I grew up in a small town of approximately 10,000 people before moving out at 18. Ever since I lived mostly in cities.
Right the moment I got off the ferry, Visby reminded me of the feeling of home I have not felt in the cities I have lived in since. I felt a wave of sentiment even more once I started strolling through the streets.
Cobblestones. Little gardens. Trees and parks. The tranquility of a small town, disturbed only occasionally by cars going by through streets so narrow the vehicles are crawling more than actually driving.
I decided to follow a map that can be picked up at the Tourism Office in the middle of the city, which highlights all the World Heritage sites and puts them in an convenient numerical order, creating a nice cruise around the town, ensuring travelers see everything they should.
I started in the southwest part of the town, which led me outside of the City Wall.
I eventually crossed back inside the wall, getting to see the precise line of the old and the new—where the medieval wall meets the today’s town.
I saw old churches and ruins, sheep statues and adorable little stores, but what caught my eyes were hopscotches everywhere! As a child, I did not have the appreciation for old castles and ruins I have now, unless there was a kids program that allowed me to fight bandits to win treasure box filled with candy or a similar exciting adventure. I know I would have appreciated hopscotches along the way as a child. May that give adults more time to explore.
I finished my day at the Gotland Museum, learning about the picture stones that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, the Viking history, the Danish invasion, the reconnection of Visby back to Sweden and what life was like throughout all that time.
Elene called Visby “the Manhattan of the medieval times.”
I think I agree.