Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Archive: An Island Retreat
About 90 kilometres off the coast of Sweden, south of Stockholm, lies the small island of Gotland. Isolated and still wild, with a population of around 55,000 inhabitants, it's a tiny Nordic paradise, where the sun shines more than on the mainland and where pine trees and rose gardens form a lush vegetation. Over the centuries this charming island of 94 churches has been overrun by successive invaders from Pomerania, Russia and Denmark. Annexed by Sweden in the 19th century, it's now a mecca of tourism, where Swedish artists and intellectuals take up their summer quarters in carefully restored tiny houses once owned by the local herring fishermen. Thanks to an environment of preserving the communities against unplanned construction, the interiors of these homes also retain the roughly hewn charm of the local traditional style.
Here is where long term vacationers come to enjoy the sea, observe nature, bicycle over the isle and spend evenings on the beach around a barbeque of fish. Long summer days are spent collecting shells, driftwood and the remains of wrecks washed up on the beach — all of which are used to decorate the little houses that are closed quietly and without fuss at the end of summer.
(photographs scanned by me from my archive of Marie Claire Maison magazines — this one is from the early 1990s. Rough translation from French by me)