For this autumn week (6 days/7 nights) of spiritual walking we will be based in the warm and welcoming Pansion Bernarda in the delightful old town of Varaždinske Toplice. This ancient town has a long history of healing and sacredness, which is still visible in the ruins of the Roman spring baths, as well as in the modern hospital for medical rehabilitation. Surrounded by thickly forested hills, this is the perfect spot to enrich our walking experiences.
From the Pansion Bernada we will go out by minibus to various starting locations and each walk will have a different focus and rhythm. We will be walking in some amazing places, all of them very much off the beaten track and together, and individually, we will meditate and reflect, finding balance and harmony in our own lives as we immerse ourselves in the perfection of nature.
Join is in the woods and forests as they display the remnants of their autumnal colours and prepare themselves for the long sleep of winter. The air will be crisp and we will be wrapped up against the cold, but the magic of the trees will be clearly visible. This is a particularly lovely time to walk in the silence of the woods and to connect deeply with your inner self as well as the beauty of nature.
Saturday 6th November 2021: Arrival day
Arriving to Varaždinske Toplice, a delightful ancient town situated 75 km from Zagreb and a 40-minute drive from the airport. We are around three hours drive from Vienna and Budapest, and two hours from Ljubljana.
Arrive in time to take a walk around this beautiful old town and join us for dinner and an informal meeting in the evening.
Sunday 7th November 2021: Being present in nature
We will start our spiritual walks in nature with a day of forest bathing. Leaving as a group after breakfast, we will take the minibus to the Kalnik Mountain. Here we will take the time to connect with the forest, the trees, the rocks, the sounds and the smells of nature. This will be an opportunity to really immerse ourselves in the healing energy of the trees.
We will explore what this feels like, leaving behind any expectations or purpose. We will just be present. This will not be a time for talking, it will be a time to become grounded. To introduce ourselves to this magic land and to start building a relationship that we will deepen over the coming days. Later, on our return to the Pansion, there will be an opportunity to share our experiences.
Monday 8th November 2021: Going deeper
Today, after breakfast, our minibus will take us to another forest where we will start connecting with the ancestors of this ancient land. There is evidence of the presence of the Celts deep in the woods, and we will visit these ancient stones, walking along the route known as the Elvin Path. Later we will drive to the Vindija cave. It is estimated that the Neanderthals lived in this cave over 40,000 years ago, approximately 8000 years before modern humans lived in this part of the world.
During today’s walks there will be an opportunity to go deeper, to feel the connection with the Earth and the nature even more intensely. The purpose of this journey is to leave behind the distractions of day-to-day life and here, while we walk on paths that Neanderthals and early humans walked on millennia ago, we can let go of all the pressures and just be ourselves.
Tuesday, 9th November 2021: Day of the rivers
Today we will go to the neighbouring county of Međimurje. This triangular shaped region is enclosed on two sides by the rivers Mura and Drava. These beautiful watercourses have both flowed down through Slovenia from the Austrian and Italian Alps. We will walk by both rivers and also go to the point of confluence near the small town of Legrad, at the very tip of Međimurje. This is a very special place where these two great rivers join to continue their journey as one, flowing down the border with Hungary to eventually meet up with the Danube near Osijek.
Today we will also flow, connecting with the water, the rivers and the rhythm of all living things. Many of us seek to to be adaptable as a way of achieving more peace and harmony in our lives. Connecting with the movement and energy of the water in the rivers is a very good way to do this. Water is the spiritual communicator with its ability to purify, protect and heal. It is also incredibly powerful. So today we will be present with the water, the rivers and the flow of life.
Wednesday, 10th November 2021: Being with yourself
Today after breakfast we will walk up to the woods above the Temple to Minerva, passing the site of the remains of the Roman baths, where the hot healing water springs out of the ground. In this place of healing we will have a Meditative Circle connecting with ourselves, the others in the group and the nature around us.
The rest of the day will be free for you to choose what you wish to do. There are lots of options, including a visit to a thermal spa, a guided tour of the old town of Varaždin, castle visiting or just spending time on your own reflecting on your journey so far. There will have been plenty of time during the previous days to discuss what you might wish to do on this afternoon.
Thursday, 11th November 2021: Finding harmony with nature
Today we will walk up, through the beech forest to the Dragon’s seat, combining this with a walk to a forest meadow with streams and waterfalls on the Ivančica mountain. Our purpose will be to align ourselves with the sounds of nature, seeking balance and harmony with them.
The healing power of sound is recognised within ancient wisdom, and the opportunity to take the time to give and receive sound is a sacred gift that is profoundly transformational. Here in this beautiful place of nature we will make a Sacred Sound Healing Circle. We will use our voices to create a Mandala of Sound which will cleanse and balance our individual chakras, as well as bringing healing for those we love and Mother Earth. Together we will give and receive blessings with each other, the mountains, nature, and the Elementals.
Friday 12th November 2021: Your personal Camino
After breakfast today the minibus will take us to Varaždin station where we will get the local train to the small town of Konjščina. From here we will walk to Marija Bistrica. This is a place of pilgrimage and the old Marian shrine of the Black Madonna is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year. This will be an opportunity for us to walk our own personal Camino.
The word Camino means journey. So while we walk to a sacred place of pilgrimage we will have the opportunity to reflect on our journey. What have our connections with the trees, forest and hills taught us? What did we learn from the rivers and their ability to flow? What did we hear when we talked to the little voice within us? Today we will walk our own personal Camino like all pilgrims in time beyond the reach of memory.
The minibus will then pick us up and take us back to Pansion Bernarda in time for dinner and a farewell session.
Saturday 13th November 2021: Time to leave…
We will breakfast together and then go our own separate ways……
(NOTE: this itinerary may be subject to change based on factors such as the weather and maximizing the quality of walking experience. Our goal in this journey is to take you to natural environments of Northern Croatia that are the most conducive for immersion into nature and oneself.)
Pansion Bernarda is 75 km from Zagreb and a 40-minute drive from the airport https://www.bernarda-tourism.eu/en/
A shuttle to and from the airport, bus/train station can be arranged.
Please bring warm and waterproof clothes for walking, Pansion Bernarda will be snug and cosy in the evenings but we will be outside for much of the days. Scarves, hats and gloves will be essential. But it is so good in the forests at this time of the year.
Getting to Varaždinske Toplice by car: junction 5 of the autoroute E65 leads directly into the old town and there is free parking next to the Pansion Bernarda. The E65 connects directly with the motorway systems of Slovenia, Austria and Hungary and we are not too far away from Italy and Slovakia. As we meet for dinner on the first day and leave after breakfast on the last day, this means you can drive in daylight at any time of the year.
Getting to Varaždinske Toplice by bus or train: there are regular buses and trains to both Zagreb and Varazdin and we can arrange for you to be picked up from the bus/train station.
Getting to Varaždinske Toplice by air: Zagreb has a new airport and a growing number of routes. For example from this year Ryanair has direct flights to the Zagreb from the UK, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, France and Italy. From the airport it is a 40 minute drive to Varaždinske Toplice.
For more information please see our Six Day Walking Retreat Page.