Recently I and my family were on a trip to Spain, visiting the area of Costa Brava, and some good friends who live there. We were there for almost 3 weeks, visiting both the city of Barcelona, various museums, and the more landly parts north along the coast, the Empurias.
Visiting Spain for the first time, I didn’t know how people would react to barefooting, and I didn’t know anything about what physical challenges I would meet. That’s why I always brought my shoes in my backpack when going somewhere. The best part: Facing the unknown, new barefoot experiences.
We stayed one week at a family camping. Here I was barefoot all the time, no problem. This was a lagre area with lost of stairs, gravel, grass, trees, pine cones on the ground and asphalt. There were swimming pools, shops, bars and restaurants. No one from the staff or the other residents said anything about my bare feet, or talked about my “safety” in this area which was quite rough compared to an indoors facility, e.g. a museum or a shopping mall. Good experience 🙂
The city and the smaller towns, going out:
In public, on the streets, barefooting was ok. People looked at my feet sometimes, but that is normal. There was police on the streets, and several of them also noticed my bare feet, but I was’nt stopped or anything.
All the restaurants and cafes we visited accepted bare feet, the outdoors museum, most shops, public toilets, the airports, all hotels, they all accepted bare feet. I’m very happy for this. 🙂
Of course, I don’t know for sure what people in the public really thought about my barefooting, but at least it was quietly accepted.
Now, as about 97% of the places we visited accepted my barefoot culture, there was a few incidents where I had to put on shoes:
Close to where we camped, there was a large store where we bought our groceries. The third day we shopped there, there was a guard at the enterance. He stopped me and said I had to wear shoes because of security issues. Rules of the store. He spoke little english, so I didn’t start a discussion, I just put on my shoes. The floor was very cold anyway.
The gift shop of La Sagrada Familia:
The famous church partly build by Antonio Gaudi is definitely worth the visit. Fantastic! Inside the church I was barefoot. Some guards saw it, but did not comment. We took a guided tour, the tourguide did not comment. Me happy 🙂 But later, in the giftshop, a guard noticed my bare feet after 10 minutes, and told me to put on shoes. I said yes, but just paid for my things and went out.
The museum of Dali:
The guard in the doorway said nothing, but the guard where I left my bag said I had to wear shoes. I put on my shoes. Halfway through the museum I took them off. I walked past several guards, and finally one stopped me. I put my shoes back on. It seems that some guards find bare feet ok, others not. Is this discrimination of my barefoot culture? Should I respect other peoples ideas about “decency” even if I find it unreasonable?
The museum of Miro:
After having paid the enterance fee, put away my bag, and walked past 3 more guards, one guard finally stopped me and told me to put shoes on. I did put shoes on, and then walked back to the guard. I asked her why shoes were required. She answered that it was just the rules. Another guard came, and I asked him if there was a dress code for the museum’s visitors. He answered that there was’nt, but that it was not allowed to go naked (!) in the museum. He also said I could hurt myself against the walls (?) or step on some of the glass that was a part of the contemporary exhibition there. All artistic objects were separated from the public with a lint, and the floor was very nice and clean. I told then that going barefoot was my culture, my kind of art project. The answer was that I had to send a written application for doing an art project. I tried a few other arguments but eventually I had to put my sandals on.
After this, I was under careful surveillance by all the guards in the museum (at least it felt like that).
In total I’m very happy with the barefooting in Spain, and what I’ve seen and experienced. Some people I’ve met was also inspired to do some barefooting 🙂
Those who told me to put shoes on, all of them were guards. I did walk past many guards, but only four of them reacted. I was never presented with any written rules that said one had to wear shoes. So it seems that it was only the individual preferance of the guards that decided if I was allowed my barefoot culture or not. Is this discrimination?
Some other observations on my trip:
What about broken glass? I never saw one shard of broken glass. 🙂
Rusty nails? -Nothing.
Sharp objects? Yes, in the kitchen drawer.
Rocks? Yes, everywhere, but they are not dangerous.
Dirt puddles? Yes, but I avoided those few puddles, as anyone with shoes also would.
Also, thanks to everybody who has supported my barefooting!