Eat. Sleep. Write. Read. Watch Swedish Idol. My time in Gothenburg has been boring, but I have loved every second of it. It has been a perfect time to recover from and reflect on the past five weeks I have spent gypsying around the UK and Scandinavia.
I realized that I have yet to explain why I am living (or trying to live would be more accurate) in Sweden. Months back when I posted my first blog about taking steps to prepare myself for a new adventure in Europe, I had no idea where I was going to end up or what I would do to support myself. It was around that time that I met some friends of friends from Stockholm who were starting a new company there and they wanted me to be involved. Perfect, I thought. Finally I had some direction and confidence in what I was doing. Then I arrived. I was actually in London when I found out that the partners of the company had a bit of a falling out and plans were going to be put on hold for while. Cool. I wouldn’t have a job once I landed in Sweden after all. You’d think it would be at this point that I panic, but no. Call me crazy, but I think things are going to work out in some way or another. For now, instead of worrying solely about finding a job, I am taking this time to get to know Sweden, its cities and its people.
This is the fourth time I have visited Gothenburg, or Göteborg, in my life. One of my best friends is from here so I always stay at her place and she shows me the real GBG in addition to the touristy GBG. Gothenburg is somewhere in between Malmö and Stockholm, geographically and metaphorically speaking. It is Sweden’s second largest city and located on the west coast, which Gothenburgers will tell you is the best coast.
As with other Scandinavian cities, Gothenburg is noticeably pristine thanks to the region’s firm neutrality during the great wars of the past two centuries. My favorite spot in the city is up at Skansan Kronan where you can get some amazing views of the city. This fortress (along with one other, Kronan Lejonet, with a lion on top) was built in the 17th Century to protect Gothenburg from the Danes.
It is the largest seaport of the Nordic countries which is obvious once you get close to the massive harbor. The seafood here is world famous and there are several restaurants in the city with Michelin stars. There is even a church for fish, Feskekôrka. Actually, you won’t find any salmon or crayfish attending Mass here on Sundays. It’s just an indoor fish market housed in what looks like an old Gothic church.
There is such a contrast between Gothenburg and Stockholm which might be surprising to someone not very familiar with the country. They are only three hours apart by train, but worlds apart in so many other aspects and somewhat of a rivalry exists between the two. I think a visit to Sweden would be incomplete if you saw one city without the other, and then you can decide for yourself: Team Stockholm or Team Göteborg. As for me, I’m going to pull a Sweden and remain neutral for now.