Tag Archives: November 2011

An old fortress and some seals

A view from Skansen

A day of walking.

Went up the steep hill to Skansen, an old fort built in 1698. It was closed today, but a nice blonde lady let us walk up the narrow stone stairs to the top, where there is now a restaurant. It’s like a cave, with tables and plastered, uneven walls and very deep window wells. In each of the wells, a cannon. Just in case. You never know when the Danes are going to get all shirty again. The view from the hill is incredible. Again, it was a foggy morning, but warm. (Nevertheless, all the kids are wearing snowsuits.) The ever-present Beech trees are huge and beautiful, and the colour of the leaves is somewhere between red and brown, covering the ground in a luminescent copper, with strokes of green from the grass. Very stunning, especially with the fog.

Give me a reason, Denmark (inside the fortress)

After Skansen, another stroll through Haga, an old district in central Gothenburg built entirely of wood, except for the cobblestone roads, and then lunch. And more pastry. Today, kind of a flat, chocolate cookie covered in salty peanuts and sunflower seeds. Delicious. Followed the feeding frenzy with a walk to Slottskogsparken, a huge park with many ponds, creeks, and assorted wildlife. Fascinated by the birds, especially the Magpies, which look just like ours but a bit smaller, and Jackdaws, another handsome corvid with black/grey feathers and really lovely light eyes. This park also has a free zoo, which is built vertically up one of the many rocky outcroppings throughout the city. Seals, sheep, goats, moose, and Fallow deer, which look like reindeer. Interesting layout for a zoo. Can’t imagine pushing a baby carriage up that incredibly steep hill, but I’m sure people do. They’re Swedes, after all.

Sharon and I are both in the thralls of dog-withdrawal, so we’re hitting up strangers for a quick fondle of their animals. Sharon especially is having a tough time. It seems weird to come home and not be greeted by a cat or a dog. Well, they’re only here until December, and I’m leaving in two weeks, so I guess we can deal with our dogless existence for the incredible trade-off of living and/or visiting such a wonderful city, and country. And their baked goods.

Tomorrow, more walking. And a visit to the museum.

8:55PM (12:55PM Edmonchuk time)/8C


downtown Gothenburg

First morning after first full day of being in Gothenburg. What a BEAUTIFUL city. After about 16 hours of travel, a lot of it in airports waiting for connections, I arrived in Sweden’s second largest city around 6:30PM. Too dark to really see anything that night, but when I woke up in the morning, the city was encased in fog. Gorgeous fog, with the ubiquitous red roofs of the buildings peaking through. Also have a view of Skansen, and old fort, just to the left, and Haga Krykan (Haga Church) to the right. So European. So...northern European. Walked all around the city yesterday. Many of the streets are cobblestone, and there is a dedicated bike path on the sidewalks, not the streets. I have been told to watch out for the bikers, who apparently are much more dangerous than the cars.

Even on a Sunday, there were lots of people on the streets, in the shops, out for strolls. Even the candy store, which is unlike any other candy store I’ve ever been in, was full of adults filling their bags with many different kinds of sweets. The Swedish people are living up to their stereotype. They are beautiful-tall, slim, and well-dressed. All of them, men and women. Haven’t seen a wide-legged pant yet…tights and leggings with skirts are de rigueur, and everyone wears a scarf around their necks. More for fashion I think. It’s about 8C, so warmer than Edmonton. And the grass is still green. Kinda like Vancouver weather.

The architecture is amazing. Very few high-rises, mostly those old 19th, early 20th century buildings, all with different

Gothenburg's Beech trees

facades, five or six stories in height, encompassing residential and commercial properties. Very densely populated. No single family dwellings, at least not in this central area, although I don’t think they have a lot of sprawl. Some of the streets are narrow, and people cross the streets when it’s reasonable to do so. In other words, they act like adults. There isn’t that lock-step sort of mentality with regards to regulation. There is lots of see at street-level, and everywhere is a visual feast. Up, down. It doesn’t matter. Lots to eat too. The pastries are fantastic. Everything is topped with a crunchy sugar, kind of like…well,  I don’t know! Incredible. I’ll have to find some to bring back to Edmonton. Good thing there is lots of opportunity to walk.

Haven’t seen Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, or Anni-Frid yet, but I’ll keep looking. They’ve gotta be here somewhere. Probably most likely somewhere in Stockholm, where I am going next weekend. All in all, the first day of my pilgrimage has been awesome.

10:30 AM (2:30 AM in Edmonton)/6C