I visited Gotland
for the first time in 1969 when I was 5 years old, on
summer holiday with my parents and little sister. This island,
which lies off the south-east coast of Sweden, remained in my
memory the ultimate holiday...warm, sunny and calm, and with
the whitest beaches I ever saw. We continued to roam Sweden
every summer, but even if we went to some really nice places
I never forgot Gotland and the wonderful time we spent there.
When I got old enough to go on vacation without my family, the
ghost of Gotland always lingered in my mind. I had to go back...though
it would take a while before it happenend.
At this time
Gotland was known as a holiday paradise
mainly to people on the swedish coast close to its shores.
Its biggest attractions was ofcourse the white sandy beaches
and the giant limestones, but also the stalactite caves in
Lummelunda on the north-west coast. Ofcourse some also knew
that the movies about Pippi Longstocking, based on the swedish
author Astrid Lindgren's childrens books, were partially filmed
in Visby and that the famous house of the infamous girl also
is situated on the island. Nowadays its deep cultural identity,
its many churches, ruins, and the old city Visby which is
on Unesco's list of the Worlds Cultural Heritage also attracts
a lot of people. This city used to be a major trading centre
in medieval times, attracting merchants from all over Scandinavia
And not to forget the Medieval Festival which takes place
during week 32!
I grabbed my husband
and two kids and headed for Gotland again in the summer of
2001. My kids were then 2 1/2 and 7 1/2 years old, and the
excitement was great both on mine and the rest of the familys
account, yet I was afraid that it wouldn't
be what I had made it in my mind. I didn't have to worry.
By the time our week was drawing to an end my hubby was reading
the vacancy-ads and my daughter was fluent in swedish. Everything
was just perfect, and we wanted more. The summer of 2004 we
returned yet again for two weeks and managed to coordinate
our holidays with the Medieval Week. Which I highly recommend...what
a fantastic event! Truly an experience for life! Our experience
was even better second time around and spurred an even greater
interest in this wonderful place!
When I was a little girl
and people asked me what career I wanted to pursue as an
adult I never foresaw myself as an air stewardess, or a hairdresser
or a nursefor that matter. I always answered that I wanted
to be an indian when I grew up. As in a native american. With
a head full of eagle feathers, a spotted pony, a longbow and
a teepee! In which I would live out on the field behind my
parents house. My dad has never stopped teasing me with the
fact that I had plans for keeping the horse in the garage
during the harsh north norwegian winters. I never understood
why he made such a big deal out of this, as he bought a monstrous
car,(a Blazer Chevrolet), that was so big he couldn't drive
it in there anyway, and he only stuffed it full of garbage
anyway. Maybe he felt that the two words were so similar to
eachother that they deserved eachother...I on the other hand
could see it turn into a cosy little stable for my indian
After our second journey
to Gotland,which included enjoying the medieval week for the
first time, I regretted that I hadn't bought one of the longbows
that had been displayed for sale at the marked. So when we got
home I started searching the web for local archery clubs. My
interest was spurred once again and I let out a little cry of
joy when I found them! However...the following day the site
was replaced with a note saying that the club was regrouping
and there was no contact information what so ever. I almost
cried in frustration, because I was so in need of some diversion
from real life. That evening I talked to my dad on the phone,
and told him about the misere. My dad has always been a crafty
guy, and nowadays he spends his increasing sparetime making
beautiful knives. To my luck,(again), he remembered that one
of his club-mates also made bows, and gave me his cellphone
number so I could make some enquiries about the archery club.
Turned out he not only knew them, he was an active member, and
they were having a beginners class only a few days later!
Needless to say I enrolled imediately, and thus started my
career as an archer...not a minute too soon! I met likeminded
people there, which I hardly ever had before...people who
loved Tolkien and history as much as I did!
It was the beginning of a very happy time and some lovely
friendships...and hopefully it will last for years to come!