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Rundown for the week of July 11th, 1998

"Naked" by David Sedaris
It's National Nude Week, and playwright and author David Sedaris has hopped on board to help ease our foray into Nude Recreation. Throughout today's journey Sedaris reads from his essay "Naked" which is published in his anthology of essays by the same name. So let's just jump right in and listen to those terrifying few moments when David first drummed up the courage to dive into a clothing optional vacation, and hear what insight he gained from his nude perspective on everyday activities. "Naked" and other Sedaris essays can be found in his book Naked, published by Little Brown.

Iceland Swimming Pools
Before you join David by trading your bathing suit for your birthday suit, see if you can answer this question: In what country does Speedo sell the most swimsuits per capita? You might be surprised at how far north you'd have to go to find out. Would you believe Iceland? Yep, this tiny island nation, home to around a quarter of a million people, sits in the warmth of the Gulf Stream. With so much ocean around, swimming lessons are a compulsory part of the school curriculum and more than half the population regularly visits a swimming pool -- indoor and out, all year 'round. And if you're a tourist in Iceland, as The Savvy Traveler's Ellen Bikales recently was, you'll probably find the swimming pool culture worth checking out.

Some Icelandic pools are in sports complexes any upscale U.S. suburb would envy; others feature the natural elements of the countryside, a dramatic volcanic landscape. In the desert of black sand around Thorsadalur, workers building the geothermic power plants made a pool out of leftover concrete. In Seljavellir, you have to hike to the pool -- it wraps around base of a mountain, with a glacier above.

A booklet available at the tourist center in Reykjavik gives the locations and generous hours of 120 pools; you can get a list by region at http://www.travelnet.is/activities/swimming.shtml
In most places, it costs 200 Icelandic kronur - about $3 - to swim, and you can rent a swimsuit, buy goggles or borrow shampoo at the front desk of most pools. They insist that you take a shower and scrub well - sans suit - before entering the pool. But if you want to leave the suit in the dressing room altogether, that's okay. This is Scandinavia after all.

Q & A I -- Best Beaches
Rudy hears listeners' nominations for the best beach in the world from Copacabana to Key West.

Nude Recreation Interview
All right, you may be a bit squeamish about all this naked talk today, but think about this...nude recreation goes all the way back to the first Olympic Games in Greece. Those athletes didn't think anything of competing in the buff . And it's never been a big deal for European women go topless on the beach. Nudism in the U.S. actually dates all the way back to the '20s, but its popularity has really taken off -- no pun intended -- in the 90s. Matter of fact, it was only a couple of years ago that Forbes Magazine released statistics saying that nude recreation was one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. So what's the big appeal? We went straight to the source for an answer: Susan Weaver is the secretary and spokesperson for the American Association of Nude Recreation, the oldest of its kind in the country with about 50,000 members. Susan dropped by to tell us why less ... is better. The organization's web site: www.aanr.com

Deal of the Week
Korean Air: Los Angeles to Seoul round trip for $500
Plus, bargains on new routes: ATA's (American Trans-Air) service from LaGuardia to Chicago Midway and Spain's Iberia announces new flights from Chicago to Madrid.

Q & A II -- General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:

Lanai'i, Hawaii
Relaxing, hiking, biking, and swimming in a warm place...this used to be the Dole pineapple island. The original place to stay was the Hotel Lanai'i: 808-565-7211.

Spas in the Midwest
Grand Geneva on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin:
800-558-3417 www.grandgeneva.com
Mario's International Spa and Hotel in Cleveland:
888-464-7721 www.marios-spa.com

Montreal Comedy Festival
If you haven't had enough laughs today then you should think about heading to Montreal's International Comedy Festival. The 12-day humor bash, called "Just for Laughs" begins July 15 and is considered to be the Cannes of Comedy. Festival alumni include some of the greats: Lily Tomlin, Drew Carey, Jay Leno, Bob Newhart, Jerry Seinfeld. This year's line-up offers 110 comics from 11 countries including South Africa, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The Savvy Traveler's Judith Ritter is in Montreal's Latin Quarter, the site of this year's gathering.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler

We'll hear from one woman who hitchhiked her way through Vietnam, and she actually got started on a dare. Despite the fact that she was arrested many times, and endured a lot of physical discomfort, Karin Muller's eyes were opened to a world she would never have fathomed:

"The intriguing thing about Vietnam is that almost everything is illegal, but virtually everything is possible."

An uninhibited trek through an elusive land, in Muller's story of Hitchhiking Vietnam. And closer to home, we'll visit a real castle in...Connecticut. It was built by the eccentric actor, William Gillette, who pioneered the role of Sherlock Holmes on the stage:

"When Gillette took on the role, he created what we know today. He brought in the deerstalker cap, the Inverness cape, uh, he actually wrote the line, 'Elementary, my dear Watson.' You won't find that in any of the Doyle books."
A trip to Gillette Castle, plus a city in Mexico that's been designated an International Cultural Treasure. Plus, as always, Rudy's Deal of the Week, and we're hearing your stories about the worst seat mate you've had on the road....

That and more in next week's voyage with the Savvy Traveler. I hope you'll join us.

For tapes of the show...
If you want your very own copy of The Savvy Traveler, order an audio cassette. It's easy. Just call 303-823-8000. The price is $15. As Rudy says, it's a steal.

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