SOME 20 years ago, when naturists Frances and David Fry moved to the Algarve, they opened the Escola de Arte de Ferragudo. They remember, with fond amusement, their farmer neighbours hanging over the garden wall watching the art lessons and, more specifically, appreciating the figure and form of life models posing around the swimming pool.
Things have moved on a little since then. The Quinta da Horta in Ferragudo, home of the Escola de Arte, was made famous in 2001 by the British TV documentary, Stark Naked, which spread their fame well outside the borders of the Algarve, with many naturist visitors arriving from Britain and as far afield as New Zealand, Israel and Chile.
The Frys have now acquired an additional centre, a farm on the west coast, set in acres of rolling hillside, where the couple and their guests are busy creating a naturist nature reserve, which will eventually have more than 15km of secluded trails for strolling, riding or promenading in horse-driven carriages.
As well as offering holiday painting courses, the Quinta da Horta now provides workshops ranging from beginners’ tennis classes to poetry writing and carriage driving. These workshops are principally designed with the holidaymaker in mind, but local residents are welcome to join in. All courses and social events are organised with English as the principal language and details of forthcoming events can be found on the website www.naturist-holidays-portugal.com
The next workshop is on April 17, 19 and 21 and deals with massage, aromatherapy and other holistic specialities. The course leader is Sally (Hazel) Dawson. Each session is followed by a group meal and discussion, and the cost for all three sessions is 85 euros and 45 euros for a single day.
Resident naturists are welcome to join the Frys and their guests either at the Quinta da Horta in Ferragudo, the New Forest Lodge in Bordeira, or on one of the many beach barbecues that they organise on different local beaches suitable for naturist picnics.
The real naked chef
Frances Fry, known to many as the “Real Naked Chef” from her regular columns in several European magazines, is particularly keen to welcome guests who may be new to naturism. “We are not a naturist club in the old-fashioned concept. We are a clothing-optional centre and hope our guests will feel comfortable with whatever they wear. It is not clothing but personalities that make our guests interesting,” says Frances.
Any local resident who wishes to join with fellow naturists in pursuing cultural and social activities is welcome to contact the Quinta da Horta by emailing [email protected] or telephoning David or Frances on 282 461 395.