Gothenburg, known as Göteborg (pronounced something like 'Yot-eh-borie' by the Swedish), is a beautiful old harbour town in the southwest of Sweden.
My family and I travelled from Australia to Gothenburg to go to my brother's wedding, so our trip involved a lot of wedding preparations and, of course, the wedding itself. My brother Stephen married a lovely Swedish girl, Lena.
During our stay in Gothenburg, we stayed with Lena's family at their house just outside the city itself. The house and all the houses in the area were all set in a forest. During a quiet time in the wedding preparations, I even went for a walk on one of the forest trails by the house. It's such a beautiful place and the houses don't seem to upset the natural balance of things. One day there were even deer in the backyard who'd come from the forest to eat their flowers!!
Unfortunately, a lot of time was taken up by getting ready for the wedding, so we were often at the house or at the local shopping centre getting things we needed for the wedding or the wedding reception.
The up side was that we got to experience the way that the Swedish people normally live, from the food they eat (their cheese is to die for!) to listening to their language to watching what they watch on television.
Oh, we also learned -- much to a friend's mirth -- that horses don't say “neigh” in Swedish. . . they say “gnägg gnägg!!” If I say “gnägg” to her now, she still laughs!!!
Other than the shops in Gothenburg, we did go on a few tours. One of them just involved my friends and I wandering around the town and seeing the sights by foot.
One of the more interesting things we saw was the old fortress, Skansen Kronan (Crown Fortress). This was a medieval tower built on top of a hill for defense of the city. It was a long, long climb up a large amount of steep steps to get to the top, but the view was worth the climb! (There is apparently a museum inside, but it was closed when we went.) It is called Skansen Kronan because there is a golden crown on top of the building.
We did not see the other fortress, Skansen Lejonet (Lion Fortress). It was another medieval tower built for the city's defense. It is called Skansen Lejonet because -- funnily enough -- it has a lion on top of the building!
The other was a canal tour of the city, recommended by Lena's family. It was a good way to see the city, and to figure out where you wanted to go later on. The thing that sticks most in my mind about the canal tour is the bridges. Some of Gothenburg's bridges were built very low to the water. At certain points on the tour, you have to duck down in your seat otherwise you'd get a bridge to the head!!!! Obviously, the original builders of the bridges had not envisioned a group of tourists wanting to travel under them on a boat!
Gothenburg is a thriving city, surrounded by beautiful forests, many lakes, harbours, islands, canals, and the ocean. There are so many things to see and do that I can't go into them all here, but more information about Gothenburg can be found, in English, at Göteborgs Stad.
By the way, one important thing that we discovered in Gothenburg is why the local's don't really drink there. We went into a nightclub one evening and found that alcohol there is very expensive! We each bought one drink, then realised the price, and decided not to buy another! I recommend bringing your own duty-free alcohol into Sweden. (Though the pear cider is really nice. . .).