Nauru Travel Diary

From Houston to Sydney 2013

From Houston

to Sydney



In the same way that Stockholm has a “Stockholm Card”, Gothenburg has a “Gothenburg Card”.  Like the Stockholm Card, the Gothenburg Card gives free access to the city’s public transport and free entry to museums and other places, as well as free sightseeing trips.  Unlike the Stockholm Card, the Gothenburg also gives free parking at designated ticket-pay parking areas that almost pays for the card even before you use it to travel anywhere or see anything.

So we bought Gothenburg Cards.

Then we discovered that all the museums are closed on Mondays.

Today is Monday.

However, it really didn’t matter, as we still received great value from the cards and managed to do some very worthwhile exploring.

We began these explorations with a short walk west from our hotel to Gustav Adolfs Square, the traditional centre of Gothenburg where tradition says that the city was founded (by, you guessed it, King Gustav Adolf).  Surrounding the square are the City Hall, the Law Court and the city’s main canal.

We were interested in using our cards for a couple of tours, but as were a bit early for these, we decided first to take in the views from viewing platform at the top of Gothenburg’s tallest building.  The viewing platform is known as the Götheborgsutkiken, and it is top of the modern, red, 83 metre high building that is variously known as Läppstiftet (The Lipstick), Skanskaskrapan (the Skanska Scraper), Vattenståndet (which can be translated as “Water Level” or “Water Erection”), and Legohuset (Lego House).  Its official name is the Lilla Bommen, named after its location.

Because of its height compared to the rest of the city, the view from Götheborgsutkiken undoubtedly provided the best possible overview of Gothenburg.  Nonetheless, compared with the brilliant views of Stockholm that we had enjoyed from the City Hall, the views from Götheborgsutkiken were somewhat anti-climactic.  The Götheborgsutkiken was more a place for small receptions that a well-developed viewing platform, and the views showed much of Gothenburg to be a fairly plain, industrial port city, although the old city centre was of course an exception to this generalization.  In summary, the view was definitely worth seeing, but it was not a view that would entice a person to travel across the world to see it.

We descended back to ground level and walked back to the city centre, a relatively easy walk of only ten minutes or so.  Before too long, it was time to take our first tour, a ride on a miniature red imitation steam train through the narrow cobble-stoned streets of Gothenburg’s old town.

The trip took about 40 minutes, and provided an interesting if sometimes rough insight into the city’s older historic buildings.  At one stage, the commentator said that the reason the trip was so rough was to give us the experience of riding a horse along the cobble-stoned lanes in the 17th century – nice justification for poor suspension, I thought.

Our second tour started from the Stora Teatern, Gothenburg’s principal historic theatre.  The ride was on a green, double-deck bus. Although the bus had no roof (good for sightseeing), it unfortunately did have fixed, highly reflective perspex windows with many scratches on them that made getting good photographs ... a ‘challenge’ (to use the polite word).

The circuit followed by the green double-deck bus was more extensive than the route followed by the little red imitation steam train.  The circuit took about 50 minutes and included the city’s beloved fish market (known as the Feskkekôrka, or “Fish Church”), the beautiful green parklands of the suburbs of Haga and Avenyn, the City Library, the University, the Opera House, and the Maritime Museum.

Our third tour began where the green double-deck bus tour finished, back at the Stora Teatern.  This was a 50 minute boat (or, more accurately, flat barge) trip along the canals and rivers of Gothenburg.  The reason that the boat had to be so low and flat was to fit under the city’s extremely low bridges.  One of the bridges, called the Osthyveln, or “Cheese Slicer”) was so slow that we all had to get out of our seats and bend down on the floor of the boat as we passed under the bridge.  The guide commented that boats in Gothenburg are first built as normal boats, but then they pass them under the “Cheese Slicer” and they are converted into sightseeing boats.  Di and I thought that joke was so funny that we could hardly stop laughing for the rest of the river cruise.  (Please note: sarcasm alert!).

By the time we finished the canal trip, which also included a circuit of Gothenburg’s harbor to see the ship-building and repair industry, it was almost 5 pm and the sky was becoming more overcast, so we decided to call it a day for exploring.  We returned to the hotel to have a rest and catch our breath after a busy day’s explorations.

Day 31 - Gothenburg


5 August 2013