Hannah here: We're taking a break in our Month of Love posts to share the next instalment of our BullivantsdoEurope trip. I'm nearly finished, promise!
Following our week in Copenhagen, we rose early, packed up the tent once again, squished our luggage in to the car, squished ourselves around it, cranked up the tape deck and set off for Gothenburg. We drove under an uncharacteristically blue sky, crossing the Oresund straight via a gargantuan suspension bridge towering over a shimmering sea. We then snaked up the West coast of Sweden until we hit Gothenburg, and eventually the sweetest Swedish apartment on the 8th floor.
We couldn’t find campsites that we liked the look of and the Airbnb apartment we found was pretty cheap and, it also turns out, utterly beguiling. Late afternoon sunlight was streaming through the windows by the time we hauled our asses through the door, illuminating Emma’s numerous collections of plants, art supplies and vintage botanical prints. It was like walking around an apartment that until that point, only existed in a dream- a dream about my second life as a chic swede, living in an apartment high in the sky and surrounded by plants and art… sigh… Ahem, From Emma’s apartment you can see the Gotan river, the forests on the hills as well as the most incredible panoramic view over the city.
After taking in the apartment and flinging our bags into the bedroom, we freshened up, then rushed immediately out again, eager to make the most of the precious 36 hours we had in the city. Equipped with recommendations from a friend, we hopped on the coolest vintage tram and went to an area called Haga. I was feeling high on sweeeet Gothenburg vibes by this point, so sauntered up to some dungaree and sunglass clad girls and asked for a dinner recommendation. We ended up at Hagabiens, a delicious and super cool veggie restaurant. Gothenburg basically won my heart from that moment. (YES i’m aware I said that about most places we visited- YES it’s still true.) In the following 3 days there followed more incredible views from vantage points many floors in the sky (my oh my!), excellent and bargainous vintage shopping, roof top wine drinking as the sun went down, boat trips to visit tiny Swedish islands in the archipelago, some very, very good coffee and more addictive pastry- something, we were learning, Scandinavia excels at. Any nation that takes cake with friends so seriously that it has its own word- Fika- has won my heart indefinitely.
Here are our top 12 things to see and do and a ton of photo's.
1) Stay at Emma’s apartment. No, seriously. Check those views! She is also a sweetheart. Or try the other airbnb houses. There are lots of stylish places to rent and they're often better value than hotels too.
2) Take the giddying lift ride up to Heaven 23 then eat a shrimp sandwich accompanied with a cocktail. Enjoy Gothenburg and it’s scurrying ant people spread out far below you. According to our Swedish friends, this is the best view in gothenburg.
4) Go vintage shopping at Emmaus. Its MASSIVE. I bought the perfect jumper, kids vintage clothes, some wooly slipper socks, a bobble hat, and could've bought much much more.
5) Get coffee at Da Matteo (it's so so good) then wonder down Vallgatan checking out all the lovely independent design shops. Grandpa is particularly well curated and drool inducing. Theres a great vintage/charity shop at the top of the street and nearby Magasinsgatan has more vintage shops.
6) Drool over all the AMAZING gender neutral and ethical kids wear (UK PLEASE FOR GODS SAKE TAKE NOTE)
7) Ogle the amazing retro trams, and take a ride just for the hell of it. Half of them are more modern but all of them look pretty cool.
8) Eat at Hagabiens, or Kino, it’s sister restaurant upstairs (pic at top of post). This is where I was directed too when I asked the supercool Swedish gals where to eat, and it is oozing with swedish cool. The food is veggie and AMAZING (no soggy goats cheese and mushroom concoctions in sight!) and they brew their own beer so my mister was smitten.
9) Visit the archipelago’s by boat. They leave regularly from Saltholmen, at the end of tram lines #9 and #11. There are lots of different options and the ticket clerks are happy to help you decide where to go. We took the shortest circular route as we didn’t have much time but we would have loved to go for longer and explore Brännö. It is a hippie/artist paradise and sounds awesome.
10) Grab lunch and buy some fresh fish at the fish church. Happily for our bellies, Gothenburg takes its seafood preeeetty seriously (a church for buying fish!) Do the rest of your food shopping at Saluhallen, Gothenburgs biggest food market. We stocked up on treats to cook at the apartment, but there are places you can perch on a stool and sample the fayre immediately too.
11) Eat lunch in the park and watch boats meander down the Gotan river.
12) Wonder around the 19th century cobbled streets of Haga, enjoy Fika in one its cute cafe’s and explore some of the tiny shops there. We bought a Dala horse from the tacky souvenir shop. Not requisite of course, or remotely cool, but it looks kinda nice on my mantlepiece. The fact that even their tacky souvenir shops sell desirable things says a lot about Sweden.
The Kommersen Loppmarknad flea market sounds brilliant (its massive, in a huge old warehouse) but the days didn’t work out for us so we didn’t go. You should though!
So yes, we saw a lot in only 3 days and fell in love with Swedish chic. It was also not as expensive as we feared, but I think thats because we are used to London prices, and also because we brought lunch with us most days.
Our time constraints didn’t allow for us to head east to Stockholm, or north into Norway, sadly (we saved them for another trip!) so after Gothenburg, we headed back to Denmark on the ferry destined for two more rural Danish campsites.