Walled Gardens of Olib
 

Walled Gardens of Olib

The island of Olib, being nothing but a rock jutting up from the sea, has a very thin layer of soil. To keep the soil from blowing away, the farmers built stone walls around their gardens. Due to economics the gardens aren't used any more, but the walls remain.

The "roads" on Olib - and I use that word even though "trail" is more appropriate - is simply the negative space between the walled gardens that cover the whole island. (Take a look at the satellite view on any of the photos here - those gray lines are walls.) Where such space hasn't been taken over by the vegetation aready, that is.

The spider photo is there to symbolize the fact that the open trails are (apprently) perfect places for spiders to weave their webs across. Anyone venturing outside of Olib town had better not have arachnophobia - sometimes you'd cut through a net every ten or so meters.

2009-08-21 13:06

Croatia 2009, Olib

2009-08-21 16:47

Croatia 2009, Olib

2009-08-21 16:47

Croatia 2009, Olib

2009-08-21 19:12

Croatia 2009, Olib

2009-08-21 19:18

Croatia 2009, Olib

2009-08-21 19:25

Croatia 2009, Olib

The Hike

 

This was a hike for the history books. The day before I had found a thrown-away map of the island. Not really reflecting over what would cause someone to throw away a map, I thought I had the key to the island in my hand.

I was wrong. The map had a couple of "roads" marked, but as mentioned above, there are no roads - just spaces between the gardens. Spaces that become overgrown, or blocked by the walls collapsing, or any of a thousand things that can happen.

As a result, navigating the island more or less turned into a Hell on Earth. If I had had a massive bulldozer[a] I could have made the territory fit the map, or just driven in a straight line by GPS. But I didn't, so I was reduced to navigating the labyrinth of passages by trial and error. This is why you see small spurs on the track log to the right - that's when I went the wrong way and had to backtrack.

The rocky ground also ate its way through my shoes. Anyone thinking about hiking on Olib should bring shoes with nice, thick soles. This is not the right place for barefoot running, unless you happen to have Zulu-grade feet[b].

All in all, one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I probably would be too lazy to bother with, had I known what I was getting into. But general stubbornness saved the day, and I got some nice photos out of it as well.