This article was originally published at Maastricht Region: to Live.
I love being barefoot. In the summer I minimize my footwear as much as possible, and even in cold weather I’d rather be out of my boots than in them. So when my colleagues and I were surprised with a Blotevoetenpark visit as our Dag Uit activity, I admit I was pretty excited.
A “Barefoot Park” is more or less exactly what it sounds like. It is a natural space where you take off your shoes and hike simple trails through a variety of substances to enjoy being more connected to nature. Being barefoot is suppose to be quite good for your health (with some explanations more believable than others), and some people even run Marathons barefoot. Personally I like the feeling of mud swishing between my toes, so any activity that includes that already rates high on my list. It turns out that these parks are all over the place, so let me tell you a bit about the one in Brunssum.
The park in Brunssum features 4000 meters of trails featuring a variety of obstacles. Some of these are simply boxes filled with different types of stones or mulch. Others are shallow(ish) pits filled with muddy water. Many were poles and posts of wood you were meant to walk on as you wandered through the woods. To keep things a bit fanciful, wooden faces and fairy dolls were scattered through the trees.
The most challenging part of the park was a series of posts you could use to cross a small pond from one side to the other. I suspect it was designed for people taller than myself, but we all made it across without any spills.
If you visit the Blotevoetenpark in Brunssum as normal visitors, you can expect a 1.5 hour visit on average with coffee/tea and snacks available when you’re done. If you go with a group, you also get a variety of trust-building exercises and a longish lecture on foot palmistry. If I were you, I’d forgo the lecture.
Personally, I’m ready to go back and will happily pay my 6 euros for the chance to wander barefoot in a natural setting again.