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Fårö for a Day

October 4, 2016

   The first thing you notice when you drive off the car ferry to Fårö is that the wind which blows off the Baltic has done a fabulous job of removing the hills.

 

© the nomad

  This 113 sq/km island off Gotland's northern tip seems to have none. 

 

  And what few there might once have been, have been gradually consumed by the Baltic breeze which on this particular day, is sending quite the message.

 

  Fårö was home to iconic Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman who, before his death on the island in 2007, was shameless in his use of it as a location.

 

© the nomad

  Through a Glass Darkly, his 1961 drama was the first to be shot there, and the landscape contributed in no small way to film's bleak noir look.

 

   Fårö and Gotland are popular Swedish holiday spots, and sommarstuga, or summer houses dot the countryside. But today, the sun is being outgunned by the wind, and the only tourists seem to be us.

 

  Which is fine.

 

© the nomad

  There are only around 500 permanent residents on the island, and unlike us, they all seem to be sheltering from the wind.

 

  We have come at the recommendation of friends, whose summer memories were of long walks on sandy beaches. But today we barely leave the car as the breeze batters us at every stop.

 

  But when we do pause, we discover why Bergman was so inspired here. 

 

  He set Through a Glass Darkly on the rugged Langhammars peninsular, where stone monoliths, relics of the ice age, dot the shoreline. From a distance, they appear to be the kind of rock formations you find on any coastline on any continent.

 

© the nomad

  But up close, you get a sense of the their magic; of their ability to draw the eye from an otherwise flat horizon.

 

  One excellent by-product of such a small island is that, though it was easy to get lost, it was just as uncomplicated to find your way back to the road which eventually deposits you back to the ferry at Broa.

 

  Our stay was brief, but even now, Fårö stays with us. A place of inspiration to some and whose stories echo on the Baltic breeze.

 

  

    

 

  

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