Among the Ruins

The ferry ride across the Baltic dropped us off in Visby. Everywhere I turned there was beauty. This medieval town charmed with its cobblestone streets, quaint structures and immense ruins. In 1995, Visby was designated a World Heritage site.

“Visby is an outstanding example of a north European medieval walled trading town which preserves with remarkable completeness a townscape and assemblage of high-quality ancient buildings …” (UNESCO)

Striking features in Visby:

  • A town plan with an ancient street network.
  • Medieval warehouses, serving as sales premises and storerooms for the merchants of the town.
  • The town wall, built in the 13th and 14th centuries, is 3.4 kms long. 27 ground towers and 9 hanging towers have been preserved.
  • The 12 church ruins … remains of churches erected in the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • Well-preserved wooden buildings … (Gotland Municipality)

One of many church ruins inside the medieval walls.

Drotten Church was built in the 13th Century and dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Drotten Church is an old Norse word for “ruler” and “God.” (Swedish National Heritage Board)

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Drotten Church Window

The summer tourist season was over. They say Visby is beautiful in the summer. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than the vibrant fall colors – all shades of reds, yellows and greens.

Fall in Visby 1

Fall in Visby 2

Fall in Visby 3

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Imagine stepping into this rose garden from the back door of your home.

Visby Rose Garden

More sheep statues along the cobblestone streets.

Sheep Statues in Visby 1

Sheep Statues in Visby 2

Taking center stage on Stora Torget (Main Square) was S:ta Karin Kyrka (St. Catherine’s Church).

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As far back as 5,500 years ago, Stora Torget (The Main Square) was populated by Stone Age fishermen and seal hunters. Many artisans had their workshops here: comb-makers, shoemakers and tanners.

The Franciscan brethren were granted land on the south side of the square in the 1230s. They erected the church of St. Catherine with adjoining monastery buildings on this ground. (Gotland Municipality)

S:ta Karin Kyrka 1

S:ta Karin Kyrka 2

Looking up at the ceiling. Man-made brick by brick.

S:ta Karin Kyrka Stone Roof

S:ta Karin Kyrka Arched Hallway

S:ta Karin Kyrka Roof Arches

Next to Hotell St. Clemens where we stayed (and which we highly recommend), was its namesake,  S:t Clemens Kyrkoruin.

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S:t Clemens Kyrkoruin Arch

I could not resist this narrow stairway.

S:t Clemens Kyrkoruin Stone Stairway

At the top, I had this lovely view of the nearby homes.

S:t Clemens Kyrkoruin Top of Stone Stairway

Across the road from S:t Clemens were the Botanical Gardens (which I’ve written about in my previous post). At one end of the gardens was a large stone wall.

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More glorious fall foliage covered large portions of the medieval wall.

Visby's Medieval Wall with Foliage

I could almost envision viking warriors positioned inside the wall looking out to the sea for possible invaders.

Visby Medieval Wall Lookout

The Powder Tower was a defensive tower and is one of the oldest surviving secular buildings in Scandinavia, dating probably from the mid-12th century.

The tower acquired its name in the 18th century when the Crown had a powder magazine here.There are ancient inscriptions on doors and walls. There was no heating and the tower was never lived in, though it did serve for a time as a prison. (Swedish National Heritage Board)

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The Gotland flag. What is not to like about this place?!

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November FO: Regular Guy Beanie

Finally, the Fall season begins with all of its colors and cooler weather. Between work and stressing over my son’s college applications (he’s a senior), it has been busy. After not getting any knitting done in October, a warm hat seemed just right for November.

Regular Guy Beanie 1

For the yarn, I took this lovely variegated skein in Autumn colors out of my stash. I picked this up during a business trip to Nashville, Tennessee (Brentwood, actually). I made it to Bliss Yarns on the one day they are open late. It was a lovely little yarn shop with a large choice of colors and brands and a very helpful staff.

Regular Guy Beanie 2

I wanted something local so they pointed out a bin of MissBabs Hand-dyed Yarns & Fibers out of Mountain City, Tennessee. I selected Yowza – Whatta Skein, approximately 560 yards of 100% Superwash Merino. This skein was “hand-painted” in luscious colors called Rumor Has It.

Regular Guy Beanie 3

I used the Regular Guy Beanie pattern, a free Ravelry download. The one departure I made from the pattern is that I doubled up on the yarn to give the hat a cozy thickness. This one is for my middle brother who was just elected to my hometown’s school board. I am so proud of him!

Of Festivals, Knitting and Migraines

Here is a pictorial view of an otherwise wonderful weekend. It started off with yarn purchases. Now how can that not put a smile on anyone’s face? There are a couple of hand warmer requests in my knitting queue – one pair is for the husband. I tried the yarn stash first but didn’t have any masculine colors. I wanted a nice dark gray/charcoal color. Then I found this black-gray-white multi-ply in the gauge I needed. It’s Heritage Quatro by Cascade Yarns and I should be able to make two pairs of hand warmers from this hank. As I was searching in bin after bin of yarn, I found this luscious Squishy by Anzula in Teal and knew it was meant for me. The explosion of miniature roses came from the husband. Of course, I will knit him a pair of hand warmers.

On Sunday, we all took off to the annual Fall Fiesta put on by our church and school. My son attended this wonderful school up through 8th grade. It’s amazing to see all those little boys and girls my son went to elementary school with becoming young men and women. My son and his friend each devoured a humongous turkey leg, while my husband and I stood in line for the funnel cakes. There were fajitas with pico de gallo, empanadas, and meatball subs. There was live music, pony rides for the little ones, and all sorts of carnival rides and games. The smaller kids love buying cartons of cascarones and popping them on each other’s heads. There was confetti everywhere!

My favorite festival booth is Vintage Values. It’s basically a huge garage sale. You never know what treasures one will find. I found this cute little silver sugar bowl. Engraved on the bottom is a crown with the numbers 18 and 83 on each side. I looked it up and learned it was produced by the F.B. Rogers Silver Co. which was established in Massachusetts in 1883. I also picked up a $1 bag of wooden nutcracker Christmas ornaments and this little tea towel with a sheep decked out for the holidays.

I gave the sugar bowl a quick polish at home. It still needs a little more elbow grease but I like it.

Despite a lovely weekend, I had a migraine on Saturday that kept me up half the night. I’ve had migraines since I was a teenager. I can be in a room without windows and can tell you if the day is overcast and whether it’s going to rain with startling accuracy. I usually work my way through the migraine but sometimes they do get the best of me. Last night, after tossing in bed from the pain, I made my way to the living room and started knitting. I had gone through all my tried-and-true home remedies and had even succumbed to medication, but still it persisted. Something about the soothing rhythm of the needles made me forget about the pain. I knit several rows of a blanket I am making in garter stitch, which those who knit know is a somewhat boring endeavor. But it’s just what I needed at 1:33 in the morning. After a while, I looked up and realized the headache was gone. I slipped into bed and fell asleep.

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone.

Autumn

After the humid heat of summer, autumn ushers in cooler days and bursts of color.

Just in time for the cool weather, I made up this chunky cabled hat from the Wooli yarn in my stash using this pattern (sans pompom).

Here it is in progress. The top two photos taken with my phone are fuzzier than I would like but I had to show the circular work in progress. I chuckled as I thought of Obey Crochet and hook’s smug comment about how many needles it takes to make a circle.

A close-up.

Here are some gratuitous pictures of mums and the last gardenias blooming in the garden. Those oranges, yellows and ochres brighten up our doorstep.
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Aaah, autumn.