When a country’s signature pastime is fika – group socialising over cards, conversation and coffee – it might seem a peculiar choice for a solo trip. But hej, earlier this year I decided to continue being impulsive in travel and after one particularly hectic morning at work, I stayed true to this by booking the cheapest flight to a place I’d never been before on my next free weekend. Oh hej, Gothenburg!
Such are the joys of being unattached and well-located for quick getaways (on which I further pontificate here). Right now I answer only to my bank balance and I plan to take advantage of that for as long as I can. Dating is murky waters and they’re murkier still in London; and as fun as it can oftentimes be, there’s far simpler happiness to be found at the end of a Ryanair bargain*. If growing up can be defined by laying down some roots, I have a sneaking suspicion that my early twenties will last another five years at least.
<small>*emphasis on “end”. My flight was, for lack of a better term, a total clusterfuck and in the same way a student might frequently vow never to drink again, I hope I have the foresight to avoid Ryanair like the plague in future. But I won’t poison the tone with tales of broken machines, hella queues and argumentative customers. Not when there’s a beautiful and ancient fishing city to be explored.
I’m writing this from a cafe in Haga, Gothenburg’s oldest district. Living in London, you might think ancient stone and cobbled streets would feel familiar; but the distinction is that the architecture is sharp, straight and fully intact, and the cobbled pathways are hazard-free. Had the ladies of 1648 been so inclined to wear stilettos, they’d have been able to carry it off with aplomb, I’ve no doubt.
But stilettos aren’t even remotely the Swedish style. Firstly, they’re bloody tall enough already (I’m used to having front row seats to everyone’s nostrils but seriously, this is ridiculous). Secondly, simplicity is the Scandinavian staple. From first impressions, the vibe of this city is pure chill.
Here are some snaps from my quick, little-longer-than-a-fika trip Gothenburg. The Oscar Fredrik Church and Botanical Garden aren’t to be missed; and nor is Viktor’s Kaffe (right around the corner from the Konstmuseum and Konserthus).