Edit Blog Post
Published: June 29th 2017
Geo: 57.6407, 18.2961
This time it didn't come about by poor hygiene, or rats, or some mysterious curse. It came from an Australian traveler, shuttled by a small life boat from a cruise ship onto the unsuspecting shores of Visby. I am the plague. Such is how I've felt lately. Ever since Copenhagen, Ive had a horror flu like infection. A blocked, then runny nose, coughing up horrible rainbows of gunk, spontaneous vomiting, clouded thoughts and dazed states, zero energy. I should have been quarantined, shut away from others, possibly thrown overboard. I even tried to seek assistance at the medical centre. However the price of a remote chance at salvation to see the doctor came in at $170US for a short appointment. Not a price I was willing to pay. So the ship medical assistant handed me a bottle of cough syrup (in exchange for $7) a handful of cough drops, gave me a pat on the head, sent me on my way and said everything would be alright. If she only knew of the woe, the walking biological weapon, she would unleash onto the people of Visby, she may have reconsidered. For I shudder to think how many I may
have unwillingly infected and shared my disease with today.
Whilst my visit to the island of Gotland (part of Sweden) may not actually have been quite as epic as the black plague of medieval times, the city of Visby is arguably the most intact medieval town in Europe. Once the major trade city in the Baltic Sea, much of many of the original 11th century buildings still stand. Nearly the entire city wall is still intact, along with all the three city gate entrances and guard towers.
As the port is too small to accommodate a large cruise ship of todays standards, our ship anchored off shore and tendered passengers ashore using the life boats. Initially we booked a walking tour, but at $35each, decided to save some money and go it alone. It was a good choice. We came ashore around 9, and started with a short walk around the city parameter. The walls were most impressive and there was plenty of useful tourist information around.
After a couple kilometres around the city, we entered the north gate to explore its interior. We walked the winding cobbled streets, browsing some shops, and exploring the countless ruined churches and buildings of
Visby. The most significant monuments being the Cathedral of Marie Lucia and ruined St Nicholas church.
I managed to still really enjoy the day, despite feeling terrible. The sun was welcome and I loved the medieval buildings. Tourists aside, this was definitely the quietest town we had visited. It felt like a ghost town at times, no locals to be seen.
We found some Stepsils at a general store, and along with the cough syrup, cold and flu tablets and some rest this afternoon, I feel I'm slowly on the road to recovery. We were back on the boat around 1pm for a 3pm departure. Ive been in bed, whilst Natalie hit the gym and enjoyed some sunbaking. Tomorrow we are off on a guided tour of Latvia! Looking forward to it.
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