Thursday, May 2, 2013

Stamp of the Day: Gotska Sandön

In the Baltic Sea, far out north of the biggest Baltic island of Gotland, lays a smallish island made from sand.  It is appropriately named 'Gotska Sandön', which means the 'Gothic Sand Island'.  It is a magical, rough place of excessive beauty, and has a long history as a place for pirates that plundered ships that had wrecked on the sand barriers.  There was never many people living on this island, just a small group of farmers or traders, and today mostly ecotourists visit in the summer.

I was there in 1982, when I was 15, on a trip I have vivid memories from.  You had to travel there on a fishing boat, about 4-5 hours over the sea, and we had to bring all food and everything else we needed.  There is freshwater on the island, but not much. There is no harbor, so you have to use a small dingy to get ashore and wade the last part in the waves (which are cold in this part of the world).  Of course you can only get to the island when the weather is calm too. 

These days it is a Swedish National Park, and most of the island is pure sand with either pine or oak forest.  Large sand dunes along the beaches, some orchids (like the pink one above), nesting terns, and driftwood.  Walking on the dunes is one step forward, glide two steps back.  There are pebbles on the beaches that are totally transparent, from quartz.  It was pure wonderful Swedish summer, green, lush, sunny and not too hot.

This Swedish stamp was made by the artist Gunnar Brusewitz, a famous watercolor painter who painted Swedish nature. Here are some more photos from this island (Flickr pool). And, this is how it looks like from the air.


EH said...

It´s a wonderful stamp, I wonder why I never seen it before? I too remember this camp we went too, so many memories, and long days, and walking... I would like to go back some day. Are you coming with me?

LS said...

Yes - I would love to revisit this place. Just even for a day, to sit on the beach and hear the sound in the pines.