Bob arrived on Wednesday, August 6th. We spent the day in Stockholm visiting the Architecture and Design Museum and doing a little shopping.
We started off by having lunch at the Modern Museum because we heard it had a great view and good food and it didn't disappoint.
There are two main ways to get to Gotland, a train to a ferry which takes about 4 hours or a 35 minute plane ride. We were going to take the train and the ferry but it was fully booked so we flew which ended up being great because then we had more time in Gotland. We left from the Bromma Airport which is a much smaller airport and it is pretty close to our apartment which meant we didn't have to leave that early before our flight. We flew out at 7:40 am and landed in Gotland at 8:10 am and we were on the airport bus headed to downtown Visby by 8:15 am.
link. The weather was perfect. It was a little bit overcast when we left Visby and then it was partly cloudy with a little bit of a breeze the rest of the way. It was probably between 65-70 degrees but not very humid. We really couldn't have asked for better weather. We took the main road that cuts across the island which was kind of busy but the cars were very considerate. All of them pulled over to give us half of a lane or more and if another car was coming towards them they waited until they could pass and give us space. I think cars on this island are pretty used to cyclists on the road.
We arrived in Ljugarn and set up our tents before the boys headed for lunch. I wasn't that hungry so I decided to take a nap in the tent instead of having lunch. When they got back from lunch we headed to the beach which was less than a minute from our campsite. The water was freezing cold and there was a lot of algae where we were so I didn't get in and the guys were only in the water for a little while before we moved to the pool.
While we were leaving the beach Jake said. "You are the hottest girl on the beach." I gave him a look that told him I thought he was lying. While it was flattering, we are in Sweden and girls here are typically in very good shape plus Jake happens to be one that leans towards being overly honest instead of giving empty compliments. After the look he said, "Well, you are definitely in the top 5." And I just laughed. His honesty was a little hard to get used to when we first started dating, like when he said my high school graduation dress looked like a mattress pad which he later changed to a bed skirt :), but now I appreciate it and love it. At least if he compliments me now I know he means it and he has learned to at least think before he shares a comment that might be too honest :).
They also had nice showers. Each campground had similar systems for the showers. You had to buy a shower card and load it with hot water minutes. For two of the campgrounds you scanned your card in the shower and you got hot water with each scan or press of a button. The shower would run for about a minute and then stop. Then you could hit it again for another minute of hot water. One of the campgrounds had the water running the whole time but if you wanted it to be hot you had to scan your card. I didn't like that set up because then every minute I'd have to remember to jump out of the way of the freezing cold water. I liked the two that either had hot water or nothing. When the water wasn't running I could lather up and then hit the button for hot water. The showers were clean and not buggy and no one threw a frog in there when I was shower (Emily Destined for trouble Martz, I don't think you threw the frog in the shower when we went camping together a long time ago but someone you were with did and I still haven't forgotten. But, it could also be said that camping with your family and Jan's family is the reason why I camp with Jake today so maybe that cancels out the frog.)
The next morning we woke up early to pack up and head out so we could get to Tofta at a decent time. Our sit bones, butts, were sore but other than that and Bob's knee we weren't in too bad of shape. It took us about 5 hours to get there because we took more back roads and stopped a few times but this was my favorite day of biking. All of the back roads were so pretty and there was barely any traffic. Gotland reminded me of Kansas. It was pretty flat with wheat fields, cows and horses but then we would also go through a forest area which looked and smelled like Colorado without the mountains. I loved those stretches.
I realized while biking that looking out the window of a car every once in a while is a completely different experience than biking down the road. When you bike you get the sights and the smells and you have to look around or else you will crash. Your mind can just wander and you can get caught up in the beauty surrounding you and it was beautiful. We had another day of perfect weather. It was sunny, with a cool breeze and not too warm. I got a little pink on our first day because I didn't put on any sunscreen, which in Kansas would have been horrible but in Sweden it just gave me a little color, so I made sure to wear some the second day.
We arrived at the Tofta campground around 1:30 pm. We checked in and then grabbed some lunch before finding a place for our tents. We had lunch at the Tofta Beach Club which had a nice view of the pool and beach.
The tent sites were in a designated area but they aren't reserved spots with a fire pit and a picnic table like we are used to in Colorado. So we just biked around until we found one with lots of trees that wasn't close to anyone else and set up there. There were also about six different electrical boxes you could plug into to charge up your gadgets. We happened to find one by our tent spot and used it to charge our phones and the gps.
Little kids definitely vary in their swimsuits. Some run around completely naked both on the beach and at the little kiddie pools around the city parks. Others kids, both girls and boys, might just have on bottoms. Some kids have on what I would consider a regular swimsuit and there are just a few who wear one piece suits with long sleeves and capri like bottoms to block as much sun as possible. Our SFI, Swedish for Immigrants, teacher told us that 10 or 15 years ago you would have seen more kids just swimming naked but now that is more frowned upon by outsiders so they cover the kids up more.
Most females wear two piece swimsuits and the majority of them can pull it off. For the most part Swedes are very fit so why not wear a two piece? Most males wear shorts that are typically a little shorter than the swim trunks we would see in the US. Some men wear speedos or really short shorts but not as many as you would think. In the city it isn't that uncommon to see both males and females swim in their underwear either after a run or if they are down by the water at night and they didn't bring their swimsuits.
After the beach we took showers and headed to dinner. We had dinner outside at a restaurant with a view facing the beach but we couldn't actually see the waves hitting the sand. We did see a very pretty sunset though.
After the sun went down a Swedish reggae band started planning and we enjoyed listening to the band and watching people dance. We walked on the beach after dinner to get to our campsite. It was so pretty seeing the moon reflecting on the water.
The next morning we headed to a nearby hotel for a traditional Swedish breakfast buffet and then we headed to the beach one more time before heading to Visby.
We are biking through one of the gates to get into Old Town Visby.
After we got back to the campground Jake and I were headed up to the bathrooms to get ready for bed. There were lots of big tents with stakes quite a ways from the tent. As we started walking to the bathroom Jake said we should walk on the path or be really careful not to trip over any stakes. We made it passed the first tent before I face planted, hard. I was even being careful! Jake helped me up and we headed towards the path after I stopped laugh-crying. I was so embarrassed and my wrist hurt quite a bit. I took taekwondo in middle school and high school until I got my black belt my junior year of high school. During all that training I learned the right way to fall to give me the best chances of not breaking a wrist by trying to catch myself. Well, I did was I was taught to do and kept my arms straight from my finger tips to my elbows so I didn't break a wrist but I didn't think about the watch I was wearing on my left wrist when I smacked the ground. The clasp dug into my wrist and gave me a nice bruise that was sore for about a week.
Bob also had kind of a tough night because it rained that night and he didn't put the cover on his tent down because it was a pain when getting in and out of the tent so his tent got wet along with his clothes and his backpack.
On our way to the bike shop we stopped by the Visby Botanical Gardens. It was really pretty.
Once we got home we grabbed some Thai food by our apartment and headed to the rocks to have a picnic.