Text and Photos: Laura Taccari
In our lives there would have been a time before and after Gotland. While most people were spending their summer at the beach on the Mediterranean Sea, we flew to Stockholm, then to Visby. On a green oval shaped land on the freezing Northern Sea we found ourselves in a fairy-tale.
Gotland is a harmonic blend of woods, pine forests, meadows and cornfields, fine stretches of sand, coves and straight roads. As you drive through, sometimes the landscape reminds you of Canadian forests and Normandy countryside, others of the Hamptons and their wooden houses, hidden behind bushy trees. It makes you think of lunar landscapes and stretches of African savannah. But then you realize that this can only be Sweden. Gotland can’t be anything else but Gotland and you’ve been lucky enough to discover it by yourself, before others could tell you about its wonders.
Gotland is a house drawn by a kid. Every building (granary, henhouse, watermill, bell tower or house) has a sloping roof. Dwellings are made of wood and stone. Chocolate colour beams are paired with ruby red slates, ochre with black, burgundy with green blue, mauve with brick red… The houses that are better looked after have wooden lacework to finish off the edges, chairs set in circle on the lawn and a patio area just outside the front door.
Gotland is a bouquet of wild flowers with hairy stems and stinging leaves. Stubborn violet, pink or yellow flowers with crisp petals. They’re everywhere, around the houses, along the streets, next to the sand, in a vase on a bar counter. You too start picking them. You promise yourself that, once at home, you will look for their ancient names, dry them in a book and start your first herbarium.
Gotland is a couple of hidden huts on an immense cliff called Sigsarve. You get out of your car and listen to the waves. A bay with tall cliffs is the backstage to the sea coming and going on stage.
Gotland is a wonky wooden fence, a creaking pier, the ruins of a fortress, a basket of truffle found under leaves, an old caravan in your garden, a candle on your windowsill, a sunset after dinner when it’s night in the continent.
Gotland is a summary of Sweden, a less known fairy-tale, a Nordic poetry.