Friday, August 31, 2007

Le Tour de Sweden, Stage 4: Good Times in Gothenburg

On August 16th, we arrived in Gothenburg (or in Swedish, Göteborg), the third major city on our agenda!

I felt a rush of relief when our train pulled into the Central Station – finally, a familiar sight!! I stayed in Gothenburg during my first five days in Sweden, so apart from Lund it is the city that I know best. It is also home to several of our family friends, including Lina and her family. (Lina is one of the grandchildren of my mom's Swedish host mom.)

It took a little while to meet up with Lina (“I’m between the Central Station sign and the Pressbyrån!” — turns out there were several Central Station signs, and at least three Pressbyråns in the station) – but we finally dropped off the bike box at Lina’s office and spent an afternoon downtown with her and the kids.

We had lunch at the Saluhallen in Kungstorget square, where festivities for the Gothenburg Culture Festival were in full force. We ate our food at a picnic table amidst food stands selling every kind of food imaginable, a big music stage, a craft market, and a cooking demo.

Then Lina suggested we take a fun tour through the Gothenburg’s canals and harbor. Not only did traveling by boat provide a beautiful view of the city, but the high water levels provided an extra thrill – the clearance between the bridges and the water was so low that we were asked to get out of our seats and crouch on the floor.

For most of the bridges, we just ducked our heads…

But this one was really a tight squeeze!!

Afterwards, we walked through the city to a new park next the harbor, hosting more Gothenburg Festival activities. It was fun watching Maja scramble up the rocking climbing wall and bounce around on a giant trampoline while we listened to live music.

Our next stop was the Swedish ship Ostindiefararen Götheborg (East Indian Götheborg), a replica of a trading ship from the 18th century. In 2003, the Götheborg took a special voyage, retracing its traditional trading voyage to Africa, India, and China! A beautiful ship, and one of the largest full-rigged wooden sailing ships in the world!

That night, after a delicious dinner, Max and I took a walk to the beach near Magnus and Lina’s house to see the sunset:

And then it was time for bed! We were anticipating another busy day.

Our plan for the next morning? Liseberg! A great theme park right in the middle of Gothenburg. We rode Balder (a terrifying wooden roller coaster) and Kanonen (“the canon” – an appropriate name, it turns out), got soaked on the Flume Ride and Kållerado, went in circles on the Wave Swinger, danced around in the House of Mirrors, screamed with terror (truly) on the Uppswinget, and took several spins on the Lisebergbanan ("Liseberg Railroad"), my favorite coaster there. We even took a ride through the Fairy Tale Castle, which was a very low-budget version of Disneyland's Peter Pan ride (but Maja loved it!).

At 5PM, we left Liseberg and headed straight for the train station for a trip to Säffle. Hej då Göteborg!

Our visit to Gothenburg, by the numbers:
Length of train ride from Uppsala to Gothenburg: 4 hours (450 km!)
Bridges to duck under: at least 4
Loads of laundry on Thursday night (thanks Lina!): 2
Rides on Lisebergbanan: 4
Random 10-minute rain showers: too many
Weight of the giant Toblerone bar that Maja won at Liseberg: 2 kilos

The next installment: last but not least, Säffle!



Sally said...

Maja--that's one GIGANTIC Toblerone! Hope you've had some help eating it.

Anonymous said...

SO--its the tour du senegal right now, and I accidently ended up at a stadium full of cyclist--I looked for you and max, but I guess that this post confirms that you weren't there! Instead you were ducking bridges and carrying around the hugest bars of chocolate ever, which I think is just as good!

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Tee hee -- last time I went to an amusement park (okay, it was a carnival), I confirmed that I was old by getting really woozy on the rides. I'm sure that Toblerone would have made it better! :)

Sally said...

The fans are clamoring for Stage 5... The crowd is waiting on the hill for a glimpse of the peloton. Wait, I hear the bells ringing around the corner, it must be almost here!!