Gotland, Sweden

In 2014 we went to Gotland. This is a rather large Island off the east coast of Sweden in the Baltic sea. We only stayed from the 30th of August to the 1st of September. This is after the main turist season and the camping grounds we stayed at was pretty much empty except for other dog people like ourselves. Perfect when you travel with a bunch of dogs!

We stayed at Kneippbyn resort. Most of it was closed down as the Summer season ended the weekend before, but we enjoyed our stay just as much.

The nature of Gotland was pretty different to what we are used to around our home. It is made up of sedimentary rocks going back to the Silurian age (443 mya to 416 mya) Going for short hikes  in the near by area gave us a really nice view of this part of the Island.

Gotland is reknown for it’s history. From the Viking age to the Hanseatic area Gotland has a lot of history. Visby, the “capital” of Gotland was an important, perhaps the most important, Hanseatic city in the Baltic sea.

We went for a visit to Visby, without the dogs, as well. Being on the island we wanted to see this historic and charming little town. It is one of the best preserved Mideaval towns in Scandinavia and is on the Unesco World Heritiage list. The Visby city wall, the church ruins of Drotten, St.Katarina and St.Lars were visited. All built during the Hanseatic area in the 1200s (13th century).

The city wall is 11 M high and is 3,44km long (originally 3,6km). It was built in two stages and was finished in 1288.  Originally it had 29 large and 17 small towers. Today 27 of the large towers and 9 of the small towers remains. This city wall is a major reason why Visby ended up as a  Unesco world heritiage site.

Drotten was built around 1240 and was the church of the Hanseats (Germans). “Drott” is a word from Norse meaning “owner of a thrall”. In other context drott could mean fürst or king, and the wife of the drott is the drottning. Drottning (Swedish) or dronning in Norwegian is the word still used for queen in Scandinavia.

St. Katarina ruin was started around 1233 and was originally built by the fransiscan order. The construction carried on untill the middle of the 1300s.

St. Lars ruin was finshed in the early 1200s (1210-1220), but the eldest parts might be from the 1100s. This chuch has some ortodox traits and it seems like the arcitecht might have been influenced by Russian churches, it is highly unlikely it was a Russian church.  St. Lars has it’s name after St. Laurentsius who died as a martyr.

 

The main reason for going this exact weekend was the Gotland Dog Show. We showed Freke and Fjellbris. Both got high praises from the judge. Freke became best of breed and Fjellbris best of opposite sex. A sucsessful trip in that regard as well.

 

I am sure we will be back for another visit to Gotland some time. Most likely with the dogs tagging along. However it is not certain if it will be at the time of the Gotland Dog show or not. The show was very nice, but not necessary for another visit. Next time we will stay a bit longer though.

Our first vaccation – part II: Sweden

Part II: Sweden

From the 2nd of August to the 4th of August

After crossing the Øresund bridge from Denmark we continued up the coast to Gothenborg.  Here we stayed at Elite Park Avenue Hotel. Situated in Gothenborg’s main street Avenyen. A wonderful hotel with excellent staff and rooms. The price was reasonable considering it is a four star hotel with prime location. We will most likely be back next time we visit Gothenborg. At least if we go without dogs.

Our plans for Gothenborg was relaxing and a visit to the amusement park  Liseberg.  That didn’t work out, as just before we reached Liseberg we came across a dinosaur! Both of us having had dinosaurs as an interest earlier in life, and still reading up on them from time to time it was bound to sidetrack us. We ended up at Universum instead of Liseberg.  Not at all a bad thing.

It was a rather huge place but we visited the flora and fauna part and of course the dinosaurs on  the rooftop.

They had one display of fish, birds,reptiles and amphibians from Scandinavia.  Another part had a rainforest environment,  they had a huge marine aquarium tank – and several small ones. A collection of serpents that I really enjoyed and of course the dinosaur display.  Animatronic ones. I guess they weren’t all that amazing, but as it kind of was a trip back to childhood we had great fun seeing them anyway.  Luckily several of the species had been uploaded since we were kids and gotten their feathers.

 

 

On our way back to the hotel,  we got the first rain during our vaccation.  And it really poured down. It was refreshing. Knowing we would be back at the hotel before long we made no attempt at staying dry, but enjoyed the pouring rain. Me rather a bit more than him though.

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Leaving Gothenborg we visited the zoo Nordens Ark (the Ark of the Nordic) before driving into Norway. This zoo primarly have northern species. Big areas for their animals and areas that are possible to rotate between animals to some extent, meaning that the animals get more stimulation than staying the exact same area all the time. I long wanted to visit this park as they have several species of cats I haven’t seen in life before. I wasn’t let down, and I loved the fact that the animals may hide themselves from view if they whish to.