A Prude Bares It All On A Nude Beach In Crete

Who wants to read a story about a nude beach from a Catholic prude who won’t even take their clothes off? A month ago, I wrote a piece about a nude beach in Patmos that generated some hate mail, both from strangers and friends. I’m not a naturist and the fact that I took a few cheap shots at the age and appearance of many of the nudists I’ve encountered in Greece and elsewhere rubbed some the wrong way.

But a few of my friends also gave me a hard time for being “uptight” and “close minded.” When in Rome, one reminded me, do as the Romans do. Another friend that works as an editor at a magazine I contribute to wrote that she was “disappointed” in Gadling’s editor for “not insisting that” I “go native in the name of journalism,” and concluded that the least I “could have done was take it off on a nude beach.”I took all of this in but resolved to do nothing about it. My distaste for public nudity dates back to at least high school, when we were forced to shower in a dirty, open shower room after gym class. I’m sure that some guys enjoy that kind of male bonding, but I’m not one of them, thank you very much.

Still, despite my misgivings and hang-ups about public nudity, I couldn’t help but reconsider my position on nude beaches after spending four nights in Plakias, a quiet little beach town on Crete’s south coast a couple weeks ago. Our apartment was directly across the street from a beach that had a very lively nude section at the end of it and I couldn’t help but notice how much fun the nudists seemed to be having.

We didn’t sit amongst them, but they were close enough that I could see what was going on, and my sons and I played the role of nude beach voyeurs a few times, taking slow strolls and swims near their turf. The average age on this beach was about 55 or 60. But I feel compelled to admit that there were some younger, more attractive nude couples on this beach as well, so my earlier insinuation that nude beaches are the stomping ground of creepy, obese seniors is obviously well off the mark.

Over the course of a few days, I saw a few attractive women in their 20s and 30s casually strolling about and frolicking on the beach in the buff, yet attracting no real attention, and it reminded me of a revelatory moment on my first visit to Germany at the age of 23.

On my first night in the country, I went down to use the sauna and spa in my hotel in the historic eastern city of Erfurt and saw what I thought was a mirage: two absolutely lovely young women taking a shower outside the sauna with no curtain or door to impede anyone’s view.

I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of them. I knew it wasn’t socially acceptable to get a very good look but I couldn’t immediately leave before making sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Call me a pervert, if you like, but I’m an American, and in my country, beautiful women do not take showers in public.

Inside the sauna, there were even more attractive women completely naked and I decided on the spot that Germany was a wonderful country indeed. But I couldn’t help but conclude that such a scene would have been impossible in the U.S.A. If word got out that gorgeous women were showering and lounging about nude somewhere in the 50 states, there would be pandemonium and the clubs would have to hire security to protect the naked women.

But Germany, Greece and other countries are different – attractive women can flaunt it on the beach in the buff and no one seems to notice. Or perhaps everyone notices but does an awfully good job of pretending that they aren’t noticing. In any event, I took note of the fact that the Plakias beach had a few good looking young people having fun going nude but still saw no reason to take part.

That is, until our last morning in Plakias. My wife came into the living room, where I was writing, and said, “Can you watch the kids for a while? I think I want to do something crazy.”

“Something crazy?” I asked. “Like what?”

“I’m going skinny-dipping on the nude beach,” she said. “We’re leaving town and this is the perfect time.”

I should mention here that my wife is not the kind of freethinking radical who would have danced naked at Woodstock. No. She was raised in a small town in the Midwest, and is a God-fearing, modest, thoroughly American lass. But on this day, she wanted to take a nude swim just for the hell of it. An hour later, she returned, looking quite content.

“Were you really gallivanting around naked on the nude beach?” I asked.

“I wasn’t gallivanting,” she protested. “I just took a quick swim and then came right back out and got dressed, but it was fun, you should try it.”

Not to be outdone, I thought, what the hell, and headed across the street for a skinny-dip of my own. I made my way down the textile section of the beach towards the nude section, which is right beneath a huge rocky cliff popular with rock climbers, and saw an attractive, nude young woman with disproportionately large breasts playing paddle tennis with a nude male companion.

