of offering more value for money in these financially straitened times. While the skiing may not have the scope of France and Switzerland, it is certainly not to be scoffed at – from the snowsure resorts of Obergurgl and Sölden and the Apline charm of Kitzbühel to the accessibility of Innsbruck and “steeps and deeps” of St Anton. What is more, no one does après ski like the Austrians. CSS
Stratford upon Avon
Stratford, one of the most popular stopovers for overseas visitors, is often overlooked by the British. This is the year to put that right. The sights associated with Shakespeare – his birthplace, his tomb in the church, Hall’s Croft (his daughter Susanna’s house) and Anne Hathaway’s cottage in nearby Shottery, are genuinely interesting; moving, even. This February the RSC opens its redeveloped theatre – new summer productions are Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s
The publishing sensation of the past few years has drawn attention to Stockholm, the stage upon which Stieg Larsson’s fast-paced and intensely violent Millennium books unfold – a phenomenon which will soar this year with the release of a new Hollywood version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Visitors to the Swedish capital can take part in Millennium tours, which take in the heroes’ (journalist Mikael Blomkvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander) blood-spattered stomping grounds, including their fictional homes, the Millennium offices and their favourite bars. FK
The charmed capital of Estonia this year, together with the Finnish city of Turku (see below), assumes the mantle of European Capital of Culture. The Estonians are planning quite a celebration with 7,000 events spanning opera, theatre, film, design and singing – a key part of life here, used in the revolt against Soviet rule 20 years ago. With its beautifully preserved medieval old town and proximity to the sea, Tallinn has long been on the traveller’s radar. An expansion of air routes to the city operated by easyJet and Ryanair will make it even easier to go in 2011. AB
Turku, once the capital of Finland, has long been overshadowed by neighbouring Helsinki – but that will change this year as Turku becomes European Capital of Culture (along with Tallinn, see above). A packed cultural programme of events is scheduled for the medieval seaside city in 2011, beginning with an extravagant opening ceremony on January 15. JA
Dubrovnik has tended to attract most attention as a city-break destination in Croatia, but the striking fin-de-siècle architecture of the capital Zagreb – a “pocket-sized Vienna” – will receive a boost this year when easyJet (www.easyjet.com) begins regular flights there in February. A return flight costs from about £60. JA
Egadi Islands, Sicily
The Aeolian Islands to the south east of Sicily have become a well-known holiday destination; far fewer people know about the scattering of rocky islands just off the west coast. They are a great option for a good-value escapist holiday in early spring – and are easily combined with some of the great classical sights of Sicily such as Segesta, Agrigento and Selinunte. What’s more, they are now easy to get to. NT
For its art and architecture it is undeniably one of the great cultural destinations in Europe – and the food’s not bad either. The only problem has been getting here – the vast majority of flights land at Pisa, and it’s a long schlep by car, or at least an hour on the train from there to Florence. Cityjet has started a new flight from City airport to Florence airport (just a few minutes outside the city). Anyone starting from central London can save about two hours’ travelling time. NT
Ten years on from the release of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – the screen adaptation of Louis de Bernières’s wonderful tragicomic tale of Kefalonia’s wartime occupation – the island remains a rural idyll populated by eccentric goat herders and Robola wine-swilling orthodox priests. For a taste of Greek life unchanged in generations, ignore trendy Fiskardo and hire a car to explore the villages and monasteries of the Lixouri peninsula. OS
Bay of Kumlubük, Turkey
It’s not often that you find a hotel with an organic farm as a sideline. But maybe the Dionysos Estate in Turkey could set a trend this year. The hotel, which tiers unobtrusively above a canyon overlooking the Bay of Kumlubük, certainly displays a taste for the unusual. The region, deep in rural Turkey, offers unspoilt beaches, ancient archaeological sites and is great for trekking and biking either along the coast or up in the mountains. Aside from its three restaurants, spa and private beach club, the hotel is gearing up to produce wine from its own vineyards; already it makes an award-winning olive oil (guests can help with the October harvest). Olive picking or wine tasting before a spa treatment – it could set a new trend. SH
December marked the start of a new Bmi service to Tripoli to rival British Airways’ long-standing service to the Libyan capital, so expect some competitive deals this year. Forget preconceptions (and the ubiquitous posters of Colonel Gaddafi) for the country’s relative isolation has made the people disarmingly friendly, while the medieval courtyards of the walled Old Town are straight out of Arabian Nights. With the magnificent ruins of Leptis Magna just 65 miles away, Tripoli represents a truly exotic option for 2011. CSS
Fast becoming a must-see city, Marrakech offers accommodation in stylish riads for every budget. The options for visitors to venture deeper into Morocco are growing also – tours now often include trips to the Atlas Mountains, Berber villages – and kite-surfing lessons. NP
Slowly but surely, British travellers are starting to return to Zimbabwe following the shaky political rapprochement between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, and safari packages are now featured in many tour operators’ 2011 brochures. It is a beautiful country and the splendid wilderness areas have been relatively untouched by the regime’s destructive instincts. The people are charming and friendly. The only problem is that the long shadow of Mugabe and his henchmen still falls across the country; until they are gone, nothing will be quite normal. GB
Antigua is one of the great sailing destinations of the Caribbean, and the Antigua Yacht Club in English Harbour remains one of its social hubs. But the closure of Sunsail’s base a couple of years ago sharply reduced the options for anyone who likes to take to the water there. The gap has now been filled with the opening of a new resort at Nonsuch Bay on the east coast. It is a high-quality set up with spacious, beautifully finished self-catering apartments and an on-site restaurant. Most important, though, is the professionally staffed dinghy sailing centre, with top-of-the range RS dinghies for you to use or learn on. NT
