A response to “Hiking in the Buff”

I thought I would post this response I got from Wyrdsmyth to yesterday’s Hiking in the Buff post, as he lives in Germany and can therefore give a more balanced view on the topic. [And I’m not sure if everybody reads the comments]

Wyrdsmyth writes:

Germany Calling …

I think it’s important to point out here that it’s not “the Germans” who are all hiking “au naturelle” but just a few nutty specimens!

Unfortunately, Heidi Klum (arguably one of Germany’s most famous exports and also arguably a bit nutty) only takes her kit off for lots of cash and a star photographer – and does not walk around the German geography showing off her contour lines.

Another point against wholesale cavorting in the hills without “ze lederhosen” is that the Teutonic weather – at least in high-lying regions – is often wet, cool and windy. So the article must be relegated to the “Interesting People” folder (see Monty Python) for filling up some magazine space in a hurry.

(Warning: gross over-simplication now follows)

Alright, having said that, I must come clean and report that Germany does have quite a tradition of public nudity. There are photos from the Nazi era of lightly clothed (or not) and athletic people doing sport and generally getting fit for the Fatherland.

After the war, West Germans got down to the serious business of rebuilding the country and working hard. Kind of emulating the American Dream: straight ahead, a bit straight-laced and rather laced up. Yes, there was “permissiveness” in print and deed, and there were some nudist camps, but most people thought they were weird.

Post-war Eastern Germany had more of a history of public nudity (i.e. during the Communist-Socialist period), but this was mainly done on the beach etc. in summer (no ticks, no mosquitoes, no goose pimples …) and – I am told – as a kind of joyous revolt against political über-control. So even today, as a kind of tradition, many beaches along the Baltic coast (much more than in the Western part of the country) have FKK sections (Freikörperkultur, literally “free-body culture”, i.e. naturism) where you are allowed, nay, encouraged to drop your shorts and get down to the nitty-gritty. Whole families bask in the sun and there are also good-looking people to be seen. Also female. Also playing beach volleyball. All good clean fun. ‘Strue …

Some less nutty fully-clothed German hikers (Image source: http://www.german-info.com)

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Categories: Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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10 Comments on “A response to “Hiking in the Buff””

  1. jacquelincangro
    July 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Thanks for clearing that up Wyrdsmyth! I figured it must be a handful of rogue nudists, not the masses who were heading to the great outdoors sans shorts.
    Still, quite a good laugh!

    • July 15, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      Bonjour cher Jacquelin!

      Dunno how the media people roll in your neck of the woods, but here you get what I call the “Latest Frenzy”, which is often some food-related issue curiously lasting only 3 months in said media (e.g. BSE, bird flu, EHEC), the “Golden Oldies” (“recent” studies have discovered – just in time for the Xmas splurge – that red wine contains thingies which boost your health) and “Filler-Uppers” (crazy people; weird new fads like this Twitzer 😉 everyone is gaga about).
      So you have to apply a strong filter to see what’s really nutritious information and what is just dressing.
      Another giveaway is that the “crazy people” are often furriners – strange that the rogue German nudists did not get into the local news AFAIK, but made it all the way to Newsweek (soon to be renamed Nudesweek). We, do of course, hear about lots of strange people in the USA …
      All the best and be sure to dress up warmly when you go hiking!

      • jacquelincangro
        July 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

        It’s good to know that NYC hasn’t cornered the market on “crazy people.” We do have a man who likes to sing and dance in Times Square and calls himself the Naked Cowboy. You can use your imagination from there. In fact if you Google Naked Cowboy, you can see what I’m talking about. 🙂

  2. July 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Good–now that we’ve gotten that straight–we can still point out what a great post yours was! Wyrdsmyth is hysterical in his forthright and ass-baring analysis! Kudos to both of you for what is best about blogging–the dialogue–not to mention, the naked truth we all now know about hiking and nudity in alpine places!

    • July 15, 2011 at 9:17 am #

      Hi Kathryn,

      Thanks for your accolade, but I must insist that no asses were bared, let alone mistreated, in the making of this post!

      Reminds me of that wonderful schoolboy howler about “the burro of a rabbit” to which the teacher wrote “looks like this boy does not know his ass from a hole in the ground” …

      Anyhoo, I can assure you that Alpine hiking is every bit as wholesome as those old Heidi films (Heidi, the young pig-tailed girl – not Klum, the shrilly annoying host of Germany’s Next Top Model).

      Keep well and keep on hiking.

  3. July 15, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Thanks for your comments Jackie and Kathy! Wyrdsmyth is often MIA, so I’ll alert him to the fact that he has had a response.

    Wyrdsmyth is a funny guy. I wish he’d agree to be a regular guest blogger on my site, but he claims he is “very busy”. 😉 Yet he leaves these LONG comments . . .

    • July 15, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Hi Lis!

      I am not MIA, just … diverted. And I leave long comments because I am so used to translating screeds of technical documentation – somehow writing just a sentence seems, well, wrong.
      Fur instance, I got myself a Twitzer account, but somehow it just cuts off my thoughts just when I have really gotten going. Quite a serious bug, I think. Must report it; they won’t gain many Twits, or whatever they call their subscribers.

      So, have a nice day – before somebody else has it …

  4. July 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Gotta love you, Wyrdsmyth! Come visit my blog and leave an unclad comment. We need the naked truth over there, as well! Spread the sartorial love!

  5. July 22, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Hey, just to chime in, mountain-hiking naked must be really hard naked, all those bugs and the cold, cold air would totally freeze off your important bits!

    “strange that the rogue German nudists did not get into the local news AFAIK”

    “I can assure you that Alpine hiking is every bit as wholesome as those old Heidi films ”

    You mean the Heidi book, surely? Reading is not dead! 🙂

    • July 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

      I guess the Wyrdsmyth was thinking of the visual aspect in the Heidi films. Don’t think he ever read the books!

      Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! 🙂

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