Day 10: Gothenburg

Author’s note:  I’ve decided to use the xenonym Gothenburg in this post rather than the endonym Göteburg.  Why?  Partly because it’s easier to type and also partly to show off that I actually know these words.  It’s like Turin/Torino or Cologne/Köln or China/中国.  They’re called toponyms (which is another word I bet you didn’t know).  I’m also doing it because I’m an absolute freak for getting the ørthögråphy of a language correct but typing the “ö” takes longer.

Today was a rest day in Gothenburg. I had a nice lie in, a restrained breakfast and then headed out to do some “stuff” in Gothenburg.  It’s a big city and there’s a lot to see and therefore, like always, I used Atlas Obscura to find some things to see.  I really recommend it if you’ve got a limited amount of time to in a city and want to see some unusual things.

First up was downloading the various apps which allow you to use the buses and trams…always a bit annoying but I got my $10 all day pass on the bus and headed out to the Liseberg amusement park.  I hadn’t heard about it before and I thought “what better to do on a rest day but go to an amusement park as a solo middle aged bloke”.

Let’s go…

On the walk to the main park entrance, they have stars in the pavement like on Hollywood Boulevard.  Presumably these are the famous people who have visited the park.  The very first star I saw was this one.

See…geeks know how to have fun

And literally the star next to it is this one

Really? “Crazy Horses Weeee weeeeee” vs

I’m not sure what metric they’re using for proximity.  Can’t be chronological, can’t be contribution to understanding the mysteries of space, time and the universe and can’t be musicality (Einstein was a great violinist and the Osmonds…).

Anyway, there was no more time for musing on stars on the pavements because the gate opened bang on 10 and I rushed in with the families and teenagers.  First up was Balder a completely wooden roller coaster with a single drop. (Note that most of the links to the rides will end up at a video of what it’s like on the ride).  

I had always thought that wooden roller coasters would be a bit tame.  It was terrifying.  90km/h with lots of sections of zero g.  However, it was a bit relief to be going up and down hills without being on a wobbly bike I guess.
  
I know this is safe but it doesn’t look it.

Then I did the Valkyria and I really recommend clicking on that link and watching the POV video.  It gives a good feel for it except you’re missing the being upside down and in a zero-g roll.  Helix was next and, to be honest, this was the most terrifying.  Lots of zero-g sections, maximum g-force in the corners of 4.3g.  Whilst this isn’t quite fast-jet levels, it is physically quite a shock.

Liseberg has a great system involving an app — colour me shocked — where you can virtually queue.  You start “queuing” for the next ride while you’re doing one ride and so you just walk on the next one.  This meant that in two hours I hadn’t queued once and done pretty much all the rides that were designed for grownups.  Sitting on my own on the Tuta and Kör with a bunch of four year olds would not have been a good look.  

Next on the list was the Volvo Museum.  It seemed to be a little out of town so I got my Gothenburg public transport app out and planned a journey.

I love trams.  Especially vintage ones.

I didn’t really need to take the tram one stop to the bus stop but I did anyway.  I was going to get my money’s worth out of the day ticket.  I was going to take a tram, take a bus and then change again onto another bus.  

The bus wound its way through Gothenburg stopping every 500m or so. The app said that it would be 12 stops so I thought I’d be there quickly.  However, then the bus got onto the motorway and started whizzing along.  We crossed the river and continued to go through what appeared to be countryside.

Now, here is an important Gothenburg travel tip.  Outside the city centre, the bus only stops if you press the stop button before the stop and if you don’t, the bus goes sailing past your stop.  Don’t make the mistake I made.

By the time I’d worked this out, I was about 5km beyond where I needed to change to another bus.

A motorway and a bridge. That’s all.

I really was in the middle of nowhere. I might have been able to get a bus from the other side of the motorway but when I checked the schedules one wasn’t expected for 90 minutes.  Checking with Google Maps, it turned out that I was only (only!) a 50 minute walk from the Volvo Museum.  The other option was to sit in a bus shelter next to a motorway for 90 minutes so walking it was.

The route led away from the motorway into an industrial park. Not one of those sciency industrial parks full of management consultants and web designers but a real industrial park with big bits of metal, lorries, chemical refineries.

They call Gothenburg the Grangemouth of the north.

I trudged wearily in my terrible lightweight shoes.  I took photographs even though there were lots of signs warning me not to take photographs.  Here’s a selection.

The complete lack of pavements was a feature

Still no pavements

Don’t take photographs of the don’t take photographs sign

Look a pavement.  And a railway track.

It was a long and ugly walk but eventually the Volvo Museum appeared amid the factories and container parks.

Sanctuary!

This is almost certainly the worst place to put a museum…ever.  I wasn’t in a terribly good mood when I arrived — my ankle and the gash on my calf weren’t thanking me for walking for 50 minutes — but, that being said, the museum was actually pretty good.  I took a lot of photographs and so here are a selection (again).  Feel free to skip.

A really old boat engine

The first 23hp engine that powered most Volvo cars and lorries until 1939

They made aircraft engines


I do now

There’s something very grand about these cars.


This is actually Sir Roger Moore’s car. He donated it.

Trucks, race cars and, upper right, jet planes: Volvo make jet engines.

I didn’t realise that the whole of the mechanical gubbins 
in a bus is contained in the chassis.

And, of course, a full sized Volvo XC90 made of Lego™.

Ok, I admit it, the Volvo Museum wasn’t fantastic. Mildly interesting in places. Given the amount of effort to get there it was a long run for a short slide.  If you’re in Gothenburg and you’ve got a car (a Volvo for example) and you’ve got a couple of hours to waste then…sure, why not go?

As I walked out I saw a sign saying that the next bus back to central Gothenburg was two hours in the future. I gave up and ordered an Uber.

I spent some time in the centre of Gothenburg wandering around streets like this

A lot of it looks like this.  Clean but quiet.

The obligatory architectural photograph.

Canals. They call Venice the “Gothenburg of the south”

By the time I got back it was time for a quick snooze and then I geographied the shit out of the next five days.  I’ve got to be in Stockholm by mid-afternoon on Thursday and the distribution of towns large enough to have hotels between here and Stockholm isn’t very helpful.  I’d like to average about 120km a day but on my first attempt on routing left me with the choice between a 65km day or a 210km day. Back to the drawing board…

I eventually got something planned which looks like it will work. In a departure from my standard operating procedure, I’ve booked all the hotels so all I need to do now is turn my legs for the next 5 days and I’ll be done.

One of the joys of these trips is going out and randomly picking a restaurant.  There’s a Mexican fusion restaurant reasonably close to the hotel called Puta Madre. I assume they know that this means “motherfucker” in Spanish.  Anyway, it was hip and cool.  The food was interesting and the other patrons were having a lovely time despite the brain-numbingly annoying music.

And now…I’m back in the hotel bar writing this.

This is a strangely recursive photograph

The hotel appears to have lost my cycle shorts, top and socks which I gave them this morning — suitably marked with biohazard stickers. If they don’t find them by tomorrow morning, the Sunday morning church goers of Gothenburg are going get a bit of a shock.  If it’s a choice of wearing these terrible trousers or cycling naked…



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