A nigh unto perfect day for exploring and labyrinth walking yesterday… the sun was out, the wind was easing, and spring is in its prime here on Gotland. It was a day of discovery, reunion, and surprise.
We started our morning with a walk up along the cliffs overlooking the Trojaborg and the sea, then headed off in our vans to see what we could find over on the eastern side of the island. Our first stop was near the tiny fishing village of Sysne where we walked the 50 year old labyrinth that sits right on the coast, then spent time enjoying the view, the wildflowers and the rocks.
Our second stop was at a forest labyrinth near Alskog that had been almost totally overgrown last time any of us visited it. To our surprise – and delight – it had been uncovered and restored with benches and signage added. Let me tell you, the grin on Lars's face went from ear to ear! It's a large labyrinth, with 15 circuits that was built by the school teacher, Mr. Lindgren, in the 1860's. There is still some maintenance work to be done at the center, but clearly there are some locals who have taken on the project and are making good progress!
Next up was a visit to Folhammar, where there is the most amazing rambling stone path that snakes and spirals across the landscape. Started some 50 years ago, it is still growing and evolving; it is a single path that eventually does lead to a goal, but it feels almost like a magical maze of loops, switchbacks, and spirals. It is not scary, like a maze can be, but has a happy, playful feel to it.
At nearby Majbacken, there is a 7-circuit labyrinth from the late 19th century. There is a stile in place to assist visitors in getting into the field, and today there were just a few sheep looking curiously at the invading strangers. The labyrinth was a bit overgrown, but perhaps the curious sheep will prove to be worthy groundskeepers.
We made several more stops on our way back to Visby, including a visit to the church at Hemse which has some of the most beautiful medieval wall frescos on Gotland, including this portrayal of St. Brigida, patron saint of Sweden.