Tuesday 25 August Visby in Gotland (Sweden)

We arrived early this morning in the town of Visby on the Swedish isle of Gotland, which is known as the Island of a Hundred Churches.
Visby is one of Scandinavia’s well-known medieval cities and has cobblestoned streets that wind through the city to the Old Town. The 13th Century Old Town Wall that stretches three kilometres around the city, was once used as the city’s defense from intruders.
Our local guide, Gunilla, took us on a 2 hour walking tour around this beautiful town, talking to us about Viking history while we looked at the medieval buildings. She told us that the original town had very big cobblestones, but they were changed to the later ones when the town was raised to try and keep the sea out.
We visited a lovely park near the sea and Gunilla told us that originally the town was built near the harbour and as we walked, we saw some of the original town wall and the Gun Powder Tower, which was built in the 12th Century. We walked through the main town square and then we saw a house that was built in the late 18th Century using no nails – they did use wooden anchor points to hold it all together.
From there we visited the Botanical Gardens and saw an old Stonechurch Apple Tree that was lying down but still bearing fruit.
As we wandered along, we heard the St Mary’s bell ringing at 9.00am, but before we visited Visby’s beautiful Cathedral, we were taken to some of the old church ruins. We saw St Clemen’s ruins and Drotten, which was built in the 13th Century and dedicated to the Holy Trinity and we also St Lawrence’s, (they call it St Lars’), which was built in the Byzantine style.
Then we visited St Mary’s Cathedral, which was originally built for German merchants on Gotland – 1225 was the earliest known dedication date. The interior was beautiful and not over the top and had some lovely stained glass windows as well as a beautiful altar, lime wall paintings and sculptures in wood and stone.
From there we walked up Church Mountain (really just a big hill) for a lovely view over Visby. There were lots of houses, dating back to the 18th Century, built on this hill to protect the families from the sea. We continued our walk, back down the hill using a different set of steps further along ad passed the Visby school, which is from 1st grade to 6th grade and has 120 students,
We thoroughly enjoyed our brief visit to Visby, wandering slowly through the cobblestoned streets, listening to Gunilla telling us about her beautiful city that was really more like a town. We have decided that we prefer casual strolling through areas like this, rather than the rush and traffic of the big cities.
We re-boarded the MS Island Sky and the Captain set sail at 10.30am. The rest of the day was spent onboard, enjoying our last day on this beautiful small ship as she sailed towards Copenhagen.
After packing and getting organised to disembark the ship tomorrow, we went to an interesting and funny talk by the Hotel Manager, Wendy – it was about how to run a “hotel” on a cruise ship and was similar to the one she did at the end of our first cruise of Norway.
We enjoyed the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party and also the Captain’s Farewell Dinner – we sat with the same people who we have been sitting with the past few nights and had a wonderful time, laughing and enjoying our last dinner onboard this beautiful ship.

2 Responses to “Tuesday 25 August Visby in Gotland (Sweden)”

  1. Janet says:

    Loved the photos of Visby. Ella looked at them too so I got a running commentary which went something like this – ooh pretty garden, nice house, church castle, more gardens, yay it’s Nanna, ooh that’s pretty (referring to the stained glass windows). Ella said her favourite was of the school (she just typed school) 🙂

  2. sandy says:

    Pleased to hear that Ella is enjoying our photos and that she can spell school. 🙂

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