With its lush vegetation, Indian Ocean beaches, Buddhist temples, tea plantations – and excellent value – Sri Lanka is likely to attract a growing number of British tourists this year, tempted, too, by the fact that it is now nearly two years since the end of the civil war. In addition to tried and tested favourites such as Kandy and the beaches of Bentota, some operators are venturing east into relatively uncharted territory. AB
This underdeveloped region is a great place to discover traditional China. Home to communities of ethnic minorities, Unesco heritage towns, awesome gorges and allegedly the fabled Shangri-La, the region is undervisited, even though it is just across the border from Laos and Vietnam. This is changing fast however, so go soon. NP
2011 marks the centenary of Hiram Bingham’s discovery of Machu Picchu. Still waiting to be discovered by the majority of tourists are ruins farther north that include the cloud forest fortress of Kuelap and the Temples of the Sun and Moon. NP
The new film, Patagonia, starring Matthew Rhys and Duffy, may not have earned critical acclaim but the location certainly has. This year sees the launch of a new company Swoop Travel, which offers more than 140 different trekking, kayaking, horse riding and mountaineering trips, from the Lake District in the North to the glacial mountains of Torres del Paine in the far south, as well as to lesser known parts of this great wilderness. CSS
Filming for the highly anticipated two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, the forerunner to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, begins this year. After much legal wrangling, New Zealand’s glorious natural landscapes will once again serve as the backdrop to Middle Earth, providing further inspiration to explore such unspoilt sites as Milford Sound and the Tongariro National Park. The country will also be hosting the Rugby World Cup in September and October. OS
Contributions by: Graham Boynton, Francisca Kellett, Adrian Bridge, Oliver Smith, Natalie Paris, Nick Trend, Charles Starmer-Smith, Simon Horsford and Jolyon Attwooll
Back in July last year we found this Media request on the BN forum from Adam Hyland a student photographer.
“I have been a photographer for some years now and have been commissioned to shoot an increasing amount of jobs over the past few years ranging from still life commissions to actors/models portfolios. At the beginning of 2008 I decided to go back to university to gain a degree in photography as I knew it was something I wanted to pursue as a full time career.
At the start of the second year in September we are to be given a photo documentary project in which we have been advised to choose a diverse and original subject to photographically document. To support the photographs we will also be required to write an essay in the form of an editorial article for a publication of our choice. I would like to base my article around Naturism, in particular at a holiday venue showing the enjoyment of the daily activities or simply just the relaxation that happens within the venue.
I understand that this is, and can be, a sensitive subject matter if not dealt with correctly and responsibly and hope to gain the confidence of you, your venue and your members/patrons to allow and assist me in producing a fair and beautiful account of naturism. In gratitude for the opportunity I would like to offer the venue the full library of the images taken (copyright free) for your own promotional use or to print for the members/patrons as keepsakes.”
We called Adam and had a long chat about our resort and his project and decided to offer him the opportunity to come and say at our resort for a week to take a range of images for both us and himself. The only issue we had, will the guests we have staying want to get involved in a photo shot?
We decided with Adam that the best thing to do is get in models. I know this is sometimes frowned upon but trust me if you are on holiday you don’t want to be involved in a photo shot. The time to take one photo can sometime takes hours of setting up waiting for the correct light standing in the right place, not frowning when the suns in your eyes the list is endless. We have had several photo shots done with Charlie Simmonds and several magazine photographers and trust me Charlie and the girls work so hard when on a shot it takes me and Samantha a week to get over there visit!!
Adam made contact with several new models who were looking to improve and expand their portfolio and wanted the opportunity to work abroad. We finish up with two sisters, Cassie and Heidi. With Samantha, myself and Dominic our barman also willing to take part Adam had a lot of option open to him
The photo shot took me off resort duties for the whole week. We started with shots around the resort and in the rooms. I was looking for images to show the different services we offer our guests at Vassaliki so we set up several different scenarios so show these. This included our masseuse Mary setting up in our garden, our welcome hampers and an image depicting our Wi-Fi service and a stunning range of images of our cocktails and coffee service. Adam was very particular to detail sometime taking 30 or more shots before being happy with the result.
We then had a day on board one of our catamarans which we are using for our new naturist sailing week this June. The images needed to show people relaxing on board but also the many facilities the boat has to offer. We even spent some time following the cameraman in a small boat so we could get images of her sailing with our nude models on board. The shot took nearly 12 hours to complete but we managed to get some great photos.
The last brief we gave Adam was to create some images to help promote Vasnat South Africa, our new resort that is opening in January 2011. This created two problems, one we were not in South Africa, two the resort was a building site. But I was very impressed with the ideas and creative mind of both Adam and the girls. We travelled around the island and found several locations before settling for a vine yard and field full of fruit trees. We spent most of the day taking a large number of shots and came up with some superb results which are now on our website and ready for the publicity and adverts we plan to put out soon.
Coming to the end of the week we were all very tied but happy with the results. But then two of our guests came and asked Adam if he would be happy to take some photos of them both as a 40th wedding anniversary present to each other. We took them both to a sunning location full of olive trees and flowers. After set up we took a few test shots for lighting etc and then they both undressed and spent over one hour walking through the trees sitting on the branches and lying in the flowers. The results we fantastic and we believe one of the images is now pride of place in their house.
From our experience we are really pleased and impressed with the professionalism and creative skills of Adam and the models. The brief was fulfilled and Adam got a distinction in his course work.