Last Weeks of Paradise – Visby, Gotland

Posted on May 23rd, 2015 by

It’s so sad to be reminded that we are leaving this great country in just a couple days, however it even sadder to know this is one of the last Semester in Sweden 2015 blog posts. It’s been an absolute joy ride these past four and a half months. I mean just yesterday I feel like we hopped on our plane back in Minneapolis to head overseas for the start of our great adventure. What has made the journey so special is this group of amazing individuals, with picking up a few Gusties along the way (Mark Johnson, Roland Thorstensson, Kjerstin Moody, President Bergman, and Tom Young) as well as the many friends we’ve made all over Sweden who have truly made the semester all the more extraordinary. Goodness I’m tearing up just remembering all the wonderful memories that have been made and that the group is parting ways in just a couple days. But no tears now because I need to inform you about our crazy last couple of weeks in Visby!

Before I tell our tales on the island of Gotland, let me recap our last night in Växjö. Friday night was our last night in the beautiful city of Växjö, so naturally of course we had to end with a bang, consisting of pizza and a flamin’ Christmas tree. Our good friend Mark Johnson traveled down to spend one last night with us, just can’t get enough of all this Gustie love, huh Mark?! Can’t blame you Mark, we are fun people, especially that Roland! How nice it was to spend one last night with Mark! Countless pizzas were devoured. Then the group relocated down to the lake. We gathered ourselves around a bonfire on the lakeside to watch the sunset. What a sight it was to see! So what better way to lay our old, worn clothing to rest than to burn it in the bonfire?! Alexa burned her ragged sweatshirt, while Lindsey threw in her old Woobie, then Sidney tossed a shirt of hers in as well. This is first step to reevaluating our suitcases before checking our bags on our way out. Baby steps people! After the burning of the clothes, it was Christmas time. Sidney came across an old Christmas tree during her search for wood and dragged the tree to the bonfire. So of course we had to burn it! Pat threw the tree in the fire while we all sang Christmas carols around the fire and quickly the tree went a ’blazing! What a perfect ending to our stay in Växjö.

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Then Saturday we packed up and hulled our bags for a long day of travel to Gotland. After a seven hour long wait, we boarded the Destination Gotland for Visby. Ain’t she a beaut?! We arrived in Gotland at eleven at night, then dragged our bags in the dark to our living accommodations. Needless to say, we were a little exhausted and believe me, we all slept like logs that night. The next day was a beautiful sunny day perfect for exploring Visby. Our mode of transportation around Visby was via bike. Oh how fun! Riding bikes around this medieval city on cobblestone is like nothing else.

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On Monday we visited Campus Gotland of Uppsala University. We learned about the academic programs offered there.IMG_6208

Tuesday we met a man named Aidan who took us on a tour around the city. Aidan is from Scotland. Funny we got a tour of Gotland from a Scotsman! Want to know more about this magnificent city curtesy of Aidan? Here are some of the highlights!

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IMG_6230 Twelfth century warehouse

IMG_6231 Eleventh century gunpowder tower. Oldest stone tower in Scandinavia.

IMG_6246  THE WALL

IMG_6235 Most photographed street. Will be covered in roses soon enough. Botanical garden below!

IMG_6240  IMG_6242  Wednesday the group biked in the harsh wind to the Gotland Museum. There we learned about the history of medieval Gotland. Here are our warriors in action! That same night, some of us ran out to the dock to see the beautiful sunset.

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The rest of the week we had to ourselves. I’m not quite sure what other people were up to those days, so let me enlighten you about adventures around Visby. My good friend Becca Awe and I explored the city. We visited the ruins of the twin churches. Then we spent several hours watching glassblowing. Our new friend Christor informed us all about his glass factory. His glass is one hundred percent recycled! Thursday night many of us went to see Pitch Perfect 2. In the theater Jeff was in a sea of teenage girls…it was awesome. Thursday we also met up for lunch at some ruins. The frisbee was tossed, cliffs were climbed and picnic blankets were laid for an enjoyable afternoon in the warm sun overlooking the gorgeous Baltic. What an absolutely beautiful day!

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The weekend came and the group got together Saturday night for a Swedish game of kubb. If you don’t know what kubb is, it resembles something of bowling with more of a risk of getting hit with a wooden stick. The night ended with a bonfire next to the sea with s’mores and Maria’s delicious olive dip.

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Before we knew it, our last week in Sweden came. We all had mixed emotions between the excitement of going home and the sadness of leaving this magnificent country. Tuesday we spent our afternoon with some of the students from Campus Gotland. The students ever so kindly put on a BBQ for us. Then on Wednesday we had fika at the Student Union. Thursday we spiced things up with a little field trip. Roland took us out to the island of Fårö. There we visited the Ingmar Bergman Museum, walked along a couple beaches and finished the day with a visit to a sheep farm. How cute are these sheep?!?!

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Friday was Roland’s day! The day was packed full of celebration for Roland being here with us for the past month. Roland has made our last part of the semester even more enjoyable and he deserved a nice grill out for all he has done for us. Thank you Roland and we cannot wait to run into you on campus next fall!

And just like that this post comes to an end along with our journey abroad. I believe I can speak for all of us when I say it’s been such a whirl-wind, crazy voyage all over Sweden and we are so grateful for the opportunities we have had and for the friends and memories that have been made. Once again I must say this semester could not have gone on without this amazing group of individuals. Spending four and a half months with this group has been pure joy! We have all had our ups and downs, excitement, happiness as well as heartbreak and homesickness but at the end of the day we reminded ourselves we were in Sweden and why we were in Sweden and frankly nothing can get in the way of enjoying this once in a lifetime adventure. Four months later we all have these new friendships and new memories that will last a very long time and these are truly the best souvenirs of all.

It’s been real Sweden 2015, I’m going to miss you all dearly as well as this incredible country. Thank you for the memorable semester!

Goodbye Sweden, hello good old USA!

See you all back on campus next fall! – Laura

 


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