City life in Göteborg
While Monika caught up with her relatives just outside the city, I used the day to wander Göteborg and orient myself. I found myself looking up quite a bit, as the old apartment buildings are very regal.
I soon found out that looking up too much in Göteborg is not always a good idea. There are bike paths, pedestrian paths, bus lanes and tram lines, all mixed together with the regular street traffic. Knowing when to cross a street is difficult enough; I'm not used to second-guessing myself on a sidewalk...
Once I had that figured out, though, I was able to make quick work of my solo scouting mission. When Monika returned we set out anew to see what we could see.
Göteborg is Sweden's second-largest city, after Stockholm. It was founded in 1621, and sits at the mouth of the Göta Älv river, which feeds into the North Sea, making Göteborg the largest shipping port in Scandinavia.
Our hotel was located just off Kungsportsavenyn, also known as "Avenyn" (The Avenue). At the south end of this street sits the Konstmuseum, in front of which is a huge sculpture of Poseidon, the symbol of Göteborg:
The Konstmuseum is currently under renovation; many of the exhibits were closed, but the Hasselblad Photo Centre was open, which was very worthwhile. Outside, there is a statue of Victor Hasselblad with one of the cameras he invented:
A nice touch is the astronaut footprint at his feet; an homage to the fact that the camera that took the first pictures on the moon was a Hasselblad. In fact, there are a total of 13 Hasselblad cameras still in space. They were considered too heavy to bring back...
Climbing to the top of the Konstmuseum steps affords a lovely view of Avenyn, looking north. We decided to walk that way next. A quick stop at the hotel to grab a jacket and we were on our way.
While in Göteborg, we stayed at City Hotel.
We chose this hotel because of its central location and reasonable price. There is a bar in its basement, which also serves breakfast every morning. The accomodations were clean and comfortable, if not spacious and luxurious, and everyone was quite friendly. The showers and bathrooms are at the end of the hall, but I would nonetheless recommend City Hotel to anyone.
A traveling light tip from Monika: wash your clothes in the shower and hang them on a string in your room to dry.
We already knew Europeans take soccer very very seriously. What we found out at the City Hotel, however, was exactly how much. Apparently the hotel was hosting a gaggle of Brits, visiting on some sort of cooking school exchange. Well, this coincided with the Manchester United v. Chelsea soccer championship. Between the shouting coming from the room next door, and the hollering coming from the bar in the basement, it was a long, funny night.
At the north end of Avenyn are beautiful views of Göteborg's canals. This a great place to soak up the sun and people watch, and looking up in any direction, you will see lots of great sculpture.
While in Göteborg we were invited to Cousin Ted's house for dinner with his family. Ted was born and raised in Göteborg, which was fortunate for us, because we got kinda lost looking for his house and he had to come get us.
Ted and Johanna were so very gracious, and their daughters Klara and Magdalena were so happy and alive; the laughing was contagious. Our great thanks for opening your home to us.
One thing we've done often in Sweden is to go to the grocery store and grab a little something to nibble on in our room. As we prepared to leave Göteborg we went is search of candy
One thing that struck us about Swedish candy is the variety of shapes their gummy candy comes in. In the states we've got gummy worms and the like, but this?
The name of these lovely treats (yes, we bought some) is "Grandma's Dentures". And they're actually pretty good.
Before catching our train, Cousin Per and Nina invited us to their house in the countryside, on Orust Island, just a bit north of Göteborg and off the coast. It was a lovely respite from the busy city.
In fact, sitting on their deck with a beer, we could easily chat across the fence with the neighbors:
I also got to meet the German Sheppards that accompanied Monika on her ancestral trip north. It turns out that Per and Nina train them for obedience, tracking and security. This prepares them for use as police/seeing-eye dogs. Per broke out a hurdle and demonstrated how a German Sheppard can jump an impressive height from a standstill
One ferry ride back to the mainland, a short drive to the city, and we were back on the X2000 train.
Next up - Stockholm