After a cloudy start, the day brightened up considerably. By 11am the sun was shining, and the temperature started to soar. We spent most of the morning doing chores. Howard’s computer screen had imploded, flashing purple lines across he screen, so we sought out a Mac support shop, who seemed to think this was fixable, and hope to repair it tomorrow. Meanwhile, I had sought out a hairdressers and booked an appointment for tomorrow morning. Tasks completed, we set off to explore Gothenburg.
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second city. It has a population of nearly a million, and remains an important hub for container and ferry transport. Built predominantly in the 1700s on essentially marshland, it retains a canal network, that was originally used for transportation. The city was built largely by Dutch architects, who had expertise in building in low lying waterlogged land, and so many of the old buildings display a Dutch influence. Latterly, the city had a thriving industry of ship-building, up until the 1970s, when the shipyards were undercut by the cheaper Asian workforce, and the yards, which had been the beating heart of Gothenburg were forced into closure.
Today, there is evidence of much regeneration in the city’s former dockyard areas, with many new businesses and luxury flats springing up. The only hint to it’s ship-building past are the huge boat cranes that litter the harbour, left as a monument to time gone-by.
We caught the tram into the city, and stopped to orientate ourselves over a coffee and rather delicious almond pastry. Gothenburg is a university town, and the area around the university is thriving, with many open air cafes and restaurants. We then hit the shops, and purchased a few ‘must have’ items, including another feather pillow. When camping in Scotland before we left for this trip, we had always used two pillows in Oscar. For some reason, whilst packing for this trip, Howard had decided that this was an unnecessary luxury. After five months on the road, he has decided that he misses his second pillow – talk about princess and the pea!
We paid a brief visit to Gothenburg Cathedral. Inside it was light and airy, and wonderfully simplistic. Somehow, the more simple the architecture, the more impressive the building. Howard, as ever, was called on for photographic duties. It is beyond me why everyone keeps asking him to take their photos. If only they knew!
We then opted to do a sightseeing boat trip around the canals and harbour area, which was lovely. Our guide was called Oscar, so we thought it even more apt that we were on his trip. We gained a good insight into the city on this tour, and also appreciated the opportunity to just sit down and look – since by now the temperature was too hot for both of us.
Tour ended, we headed back on the tram. Unlike the trams in Edinburgh, the tram system in Gothenburg is well used, and very efficient. Since there is no underground system in the city, the trams are used by all the workers to commute in and out of the city for work. Back at the dock area where we are staying, we enjoyed a quiet drink in the evening sunshine, followed by supper.
Hopefully tomorrow’s hair appointment won’t be too traumatic, and Howard will get his computer fixed. Then we will be heading northwards into Gotland. I’ll let you know if the princess likes his new pillow!