Monday, August 18, 2008

Göteborg (and the introduction of video on Linköpinglivin')

You probably know by now that advanced technological prowess is not my strength in cyberspace, but even I had to enter the world of video blogging at some point. Come take a ride on Linköpinglivin' for the first time as we "do" Göteborg!

Also known as Gothenburg.

Americans have never heard of Gothenburg, much less Göteborg (pronounced “Yerte-bori”). Sweden’s second city, located on the west coast, and the leading shipping port in all of Scandinavia is a virtual unknown to my fellow countrymen and women. I should know. I had never heard of Gothenburg until first coming to Sweden.

We Americans generally know that Stockholm is in Sweden. We might know that Oslo is in Norway, but the only thing we know about Oslo might be the Peace Accords. We love to say "Copenhagen," but don’t know whether it’s Danish or Dutch, but it doesn’t really matter because we don’t really know the difference between the two, anyway. Finally, Helsinki is an unforgettable English word and most know it’s connected to Finland, but many aren’t sure which is the country and which is the capital!

Without further ado, this weekend I finally made the excursion to Göteborg. If Stockholm is the distinguished, responsible, refined, “first-born,” city of Sweden, then Göteborg is the laid-back, enthusiastic, energetic and fun, younger sibling of Sweden’s cities. Göteborg, at least on a summer weekend like we just had, is a playground.

In just over 29 hours in Göteborg, some friends and I walked through a botanical garden and found meat-eating (and therefore, one’s imagination can declare “man”-eating) plants, strolled the “Champs Elysées” of Sweden on the Avenyn, ducked under low-hanging bridges during otherwise peaceful canal rides, were soaked, thrashed and dropped 10 stories on roller-coasters at Sweden's most beloved amusement park, discovered the wonderful world of nature and science at yet another impressively planned, presented and educationally-oriented Swedish museum and even managed to make it outta town before the skies opened up and reminded us that Sweden’s summer is quickly fleeting….

I almost never went to Gothenburg because I knew I would regret not going more often…Sure enough, that has happened.

For you Swedes familiar with Göteborg, here are some thoughts and observations on various elements of this enjoyable city:

Botaniska Trädgården: A great stroll for a family or couple – and a perfect leisure time activity in between more adventurous parts of this playground. Special bonus points for the Botaniska Trädgården when I even saw drinking fountains, some of the first I've seen in Sweden!

Liseberg: I thought Swedes only got excited about Melodifestivalen and Zlatan, but Liseberg is pure Swedish childlike enthusiasm. A must on any trip to Göteborg, as you well know.

Universeum: Fun for kids, fascinating for adults, so leave yourself at least three hours and don’t miss the interactive exhibits!

Paddan Canal Tours: Watch your head. That tour guide is not kidding! Hilarious….

Avenyn: Probably better at dusk and evening – not much during the day, especially if you consider shopping poisonous to a tourist weekend, as I do.

And don’t forget that splendid Göteborg Pass because if you ever have a chance to save money in Sweden, you must do it!

Pictures above:

1. The harbor and the maritime environment is the heart of Gothenburg's past and present.

2 - 4. The well known, albeit touristy, Paddan Canal Boat Rides are informational and, for a country known for all things-safety, dangerous! Watch your head, as we did....!

5. Keep the mice and small children away from this plant, known to digest meat and found in the greenhouse of the Botaniska Trädgården, along with certain worldwide jungles and rain forests.


Kym said...

Thanks for the lovely memories. I spent a year in Sweden as an exchange student in 2005/6 and took svenska at the local rod korset. I still remember Britt Marie, our teacher, clapping her hands to teach us how to say "Göteborg"..Yer-ta-bori! I have a close friend in uni there, and still have fond memories of the city, even in winter!


Ann said...

Härlig blogg! I was actually looking for pictures of Linköping and came across your blogg (which contains pictures of Linköping :P). So instead of keep looking, I found myself readig about your life in my country. I hope that I could visit your country one day. Take care and keep on enjoying Sweden! =)