Anders and I drove about 1.5 hours, south along the coast, to our destination: Hoburgen, another rauk area in the nature and bird reserve of the southern tip of Gotland. It includes lots of caves, rauks, rock formations, and cliffs, a lighthouse, and most notably, a famous rauk, the Hoburgsgubben ("Old Man Hoburg") who towers high above the rocky shore, facing out to sea. Carl Linneaus was also there on his trip around Gotland in 1741. Unfortunately, vandals have recently painted the Hoburgsgubben's nose bright pink and added two yellow eyes, which makes it look very much like a troll, and not at all like a natural rock formation that just happens to look like a face.
I liked the rock formation above best, as it looks like a dog sticking its tongue out to the wind. :)
It was a little cooler and the breeze off the Baltic Sea was quite strong. We walked down toward the water, around the edge of the cliff and went into the first cavern, which was high and dry, full of rocks. We passed the Hoburgsgubben and continued exploring. Anders was a fair bit behind me as he had stopped to take photos. I walked up through a rock arch, taking photos and stepping carefully, as the ground was covered in rocky scree. As I was standing under the arch, I thought, "I should take a photo looking through the arch at the water," and I turned around with my phone in my hand to do so. Just as I turned, my shoes slid on the gravel and I fell backwards, landing with a jar on my butt and back and with only time to think "Shit! Oh no don't die!" as my head thunked into the large jagged rock behind me on the ground. Holy crap, it hurt.
I lay on the ground for several minutes, with my hands on my head, crying. I was trying to feel if I had actually cracked open my skull, because it had really hit the stone hard. My hand came away bloody but I couldn't tell that there were any obvious cracks or holes. Anders was still not in sight. I sat up carefully, and tried to call him, but the wind blew my voice away. Finally, I got to my feet, still holding my head, and then I could see him approaching and called out.
By that point, I was pretty sure there wasn't any major damage. I could feel a couple of small, soft spots where my scalp was bleeding but nothing seemed serious. When Anders was able to get my hair out of the way, he said it looked like a really bad scrape. I wasn't dizzy or nauseated and there wasn't actually much more blood. After resting a few minutes, and feeling like I was mostly recovered, I took the photo that I had been turning around to take when I fell.
The red arrow is pointing at the rock my head hit when I fell backwards.
This is the photo I was turning to take. My friend Kathey said it was worth a concussion. :D
Then we walked on a little further, but all the fun had gone out of the expedition for me. My head hurt, and the wind blowing my hair around was pulling on the scrapes and sore spots. Finally, I gave up and we walked back toward the parking lot. I went up to the café and sat at a table to rest, while Anders went exploring for a bit at the top of the cliffs. When he got back we had a nice lunch at the restaurant and delicious ice cream (I had strawberry-lime sorbet that was fantastic) at the café.
There were a few other sights listed on Trip Advisor in the area that we thought we could check out, but after driving for 45 minutes through tiny country roads to the first one, Stavgard, which is the remnants and reconstructions of a Bronze Age viking settlement, we discovered they hadn't yet opened for the season. We found our way after that to Tomtbods fiskeläge, a well-preserved fishing village in use from at least the 17th century, with bays, huts and fishing lodges unchanged: some still used today.
We had dinner again in Visby after driving back through the countryside, at a brewery restaurant with decent food that couldn't live up to the amazing meal of the day before. :) Then we went back to the cottage to watch Sweden beat Poland in the final round robin game and win their group in the Euro 2021 soccer championships. They're now on to the elimination rounds, but don't play their first match until Tuesday. We did as much packing and cleaning as we could before we went to bed, and were up at a quarter to 6 in the morning to catch the ferry back to the mainland.
Apart from my unlucky fall (though super lucky it wasn't worse), it was an excellent short trip away. I was very glad to go when there weren't a lot of tourists and we could just chill out and see stuff without stressing. We got back in time for the midsummer celebration on Friday and we spent the afternoon and evening with some good friends of ours that we haven't gotten together with in a year and a half, due to the pandemic. Very low-key and laid-back, with an excellent midsummer spread including new potatoes from our garden, and games of darts and Kubb. I'm definitely not ready for shorter, darker days, though. It always seems to go fast on this side of the solstice.
Now I have 5 weeks of work before my real summer vacation in August. Next big project is getting Martin moved home! But right now, I'm going to go lie down because writing about my head injury has made the sore spot throb. Ow!