ROAD TO CRES : Saving the Vultures of Croatia~Part Six


As I said, around the Eko-Centar there is a network of walks in the forest. One day Alenka, in her role as volunteer manager, took myself and Molly along the Red Trail, the longest of seven trails around the centre,  at 10km. It was a wonderful way to appreciate where we were. We walked through the forest and across clearings, past ponds and down dusty trails overlooking the sea far below. On the Red Trail there were sculptures too, and Alenka had myself and Molly read from the guide-book, which sounds sort of naff, but it was nice.


(Radek, Susic, 2006)

There are seven labyrinths dotted along the trails. On the Red Trail there are two, the biggest one is Vesna, which is based on the famous labyrinth at Chartres. Labyrinths are patterns that emerged 10,000 years ago. Unlike a maze they have one entrance and one path that leads to the centre. It is thought prehistoric societies used them as ‘traps’ for evil spirits. Later, in medieval times, they were used by those who could not afford to go on pilgrimage, to pray, make ammends or achieve a mystic state. The way I understand this is that walking a labyrinth is like a walking mediation;you walk along a preordained path so your mind is free to achieve a state of peace or maybe to detach from the body.


(Radek, Susic, 2006)

I was not impressed with the idea of the labyrinths until I actually walked in one. Vesna was quite big and marked out with white stones and, what can I say? I loved the idea of walking in a clearing in the woods. It focuses you, makes you pay attention to where you are, slows you down. After all if you were just in a blank clearing would you really spend the time walking about it so much?And that was the reason the Eko Centar founders made these trails and these paths~to foster an appreciation of nature. I think they are wonderful things and simple to make and they would be a great tool in any area that wants to attract visitors to their local landscape.Exif_JPEG_PICTURE


Folk were small back in the day…

As some of the signs along the way were in disrepair and as there were no signposts for some of the labyrinths I was put to the task of making some. For me this was the most enjoyable work that I did at the centre. Here are my notebooks with some scribbles…


The paint and varnish I used was kept in an out house…

There were six dead sheep in the shed on Monday and the smell is still there. The shed is where I get the paint and varnish for the signs so there is dead sheep smell on my hands…


I really like these signs. As I was limited with the colours I could use but I think the simplicity of them works really well. Like the labyrinths, work like this can be very meditative. Doing work like this in places I am visiting, places I will leave, is a great experience. It makes me feel that I have left my mark, that I have somehow proved or validated my existence. Or maybe it is that I am communicating outside of time. Someone, somewhere decades from now, seeing these signs, will be connected to me, me as I was then sitting on that shady step…

I am thinking while I paint-will they out last me?Will they still be there when I am gone?The remnants of a hot afternoon overlooking the Adriatic?




This was part of an old drawer.


Me and Severina…

Radek, V., & Susic, G., (2006), The Labyrinths of Tramuntana, translated by Mayhew, M., Rijeka:Eko-Centar Caput-Insulae, Beli.


10 responses to “ROAD TO CRES : Saving the Vultures of Croatia~Part Six

  1. I too would rather walk in the bush, and it does centre you, the rustling of the leaves, the coolness plus the chatter of the birds has a calming effect on me. Talking of cooling, could do with some of that now!! What a wonderful experience Clare, enjoying reading all about your past adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

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