My family and I have lived in Germany for over two years, and we feel über-blessed to be surrounded by local attractions that are day-trip “worthy.” We have driven to castles and ruins, explored beautiful city parks, and even experienced other countries! In less than an hour we can “pop on over” to France… In a bit more than an hour we’re in Luxembourg.
Last year we discovered our favorite day-trip thus far… Nothing flashy like Neuschwanstein Castle or world-famous like fine Belgian chocolate… Rather, we ditched our shoes and experienced the Bad Sobernheim Barfußpfad (Barefoot Park), a 3.5 km walking trail along the Nahe River in Southwestern Germany. Barefoot walkers store their shoes at the beginning of the loop trail and walk BAREFOOT over a variety of surfaces and small obstacles.
Germans are very connected to the healing properties of the earth’s elements. I have never seen a culture so enamored with saunas, steam rooms, and pools. As for earth or “clay,” the most grounded and basic of all of the elements, Germans were among the first to pioneer the public “barefoot park” movement. The park we experienced was the first of its kind in Germany, and to this day, Germany has the most barefoot parks in Europe (click here for a listing).
The park brochure stated an interesting fact (although I don’t know how accurate it is for the majority of Americans): “During the average lifetime, our feet carry us the equivalent of nearly four times around the earth.” Our feet work hard for us! Barefoot walking in a controlled environment is a great way to treat your feet to a NATURAL foot reflexology massage while also improving body awareness, balance, and sensory awareness.
Putting my bare feet on the ground helped me really tune in to nature and to the moment. It was wonderful to take our time and really FEEL and ENJOY the different sensations: clay, mud, water, packed dirt, slippery river rocks, wood chips, smooth logs, brick, and more.
The weather is (finally!) warming up here in Germany, and we plan to return to the barefoot park as soon as temperatures allow. In the meantime, my husband and I have been plotting ways to add a barefoot walking path to our yard and garden. Click here for a great link with ideas to get started.
Do you spend time (outdoors) barefoot? Share your story in the comments below!