The secret to feeling young might be as simple as walking barefoot outdoors. Sometimes I just enjoy being silly with my grown daughters. Today was such a day. We shed our shoes to traverse Bad Sobernheim’s barefoot path- known as Barfuss-Pfad in German.
Knee-Deep in Mud
When we first removed our shoes and I realized that we would be beginning the 3.5 kilometer walk with a 15-yard stretch of knee-deep mud (called a clay pool), it took a lot of effort for the “mommy” in me to stop worrying about what might be lurking underneath that mud. I mean, come on, had I not raised these girls to stay OUT of the mud? Not only am I now permitting it, I am encouraging it. It was cold and mucky (a word we use in the South) and solicited squeals and giggles. The girls thought it was fun too.
Turns out that ignoring said initial mommy instinct and strolling shoeless is quite liberating and loads of fun. My oldest daughter educated me on this walk that it is also “grounding”. There is a lot to be said about the health benefits of this particular type of exercise. Even the brochures promote this walk as nature’s way of treating yourself to a foot reflexology massage. And, yes, there is a foot wash that you can use when you return to get your shoes.
The path is a flat loop and is quite easy for the most part. One side offers wide-open, ever-changing scenery through a great big meadow bordered by a hiking and biking trail. On the barefoot side, the terrain is mostly hard-packed dirt, mulch and grass. Scattered throughout are several stations of pine cones, tree bark, river stones, wine bottle corks, volcanic rock, sandstone and brick. For those interested in foot gymnastics, there are wooden rollers, balance beams, ladders, and posts in stair-step formation.
YES, Even Moms Can Do This!
The trail crosses the Nahe River twice. You can choose to head feet first into the chilly, brisk, knee-high river while clutching two ropes for balance or you can simply walk a bit further and go across the bridge.
No Wimps Here!
To get back across the river, you can inch single file across a rope bridge suspended above the water, or choose to take a small ferry. We opted for the suspension bridge.
The path ends at a snack bar overlooking a playground. There is also a playground just before the suspension bridge.
It took us about an hour to walk the entire path. There was a lot of conversation and laughter during this time. I honestly cannot recall the last time I went barefoot in public on a random Wednesday. Once I overcame the mud and dirt caked between my toes and up to my knees, I immensely enjoyed this adventure!
Click here for additional information. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily between May 1 and Oct. 3 but will close in the event of inclement weather. The cost is 3.50 Euros (for adults), 2 Euros for children (ages 3-17) and free children under the age of 3. Additionally, furry children (aka dogs) are NOT allowed in this park.
How to Get There
Bad Sobernheim is northwest of Kaiserslautern, about 62 miles or an hour’s drive. Once in Bad Sobernheim, head into the main part of town and follow the signs for Barfusspfad. Bad Sobernheim is under one hour southwest of Wiesbaden and 2 hours and 30 minutes northwest of Stuttgart. Parking near the venue is free.
Click also on DB Bahn for train information.
Author’s Profile: Cheryl Koller is a native of Georgia. She is a DOD spouse, mom of 4 daughters (2 adults, 2 teens), thrill-seeker, avid traveler, and lover of food and wine. She is a self-proclaimed Freedom-Preneur and Blogger currently living in Ramstein with her family.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Cheryl Koller