Kiev Commonwealth of Naturists

"Health & Efficiency" September 2000

TOO MANY NATURISTS CHIEFS

Peter H. Dietrich

Every year the International Naturist Federation sponsors an Alp-Adriatic meeting that brings together naturists from Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Russia, and the Ukraine. Peter H. Dietrich went along with his video camera to record the proceedings but found the venue - the famous Monsena nudist resort in Croatia - was overrun with...

"Health & Efficiency" September 2000

I had never been to Croatia, despite years of travelling and filming at numerous naturist resorts. So I was more than pleased to be invited this year to cover the 28th Alp-Adriatic meeting - held annually under the auspices of the International Naturist Federation. (INF)

The meeting was to be held at Monsena, a well-established resort that can hold up to 2,000 people at the height of the holiday season. It is a firm favourite for many Brits seeking guaranteed sunshine.

Three planes, a seven-hour wait in Zagreb airport, where the heat was excruciating, a final half-hour taxi ride and finally I arrived at Monsena at around 11 pm having left London at 6am. I collapsed into bed after a cold shower and only hoped it would be worth it.

The sun was shining in a perfect blue sky the following morning as I wandered up to the restaurant for breakfast then down to the sea to get a first glimpse of the Adriatic and I knew at once it was worth it. Across the bay the cathedral bell tower of Rovinj stood out like some prehistoric space ship about to blast off and the cry of the gulls over the sea seemed to say: "Welcome fellow wanderer!"

Monsena is all that the brochures say it is - a paradise for naturist families with good accommodation and camping facilities. There are many restaurants, bars, entertainment and activities for all ages. The beautiful rugged coastline with its rock pools and flat rock beds - no sandy beaches here but so what? The sea is invitingly warm and the sun never stopped shining. So much for Monsena my host.

As for the actual Alp-Adriatic meetings they have been held for 28 years. Naturists from Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Russia and the Ukraine gather to hold sports events, games and roundtable discussions about naturism in their parts of the world. Never over-fond of such official meetings I was feeling OK as the official film-maker and reporter for the Ukrainian team - led by my old friend from Kiev, Andrii Litovchenko. We all met up on the first day (they'd been travelling for five days!) and plans were quickly under discussion about filming.

"Health & Efficiency" September 2000

"Health & Efficiency" September 2000

That's when the problems began. Firstly, the Monsena administration doesn't allow filming or photography -signs posted everywhere make this clear. Then each country had a representative who had to decide whether their delegation could participate in the filming. Arguments were held in earnest, some saying yes, some saying no, some indifferent, but with no one actually able to agree - except to differ! In despair I recalled that old song about TOO MANY CHIEFS AND NOT ENOUGH INDIANS. That seemed to be precisely the problem.It was finally decided that I could film the Russian and the Ukrainian delegations and that was all. A major blow as once again the 'official' representatives of what is supposedly a movement for the promotion of naturism blocked my film plans. He looked at me as if I were some kind of criminal merely because I intended to record their meeting for posterity! What exactly are these people so afraid of? Could it be that at heart they are ashamed of being naturists and the very idea of being captured on videotape to actually promote the movement they preach the benefits of is really abhorrent to them? One has to wonder about this, sadly.

Thankfully, the Russians and the Ukrainians had no such petty whims to struggle against and most of them had saved up for a whole year in order to make this trip. So with them I managed to make what I hope is a very beautiful film that shows many of the best parts of Monsena and the neighbouring islands and beaches. We generally forgot the 'official' meeting - as they seemed to sit around, fully dressed with collar and ties, in restaurants and bars, talking about naturism instead of actually living and practising what they tend to over-preach. Far too many chiefs, all puffed-up with their illusory self-importance. We were out in the sun really enjoying ourselves.

As for the official sports events we only attended the first of the volleyball competitions. I was appalled to see every participant wearing shorts and shirts! I thought this was an official INF-sponsored naturist meeting! I later discovered that the Hungarian delegation had even brought along what looked like a professional team, non-naturist, as if to make certain of winning first prize. So much for the spirit of naturism I thought, returning to the freedom-loving naturists on the beach.

Another major blow was an attempted visit to nearby Koversada. Together with the Russian and Ukrainian delegations we wanted to look around the famous site. Well, the administration at the reception was rudely hostile. We were refused admittance - despite our badges from Monsena and our credentials. I had to wonder then if it wasn't because the Russians and Ukrainians are considered to be the 'poor' relations of naturism, even though they are also the friendliest naturists I've ever encountered. So is naturism becoming racist as well as camera-shy? One has to ask such questions. Did they know there was a British naturist reporter in the bus who was shocked by this attitude? Did they really care? Maybe they have enough German marks and English pounds coming in to be able to turn away 'undesirable elements'. I was disgusted deep down by the whole affair and I will not forget it easily, especially after the warm welcome I received last year in the Ukraine - a welcome they extend to all visitors.

"Health & Efficiency" September 2000

Another day it was family games at Monsena. Great stuff to film usually but again one of the self-appointed chiefs - a Greek with a sour face like a bear with toothache - decreed that there would be "no filming except with small cameras." So, now the size of my professional camera was being discriminated against! Whatever next! Maybe they won't allow moustaches next summer? All those chiefs, all trying to outdo each other with their endless rules and regulations. Guaranteed to harm die movement and drive potential naturists away.

Despite these handicaps I made a film about Monsena as best I could. My Ukrainian and new Russian friends all invited me to visit them as soon as possible to film dieir groups at home with no restrictions. Big Chiefs take note!

I don't know if I'll attend any future INF meetings -their attitude towards film-makers who try to promote naturism leaves a lot to be desired. Naturism is something to be enjoyed by all the family and I think my film expresses that enjoyment a lot more man all their grim faces and neck-tied bodies sitting around in stuffy restaurants. The 'naturist sports meetings' with clothed participants, family games not to be filmed by 'big' cameras and dozens of 'chiefs' all satisfied with themselves and dieir endless rules.

Our last evening was spent sipping Croatian wine and singing Russian songs - far from the madding crowd. The sea was rolling on regardless as it always does, telling me that no chief is too important to change if only someone holds up the mirror. I hope this article might do that and so make naturism a more pleasurable lifestyle as we all know it should be. Let my film be the message and the mirror and the active participants the messengers.

I leave for the Ukraine soon to continue the film I began last summer. We'll be going down to the Crimea this time - and with no chiefs, only joyful Indians. There is a great deal of fun to be had -and to be filmed - but more about that that later.

Peter H. Dietrich

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