Sunday, March 29, 2009

Switzerland's Labyrinthe Aventure

Just off of autoroute E27 in Evionnaz, Switzerland, lies one of the most entertaining and often-missed tourist attractions: Labyrinthe Aventure, home of the world's largest and permanent labyrinth. After a week of traveling in Italy, and after visiting countless museums and cathedrals, my husband and I itched to stretch our legs outdoors. En route to Interlaken, and surrounded by the Alps, lush green grass, and the sound of cow bells, we stopped for a day of fun.

The most famous labyrinth in the world is arguably the one in Crete from Greek mythology; the home of the dreaded minotaur, the child of an unnatural union between the queen and a bull. Theseus, through cunning and the support of the princess Ariadne, conquered the labyrinth. Labyrinthe Aventure doesn't play host to a minotaur, but the maze is chalk-full of obstacles such as zip cords, walls and balance beams, all of which
go over water. Of course for every obstacle there is a way to avoid it, but you risk taking a much longer route. When you enter the labyrinth you are given a code with which to hunt down hidden treasure chests. Although our code never opened one, we felt like we were in the middle of a video game or movie, searching for lost treasure around every corner. Labyrinthe Aventure also has a bicycle rodeo where you are able to try out just about every conceivable wheeled monstrocity ever created. There are toboggan slides, and a play room with table tennis, and when you are hungry, there is even a small restaurant.

The words maze and labyrinth are used interchangeably, but the most commonly agreed upon usage by scholars is for labyrinth to designate a one-directional path, and the word maze to designate a puzzle. Labyrinths have been used through the centuries for meditation, for gathering energy, for solving problems, and for spiritual guidance. Labyrinths appear all over the world, on the floors of cathedrals such as the one in Chartres Cathedral in France to the one in the palace gardens of Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria. If you visit The Labyrinth Society's website, there is a feature that will let you find labyrinth nearest to you.

Labyrinthe Aventure may not present the traditional form of spiritual meditation for its visitors, but it does present challenges and obstacles and is a welcome escape for those with kids and those who are young at heart.

Labyrinthe Aventure Website

The Labyrinth Society

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