Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Gothenburg Diaries Part 1: Thursday 25th March 2010

Finally getting round to posting about my recent trip over to Sweden. The main reason for my trip was the very same as one year ago - to see Salem Al Fakir in concert!

The biggest worry for me before travelling this year was the weather - just two weeks before, it had been very cold and snowy in Sweden, with temperatures down to -18° at one point. Would our clothes be warm enough? Our fears were unfounded however as the freezing cold had disappeared and was replaced by a mild climate instead, although not as bright and sunny as on our previous trip last April.

Once again Gothenburg City Airport - which I fondly refer to as "Sweden's fastest growing portacabin" was our destination and it's only a 20 minute journey on the airport bus into the city, where the journey terminates at the Nils Ericson Terminalen (bus station)

I had tried to book a hotel on Kungsportsavenyn this time, so that we would be in close proximity to the Konserthuset (venue for Friday night's concert) but this was pretty impossible as these were way over budget....Gothenburg hotels are quite pricey, so you need to be prepared to fork out the extra kronor no matter which one you choose. In the end we chose the First Hotel G (which I quickly nicknamed the "G"), situated in the middle of the city's public transport interchange.

So you step off the airport bus and you are right at the hotel, which you enter via an escalator. After checking in you then cross a bridge/walkway - to the left is the bus station....

...and to the right is the Central Station!

...and there are also a number of shops and eating places, making it feel like a little shopping mall. It's one of the more surreal hotel settings we've ever stayed in! But despite being surrounded by all the transport and the shops, the 'G' is designed in such a way that it's almost eerily quiet and there are no problems with noise over the weekend. It's also a stylish hotel and a very good base for exploring Gothenburg.

After checking in and unpacking, we headed back out into the city centre to check out some old haunts. Where my 'Salem-weekend' last year may have been a bit rushed as it was only a two night break, we had an extra night this time so it was going to be a more relaxed trip. We had also decided to keep the sightseeing and exploring to a minimum. (Maybe one day we'll get over during the summer months - in which case we'll revisit Liseberg and Slottskogen and take the boat trip again, all of which we did on our first Gothenburg trip a few years ago).

Inevitably we ended up on Avenyn - the "Avenue", where it all happens. Where the beautiful, young, rich people hang out ;) oh well ....

After checking out a few dinner options, we retraced our steps back to our first night last year and had dinner at Lilla London (Valand) - a famous Avenyn landmark. Goats cheese and then pasta...yum.

After dinner we headed off down Avenyn and had a walk around some old haunts before heading to the Ă–stra Larmgatan area to round off our evening with a beer. One reassuring fact about Sweden: the words "cheap drink" don't exist. A beer or cider is now five quid!!

One other reassuring fact about Gothenburg - it still feels a very safe city to walk around at night. And it wasn't too cold either - didn't need the hat or scarf!

Part 2 of my review will be published on Saturday 24th April.

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