A view in the sun

I bet those are not words you thought would be featured on this blog for a while! While most days are cloudy and it’s recently started to get really cold (the thermals, winter boots and new woolly jumper under my jacket have been required), there has been sunlight, and it is glorious.

Domkyrkan in Autumn

Domkyrkan in Autumn

The morning of a day last week dawned clear and bright, and so the planned tea and chat inside with a friend was changed to a scamper around town to enjoy the brief sunlight. As I waited at a tram stop I snapped photos of warm coloured brick buildings lining the road, lit in the sun and then blissed out for a few minutes by standing still in a beam of light and photosynthesizing. Also yes, I do know something about biology, but until someone can come up with a better word for the sensation I’m sticking with my version.

Warm walls of Vasagatan

Warm walls of Vasagatan

Our wander took us along Vasagatan, scattered with students and cyclists, all slightly dazed by the sun, and then into Haga. Perhaps inspired by the Jul decorations that went up some weeks ago, I made a stop at a spice shop and picked up a couple of pinches of Iranian saffron. You may expect this to be featured in baking adventures in future posts.

As mentioned before, no doubt a number of times, an old fortress sits in the centre of Haga, one of a pair in the city. Being round and sitting on a hill, it resembles a crown and in fact has a gold (plated I assume) crown on it’s pinnacle. It can be reached by a series of steep steps, which I always climb with my usual vertigo induced rush and babble, this time assisted by a cheerful chat about Mayan pyramids and how lucky those sacrifices were to not have to climb down all those steps afterwards.

Göteborg from above

Göteborg from above

At the top we were able to catch our breath and enjoy Göteborg spread out beneath us, lit up and quietly bustling. In comparison with the last time I’d been up there, I was able to pick most of the landmarks, and orient myself with places I knew. Around us wandered walkers, parents with prams or students resting on convenient benches and arches, treating the hill as a spectacle or just part of their daily routine. From there we were also able to spot the old observatory in Slottskogen, easier to see now that the trees were almost bare. That, then, would be our next stop.

The observatory from afar

The observatory from afar

A short walk later found us at the foot of the observatory, a strange, short and round building with a second off-kilter roof which was presumably necessarily for some sort of stargazing.

The observatory from nearby

The observatory from nearby

The stargazing has long been moved to a newer building, but there was still a fine view of the surrounding park and city. From certain points it was even possible to imagine that we were in the middle of the wilderness, with forested hills stretching to the horizon. Other angles revealed a busy European city, trams and people rumbling and rushing along the streets.

City or wilderness?

City or wilderness?

Climbing down the hill we found a sofa embedded in a stone wall. Before you get too confused about Swedish design and surrealist modern art, I can confirm that it was stone and that it was also quite comfortable, if you don’t mind a chilly rear. If I had had blankets and pillows and a book, it could have been a nice place to while away a few hours.

Comfy sofa

Comfy sofa

As the light began to fade slightly, we headed to a cafe overlooking a lake for a snack and something to warm us up, and along the way found a monument that I had never noticed before, despite picnicking near it a number of times. It was a stone pillar of some sort, and I still don’t know it’s purpose, though I’d imagine it relates in some way to memorialising someone or something. Right in front of it sat a small park bench, the two making a fine tableau in the bright late autumn sunlight, while also confirming something that I know is a fact true of all places in Sweden. Where there is a view, whether it be of a stone, a city or a forest, a place will be maintained and people will stroll, chat or simply soak in the rare sunlight, and there is almost always a bench.

A place with a view

A place with a view

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A fine day for a stroll

Last Friday Göteborg received a visitor from Australia, who happened also to be a friend of mine and to whom I was quite eager to show off my city.

As I explained to him (repeatedly) he was extremely lucky with the weather. The day started with fog, which then turned to bright sunshine and clear skies and stayed so until evening, which was slightly chilly and still clear. The fact that the next day was mostly cloudy proves my point I think.

The fact that the following few days have been bright and sunny is something that I choose to ignore in this discussion.

We met at noon and began the tour with a stroll to Brunnsparken and then down Östra Hamngatan to Kungsportsplatsen, dodging political cabins, placard-bearers and trams, and mingling with the sun-blissed Swedes filling the pavements.
At Kungsortsplatsen I pointed out the Kopparmärra, chuckling with someone who I suspect was hoping to entice me to vote for some party or other, about the obvious inaccuracy of the ‘mare’ title. Hoping to escape more hopeful pamphlet bearers, we crossed the street and made for the first destination of our tour: Saluhallen.

We stared around at the cheese, meat, baked goods and spice stalls, pausing for a bit at the baked goods, and then found 2 seats at one of the restaurants in the centre. I had been introduced to this place by a friend, with whom I’d shared a delicious lunch of fish burgers and salad, and planned to present my visiting friend with something authentically Swedish. As the days special was no longer fish burger, we instead tucked into also very traditional beef burgers with potato and lingonberry sauce.

Exploring the archipelago

Exploring the archipelago

Well fortified for a day of wandering, we left Saluhallen and strolled along the canals, where people basked on the walls and grassy slopes. A tram ride then took us to Saltholmen, where we caught a ferry to Brännö, an island in the southern archipelago. I’ve been to Brännö before, for a walk and a drink, but I hadn’t explored as much as this time. The sun was out and the trees were overflowing with apples, unfortunately all out of reach of my hands, if not my hungry eyes. It was quiet, apart from the occasional local and chatty sheep, and we even found some lingering blackberries.

Apple trees

Apple trees

We then caught a ferry back to the mainland, and a tram back to town and continued our strolling through Haga, one of the prettiest parts of Göteborg. The cafes were still open and a brass band was playing in the main square. We didn’t climb up to Skansen Kronen, choosing instead to admire it from below, and then continued along Vasagatan. The political posters were still adorning every tree, pole, lamp post and bus stop, and we took our time considering their positions and trying to spot SD. Vasagatan then turned into Avenyn and so we went up to ogle the statue of Poseidon, and example of what art ought not to be.

One of my favourite buildings on Vasagatan

One of my favourite buildings on Vasagatan

Then to a restaurant for drinks, food and meeting my partner, with whom we wandered to another bar for more drinks and finally wandered back to the hotel to bid my friend goodbye. We both assured him, again, that the weather had been pretty miraculous and that he’d be welcome to explore out fine little city the next time he was up north. We then parted ways and headed home.

I hope that we will get more visitors who we can show around town, if only so that I have an excuse for a leisurely walk on a sunny island.