Summer is traveling season, and so Travel-Turtle and I took a week off and explored Sweden’s biggest island – Gotland.
Situated just about 3 hours and a bit by boat from Stockholm in the middle of the Baltic sea it once was a hanseatic trade center with the superb and most stunning city of Visby as its capital. The mighty and incredibly beautiful city wall to fend off pirates and – most importantly – the Danes, is still intact and UNESCO world heritage. The whole city is marvelously beautiful and you can easily get lost in the cute and medieval little streets and squares and discover new wonders around every corner. You’ll just have to come and see for yourself. I’ve seen many beautiful cities but this one most certainly tops them all! Just make sure that you stay at least a few days to soak in all the cute and lovely details the city has to offer!
With all that very breathable medieval history at hand it is small wonder that every year the city hosts the famous Almedalen week, a week full of medieval markets and shows that attract more than 40000 visitors each year where literally EVERYONE is dressed in medieval garb, camping inside and out of the city walls.
With its 3000 or so km² Gotland is not the biggest island you can imagine, but it is most certainly a very diverse one. And most importantly: it has sheep 🙂 Loads of them. And they are curly! VERY curly 🙂 Sadly they don’t yield much wool, so they are more famously known for decorating peoples seats and prams with their fluffy sheep skins.
The best known wool that can be found in the stores in and around Visby comes from the Gotland Spinneri. So of course I had to visit it. But I must say I’m deeply disappointed by the experience, although I managed to grab some lovely fluffy yarns. The spinning mill isn’t huge (well, what did I expect of an island that small?) but the service isn’t, either. The lady working there was neither a wonder of helpfulness nor very talkative and so I left soon enough.
A much nicer surprise found us when we stopped for a break at a road stop that had a small handicraft shop. The lady who worked there made the most exquisite handspun yarns that kept the curls visible. Of course I had to get some. I think it will look nice as edging on a bigger shawl… Hmmm 🙂 Doesn’t the whole shop scream COZY to you, too? I can’t wait to get started on that shawl!
Gotland, a few million years back, was situated at the equator and rose from the sea as a rock completely made up from corals. No wonder that the rugged and stunning coast has more to offer than pure sandy beaches (although there are plenty of those as well). Wherever you go you’ll find fossils embedded in the rocks and pebbles on the beach.
The coast is very famous for its ‘Raukar’ – the bizarre stone formations that decorate the island all around. Some of them are up to 16 meters high and make for some great climbing and clambering around the beaches instead of only boring sunbathing.
The most famous of these ‘Raukar’ can be found on Fårö, the sheep island just north of Gotland, which can be reached by a small – and free – shuttle ferry. The whole Island is a gem. We spent two whole days exploring and enjoying the wonderful cliffs and beaches and the unique quietness that makes Fårö so lovable. We arrived in the middle of August, but as the season on Gotland is short and people apparently have enough visitors from mid-June to mid-August, a lot of restaurants and bars were already closed. I wonder how crowded the place is when you arrive in July! This way we had the beaches all to ourselves and could get some tourist-free pictures 🙂
If you want to breathe some medieval feeling and explore the history of this amazing place, there is no better way than taking a stroll through the beautiful Bunge Museum in Fårösund. It’s an open air museum that shows houses and farmyards from the 16th, 17th and 18th century and is set in a beautifully arranged park. You can see houses and windmills like these all around Fårö as well.
If you are planning a trip to Gotland, make sure you stop by at Sylvies Döttrar, the best bakery on Fårö! Their homemade cakes and breads are a killer!!!
Enjoy your trip 🙂
And here are the yarns i bought that now are waiting for the perfect project to use them.
I’ll better get back to knitting now, so that these lovely yarns won’t have to wait for too long 🙂
And just because you didn’t see enough pictures yet, here’s one for the road: