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A Love Affair With Gothenburg

By Isabella McClymont

Gothenburg is a city you can fall in love with in a matter of hours.

It’s a city for the locals. You won’t find clamouring hordes with their cameras spilling into the streets, just the ineffably cool Swedes going about their everyday life.

Ten years ago Wairarapa College saw the arrival of an exchange student named Martin.

He became a Mastertonian for a year and a firm friend of many fellow students.

A decade on I was turning the tables and going to visit his home of Gothenburg, albeit only for three days.

The Archipelago of Gothenburg has over 20 islands connected by bridges and ferries.

Our first stop was to visit friends on Dyrön, a carless island with just 250 inhabitants.

On a blindingly sunny day it’s wonderful to be out on the water.

You can take the ferry, tour the archipelago privately or even hire kayaks to explore further afield.

The mainland that evening provided ample opportunity for eating, drinking and making merry.

Being a notoriously expensive place to visit, I was shown the local’s favourite destination for those on a budget.

Andra Långgatan aka ‘Second Long Street’ is one of three streets lying parallel to one another; they each have a range of eclectic establishments running their length.

They attract a mix of students, artists and other alternative crowds.

We patronised Kafe Magasinet, a dimly lit bar with exposed brick walls and great lager for minimal Krona.

At Hotel Pigalle, which is entirely decorated in a turn of the century ‘Parisienne’ style. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
At Hotel Pigalle, which is entirely decorated in a turn of the century ‘Parisienne’ style. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The following night we went upmarket at Hotel Pigalle, which is entirely decorated in a turn of the century ‘Parisienne’ style, perfected down to the smallest detail.

Eating out can be done in a similarly low versus high cost fashion.

Buy a falafel roll from a street stall or splash out at Heaven 23, a restaurant at the top of the Gothia Tower with panoramic views of the city.

It’s possible to cater to all budgets and it’s worth seeing both sides of what this amazing city has to offer.

Cultural pursuits are available in abundance; visit the Konstmuseet at the top of The Avenue (free for under 25s or 80SEK otherwise).

It has Picassos, Monets, Van Goghs, visiting exhibitions and an excellent contemporary collection to boot.

Klätterlabbet, an indoor climbing wall inside an old planetarium. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Klätterlabbet, an indoor climbing wall inside an old planetarium. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Or you could get active at Klätterlabbet, an indoor climbing wall inside an old planetarium. They have ropes, bouldering and children’s walls plus all the gear to hire.

A word of warning to the inexperienced, you will be unable to use your arms in the days that follow.

Gothenburg is a city where you can stroll around unhurried, blending in with the streetscape, mimicking that effortless Scandinavian way of life. My long weekend living with a local had me head over heels for this ultra cool little city.

 

Isabella is a Kiwi bird, born and raised in Masterton. She currently lives in London and uses all her spare time and money to explore Europe and beyond. She documents her travels on her blog www.abirdabroad.com

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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