Thong beach walk in the Eastern Algarve.

I know there’s plenty of naturist beaches out there, thank goodness, but this isn’t an official one. I don’t like to impose my nakedness on others if it’s not welcome but, more often than not, you will see people with nothing on at all at, what would be considered, a regular beach. I should mention that I’m quite partial to a swim thong. I realise that pure naturists will deride me for this, I do understand but, please let me enjoy this compromise. It does, sometimes, make others smile too.

I always travel to the beach trying to look as respectable as I can, shorts and t-shirt with normal black swim shorts underneath. My reasoning is that if the beach is busy, particularly with young families then, swim shorts it will be, for the rest of the day. I don’t want to impose middle-age bloke in thong or in the buff on anyone who doesn’t want it.

I head away from that tiresome necessity that so many beautiful places regrettably have, the car park. I’m soon cheered by the unmistakeable, welcome and refreshing smell of the sea. The gradual descent begins to reveal a wonderfully vast beach, apparently running for close to 10 kilometres according to the local tourist beach guide. I arrive roughly in the middle so have options in either direction. Directly ahead and set back from the front is a cluster of low single-storey cafes and a few shops, refreshingly there aren’t too many people around. I walk past these and reach a small area of closely spaced sunbeds and parasols which are mainly empty anyway. I personally find all of this tends to detract from the natural beauty of a beach, it’s just not my cup of tea.

Choosing to Ignore this and looking in either direction is a big landscape of pristine almost straight sandy beach and a fairly calm turquoise blue sea. I decide to walk east and within minutes there’s only the occasional happy looking couple or individual soaking up the sun. I have a bag slung over my shoulder as I troop though the deeper sand towards the back of the beach. It contains the usual beach essentials, towel, sun-tent, water, snacks, sun protection, MP3 player and, a few of my much cherished collection of swim thongs.

I walk for roughly 10 minutes or so and find a suitable, reasonably deserted, spot on this beautiful, quiet sandy beach, I spend a few minutes getting everything set up, tent erected, towel laid out, shorts and t-shirt off and everything stowed away in the shade. Now that I’m comfortable and seem to have familiarised myself with the surroundings and overall ‘feel’ of the beach then, and only then, is It time to change.

I remove my normal, rather boring, black swim shorts and carefully position everything inside a, some might consider, fairly lurid lime green swim thong. The cooling sea breeze now circulating nicely where it hadn’t a few moments ago. I lay on my back first, sun directly overhead, settled, sorted and happy.

After approximately 30 minutes of relaxed sunbathing and sipping mineral water, I hear a noise amongst the soothing wind and waves. Two giggling late teenage girls who have walked along the beach to find a deserted spot so they can take pictures of each other frolicking in the surf for their social media accounts spot me. One then skilfully positions herself in my line of sight and poses. The other, taking the picture, slowly pans the camera directly at me and shoots, several times. I don’t care, they both look at the results, laugh loudly and saunter away. Later, I assume, they probably posted me on the web somewhere. So what? Maybe I am a bit of an exhibitionist after all?

This amusing incident pretty much prompts me to go for the walk I’d been planning to do anyway. Once the coast is, as it were, clear, I set off, wearing thong and sunglasses, that’s it. Not quite, I take my phone for its map tracking app to measure how far I walk. I guess it’s a male thing, stats, facts and figures. But, I do have a thing about maps as well as thongs.

I decide to continue in the easterly direction I’d taken when I’d arrived earlier. My map app indicates a good 3 miles of potentially deserted, uninterrupted and unspoilt beach backed with gentle dunes peppered with those low dense plants which thrive in the combination of sand and salt. I head for the water’s edge and try to locate the walking sweetspot in the sand which is firm enough to walk on with minimal effort.

It’s immediately beautiful, the fine whitish sand peppered with seemingly thousands of shells of all colours, shapes and sizes combined with the cooler-than-expected Atlantic Ocean gently lapping over my feet. Scanning the horizon there’s not a cloud to be seen in the peerless blue sky, just a high bright sun giving the sand the perfect temperature to walk on barefoot.

