So... what is a barefoot park? This is actually a pretty popular concept in Germany. When Charlotte was in German Kindergarten they even had some old tires on the playground filled with various textures of things for the kids to walk on barefoot. That was our first exposure to this concept. This place however, in Bad Sobernheim, is on a much larger scale. The 3.5 km walk takes you through several pools, across various rocks, mulches, gravel, clay, sand, balance beams, swinging platforms, see-saws, and even fording a river. Their website proclaims, "Es ist Gesund!" Yup, it is healthy for your feet to "experience the earth" and this "spa-like experience" even promises to improve posture, misalignment, balance, and overall well-being.
Healthy feet? This was after the very first mud pit. The Germans have funny ideas about what "spa-like" means sometimes.
There are so many things to walk across and balance on, I didn't even try to take pictures of them all. And yeah, occasionally you have to stop to remove pebbles, mulch, and even a splinter or two from your feet.
The second pit. One of the other adults told me this one would be warm, but she was a liar! It was so cold. Like not normal cold, but like they must fill it with ice every morning cold.
Fording the river was my favorite part. At it's deepest the water was up to the top of my legs and moving pretty swiftly, so it was pretty deep for some of the littlest ones. It was chilly, but I don't think it was as cold as that other pit. We didn't lose any kids in the river.
We also learned that none of these kids (or adults) is going to run away to join the circus and be a tightrope walker. But it was fun to try.
Sometimes you need to put your feet up and relax.
And other times you try to shake all of the other kids off the little swinging platforms.
I love this picture of Charlotte crossing the suspended rope footbridge.
To cross the river back to the starting point, you use this human powered ferry. At this point we almost did lose a little boy in the river, but he survived without a dunking and his mom was there to manage the mischief, so no worries. The area that this place is set in is beautiful. I should have taken a few more pictures of the scenery.
"Da ist man vom den Socken."
As far as I can tell, this means "Here is one from the socks." Rob and I have debated what the heck is going on here. Does it mean here is a person with no socks? Does it mean here, in this place, one is set free from their socks? It must be idiomatic, but I don't quite get it.
But here is another one from the socks.
We had a really fun time at the barefoot park, and while some of the surfaces were a little rough on my tender toes, afterwards I actually felt like I'd had a really great foot massage. We may be back again next Summer with the whole family.