Pilgrims with the Tarasoles

Many people migrate to Santiago de Compostela at least once in their lives. Read my travelogue from my pilgrimage here

This year I am making a pilgrimage for the third time on a foreign “Jacob’s Way”. This time it is a pilgrimage of a very special kind: I have left my shoes at home and would like to go on the pilgrimage to Santiago with my handmade Tarasoles barefoot sandals, and if the way permits, also barefoot.

My “Camino” starts in Porto / Portugal, from where I want to make the pilgrimage to the coastal path, the “Camino da Costa” to Spain. This coastal path has different variants, I have taken the original variant, the “Camino Espiritual”, which runs 360 km through Portugal and Spain.

On 5 May I start in the morning from the cathedral in Porto. It rains in torrents and a rough wind blows along the coast, so that I unpack my rain poncho in the first minute. Under my raincape, my 6 kg backpack is fortunately safe in the dry. I am the only pilgrim this morning, at least no one has made her way. It’s good to leave everyday life behind and I’m cheerful and whistling an old hiking song.

After a few kilometers I come to the first bar in spite of the rain poncho and enjoy a hot coffee. The locals talk loudly and cheerfully and after a strong coffee my path runs along the coast many kilometers on a wooden plank path. In the evening I reach my first “pilgrim hostel” – to my astonishment a campsite. I breathe in a relieved and joyful breath, because I had expected a dormitory in a pilgrim’s hostel. I had memories of my first pilgrimage on the “Camino frances”, which I hiked 15 years ago. Often I lay awake half the night in a snoring concert in a well-filled hostel with 20-30 fellow pilgrims.

In the morning I wake up asleep and set off again along the coast, past magical old churches and fishing villages. My barefoot sandals do me good service on the wooden plank path. I glued the 6 mm thick soft vibram soles with a 4 mm walnut foam material, so that I walk pleasantly soft.

I’ve been in the bale aisle for 9 years. I no longer roll over the heel, like most people, but first put on the forefoot and bring the heel to the ground at the end. This allows me to move over the soft zone of the foot (the bale) and activate my muscle chain. Rolling off the heel, on the other hand, is a learned movement pattern, which burdens joints and bones with approx. 50 kg per step. Due to a knee injury at that time I researched the bale passage and then completely switched to “soft walking and running”.

Some pilgrims smile when they see me with barefoot sandals and make bets about me whether I will even arrive in Santiago. The path changes, I walk across roads through quaint small villages, on soft paths through eucalyptus forests, most of the time the weather is unstable. Some forest paths are so muddy and are under water. I take off my sandals and walk barefoot, amusing like a child, through puddles. I enjoy the mud and the coolness of the ground. In the evening I come to the next hostel in good spirits. There I am a waiting for a pilgrim whose feet are completely covered with bubbles. Her footwear: sturdy hiking boots and wet socks in it. I help her to supply her foot with bladder patches. Luckily, my feet haven’t gotten anything, and I’m looking forward to the next stage.

On paved streets it continues the next morning and I get a strong foot massage. But my feet quickly get used to the stony ground and feel well blooded and trained in the evening. What I find unpleasant are the many kilometres on hard asphalt. This repeatedly places a strain on the same zone at the foot. To prevent this, I wear my sandals and try to take the “way of the animals”. I walk, if possible, next to the road on grass and bumps. When my feet and I’m tired I like to sit on the way and take a break. My mind comes to rest pleasantly and I enjoy being alone and walking alone.

At this time there is little going on on the alternative variants (e.g. the variant Espiritual”) and in the larger hostels I often sleep alone or with only a few fellow pilgrims. What I like very much are the many people with their extraordinary life stories. There have even been pilgrims from Taiwan.

For me, pilgrims are a time to stop and take time off. For this reason, I always travel alone on the “Camino” during the day. So I can rest and rest whenever I want, I lie down under a shady tree, or I can taste my picnic of bread, tomatoes and olives. On a pilgrimage you are limited to the absolutely necessary – my backpack contains 6 kg. With water about 7 kg.

This pilgrimage was something very special for me and I am glad and grateful that 9 years ago I was able to discover the joint- and back-gentle bale passage. It seemed to me that I was actually the only pilgrim who was travelling without blisters, injuries and suffering. In the evenings, I mostly spent my time supplying other pilgrims with the bubbles on my feet. By the way, I have had good experiences with DMSO (more on this in another post).

Since the path runs many kilometers over hard asphalt, the heel walk on barefoot shoes would be an extreme risk of injury.

Barefoot pilgrimages (pilgrims on barefoot shoes):

We are planning a pilgrimage on the Camino-Frances from France to Santiago de Compostela. The group size will be limited to 6-8 participants. This pilgrimage is for people who want to go on an inner journey, a search for vision and want a change in their lives.

Since pilgrims with barefoot shoes require sufficient knowledge and experience in the field of natural movement, we can only invite people who have participated at least once in our barefoot seminars. You should feel healthy and fit, as well as be ready to train with suitable barefoot shoes a few weeks before the trip.

If you feel addressed now, please contact us by email. We would like to get to know you personally!