A couple who traveled from Germany to "nakation" this week in Pasco County, dubbed the nudist community capital of the world, is receiving star treatment.
Everywhere they go, a German filmmaker and her crew will follow, along with a representative of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce who hopes to capitalize on their trip and make Pasco a bigger international draw for nudist tourists.
The couple, Luise and Peter Krause, came to vacation in some of Pasco's nudist communities. The filmmaker, Monique Liliensiek, and her crew want to document their story to show audiences at home why millions of Europeans choose to live without clothes.
Pam Oakes, who helps the chamber bring nudist tourists to Pasco from abroad, wants the Krauses to go home and tell their nudist friends to vacation here.
"You can't get that from an ad," Oakes said. "This is what we really depend on."
Pasco gets its reputation as nudist capital of the world as home to roughly a dozen communities — out of about 270 in the United States — and the few restrictions it poses on them, according to Pasco Naturally magazine. As many as 300 people live at Pasco's oldest community, Lake Como Co-op, during peak times. Altogether, Pasco's nudist population represents an important tax and volunteer base for the county, Oakes said, which is why she think it's important European nudists visit to help it grow.
After the Krauses met with 30 chamber representatives and local officials Wednesday morning, the couple went to Lake Como.
Past the front gate and "please bare with us" signs, they stripped.
That's natural for the Krauses, who manage a sports grill in Nuremberg. After hours, they spend all their time at home naked.
Luise Krause said the appeal of living without clothes is the personal freedom and feeling of oneness with nature. Those feelings are amplified, she said, when shared with others at nudist communities. They've traveled to communities all over Europe during their 19 years as nudists.
"It's like a big family," she said.
The Krauses might have looked like they lived at Lake Como if not for Liliensiek and her cameraman, who were both clothed, following them.
With good humor, the Krauses worked with the TV crew Wednesday to set up shots walking along a nature trail, followed by filming at a barbecue and party.
Liliensiek first met the Krauses during a previous assignment. She said when her bosses at Germany's VOX TV channel told her they wanted a story about German nudists, she immediately thought of the Krauses.
They're part of a shrinking nudist community in Europe, Liliensiek said. Nudists there are older, and young people aren't interested in the lifestyle. She hopes her film, a two-hour documentary being released in July, will persuade them to reconsider.
Fewer young people joining nudist communities is a problem in the United States, too, Oakes said. Her theory is that's because the younger generation views joining a nudist community as a big commitment, like joining a Lion's Club chapter.
To reach potential European recruits, Oakes designs and places ads with nudist publications overseas. The peak time for European nudists to visit resorts there is during summer, she said, which is a slow time for Pasco communities.
Despite Pasco's appeal, the Krauses don't plan to move here soon. They return to Germany on Saturday.
But they did have good things to say about Lake Como. The feeling of walking naked through its nature park, they said, was amazing.
"It's like balm for the soul," Peter Krause said.