As I walk I take some deep, satisfied breaths and feel my body start to relax, my mind follows suit and drifts away in a sort of contented daydream. I’m soon brought back to the real world when I see a chap walking towards me in the opposite direction. I assume he’s a local given his complexion and hair colour, roughly mid-thirties, in reasonable shape and wearing possibly the biggest, baggiest swimming trunks I’ve ever seen, chalk and cheese in the swimwear stakes. He is the first person I’ve encountered since I started walking and, for some reason, I feel a little nervous.

I’m almost at that crossing point where two people walking towards each other in opposite directions meet. Just as I get there I manage to step on a rather sharp upturned shell, I do my utmost to brush it off and mask the pain in my foot while trying to maintain some dignity and an element of cool. I hobble along a bit further before checking over my shoulder. My fellow beach walker is still going, lost in his own world and thoughts (and almost lost in his swim shorts) so, I take the opportunity to check my foot and give it a prolonged dip in the cool water.

During this brief stop I spot a slow moving blue fishing boat some way out, I don’t know how far away it is, it’s impossible to gauge. I resume walking and notice the sound of seagulls circling overhead, drawn to the fishing boat I assume although I notice a fair few standing on the beach a little way ahead. The clusters of standing seagulls become more of a feature in the deserted parts of the beach. It’s quite nice to have a bit of company.

I’m getting closer to the point where I feel it would be a good idea to turn back and retrace my steps. I don’t want to, I feel as if I could just keep going forever but I’d only planned a relatively short, deserted, solo thong parade. I sense someone approaching from behind and a quick look over my shoulder confirms a very hot barefoot male jogger. It then dawns on me, for the first time, that he has a perfect view of my exposed buttocks. He’s moving slowly and breathing heavily but, I guess I would be too. He passes me at fairly close quarters, doesn’t bat an eyelid and then arcs up the beach and continues to jog across the dunes until he goes out of sight. I assume another local who knows the area well.

Shortly after I reluctantly make the turn and stop to appreciate where I am and what I’m doing. The thong is doing what it’s designed to, exposing the glutes to some much needed sun while snugly containing everything else, in a colour of your choice, of course.

There’s not a soul in sight so it seems a good time for a minor detour. The slope of the beach is gentle from sea to dune with a short sharp gradient up to dune level, I make a deviation away from the joyous sand/sea interface for a quick look, it feels other-worldly, quiet, hot, totally different and only a couple of hundred feet from the water’s edge.

The dune excursion has made me hot so I decide to take my first full dip in the cool water. I walk in slowly, letting my body acclimatise to the sudden change in temperature. I finally get to the point where the water is just below my neck and then stop. It’s definitely one of life’s great pleasures. I look down at the distorted shimmering shape of my immersed body, accented at the midriff in lime green.

Leaving the water I feel refreshed and invigorated once more. I spot a couple of impressive looking sailing boats in the distance as I resume my return journey. I’ve never even actually been sailing but start to wonder how wonderful it would feel, relaxing on deck and travelling by the power of the wind alone, in a thong or even less.

I’m roughly half way back now and see a woman in a sarong and big floppy hat approaching, I’ve only seen two men so far so I’m interested to see if there’s any reaction at all to my clothing choice. She moves slightly up the beach as she gets closer but not in an alarming way. It’s totally understandable, we are both alone. I offer a small brief friendly smile and it’s reciprocated, which is nice.

As I walk, I occasionally look down at my feet partially sinking into the sand and surf and can’t deny it, there it is, the male thong wearers frontal calling card, the bulge. Accentuated even more when you’re wearing a lime green one. Maybe that reciprocated friendly smile was actually a concealing a small giggle. I kind of hope so. No harm, just a little humour.

The only disappointment is that my thong beach walk is almost over. The landscape never really changes which in a way I’m glad, it never needed to. I can’t actually believe I’ve been walking for over an hour, come across only three people of which none seemed to care at all about my clothing choice.

I’m finally back at my towel and tent and have loved every second of this marvellous beach walk. I feel a lot of satisfaction and a mild sense of excitement from doing something simple, honest and just a little risqué. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the slightly exhibitionist element of walking along a public beach for over an hour in just a thong.

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