A Diary from our trip to Gotland August 1999

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I have put links to pictures from Gotland Web with text in Swedish at some places in my diary.

Saturday, July 31
Now it is time to go to Gotland - this eagerly awaited trip. In the queue for the ferry we met the families of both Per and Birgitta. The new ferry HSC Gotland was a very fine vessel. HSC stands for High Speed Craft. It was really very fast, the journay to Gotland reached Visby in less than three hours instead of five hours with a common vessel. Dominic was very impressed by this vessel.
Helena and Emma immidiately found each other, there seemed to be no difficulties in their different languages. I heard Helena talk all the time and Emma was apparently joining in the play, even if she did not say so much.
After the landing in Visby we went directly to BoRum and discovered that we were followed by a red car. Roland found out that it must be Tina! The road along the west coast runs mainly through a pine wood. The pines were bowed and dwarfed by the hard winds blowing from the sea.
At the ditchsides there was lot of flowers, not as richly as is surely had been earlier in the summer. It is nice to detect that the ditchsides are left in peace. I could recognize among others wild carrots, soap flower, achillea, thistles, cikoria, poppy and lots of others.
Two kilometres to the south of the church of Sproge we found the sign:BoRum pointing at a road in the direction to the sea. It was a winding road which went by fields and farms, through a belt of pines and so - we were there at our goal! Birgitta's family had just arrived and so we went inside all ten of us, payed and got the keys for our cottages. Per's family arrived some hour later, they had had lunch on their way in Klintehamn.
The cottages were very nice, We really recommend this place for those who are looking for a peaceful place on the southern part of Gotland. The area around the cottages was large, the cottages had sufficient equipment: stove with an oven, a fridge and freezer, coffe-machine, tv, four beds upstairs and a sofa downstairs which could be converted into two beds in the cottage where Tina and her family and we old people should live. We occupied the sofa and Tina, Jan Olof and Stefan had the upstairs rooms. The stairs up to them was fairly steep so disabled people like us cannot live upstairs in a cottage like that. We really was not upstairs at any time during our week living in that cottage.
Some metres to walk, and we were out on the meadow by the sea shore with thickets of pine, juniper and blackthorn. The dry grass was hiding small dwarfed flowers like galium, thyme and thistles. The ground was full of holes made by rabbits. Due to the drought the smell of thyme was not so strong, but I could feel it and it was making undefined reminders from my childhood summer at the west coast of Sweden in 1938. At the sea shore a wall covered with lyme grass mixed with asters, and at the border of the sea we found seaweed in the water edge.
And out in the sea the island Stora Karlsö. That island had a different view at different times of the day due to the light. The sunset was beautiful - the sun set just behind the island. We went down to the shore almost every evening to admire it.
We tried the beach Kvarnakershamn. It was shoaling, you had to walk and walk to be able to swim. If there had been no bridge, it had been nearly impossible to get as far out that you could swim at all. Really good for the children. The bottom was sandy with round rocks.
At each cottage you had a garden table and sex chairs. We moved them together so we had the evening meals in common. This evening Per cooked a really tasty stew from pork with rice and sallad.
My photos from the place where we lived

Sunday August 1.
A sunny day. Every one enjoyed the warm nice weather. Except Birgitta. Her back was making her such pain that Dominic drove her to the hospital in Visby. That visit took very long time but then she got some pills and a recipe to get more pills when the Chemist's were open again at Monday.
The rest of us had a quiet day, swimming, sunbathing, reading. A pair was to Klintehamn to buy food. In the afternoon we had a big party with cake to celebrate all those who had had their birthday earlier this year. The cousins exchanged presents. Helena had just a few this day as her birthday had not been yet. But that day will come - and then it is all her day! It seemed like Christmas when the seven cousins exchanged presents.
Around the cottages there were some birds: The wagtail was feeding her youngsters at the fence. The caffinch seemed to be almost domesticed. The sparrows were looking for food under the gardens tables. But the most remarkable were all the swallows. They were circling over the area in large flocks, shrieking. I think they lived in the pine forest.
The husbands grilled salmon for supper, with fresh potatoes and sallad as upplement.

My pictures from the shore

Monday August 2.
As usual I woke up earlier than everyone else. Went down to the shore and bathed my feet, enjoying the view of Stora Karlso. It shimmered in the morning light with its white cliffs and clearly defined green areas. There were swans swimming in the water of the bay together with some ducks and gulls. Later I sat down outside our cottage reading and a brown squirrel sprang around in the pines. The half moon in the sky. The swallows twittered all the time, a dove somewhere was hea inland, a lamb bleating, otherwise totally quiet. When the swallow had finished their morning flight, the green finch began with his characteristic sound.
This day was planned as a common picnic day to the southmost part of Gotland -Sudret. Among others we wanted to see some of the special rock formations named rauk.
Through the land of farm fields and decidous forests of the inland we found our way along and stopped at Holmhällar. The parking area was 500 metres from the shore so it was a real walk for us handicapped elderly persons and Birgitta. At the shore there were some ancient fishermans houses but the path was to steel for us so we just lookad at a distance. The same with the "rauks" the special rock formations of Gotland. We admired them from the path but the children were delighted and moved around on the cliffs in a fairly dangerous way sometimes. Dominic held his watching eye on Daniel.
Back again at the cars we drove to a beach, had picnic lunch and a swimming in the sea. Dominic had the accident to slip in the water and as he had forgfotten to take his swimming trunks, he had to wear a makeshift costume for the rest of the day...
We passed lots of old time windmills when we drove for Hoburgen and admired the old troll which is a formation of the cliffs, and then we had some icecream - such a hot day it was!
. After Hoburgen we went home, every car at their own way. Jan Olof who drove the car were we were drove along the western shore under the cliff formation named Husrygg.
My botanical mind was awaken, observing wild parsnip and some other species. On our way home we noticed the wind power buildings in long rows at Nasudden, a striking sight. They are taking care of the energy sources on this island!
The evening meal was Tina's recipe of smoke-cured loin of pork gratinated with pineapple slices. Tasty! All of us then went down to the sea shore to admire the sunset. Daniel was very enthusiastic for all the birds, imitating the movement of their wings with fluttering arms.

