Friday, January 29, 2016

A Labyrinth is not a Maze

What is the difference between a maze and a labyrinth.  Although the two terms are basically synonymous, there is a difference.  In this case a maze refers to a complex branching multicursal puzzle with choices of path and direction, while a unicursal labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not difficult to navigate.

The difference between the two meant the KidZ learned something during our summer holiday in the Overberg region of the Western Cape.  We drove to the town of Napier and I told them that we were going to make a stop to do a cache at a labyrinth.  They wanted to know what a labyrinth was and I told them it was like a maze.  That was where I made the mistake.  They had done the big maze at the Plett Puzzle Park before and in their minds there was going to be something similar.  When we got to The Red Windmill outside Napier and dashed off to go and find the maze only to be met by a "wall-less" labyrinth.  Oh the disappointment.  The ran off to the middle though following the path round and round, kinda defeating the purpose of this labyrinth being one of meditation and contemplation.  They had fun regardless.  While they were following the route to the middle I retrieved the cache from its hiding place and signed the log, adding another smiley to my Geocaching map. 

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