A couple of weeks ago we visited Gotland, the magical medieval island off the east coast of Sweden. Our main purpose initially was to visit the Lars Jonsson’s museum near Burgsvik on the southern tip of Gotland. He’s an incredible bird painter of international renown who paints birds while looking through a telescope. But we got waylaid in the northern capital of Visby where we were staying as it’s hard to leave. It’s the most magnetic place full of ruins, stunning beaches and medieval buildings. You can see the old Visby wall above. It runs 3.6 km around the oldest parts of town and was built in the 1200's. The original population was Vikings but trade brought many different contacts (Germany, Russia) who would come to Visby to trade. They left their mark mainly through church building most of which are now in ruins
The Port of Visby where all the ferries come and go. Visby has a population of about 22,600. Gotland's (pop 57,600) the largest island in Sweden.
This was a hardware store which we dropped into during a bike ride around Visby. There are the most beautiful wildflowers, and not so wild, everywhere in Sweden during summer.
Visby Botanical Gardens. In 2005 the garden celebrated its 150th anniversary and presented a pink rose 'Wisby' specially cultivated for the occasion.
A wall of one of the old church ruins in old town in Visby. In 1226 the Dominican order came to Visby and St Nicolai, a Gotlander, became the church prior. He is regarded as Sweden's first writer.
On the bicycle ride. There were heaps of bikies in town too all slurping on ice creams in the main street. It's just a beautiful, easy place to ride.
Old town in Visby is only a tiny place and the best way to see it is simply to walk. The medieval alleyways still remain to a great extent under which traces of the Vikings dwellings have been found.
The Cathedral Church of Saint Maria. The only working church in old town. All the others are ruins which are used as backdrops for concerts etc.
The pinnacles of Saint Maria's church which was built in the early 13th century.
The Port of Visby. The freshness of the light and atmosphere was really noticable.
Södertorg (South square) in old town. There were very few people around even though the weather was perfect. People got off the ferry and disappeared. Probably to their country houses perhaps. I don't know but there were few tourist crowds to deal with which was nice.
Stora Torget. This is the main restaurant area. The restaurants were good though pretty expensive as is usual in Sweden and really salty which is also typical.
Mute swan in the sea. It was interesting to see so many ducks and swans in the sea. I suppose because the waters so brackish.
The beaches are absolutely stunning. Crystal clear water though the Baltic's heavily polluted it doesn't look it.
Didn't go for a swim. Too lazy. Just looked instead. And relaxed.
Wall painting in Vamlingbo medieval church.
Lars Jonsson Museum from the garden.
On the ferry. Watch out for those lifeboats.
Lars Jonsson Museum is part of the Vamlingo Vicarage about 7 kilometres south of Burgsvik in Gotland, Sweden. www.vamlingboprastgard.se
To get to Gotland catch Destination Gotland´s daily ferry services from Nynäshamn, south of Stockholm, and from Oskarshamn on the east coast of Sweden. From the ports in southern Sweden and the bridge over the sound in Malmö it takes 5-6 hours by car to get to Oskarshamn. The high-speed ferry brings you from the Swedish mainland to Visby in 3 hours.