Stockholm- A Culture Capital

Stockholm- A Culture Capital
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gothenburg: Endless Swedish Culture

 With no wind in my sails to Leave Stockholm I boarded the X2000 speed train to Gothenburg, which would drag me there regardless. It did. And with an additional tram journey I arrived at my 70 year old host’s flat. 

Skeptical at first I was showed my room and jeeringly asked if I could dress a bed. I was then greeted with a brute strength coffee meant to fuel the crypt keepers and simple cheese sandwiches. This was when I really met FLEXIMA. A Swedish Granny, who was well traveled, had a hodgepodge of careers, had survived a recent bus crash on her virgin voyage to Italy and was now playing host to international students and vagabonds as myself to keep things interesting and expand her mind. Flexima shared with me, I shared with her and at one point corrected her English homework.

Initial interview finished I took my 70 years of imparted wisdom and headed out into the Gothenburg sunset. (Romantic, I know)

Walking around Gothenburg is a rich experience where each new area melts into the next without dead space. Your senses are at full alert while jumping from handsome brick buildings, the scent of cinnamon buns woo you, busking musicians in your ear canals, and sun rippling off the waters of the port. The city is pretty easy to conquer on foot, in fact the best way to experience this city is just walk and discover.

There is one main drag of the city- Avenyn lined with restaurants and nightclubs that will lead you down into the center. Here you can find a huge amount of shopping and dining that appeals to the main stream. The area is stratified by canals and quaint cobble-stoned bridges and speckled with historic buildings, churches, and statues so even if you don’t have money to burn this area is lovely. 

On the embankments of the center is the port. The port area is a bit more tranquil than the center but on a sun-soaked evening everything here is painted gold and the seafood restaurants are bulging like a net full of fish. Here you can find the opera house, real sailboats, and departure points for day trips to islands off the coast of Sweden and even to Denmark.

Akin to Stockholm, once you get out of the center there are all sorts of trendy/ alternative neighborhoods that allow for something completely unique. Head east or west of the center for charming surprises- trendy fusion food, grungy yet artistic cafes near the university, and live music is set in and around hand made shopping treasures. I even stumbled upon a giant Swedish folk concert in the park.

Food in Gothenburg is diverse, but being my last stop I had to go traditional: divine Swedish meatballs! I would suggest the homey restaurant: Smaka (Swedish for taste) it has a pub atmosphere inside but on the side walk across from charming brick buildings with good wine it has a touch of class. They serve up the meatballs with whipped potatoes, gooseberries, and cucumbers in a sweet-vinegar glaze. Unbeatable.

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