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Published: July 24th 2014
Our first photo stop once we arrived in Gothenburg
Today we leave behind Norway and travel to Gothenburg, Sweden, the 2nd
largest city in Sweden and the 5th
largest in the Nordic countries. We arrived in Gothenburg by noon which gave us the rest of the day to explore. Our tour guide, Birgitte, gave us some suggestions of things to do in the city and once our luggage arrived in our rooms, we were off. We only had a few hours as this was another 1 night stay and dinner was going to be at 7:00. There were Botanical Gardens, shopping centers, an amusement park, harbor cruise, a park, and Haga, an old town housing estate. We decided to forego the harbor cruise at least until later and walk through the park to Haga.
Haga traces its origins back to the middle of the 17th
Century when Queen Kristina granted permission to develop a suburb outside the city walls of Gothenburg at the foot of the fort Skansen Kronan. The original houses were low timber structures, a constant fire risk, and as Haga expanded they were replaced by 3-storied buildings with the ground floor built of stone or brick and the upper stories of wood; a type of
building that is unique to Gothenburg. In the 1980s Haga was renovated in keeping with the original style, and is today an attractive district with many shops, cafes and restaurants. The people here as in Norway as well are very friendly. Annelle and I started talking to a young man who said he didn’t live in Gothenburg, but had studied here and gave us a crash course on the area. We popped in and out of shops and talked to the locals. We saw a couple from our tour group who had just taken the harbor cruise and said it was nice, but kind of expensive so we nixed that idea and decided to walk back to the NK Shopping Center.
Walking along the streets was treacherous as there was automobile traffic, the light rail system, bicycles which we were told to watch out for and buses. We dodged in and out of all of the above until we reached the shopping center where at least it was cool. We stopped at a candy counter inside the mall and got some free samples and talked to the salesperson. We told her where we were from and we
Taking a break
Sharyn, Georgiana, Annulled, Patsy
had a nice chat with her.
Next, we went to another department which I think was the highlight of the day as we met a delightful young woman who was from Lappland, a province in northernmost Sweden. About a quarter of Sweden’s surface area is in Lappland. She told us of the Sami people who are traditionally known in English as Lapps or Laplanders. They are the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sampi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sami are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples and are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding as well as coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding. Reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries. This young girl told us that she remembered riding reindeer as a young girl and that her great-grandparents were Sami. She told us about their colorful costumes and their music. She told us that
during the summer, there really weren’t many customers and she enjoyed talking to us and told us of her desire to travel to the U.S. again and see the Grand Canyon. She had lived in the U.S. (Missouri) and in London. Once again, the subject of the weather had come up and she told us that up by the Arctic Circle, the temperature had reached 30+ degrees Celsius (over 90 degrees) and her grandmother said in her 80+ years she had never seen anything like it. Everyone we talked to today said the same thing. They were enjoying the sunny weather but that it usually rains in the summer. We said good-bye and wished her well.
What made this day so special was the interactions we had with the local people who were so interesting and always wanted to help with a smile.
Dinner this evening was very special with a shrimp salad on some type of bread (yum) a deluxe sort of Swedish meatball with mashed potatoes, peas and lingonberries, a staple food in Scandinavian cuisine, followed by a small piece of chocolate cake with ligonberry sauce. It was a perfect end to
a wonderful day enjoying this beautiful city.
Tomorrow wakeup call at 6:00, luggage out at 7:00 and leave at 8:00. I am looking forward to Copenhagen. We get 2 nights there.
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