During last two years I have heard too many good things about Gotland, the biggest Swedish island. I imagined a very special place with long history, magical light, mild climate, endless white beaches, old windmills, art galleries, kind people and amazing food. My curiosity grew bigger every day and couple of weeks ago we finally made it there. We: my boyfriend Gunnar and me. We had 10 days to soak it all in. Here is what I learnt.
- People on Gotland are good at being and taking it slowly.
If there was a competition about staying present Gotland people would for sure end up on the top positions. They don‘t rush life, they are not tense or stressed. They seem rooted in something deep and timeless, as if they subconsciously tune into the peaceful mood of the island, surfing the waves of life with ease, continuously moving through its ups and downs. I loved seeing that, and it helped me work on my impatience issue which troubles me from time to time.
2. Trust, openness and social spirit.
When driving through the island we found many self service places selling organic home produce like fresh vegetables, eggs, beans, honey, etc. To buy those, we just had to write what we bought, put the money in a box or transfer it to the account number which was hand written on the wall. How sweet and trustful! Imagine, if it was like that in all the shops! How cool would it be? It also struck me how open the local people were. They seemed very natural, spontaneous and interested in strangers. They asked questions and shared stories. Very different from Norwegians, who prefer to have a lot of space around, preferably wild nature with not many strangers, which is also kind of sweet.
3. Tuning into the healing power of the Gotland spirit.
One morning I experienced a very special thing. I wanted to do a little meditation, just dive into this state of connectedness and joy, when I suddenly realised that it was already everywhere around me. Almost like the whole island was hugging me with its warm and wise heart. I did not really understand this, but enjoyed. Later during the trip, I sometimes experienced challenging feelings in different situations. Feelings like confusion, anger or frustration. I got this idea to ask the Gotland spirit from all my heart, to hug me again and help me turn my difficult feelings into harmonious and loving ones. And it not only worked, it worked very fast! It felt like a miracle, like an immediate dose of happiness flooding over me. I got so impressed and wanted to learn to work with this better. This potential lies for sure in many different places and maybe everywhere in nature? I believe that the more we practise sensitising and tuning in, the better we become at using both, the power of the natural healing agents around us and our own inner power.
4. Sunrises and sunsets – the universal everyday miracles.
Each time when I manage to wake up and catch the sunrise, it‘s totally worth it! So intense, beautiful and real! It is easy to stay present in these moments and feel that we are a part of something BIG. I think I prefer sunrises even more then sunsets, because the whole day is in front of me, everything is beginning, anything can happen! I hope for more early mornings. Maybe tomorrow?
5. Saffron, kanelbollar and cosy cafes.
Let‘s admit it. Food is a great part of travelling. Discovering new tastes and new food combination is just so exciting! On Gotland it‘s very popular to use saffron in the kitchen. It gives every meal a bright yellow colour and a very particular flavour which I think is fantastic. I tasted saffron fish soup and the typical Goth dessert – saffron pancake which actually is a peace of cake made of rice porridge, served with blackberry jam and whipped cream. I want to remake this dessert soon! Another sweedish treat is called kanelbollar, cinnamon snails, served with amazing dark roast sweedish coffee at any time of the day. This habit of a coffee break and pastry is called fika in Swedish and it is hard to say no to this!
6. Loppis – Swedish garage sale, art and design places and homemade everything.
Being very fond of social life, Gotland people love to arrange garage sales – loppis, with many beautiful things of all kind, which are often old and charming. During summer, you can also buy fresh waffles and coffee at these places which makes everything even sweeter. Gotland is also full of creative people. During our trip we saw too many pottery making places, art galleries, design shops and home made food producers selling cool things like Bear’s garlic pesto, Gotland honey, teas and artisanal ice creams.
7. The wild North and the odd stones.
As usually I liked the northern part most – Fårö island! Probably because it reminded me of Northern Norway, only with milder climate.:) The special soft light, freaky stone formations, exciting solitude and open landscape. This region totally gained my heart! No time checking on the mobile, not even phone signal here, just this nice feeling of being at the end of the world with new perspectives popping up.
8. Luxury vs. camping life.
During our trip we switched between staying at cosy hotels and sleeping in a tent by the sea. I really liked these contrasts, because they made me appreciate things even more. Long hot shower, comfy bed and delicious breakfast is a total treat after wild camping. On the other hand, waking up early in the middle of nature, morning dip in the sea and making fire to warm up old bread and cook coffee is a beautiful experience too. Plus, it‘s for free.
9. Strala everywhere!
Natural movement, breathing big and tuning in – Strala yoga – is something very neat when travelling and camping on Gotland and everywhere else. It‘s a great way to get everything in you flowing and glowing, with the best sound track – the nature. But let‘s not exclude towns! In Visby – the main city of Gotland I once woke up super early and went for a walk through the cute historical town. Finally I found a spot on the sun and did some easy moves just to bring some more consciousness in the body. It felt so nice and new. It‘s interesting how yoga often feels different at different places. Same moves, just different place, time, and most importantly different you, as we always change and rebuild ourselves. Our thoughts, feelings, chemistry, the way we look. All this we create!
10. When the time stops.
There were some moments on Gotland which felt like if the time stopped. I guess, we have all experienced this sometimes. When it happens, we just are. There is no other place we need to be, nothing we need to do, and the presence is very obvious. Sunrises, sunsets, music, dance, yoga, creating, whatever brings us there, let‘s do more of that! Chances are these feelings show us something important, filling us with excitement, joy and belief in magic.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I wish you a lovely day!