Their body parts were flying all over the beach as they lunged and dove for shots in a spirited contest that, bizarrely, seemed to be attracting no attention whatsoever on the crowded beach. Again, I was sure that a scene like this one would inspire mayhem in the U.S.

Scenes like this one are both a best and worst case scenario for men. I won’t get into all the practical considerations of being a novice on a nude beach- men will know what I’m referring to here- but suffice it to say that guys don’t want their hearts beating too fast while in the buff.

There was a lounge chair available right next to the nude paddle tennis couple but I felt a little shady taking that one, so I walked further on towards an open sun bed a safe distance away but very close to the shoreline, bathing suit still on.

Happily, most of the other nude sunbathers were either asleep, getting (nude) massages from two Asian women who worked the beach, or were absorbed in books. If no one is looking at a woman with quintuple D cups playing paddle tennis, surely no one will notice me taking a quick nude swim, I thought.

I was safely in the cool, clean Libyan Sea, naked, within about 30 seconds of nervously shedding my suit about as hastily as one might flee a burning building. I didn’t run into the water, but you can call it a quick trot. As soon as I was submerged, I felt cool, free and relaxed. Why had I never done this before?

After a few minutes in the water, another attractive nude woman, who was snorkeling, came floating right by me. Maybe she was in pursuit of some colorful fish, I don’t know, but I was struck by how cavalierly she was floating around, bare butt in the air, totally unconcerned about swimming right near other bathers like me.

After about a half hour, I swam back to the shore, and purposely exited right in front of my chair. Somehow, on the way out of the water, I felt more self-conscious, probably because I was dripping wet and knew I looked ridiculous. It was probably only 15 steps but I had nightmare visions of bumping into people I knew – a priest, a former teacher, a colleague from work, who knows – even though I lived thousands of miles away.

That didn’t happen, but in my rush to get my suit back on, I struggled to get the second leg in the proper hole and nearly keeled over. I must have looked ridiculous. I enjoyed the nude swim but I still draw the line at lounging about naked on the beach, at least until they invent a 100 SPF sun block specifically designed for genitalia.

But I have to admit, I dug the nude beach in Plakias. Maybe next time I won’t be in such a hurry. Who knows, maybe at some point, I’ll become so European that the sight of beautiful naked women won’t even arouse my attention. But I doubt it.

(Images via Wolfgang Straudt, and Dave Seminara)

Three Hotel Bargains In Crete For Less Than $100 Per Night

Crete has it all: frozen-in-time mountain villages, unspoiled beaches, medieval churches and monasteries, the atmospheric Venetian port cities of Rethymno and Chania, and an abundance of hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor activities. The north coast of the island is also chock-a-block with hideous resorts filled with sun-starved package tourists from Northern Europe.

But it’s easy to avoid the tackiest places and, perhaps best of all, Crete is still very affordable, even in the cusp of the high season in late June. I stayed in four hotels, all priced at less than $100 per night for a family of four and can highly recommend these three establishments as great bargains.

Palazzo DucaChania

We were staying on the outskirts of town in The Halepa Hotel, which we found to be adequate but overpriced, when we stumbled across this brand new, eight-room, family-run hotel, right smack in the middle of Chania’s unforgettable old town, just a half block from the waterfront. The Duca had just opened a couple weeks before and the large, light-filled rooms were cheaper and far nicer than the Halepa, so we decided to switch hotels and were glad that we did.Most budget and mid-range Greek hotels are pretty light on amenities – scratchy towels, razor thin mattresses and archaic plumbing are often the order of the day, but this place comes as a terrific surprise in the mid-range price category. We paid 75for a big, beautiful room (see photo above and video below) with a terrace and small kitchen. The Duca has super comfortable memory foam mattresses, plus very high quality sheets, pillows and towels, all very rare at this price point in Greece.

