Gotland

10 07 2014

The first half of the last week of my vacation was spent on an island, Gotland to be precise. The first and only time I have been there was in nineteen eighty or eighty one so it felt good to revisit the place. Another reason of course is that it was one of the two remaining counties in Sweden where I needed to find some caches. I’m still wondering if I should have continued on to Norrbotten when I was in Västerbotten but it’s nice to have some challenges remaining.

The flight from Arlanda to Visby took less time than we needed to get checked in and through the security control and about two thirds of the time to drive from Gävle to Arlanda. The airport in Visby is tiny so getting baggage and a rental car was a quick process and we were soon on our way. It’s only a five minute drive into Visby but then the fun begins. More or less all parking is outside the medieval city walls and is quite expensive unless it’s Saturday afternoon or Sunday, when it’s free. I didn’t think about it when I booked the trip but it was the latter part of the Swedish politicians “summer holiday” in Almedalen where they all meet to try to outdo each other in promising things they cannot keep. Or something like that. It’s also the summer playground for a lot of Stockholmers who don’t want to travel too far yet visit a place that is a little exotic. The consequence is inflated prices for both hotels and restaurant visits. Even the petrol was more expensive than in other places in Sweden.

What I was looking for on the island was the geology and therefore earthcaches. I wasn’t disappointed as we found four of them and really enjoyed looking at the places they took us to. Surrounding the finding of the fours earthcaches was a bunch of 38 traditional caches, the most difficult having a D rating of three. On the terrain side of things the highest T rated cache we found was a T2.

The earthcaches were:

Langhammars
Självfrätstenen / The Self-Eroded Rock
Haugklintar
Kalkurfossar- Water from Lime

Gotland is comprised of rocks that were formed under millions of years through sedimentation on the bottom of different seas. The rocks were formed around 400million years ago in the period called the Silurian age. Animals that lived then were covered in further sediment and today are the fossils that are found, in principle all over the island. As the tectonic plates move rocks can tip, but Gotland has not been effected so much and after the last iceage the land was “polished” flat and remains so today.

There are some anomalies and one of them is the self eroding rock. This is an erratic block of Rapakivi granite from Finland that was transported to it’s present place during the last ice age. It’s a fascinating sight seeing how the block is crumbling into gravel on it’s own.

A Rapakivi erratic on Gotland

A Rapakivi erratic on Gotland

Rapakivi granite is known for it's self erosion

Rapakivi granite is known for it’s self erosion

ds8300 at Langhammars raukar

ds8300 at Langhammars raukar

You can almost see a face in this rauk

You can almost see a face in this rauk

GPS at Haugklintar earthcache

GPS at Haugklintar earthcache

Cliffs at Hoburgen

Cliffs at Hoburgen

176 km between the ends of the island

176 km between the ends of the island

Quarrying of millstone grit on the south of the island

Quarrying of millstone grit on the south of the island

Dry waterfall in Visby

Dry waterfall in Visby

The main part of the stay was for sightseeing and we were able to drive to most parts of the island from the lighthouse at the south end (Hoburgen) to the one in the north at the far end of Fårö. We were struck by the unusual churches, probably because everyone seems to have a geocache. We had to stop and pick up them up of course. Actually we only found thirteen of the ninety two that have been placed on the island.

One of the many churches we saw

One of the many churches we saw

Another of the many churches on Gotland

Another of the many churches on Gotland

The monastery ruins at Roma

The monastery ruins at Roma

Ruins of St. Görans church in Visby

Ruins of St. Görans church in Visby

Is this St Göran watching over his ruins?

Is this St Göran watching over his ruins?

As we were returning from Fårö I saw a sign pointing to the KA3 museum so had to make a slight detour and have a look. Even though the equipment was impressive it wouldn’t be much use today in the age of cruising missiles.

Artillery at the KA3 museum

Artillery at the KA3 museum

Old ground to air missile at KA3 museum

Old ground to air missile at KA3 museum

In some way Gotland seems to be still many years after mainland Sweden, but is probably what adds to it’s charm. There were many preserved buildings and relics of normal life in the earlier 20th century.

Preserved farm at Brattarve

Preserved farm at Brattarve

Esso garages disappeared decades ago

Esso garages disappeared decades ago

I love these old neon signs

I love these old neon signs

It was the politicians summer week in Almedalen

It was the politicians summer week in Almedalen

One of the squares in Visby

One of the squares in Visby


So, after this trip which netted over forty finds, I have found caches in twenty of the twenty one counties in Sweden. I suspect that the final county won’t be visited this year but who knows?

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