My photos from the trip to Sudret

Tuesday August 3.
A quiet morning with haze over the island of Stora Karlso. The swans swam in the water of the bay, which lay as a mirror.
Roland stayed at home all day, relaxing. Tina and Jan Olof let me accompany them to Etelhem where many crafters are living. We visited an old pottery from 1879 and an artist who painted wartercolour pictures with motives from Gotland.Tina bought one of her paintings. We had a salad for lunch in their restaurant in the ancient thresher. After lunch we went to another pottery Larsson&Larsson and bought some goods.
Here in the eastern part of the island the wheat fields were ripe and many farmers were out harvesting. It had been a period of severe drought and the farmer were anxious for their outcome. We observed a proof of how dry it was, a tiny fire began in a field - self-ignition from the tractor. The farmer war stamping the fire out in a hurry.
We passed the Lojstahallen , a reconstructed Iron Age building. The weather was hot, 32 centigrades in the shadow - the temperature in the sun I did not even want to think about... we did not have the energy to walk the special path with stations to read the history and up to the remains of the Castle.
The dominating kind of trees here in the middle of the island were ashes, linden, maple and apple.

My photos from this Tuesday

Wednesday August 4
The families drove to the caves of Lummelunda but Birgitta stayed at home with Emma who was not well.
We elderly people drove northwards too, but our goal was Krusmyntagården. I really enjoyed that place with all the spices and herbes. Unfortunately the hard drought caused that some species had gone out and other were small and dry. But the mint which you could see in several varieties was large and in full bloom. Lots of bees were at those flowers. Roland was not especially amused and I think he was suffering from his joints too.
After that we went to Visby the ancient town which belongs to the World Heritage on UNESCO's list, and strolled along some of the alleys, admired the ruin of St Carin and the museum, where you find all the earlier churches of Visby in model. At the Eastern Gateway we met Per's family and we accompanied them in a tour around Visby with the blue-and-yellow train. A nice tour along the encircling wall and the Shore Walk. After that tour we returned home, I went swimming together with some of the others. Per's family had stayed in Visby and had some really severe troubles with the car on their way home. But they had a lucky day. The accident happened in the neighbourhood of a farm and the farmer had the things which were needed for the repair and could help!

My photos from Visby

Helena 8 years old today August 5!
That was celebrated by all families going to the Summer Land of Kneippbyn and staying there all day, joining in lots of amusements and swimming and much more.
We old ones had a relaxing day, reading, having coffee, walking and taking a tour to Fröjel looking at the ship barrow at Gannarve.There were horses feeding in the meadow so we just looked at it from the other side of the fence.

My photos of the ship barrow

In the evening there was a great birthday party with balloons and hamburgers and meringue-icecream and presents. Helena enjoyed intensively to be in the center of it all. She opened one parcel at time and really showed her appreciation.
My photos from the celebration

Friday August 6
Large flocks of geese went by early in the morning, awakening me with their shrieks. This last day the sun was a bit covered by clouds, and thus the heat was not as burning as before. Birgitta, Roland and myself went to Petes, which is an old farmers house from the eighteenth century managed by Gotland's Fornsal. It is mainly furnished as it was in the nineteenth century. You could see an exhibition in another house, showing the structural building of Gotland through the ages, from the early wood houses to the houses of stone which are mainly from the nineteenth century.
We had a Taco-supper, Tina cooked a sauce of minced meat, Birgitta cooked Taco Chicken, Per made Tsatsiki, and then we had salads and some other nice things to eat. Just as we had assambled for the meal, it began thundering, so we hastily moved indoors. A bit squashed and confused at the beginning but it soon settled. How lucky we had been with the weather during our holiday! Not even a drop of rain until this last evening.
Later Jan Olof showed us the videos he had taken during the trips to Lummelunda and Kneippbyn. Fun for all of us, especially for us who had not joined those trips. In this way we could join parts of those experiences of our grandchildren even if had not joined in.

My photos from Friday August 6

Saturday August 8 , the day of returning home.
I could not sleep in the morning so I went down to the sea bringing my binoculars, looking for birds. Gulls, eiders, ducks and swans, far away. It was windy and gray, lots of seaweed in the water so I was not tempted to wet my feet in the sea. A rabbit in his hole ran frightened away as I discovered him.
At seven it rained a bit so it was a trouble to air the bedding. First time we had breakfast indoors! Packing, cleaning up, and farewell after this family week. Wondering when we all can meet again?
We plane to have a commmon holiday again in two years in Denmark!


What did these days at Gotland imply?
It was nice for the cousins to meet and learn to know each other. We seemed to get on fairly well, and we seemed to have about the right amount of common activities and separate activities. The children could change families so that the parents could be free to do "grown-up" things, e.g. Tina and Jan Olof could look at pottery and Birgitta go to rural museum and Jan Olof and Dominic to the Air Plane Museum.
Emma and Helena had interests in common: Barbie Dolls, played nicely together in spite of their different languages. Patrik and Stefan played GameBoy. Niklas was a bit alone, mostly sitting by himself, reading. Even Sophie was mostly reading, bue loved swmming and could share that interest with Stefan. Daniel was a bit too small but Stefan liked to play with him sometimes. And all of them played "bangolf" eagerly at the course by the main building.

I dream about a tour to Gotland in early summer time to visit Stora Karlsö when the flowers are in their best time.

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