Plakias ResortsPlakias

If you’re looking for a relaxed little beach town, free of big, tacky resorts with a huge, lovely sandy beach, look no further than pretty little Plakias, which is popular with families and naturists, rather than party people. Plakias Resorts offers inexpensive but very high-end, new vacation apartments right across the street from a beautiful clothing-optional beach.
We had a modern, very comfortable one-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen and three terraces, two with stunning sea views, for just 70per night. My kids loved the kids pool and there’s a beachfront taverna around the corner with very good grilled octopus. The only downer about this place is the dour manager who always seems to be in a bad mood. But it’s well worth enduring her moodiness for this terrific bargain.

Afroditi HotelRethymno

On a three month trip around Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Greece, this was the cheapest place we stayed at just 40per night but I don’t think we received a warmer welcome anywhere. Yiannis picked us up at the bus station, plied us with free wine, a plate of fruit, gifts for our kids and a ride back to a car rental establishment upon departure.

We had a very nice loft with a kitchen that was fully stocked, a washing machine and a shady courtyard terrace. The bed was a bit Greek for my tastes, as in hard and uncomfortable, but at this price, I was complaining. I couldn’t figure out where Yiannis’ profit margin was but loved the bargain.

Drunk on vacation? Don’t harass people, or someone will set fire to your penis!

Here is a story that is bound to make you think twice about harassing the locals when you are drunk.

When 20 year old Stuart Feltham tried to assault a 26 year old local girl on the Greek island of Crete, she first politely asked him to stop.

Like most people, she was not impressed by a drunk British tourist dropping his pants and waving his genitals around.

Her requests went unanswered, so she poured a glass of Sambuca on him. Even that wasn’t enough for this guy to get the message, and when he continued harassing her, she set fire to the alcohol (and his genitals) – causing severe second degree burns.

Mr. Feltham was rushed to a private clinic where he is being treated. Thankfully he was smart enough to pay for travel insurance, and his policy had no exclusions for burned penis.

The British Home Office (like our State Department) is of course embarrassed by the whole thing, especially since they have been campaigning to reduce the number of Brits getting in trouble when they are abroad.

Reveling tourists are such an annoyance to local residents of Crete, that Miss Fanouraki is being called a hero. She’s claiming self defense and the local magistrate has already hinted that they’ll most likely accept that, and let her off easy.

Lesson learned today: no means no, and when someone pours flammable liquid on your private parts, run to the bathroom for water.


Cross-dressing nuns get off in Crete

Insult is added to industry when you appear in court wearing the clothes that got you arrested. The 17 Britsh men, ranging in age from 18 to 65, who were pinched for their drunken nun-attired escapades made their appearance this morning – and were judged innocent! Nobody, it seems, was willing to talk … or, they just didn’t think it was worth it to testify.

According to local police, the British tourists dressed as nuns and carried crosses. Under their habits, however, they were clad in thongs, which they had a penchant for flashing. This behavior resulted in charges of exposing themselves and offending religious symbols.

With no witnesses, though, the judge had no choice but to judge them innocent. Local residents need not worry: there will be more.

A report on BBCD says that “Malia has become synonymous with Britons behaving badly.” I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what the next costume is!

Drunk Brits get Crete arrest for nun prank

How many people actually dress up as nuns when they get drunk?

In Crete, the answer was “17” recently. That’s how many drunk British tourists were arrested for insulting the Catholic Church. After a bit of extra imbibing, they donned “nun attire and naughty lingerie,” which didn’t sit too well with the local cops.

The tourists were busted in Malia, which is a popular destination for the young, drunk and rowdy. Even seasoned resort-town resident, who’ve probably become immune to the stupidity that tourists bring, have limits, it seems.

The penalty is most likely to be a fine.

UPDATE: After spending the night in jail wearing the lingerie they were wearing when they were arrested, the men have all been set free. Moreover, since no one showed up to testify that they had been upset by the tourists’ bawdy conduct, the court dropped all charges.

More stories of booze gone bad in the skies