It dawns on me that I am late. Over a hundred years late. Marcus Larsson may have saved Gotland from becoming the Sahara of the Baltic Sea. But he also greatly reduced the sand dune skiing opportunities in Ullahau. Planting this forest may have been a good idea, and it stopped erosion that may have started from human actions. But I honestly thought there would have been dunes in Gotland. And part of me wonders what would have happened if Marcus had allowed the nature to run its course.
But the practical question is if even a single skiable dune remains today. We walk a kilometer into the forest, on the soft sand. There is a dune that still partially sticks out from the vegetation! I put the skis on and start testing the slope.
The nearby cafe, Ebbas Mat & Caffe is an excellent place for a quick lunch. I recommend the ham and cheese pasta. And the old town in Visby, the biggest city, is a great place for evening entertainment and bars.
Gotland is a wonderful place, full of interesting medieval sights, ruins, and culture. Just the church architecture alone is fascinating. The island is full of ancient churches, some in ruins, some still operational.
On the first week of August, the medieval festival fills the city. At times, it is hard to remember that it is 2013, as almost everyone wears old costumes, camps out in the tents, or stages sword fights. Maybe next time we should come appropriately dressed. And equipped.
But the big thing for me were the adventures. Our trip to Gotland was a last minute decision. Not much preparation went in to it. And among the many wonderful adventures one can have in Gotland there was one that I missed reserving in time. The Lummelundagrottan is a cave system north of Visby. They organise tours for the regular tourists. But what would really have been wonderful is the caving tour deep into the mountain, walking, boating, wading through the water, and crawling. An underground climber's dream. I have to return to do this another time...
Stone stacks (rauk) in the Fårö coast are not to be missed if you make a visit:
This is where our trip began, on the airport tunnel at Helsinki-Vantaa: