A medieval walk around Visby
For the second time we took the ferry from Nynäshamn to Gotland- the magical medieval island off the east coast of Sweden- for a few days break. We went about a year ago and it was superb weather. Not this time. Checking the weather details madly before we went made no difference. It was mainly cold and dismal. (They've also turned off all the heaters in Sweden it seems. Why can't they turn them on if it's cold? I really don't get this.) Alas we felt like the stumpy windswept trees that populate the island of Fårö which we discovered this time by bicycle.
We were mainly in Visby though (22,593 pop and main city of Gotland) and except for an enthusiastic crowd of supporters cheering the procession of vintage cars and their graduating high school passengers, it was dead quiet. (Oh and the last night's drunken screaming all night. I forgot about that.) Time to contemplate the ruins which we did.
Visby's dazzling colour- from the sea, spring and medieval buildings combines with the pale crumbling limestones of the medieval churches, producing a unique romantic beauty. It's gorgeous and it must be even better when all the roses bloom. Most of the 14 churches within the medieval wall (2.2km) are unused. Except for a couple. The cathedral of St Maria did have their heaters on and we went there and sat and meditated. The female priests said goodbye at the door with that wistful, smily, knowing look that only full time religious people seem to have. Secret knowledge or maybe they were just happy to be in the only heated place in Visby.
People seem very happy in Visby compared to Stockholm. I thought to myself a couple of times- is this Sweden?
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