Scott MacNeill


Thursday, February 21 2008

For the past couple of nights we have tried to make arrangements to visit Kiruna. We found out everything was booked up so we needed to change our plans. The waitress / bartender at the jail we were staying at informed us that from the end of January to the end of February is a national sports holiday. There are 4 sections to Sweden and each section gets one week off. This is the reason Kiruna was so full. Instead of going to the north we decided to head to a Medieval town called Visby. Visby is located on the island of Gotland, the island of churches. Gotland is situated in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Latvia. We took a flight earlier this morning and arrived in Visby by 8:30 am our time, 2:30am US time. We had to leave the jail by 6:00am to make it to the small airport in Stockholm called Bromma. The plan we were on was small and had propellers in the front -so funny!

When we landed in Visby airport (teeny tiny) we rented a car from Avis. Online they said it was supposed to be a Saab but turned out to be a Ford Galaxy. The car is European style and very different looking from the Fords back home and it smells like Easy Cheese inside to Scott's dismay.

It took only about five minutes to get to the old town surrounded by the wall in Visby. We spend the day meandering though the small city streets, reading about the wall, and the old town within. On our walk we saw the botanical garden in the old city, which I am sure is even more beautiful in the spring and summer. Scott loved it he thought he was Link on a quest. We also saw a catapult right on the ocean, Medieval ruins of churches, and walked the entire distance of the wall on the outside and inside of town. Along the way we found a few small cafe's to have coffee and to eat lunch. One of the coffee shops had walls painted with a landscape and church done in the 1740's. The house was built over part of a cemetery with graves in the basement and the ruins of an old church. I asked if we could see down there but they said no.

After walking though a park that used to be an old Viking port, we stumbled across a hotel right on the shore of the Baltic Sea. As we didn't already have a room for Friday night we took a chance, and to our delight there was availability in a room overlooking the sea. I can't wait to stay there tomorrow night. It is also "inside the walls" as they say. We are staying outside the walls tonight in what lonely planet calls "A good value but uninspiring room", and I would have to agree. Well, we are going out to see Visby at night!

A map of our traveled path.