Arriving in the evening from Oslo, I met my good friend Sven (we studied together in Canada back in 2009) at the station, who welcomed me to his home country with a beer and a selection of traditional Swedish sweets – thanks Sven! We took the chance to check out the bar at the Clarion Hotel Post, housed in the old, giant and refurbished post office. Sweden was getting off to a good start.
As I picked up tips on what to do while visiting Gothenburg from someone who knows best, it began to rain and when it was time to say goodnight, I opted for a taxi to my hotel and was impressed to pay by card in the car itself. Arriving at around quarter past midnight, I checked-in and settled before going to sleep.
The next morning I enjoyed the complimentary breakfast before relaxing in my single room before I start hitting my fair stretch of hostels where it’ll be a little livlier. As I walked into the breakfast room to eat alone for the first time, my nerves were eased when coincidently one of my favourite shows, Pretty Little Liars, was being played on the TV!
As I set off, I had a very clear set of attractions I wanted to visit. After depositing my heavy case into a train station locker, which is my top piece of advice for any backpackers to replicate, I first made my way via the high street and main shopping area, past Brunnsparken, the biggest shopping centre in Scandinavia, to the Kungs-parken. Here, it began to rain on my parade, but I actually appreciated a bit of respite from the recent heat. The showers were very intermittant and sudden, but a street band here played on, as they took cover under what looked like a large tent that hadn’t been put up. The dispersed crowd loved it from under shop canopies.
As I strolled through Haga, the historical shopping district from the 16th century, I felt very confident both navigating myself and being on my own. By this point, five strangers had spoken to me and I felt welcomed by the city. An old cyclist did yell at me in Swedish; I checked that I wasn’t in the cycle lane and then presumed he must have just been saying hello with gusto. As this area was so beautiful, I visited it later in the day for a second look and to grab a ‘Hagabullen’; the local Cafe Husaren is the only place to make and sell this tasty cinnamon roll. It was absolutely huge and so, so good.
Next up I headed to the biggest park, Slottskogen; a very wooded area with lakes and a mini-zoo. I took a break from my five hour walk of the city to sit by the lake and put my feet up in the emerging sunshine.
The highlight and something which shouldn’t be missed, is taking a look at the seals and penguins in the centre of the park. As I arrived to see the penguins, they were just being fed and went absolutely crazy for the fish on offer. Cute little guys, they quite possibly made my day.
Walking back in, I took a different route nearer the water’s edge to the famous fish market in a church – Feskekorka. Perhaps I should have tried it, but I avoided the pickled herring.
En route to the train station, sans raincoat, I was pleased with my accomplishment of seeing all I wanted to from this city in the timeframe I had. My only qualm is that I couldn’t find what I think was a fancy gazebo up on a hill… it followed my line of vision throughout most of my exploring, but never revealed itself fully.
Within Sweden, all of this walking achieved 20k+ on my Fitbit and my legs are definitely aware of this fact. With daylight hours lasting longer here, I’ll reach a couple of thousand more in Denmark to make it my best day for walking.
Onwards to Denmark
As I write this, I just witnessed two people get arrested on my train from Gothenburg to Copenhagen, delaying my journey in a surprising fashion! My uni mate is meeting me there and will now definitly arrive before me, so I will apologise by sharing the remainder of the Hagabullen. Here’s to country number three of the week!
Update: I was actually four hours late to Copenhagen but made some wonderful travel buddies who made the coach and additional train a bearable experience!