Tours of Visby and Krukmakarens Hus
Trip Start Jan 08, 2010
45Trip End Sep 27, 2010
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Our house is in the middle of the walled city so we started off toward the harbour and out of the wall. Pekka showed us a spot right near the ground where we could see a wooden beam used to run across the entrance and just above it were some old hinges. He tried to convince us that people back then had been very small so that's why the gate was so low, but of course it was just because over time the wall has sunk into the ground so now it's only about half as high as it was originally. He said that the wall is actually a bit lower at that point than around the other side though and that's because it used to be right next to the harbour. The natural harbour was later filled in and a new one built further out, so now there is a big park and the uni and library where the harbour once was
We then walked down to the water and around the wall next to the ocean, very beautiful. Then in through the botanic gardens which are apparently quite a sight in the spring and summer but covered in snow at the moment of course. Further around the wall they have rebuilt the wooden structures that would have been around the surviving stone towers so now you can walk up in the towers where the archers would have been. On the outside of the wall there we saw the 'mote' which is on a hill so never had any water in it but provided a hindrance to attackers anyway. It was covered with snow so Pekka tried to tell us it is proof that the Swedes invented the ski halfpipe. That may not be true but it did give us an idea and we are going to pinch the school toboggans and take them for a spin there sometime.
After that we walked further around the outside of the wall and then went in at a place where the old coin mint used to be. There is no original building there anymore but you can see scars on the wall where the building would have joined onto it. Now there is a normal residential house plonked on the site. Still finding it very odd how the wall and the other historical sites are still so much in use and so accessable. The mint was on a hill called Rackarbacken or 'Rascal's Hill' which was where the 'rascals' lived. The rascals were the lowest of the lower classes and they assisted the hangman with execustions and cleaned out toilets and stuff like that. so they had houses right up next to the wall (near the gallows which were just outside it) so no-one would have to live near them. it is interesting to note that even though they lived away from everyone, they were still given a place to live inside the wall where it was safe, because even though they were low and dirty, they were still very important
We then walked back towards the centre of town towards our place, past various ruins of churches and one which was still intact. Visby used to be a trade and shipping centre so lots of different nationalities were represented here and each one built their own church so they could teach in their own language. Unfortunately though the Germans (before they bacame germans but i can't remember what they were called, something starting with L), broke into the city and burnt all the churches down except for one which they took over for themselves (if i remember rightly). so there are church ruins everywhere and one really pretty one still standing.
so that was the tour of Visby, more info will be with the photos.
We also made a video tour of Krukmakarens Hus so you could see where we live but it was too big to upload so you'll have to wait til we get home. We took some still photos instead so have a squiz. Unfortunately you won't get to see Pete whack his head on a cupboard, but never mind, it's bound to happen again one day.
We have just come back from a tobogganning trip. We found a dicky little toboggan at the school so we took her out for a spin. it was so much fun but we must have looked like real tourists - we were squealing and taking pictures and running around like maniacs getting in the way of the little kids. (pete writing now) We were happy playing on the smaller hills, but then we saw the mother of all toboggan runs! It was a mountain compared to the others. Everyone was putting on helmets, but not me! I shoved all the kids aside and went for it. WAAAAAAAAH! I was racing down getting air off each rise and fall going a hundred miles an hour! tearing through the wreckage of past attempts! (myf again) yes pete, very heroic.