I just got back from my trip to Gotland, I almost didn’t make it back due to delays on the M25 (surprise surprise) making my transfer from Heathrow back to Gatwick rather late, when I didn’t have that much time to spare. I just about made it by sprinting all the way through Gatwick, getting to the gate just as they were about to leave.
It was a good trip despite the travel overhead, I think there’s a good chance we can build an ongoing working relationship and I’ll end up going back again sometime. If all goes well I’ll talk more about it in future posts.
It struck me how much Gotland and Guernsey have in common - we both have about the same populations (despite Gotland being much bigger), and the main town of Visby is about the same size & population as our St Peter Port, although if anything it’s quieter, maybe because there are less cars. We share the same frustrations at having to shuttle through onshore international hubs, and that we one we can get to isn’t necessarily the best one for international connections (London Gatwick for us, Stockholm Arlanda for them), and a culture which is a little different from the ‘mainland’ we have the most direct connection with. Gotland relies most on tourism, and although Guernsey tends to worship the finance sector these days tourism is still very important, so we share experiences such as ‘cruise ship days’, and their harbour is dominated by a marina awash with expensive yachts too. Both our towns are full of history, theirs very medieval, ours more of a mixture from medieval (e.g. our castle), via Victorian and up to the WWII occupation. I was surprised to discover they don’t have an active fishing industry though - I generally assumed fresh local seafood would be a staple in any island community like it is at home. Anyhow, even though the culture & language are very different, there was an odd sense of familiarity about the place…
The hotel I was staying at had no Internet access so I have a bunch of catching up to do again. I’m back for this week, then I’m off again to Siggraph so apologies if I’m rather brief / flighty with my communications. After Siggraph is over I should finally get to settle down for a while again!