When you travel internationally, you pretty much expect there to be a few hiccups along the way, a few misunderstandings with the language barrier, that kind of thing… Well, we pride ourselves on being intrepid Chronicle staffers, able to navigate foreign horse shows with ease and panache.
Little did we know that our first hiccup would come before we even left the U.S.
Since our former editor, John Strassburger, left the Chronicle in May, our plans for covering the World Equestrian Games were thrown into disarray. Now, John wouldn’t be going. It would be myself–Molly Sorge—our managing editor Beth Rasin, and editorial staffer Sara Lieser. And we needed to book ourselves a hotel, pronto. Aachen isn’t a big town, and word was that empty beds to lay our heads were going quick.
Beth logged onto the press section of the official WEG website, and found that one of the official press hotels, lo and behold, had a room which would accommodate all three of us. Eureka! She booked it posthaste. “Whew!” we thought. “Disaster narrowly averted.”
A few days later, Beth decided to show us the hotel she’d so cleverly found for us. Through the trusty genius of Google, we found the hotel’s actual website, not just the cursory link through the WEG site. And, as we browsed around the site, we started looking at each other a bit askance….
The hotel’s site had the usual links to photos of the rooms, and area attractions. One of the more prominent links was titled “naturalist.” We weren’t quite sure what this meant, until we clicked on the link. And saw many different photos of naked people enjoying the various amenities of our future abode. Yep, that’s right, ‘naturalist’ means ‘nudist.’ Beth had booked us two weeks at one of Germany’s finest nudist hotels.
In fact, according to the literature, it’s Germany’s number one ‘bad weather’ nudist destination, due to its nudist-friendly pool area and sauna. Yippee!! The photos showed naked people swimming in the pool, dining at the lounge by the pool, sharing a few drinks at the bar, and, yes, hiking the trails in the woods behind the hotel.
At least, if our luggage got lost on our flight, we’d be all set for the hotel. I don’t know if the actual WEG venue would appreciate our embracing of the naturalist mindset, but we’d be able to swim, eat dinner, and hang out at the bar at our hotel without those pesky clothes! After our initial shock wore off, we decided to play this interesting development to the hilt. All of our significant others were fascinated to hear the salacious details of our hotel booking adventure, and somewhat regretful that they hadn’t signed up to carry our luggage. And we endured a few ribald jokes from our co-workers.
On arrival at the scene of the crime—the hotel—yesterday, our trepidation ran a bit high. But on entering the lobby, we saw no naked cavorting. And our room is spacious and comfortable. We learned some of the rules—such as the times when the pool area is designated ‘naturalist only’ and those with string bikinis need not attend. And that, should we decide to visit the pool area au natural, the hotel staff would really appreciate it if we’d wear a towel as we walk through the lobby. I think we’ll be happy to comply.