Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Side of Sweden - Gotland Island (Visby)

From the city streets and canals of Stockholm to quiet island life.  Established around 900AD, Visby, Sweden is located on Gotland Island, a few hours boat ride south of Stockholm.  That was our last stop of the cruise before it was time to head back to England.

Visby is known as a vacation destination for locals.  However, it is also known to have the best preserved medieval city in Scandinavia.  I had thought that when we arrived to Visby that it would be like the Vineyard; way overpopulated, tons of cars and noise and filled with tourist shops.  That's not to say that it didn't have a few shops but it was not nearly as touristy as I expected.  Ok, it had tourists. Just not an overflow of them.

We did ice cream for breakfast since it was right near us when we got off the ship's tender :)  The kids loved that!

Over 180 flavors of ice cream!!! 

After "breakfast" we saw one of those little touristy trains.  I know, I know - how cheesy!! But in a small town, we figured we could get an overview and then wander which is exactly what we did.  The train took us all around the outside of the medieval city but also along the waterside.  The beauty of the train, unlike when you do a bus, is that there are open sides which makes for better picture taking.

The wall to the medieval city is thought to have been built around the 12th century.

Ruin of St. Catherine's Church

When we were done with the train, we headed towards the medieval city.  Along the way we saw a group doing some kind of dance class - fascinated we stopped to watch.  It sounded and looked like some kind of African dance.  Whatever it was, it was some serious cardio exercise.  Not to mention interesting to watch and a pleasure to listen to.

Dancers on the green

Cute little pond in front of the medieval city

Yet another animal "pole"!  This one, a ram!

The town itself was on a bit of a hill and the roads were cobblestone.  So it made it a bit tricky working out way up.  I was really pleasantly surprised that the shops all appeared to be local and not some cookie cutter chain.  And really, there weren't all that many shops.  It really felt low key.

Walking down some of the walled city streets

Ruin of St. Drotten's Church

Totally did not expect to see the old Ford Fairlaine as we were walking around Visby!

I love doors and flowers

More pretty flowers

Another shot of St. Drotten's Church

You wouldn't know it by looking at that cute face, but Aidan was not feeling too great at this moment... poor kid :(

Beautiful stone home on the right

We loved that down by the (cold) water, there were hammocks hung for people to use.  We searched and searched but alas, couldn't find a free one.  But we loved the idea behind it.  A true opportunity to just sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of nature around you.

Me and my boys by the seafront...


Our ship (we had to take a tender to get to the docks)

Have grass, must wrestle...

It's been a great trip but we're ready to get back to reality!  We've got 2 more days at sea and then we're back to England.  The day we arrive in England, we head back to the US for 5 weeks - so wicked excited!!!


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