butt naked

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This post is about an 11km walk from Merching to Lake Mandicho. I arrive at a lake called Auensee and decide to do a very German thing.

I had spent the night at another friend’s house: Ralph. More than twenty years earlier, we had worked together in a youth hostel in Frankfurt as part of our civilian service. I had since taken up walking and taking photos of myself, and Ralph had settled down and started a family.

It was only when I was about to leave that I made a heartbreaking discovery: Ralph’s kids had decorated the driveway for me. HALOO, it said, HALOO GRISTOF.

the lake

About two hours later I arrived at a place called Auensee. It was an excavation lake, which meant that it had probably been something like a gravel pit once. But with its blue color, its uneven shape, and the lush vegetation on its shores I thought it had a rather natural feel to it. There were fish and waterbirds in it, and part of it had been declared a nature sanctuary.

The rest was being used as a bathing lake by the most German people in the world: free body culturists (aka nudists).

angry naturists

I pulled the Caboose past some of the naked people until I found a spot in the shade, then I also took my clothes off and started messing around with my camera.

The idea was to take a series of self portraits, some of them underwater. I had just started taking my pictures when a delegation of angry naturists appeared. They were as angry as they were naked. WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING, they wanted to know, WHY WAS I TAKING PHOTOS IN A NUDIST AREA?!


Realizing my fuckup I profusely apologized, explained the walking situation to them and the idea of the daily self portraits, and then I showed them the pictures that I had been taking. Of course only I was in them and no one else.

I was forgiven, and then a naked lady called Maria took it upon herself to explain to me all the different sights that I should visit (and possibly take self portraits in front of) in the nearby city of Augsburg.

And so all was well again.

bivouac with Bower

I ended up staying at the lake for several hours. Then, as the sun started going down, I put my clothes back on and walked over to another nearby body of water. It was called Lake Mandicho, and it, too, was artificial. It was part of a hydropower plant, it was much bigger than Auensee, and it had a large lawn for sunbathing that seemed pretty well-suited for camping.

My friend Bower and his son were there. We had decided to take pictures of the sunset and then bivouac together.


the walk from Merching to Lake Mandicho:

  • SteffiJ.

    Du hast auf deiner Reise wahrscheinlich viele Sonnenuntergänge gesehen. Der hier ist aber wunderschön anzuschauen. LG,Steffi aus DD( zur Zeit in England)


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