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Gotland, a sustainable travel destination or not?.

I decided (at this moment) to write something about Gotland and if it is a great place traveling in the view of someone who wants to travel sustainable. The answer is yes, but lets talk about it a little.

At the moment me and my mother is in the hotel, drinking the cheapest wine we could find (since we barely can afford to eat due to the expensive place of Gotland). This is of course a negative thing, both from a traveler perspective but also in the eyes of the sustainable traveler. Going to Gotland you can go by ferry, which is a more sustainable alternative than traveling by airplane. I think that all, well, maybe all agree on this.

But being so expensive, that is when something happens. ”And what is that”, you might ask yourself. Well yes, a big group of people can´t afford to travel to Gotland anymore and will then chose the more cheaper alternative of the low price flights and the high cost of environmental degredation.

To sum up a little about Gotland there is both positives and negatives. The positives are so great that they overshadow the negative but it is still important to put it all in perspective.

The town is medieval and preserved. Me and my mother live in a 13th century hotel (say what?!). Yes, you heard me. We live in a hotel, where the building was built in the 13th century. The original paintings of the hanseatic town of Lubeck and the town of Riga is on level one of the hotel. How cool is that? History is interesting and of course good to preserve, but by preservation you also to some extent stay environmental friendly and not since you don´t rebuild all the time but on the other side, risk having buildings that leak energy. I go for the first alternative here by the logic of having a building for a long time will save the cost of rebuilding (but here I am probably wrong).

But Gotland as a whole then? Well, the island is surrounded by water, the Baltic sea (will get back to that), transports is tricky since there is not much people on the countryside. Me and my mom chose to have the car, or mum chose and I tagged along. It is my car but I don´t have much say in it since my mother doesn´t want to go by bike. I want, she refused. Without a lazy mother, you can of course travel around the island by bike. It is wonderful paths for bikes everywhere and the island is bike friendly. At least it says that it is.

The Baltic sea then. Oh the Baltic, it is beautiful, but it had its fair share of environmental problems. Algal and mush, is to be found in the beaches. Don´t know if they have problems with poison algal blooming here, but there have been in Sweden due to the state of the Baltic due to agriculture and industrial pollution causing death of the bottom of the sea and creating extensive algal blooms. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Litany, Poland, German, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, Åland (and a small part of Russia, have I forgot some?) share the Baltic. Need I say more about the big pressure the Baltic copes with?

The hotel we live in try to be environmental friendly I think. I say think since I don´t have much more evidence then schampoo bottles labeled ”eco” something. Turning the bottle it is the same shit as always, so don´t really understand why it´s named Eco or if it even is Eco. And why name something Eco that only have products that aren´t grown anyway? In what way is that organic and what is ment by eco? The make-up business baffles me, as always. Don´t get me starting on titanium dioxide. It was on the news today that it is cancerogenic. I think like a big part of environmental friendly alternative make-up has this. But back to the hotel, well. They try, as I said. They have basically all products possible on the breakfast table labeled Sustainable/ ekologisk. But if this is the choice of this hotel or if it is the clarion group that chose this I do not know. I also wonder if they actually put some real effort in this or if it only is the things that is showing that to same extent is the friendlier alternative..

A big plus is all the windmill. The strong wind of the north cuts into the bones of the traveller but benefits the buisness of windmills, which sets I nice tone to the environment and make you feel happy when passin them knowing that Gotland has good and green electricity.

To sum up Gotland I would say that the environmental benefits is bigger than the negative ones, but that the biggest problem might be the rising prices of everything on Gotland making it impossible for some groups to travel here. I think the overload of old Swedish people on the ferry prove my point, even though I didn´t caught them on photo but also what a lady on Fårö told me that there only is about 300 households on Fårö that are permanent residents and when the kids leave, they probably never return since they can´t afford to live on their own island.

Please look at the pictures and comment on my reasoning. I can take critique and like when people debate the subject of the greening of the urban environment. Write in Swedish or whatever language you prefer. 


All photos taken with Canon 5D, 50 mm Canon lens f 1,8, edited in Lightroom.


A common flower on Gotland that apparently love the limestone ground of the island.


Does this look natural to you?


Algal blooming or seaweed?


The sea reclaimed a swan, leaving only a wing on the beach.


A dramatic closeup of the fragile life of birds. On Gotland there is many nature reserves that have a richness in birdlife and the islands of Stora Karlsö and Lilla Karlsö is an ”paradise” for them.


The islands of Lilla and Stora Karlsö.


The Baltic.


The Baltic.




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