There are so many reasons I love the Internet. Without it life would be duller and insular by comparison when you know what you can achieve with the click of a website button. That’s not to say that pre-Internet life wasn’t rich, quite the reverse is true. However, without the likes of Google delivering gems like £30 flights to Sweden, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in the middle of Göteburg for a long weekend. And that would have been a dulling shame.
Without any preconceived ideas of what to expect, very little knowledge of the language (postulating like the Swedish chef on the Muppets notwithstanding), some pretty krona in our pocket and excitement to be making our first foray into Scandinavia, we headed into Göteburg, using the super efficient Flugbussarna from the airport. Reading the very interesting names on the map and stopping by the tourist information along the way we found our hotel, RadissonBlu easily enough wedged between the main train, bus and tram terminal and a gorgeous city park. While we couldn’t check in yet, we would find out later that we had scored a jackpot with the included breakfast that seemed to go for miles – and bizarrely included olives, smelly fish and so many kinds of cheese it was a tough choice narrowing it down to just one to put on the rolls we smuggled out for lunch 😉
Walking is the best way to explore and Göteburg is mercifully flat. We racked up some miles going point to point completing a statues-and-old-things trail that also included the football stadium which was in full swing, the cathedral-esque Fish Market – the churchiness restricted to architecture, not dodgy fish smells from the pews, a maritime museum-ish display complete with diving bell helmet, views across the port waters, the impressive opera building, theatre, covered market and the lovely park with its winding paths, gentle canal, various kinds of garden layout and a cheeky duck that liked our smak chips – we did work out smak means salt – still made us giggle to say “smak head” to the duck as he got braver and braver and closer and closer. The crowning glory of the park would have to be the grandly impressive greenhouse which on our first visit played backdrop to a couple of newlyweds.
With the shops closing and restaurant menus giving us heart palpitations with the prices, we scurried around the first supermarket we could find for picnic-in-our-room-supplies, not without being told to hurry it up – they do seem to like closing up on time. Fully laden and getting the first look at our fab room, our smiles were very wide after a very long day.
While the weather had been gloomy on our first day, the second day bloomed gloriously and with our bike tour cancelled due to food-poisoned-guide, we took the chance to hop the tram to the end of the line, to hop the next ferry out, to the first island in the archipelago we came to.
Branno Island has no cars, a lot of bicycles and mopeds, bleating sheep, more houses than expected, a really lovely restaurant with even lovelier local brewed beer and all under brilliant blue skies. The invigorating fresh air, walk from one end to the other with beer stop in between and in plenty of time to catch the ferry home, our day out among the islands was marvellous.
Our final half day heavily featured the grand green house with multiple climate zones and plants, mezzanine platform to sit and have a drink and a dazzling halo around the sun once we finally emerged.
Göteburg actually reminded me of the adage I like about my home town – it may not be on everyone’s bucket list to see it, and there may not be a must-see landmark for the perfect Kodak moment, but it’s a great place to live. We had a charming, peaceful, surprisingly good time without the need to join a queue for admission and jostle with other visitors for the perfect selfie. Thank you Göteburg for a thoroughly sweet weekend 🙂