Thursday, June 14, 2012

barefoot park...

 As I mentioned yesterday, I took a German culture class last week and went on a field trip on the second day. We were learning about how to use the trains and normally they take this class on the train to a town with a big shopping area....but our class happened to fall on a German holiday. And on German holidays all the stores close. Very un-like America where some of our best shopping days are holidays and at least Target and Wal-Mart will pretty much always be open. It definitely is taking some getting used to....but here in Germany, they like to enjoy holidays with family and friends and get outdoors if possible. Germans are really into fresh air and "volksmarching" (hiking). Anyway for our trip they decided we would take the train to another town, about 45 minutes away and go to the Barefoot Park and experience some German fresh air.

There are quite a few Barefoot Parks in Europe - here is a site that explains (in English) more about it and shows the different parks. We went to the one in Bad Sobernheim which was the first Barefoot Park in Germany. It is about a trail that takes you throughout different terrain and challenges and will take about an hour and a half to get through it. It costs about 3 Euro to get in and our guide explained that a lot of that was for upkeep and to keep the park safe - they constantly walk and check the trail to remove any trash or glass or anything that could hurt you or be unsafe. There are lockers that you can put your shoes and things in and you want to make sure you wear shorts/pants that can roll up and that you don't mind getting wet and muddy.  

After you took your shoes off and got ready - this it the first thing you go through - the mud!

It was really cold!

nice muddy feet
(that would get washed off later in the river)

We walked through a beautiful field. 
It was nice and relaxing.
There were a few balance challenges along they way.

Then you got to the river....the ropes are there because it was a pretty strong currant.

A boat even came through while we were there.

There were some sand boxes to walk through.
Also a box of cork, rocks, etc.

At the end was a rope bridge that was the longest in Germany. 
It went across another part of the river.
Really neat looking.
No shoes allowed of course.

At the end of the bridge and the end of the Barefoot trail.

After we finished up, we washed of our feet, put on our shoes and there was a beer garden (they are almost everywhere here!) in one area and a food/picnic area in another. We bought our lunch there and then walked back to the train and came back to Baumholder.

It was definately an interesting experience - great for families and kids. Fun for adults too. My feet weren't too sore right afterwards, but they were a little sore the next day. The Germans say that it helps the circulation in your feet and would be good to go do the trail regularly to strengthen them. Check it out if you get the chance - this is pretty unique and we probably won't get one in the US!

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