Rock On, Visby!

I love Visby!

It was lovely to be in Visby again! We adored the place last time we visited, so it was clearly on all of our wish lists to stop by this time as well. “If you ask me, I wouldn’t mind being there all summer!” Charlotte said.

Here are some highlights from our Visby diary.

A Better Docking Spot

The Visby marina is delightfully cozy and right next to (or in) the beautiful town. The downside of this, however, is that it’s a bit tight to get in and out. And with the rows of boats quite near each other, the mooring buoys are positioned a bit too close to the floating docks as well, at least for the longer boats.

Anyway, this year we managed to get a much better spot than last year— in part because this time around I think I had more confidence and better nerves to navigate all the way to the innermost basin.

We had less rocking and rolling due to the swell and the wind. Not completely rock ‘n roll free, though, but I get back to that later!

The German yacht on the left is moored bow in and is using the aft buoys on both starboard and port sides. We’re stern in (without a bow ladder, the only convenient way to get on and off the boat) and have only one buoy, which is attached both midships and to the bow. And a seaEQ flat fender to protect the hull.
O has just woken up and comes out the check the new surroundings. “Cool, we’re here!” he says, after he’s able to open his eyes to take in the bright new Swedish island surroundings.

Gotlands Djurpark

After a relaxing first day, which included our traditional walk around the city, and dining out, for the second day, we rented a car to go and visit the nearby small countryside zoo Gotlands Djurpark. (A reprise from last year when we did the same!)

Small advertisement: the harbor office has slightly shabby, but mostly working, and very cheap rental cars. We got a nostalgic for-a-family Toyota.

Which was fantastic!

And after a short drive, we got to see all the animals as well. And also some new ones! The zoo was as nice as before, but with some noticeable upgrades as well. Good work, zoo people!

Small cuddly lambs. A few of them actually appreciated the cuddling.
Lamb video.

Excursion to Fårö

The nice caretaker person on Gotska Sandön had suggested we’d sail to Gotland’s Fårö— “because it is very beautiful!”.

Well, we didn’t sail there, but luckily we had a fantastic rental car, so we decided to go there by wheels instead of wind.

It was a nice trip. We saw the rauks, swam (some of us) in the Blue Lagoon, and— a couple of times—, stopped the car to walk out into the surrounding fields and look for sheep to befriend.

Mesmerizing view. If Luke Skywalker’s early home planet of Tatooine had surface water, it could have looked like this! And Luke could have been a sailor, him as well. I’m sure he would have loved it!
Little L and the stone guy.
J and O plunging in. Little L and M, not so much.
The first lesson of not being seen: not to stand up. The sheep had obviously been watching Monty Python, since there was no sheep to be seen.

After a long day out sightseeing, we were happy but tired, and it felt great to round off the evening and get some well-deserved sleep.

And had it not been for a hilarious part of traditional Visby history catching up with us, maybe we would have.

Party on, Visby Gästhamnen!

Back in the 2000’s, when I visited Visby for the first time, it was already well known for being the place to go if you wanted to party. The visitor’s marina was brimmed with expensive motor yachts and their suntanned occupants making whopee, doing it loudly and merrily. Few people were sober at any time of the day, and it was quite normal for the music of the last people standing not to stop before the first people were waking up to carry the baton forward. It was crazy. But certainly also, great fun!

So, last year, when we visited Visby, there was none of that. All the traditional “party weeks” had been canceled due to the virus, and the otherwise bustling and crackling guest harbor was now just that, an ordinary somber Swedish guest harbor.

The party weeks were canceled this year as well, but funnily enough, one motor yacht parked really close to us, it hadn’t received the memo.

And it was a wonderful throwback to all the previous history and my earlier memories!

“Tjänare!” the men shouted from their yacht, when we were walking by in the morning, and held up their champagne glasses to toast the first light of morning, while at the same time heading quickly into their own fog of happy intoxication.

These might well have been the same young and stylish people I had seen twenty years ago, but now they had grown older. And wider, and less nimble, and maybe a bit more lost.

A bit later in the afternoon, the music was still going full steam ahead, blasting and rocking the whole harbor with the usual playlists. And some more people had appeared from within the boat to join the party.

There was a short break in it all, between evening and late evening, when the partying crowd left the boat and temporarily relocated the party to (we assumed) some onshore restaurant or bar.

But at about nine in the evening they were back at it on the boat again. With more people with them who (we assumed) had tagged along from the bar.

And the harbor went rocking again, as a stream of music departed from the designated DJ’s Spotify app, to then reach all surrounding humanity through the substantially oversized sound system some unknowing and innocently well-intending engineer had designed for the boat.

A bit before midnight they went into overdrive.

“NU KÖR VI!” someone shouted at the top of their lungs (translation: “HIT IT! LET’S GO!”), and then came the Dire Straits Experience.

Visby Party marina simulation. Press play and then try to get some sleep. It was as loud as it seems.

The party continued well into the night, to about 4:30 am.

And then it started again in the morning.

And continued into the next night.

And Groundhog Day the day after that, and the day after that. (This is the truth, believe me!)

On day four, the music took a decisive turn for the darker side, and we started hearing Rammstein and other metal bands. Were they (finally) getting tired?

Party on, though, we thought! Go boys, go boys, go! Lay down and boogie, and play that funky music till you die.

On day five the boat was still there, but the party had stopped. I don’t know if they had run out of party fuel, or the police had shown up to turn off the faucet, but end it did.

Thank you, anyway, you party animals, for sending us this four-day blast from the past. In a world of pandemic-induced seclusion, it was a well-needed vaccine of your life into ours!

Happy Birthday

The day before we sailed onwards, it was my birthday.

Charlotte and the children asked me to go out for a walk while they were preparing the boat with some kind of birthday party setup. When I came back we had a very special little birthday party.

Thank you, Charlotte, thank you, children! ❤️

A traditional local chocolate cake. It was by far the strongest tasting (in a good way!) cake I’ve ever eaten! I liked it a lot. Of the others, only M and Little L were able to eat it.

And thank you, Visby! You are a wonderful city, located on a beautiful island. Can’t wait to see you again!

Burn brightly into the night, until the night is no more. Keep rocking, all you rockers!

The italics version of me.

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