6.03.2011

Sweden Photos (Part 2: Visby, Gotland)

Postcards from Gotland (1970) via Torgel Jarnling

For the second leg of our vacation, Kurt, Justin and I boarded a small ocean liner and set off for a two day trip to Gotland, the largest island in the Baltic Sea, located three hours southeast of Stockholm. During the Hanseatic period (13th-17th centuries), Gotland's largest city of Visby was the most important commericial center in the Baltic Sea. Evidence of it's hey-day is everywhere you go. In fact, Visby is the best preserved, still-functioning medieval town in all of Scandinavia. The city landscape is scattered with enormous stone ruins and beautiful 12th century-era churches, cottages and merchant buildings. The architecture is linked by a network of narrow cobblestone streets, all encircled by a two mile long stone wall. In the late 1300's, Visby was plundered by Danish pirates (Vikings!), essentially becoming a pirates' nest until Gotland was conquered by Sweden in 1945. Today, the island is a popular Swedish vacation spot, famed for its sunny beaches and architecture. The island is also home to rare terrestrial orchids, the set of the movie Pippi Longstocking, Ingmar Bergman, many herds of sheep and hedgehogs too.

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The Baltic Sea

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Ancient windmills overlooking the ocean.

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Visby's seaside neighborhoods. Wouldn't you love to live there?

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"Ringmuren" - the ringed wall that protected the medieval town.

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Aside from the cathedral, many of the churches were burned in 1525 by the Lubeckers
(Germany).  
The ruins have been preserved (previous two photos).

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Stone ruins, church, pharmacy, and cobblestone streets within the ringed wall.

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Something is funny to me.
There are lots of good beers there. 

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Band photo.
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Visby Fangelse Vandrarhem - Visby Prison Hostel

We spent the night in a 150 year old prison. Although the building hadn't been a prison since the 70's, the hostel has retained all the cells, exercise yard, secret corridors, watch tower and dungeon. We slept in bunks in a jail cell with barred windows! Despite the hostel's dark origins, the interior is very cozy and cute, bright and cheerful commons areas with eclectic furniture and neat, retro wallpaper. 

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We found a hedgehog.
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Botanical Garden. We found a hedgehog. Kurt touched it. 

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Anacamptis Palustris, a rare terrestrial orchid native to Gotland. 

Up next: Photos from our visit to Joakim's weekend home in the archipelago.

8 comments:

  1. Sweden looks amazing, and it also appears that you had a very fun time! I am now adding Sweden to my list of place to travel. Is it cold? It doesn't look cold, but I know it's way up north.

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  2. you got to see a hedgehog!! yay!

    your trip looks so good, i'll just live vicariously through your photos while sitting here on a monday morning at work.

    the important question is of course, where to next?

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  3. We already have it planned out. Portland, Oregon this fall & Thailand in 2012.

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  4. mmm loving the tilt shift and all of your adventures!

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  5. Dinocat: The weather was lovely in Stockholm. They have all the seasons there and it was sunny and crisp, but just cool enough to wear a jacket at night. In the summer it does get warm there, but not scorching or humid. Also, the summer days are very long since they are so north- something like 12 hours of daylight. In northern Sweden, they have summer sun at midnight!

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  6. Celeste: Thank you! I made the tilt shifty effect using tiltshiftmaker.com. It's so fun, you should try it!

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  7. Thanks SJ! We're thinking Southeast Asia next time. Do you have hedgies in AU? They're so cute, I kind of want one.

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