So – apart from a six-week decamp back to the US in June/July, Dave and I have moved our ‘fitness base’ to a new leisure complex in south-eastern Portugal. It caters for family naturists (on the one side) and adult-only couples and groups on the other, especially welcoming LGTB folks. The theme is fitness – gyms, pools, saunas and, apparently as an afterthought, tennis – they’re clearing what was to be a piece of shrubbery for a couple of courts. Golfers (clothed!) can do their own swingy thing on nearby courses, which abound down here. And, of course, the beach is not far away.
The place is being marketed in certain countries only, and as a private club. People or families will invest in membership, although their friends and relatives can use their ‘allocation’ – its a bit like timeshare, but seemingly more complex. We had thought this was because of the welcome to naturism and gay stuff being kept ‘discrete’ as some sort of planning condition, but apparently not so. It seems that there is a very relaxed attitude to public nudity in Portugal. I quote:
“There is a Portuguese expression, nao faz mal, which roughly translates as ‘it doesn’t matter.’ It perfectly sums up the country’s laid-back attitude towards many things, including nakedness in public, and is the reason why many beaches, whilst not necessarily officially recognised as naturist, are naturist by default or common consent.
“Public nudity is not actually against the law in Portugal, and an offence is only committed if somebody feels morally offended and files a complaint – an unlikely occurrence. So you can, in theory, go naked anywhere you want.
“However, as always, common sense should prevail. You wouldn’t take all your clothes off and parade down the main tourist drag in Albufeira for instance – even if it is called The Strip. And whilst topless sunbathing is as common in Portugal as most places in southern Europe, you might cause offence going au naturel on many of the popular and busy beaches in the main towns and resorts – especially in August, when the whole of Portugal seems to decamp to the coast to cool off, often in large family groups complete with the pre-requisite black-shawled granny.”
Well, we don’t expect many “black-shawled grannies” to show up in our new facility – especially on the ‘gay-friendly’ side! The quote, by the way, is from http://www.inspirationalalgarve.com
Our closest ‘locals’, Alfredo and Sebastien at 19yo, do not exhibit this apparent lack of inhibition, although they have trained in the gym with us naked a couple of times now. They certainly don’t strip off with their girlfriends on the beach… but we shall see! Two beaches in the area of Tavira, a town west of us, are listed as gay-friendly on one of the local gay-guide sites http://algarvegay2.webnode.com/praias/ but the closer beaches do not feature there – not that this really matters, in our situation!
The place feels very ‘European’ – EU flags everywhere reflecting a lot of invested money from other member states’ contributions!, Euro currency, lots of international tourists, and TV channels on cable from all over Europe including ‘our’ BBC – and it is sometimes hard to remember that it was a dictatorship until 1975 when a fascist dictatorship was overthrown. Gay marriage became legal a few year ago, and the ruling Socialist Party which came to power 18 months ago has already brought in a new law allowing same-sex couples to adopt, and would bring in a euthanasia movement although there is considerable opposition – this is still a strongly Catholic society (hard to believe with some of those recent changes and relaxed attitudes) – and the Pope is actually here right now intending to canonise the shepherd children who witnessed the vision of Fatima 100 years ago and is expected to speak against euthanasia and abortion… a complex country indeed!
Overall, I think we can fit in rather well here! Especially if we find time to learn a little of the language. We’ll see.
Meantime, the picture gallery continues with relevance to the things we are here to do:
(OK, neither of us could support that weight…!!).
Elastic strands in action…
And, tonight’s finale – a ‘kewl’ gym!