Gothenburg Day 1
I picked the wrong bed in my 16 bed dorm… I was woken up several times by what sounded like (in my still mostly asleep head) a phone vibrating on the hard floor. I thought it was mine but I checked it and it was fine. I didn’t want to wake anyone else with my phone that wasn’t doing anything so I put it on something soft. Not long later, the noise happened again. Still asleep, yet conscious enough to think, I could not work out what it was. It took me a long time to realise that it was coming from the wall. I am pretty sure it is the pipes. Maybe one that is particularly loose. Managed to get through it ok, only because I went to bed late, and didn’t get up until 10:30. When I actually got up, I went and had a shower and ate breakfast (same bland baguette as yesterday) and used internet. I was listening to the Brits talking and it turns out the whole reason they are travelling is to go to a huge nerd convention in a nearby town which I had heard of. I asked them about it and got onto looking at tickets and stuff. I already had organised someone for Couchsurfing so I couldn’t take a detour to stay there for the whole weekend (not that I think I would want to do that) but it did limit me to what day I could go and that was the Friday, the day I planned on leaving Gothenburg. I might leave the details of that journey for when I write about it afterwards. Basically it took me a good hour to work it out but I think it will be worth it.
When I left the hostel at about 1:00, I had no real idea about what to do. I started by going back to the tram stop and catching the tram to the centre. I got only one stop. I was looking out the window and I saw a nice big church that I wanted to look at closer. I jumped off and walked over to it. It was huge, gold and green and red. I looked around to see if I could go inside but when I did get inside, I was a little disappointed. The outside was better. When I left, I decided to just walk to the centre. Actually, I wasn’t going to do that. I was just going to head in that general direction and then figure something out from there. I successfully got to something that looked interesting. It was just the inner city shopping area. The first path I went down reminded me of London Court in Perth. Small and full of not very interesting shops. There was a good looking cafe however. It looked cosy and it was pretty busy. Always a good sign (Unless it is Starbucks. That doesn’t count) I wasn’t ready for a coffee yet so I walked past. Remember this place. It makes a comeback later. Am I putting you in suspense cos I can’t wait to hear what I am going to write about it.
I just kind of did my normal thing of walking around and seeing if I could find anything interesting for maybe an hour and a half. There was not as many people on the streets as say Copenhagen even though the size of the cities isn’t that large. I know it is a Wednesday but that didn’t stop the people of Copenhagen. I didn’t get ‘lost’ several times I guess. The reason I say it like that is if you never had a place in mind, nor do you care where you are, does that really count as being lost?
At about 3:00, I decided it was time for that coffee. Now I can say that I didn’t know where that place was so I spent a fair bit more time looking for it again. Basically backtracking to places that I couldn’t really remember anymore. The logic being that they must have been the most distant ones in time. The fault with the logic is that my memory is so bad that even if I was there only 15 minutes before, I had probably forgotten about it already. Doesn’t matter. I found it again one way or another. I went in and ordered my coffee. It was really quite nice. You can tell they knew what they were doing. I brought my cup back up so I might strike up a conversation about the coffee. (Personally, I hate it when people bring me there dirty dishes in a cafe. I understand why people do it, to try and help out, but it means that I have to stop what I am doing and take them from that person which means being distracted from the current customer which doesn’t look good. Sometimes people will just leave them on a counter somewhere if there is no one at that second to take them from their hands directly, which makes the place look untidy and sometimes go unnoticed by staff. Another little rant that you were not prepared for) They were not busy so I was able to ask the barista lady what coffee they were using. She went on to explain it in terms of where it was from and flavour profile. She knew her stuff. She then said that it was roasted only 2 blocks away and that they are quite happy to let people in and have a look. I decided to scrap my immediate plan of going wherever it was that I was going and go to this roasting place. I have never had an opportunity to have a look at a roasting machine. Hopefully it was actually doing its thing while I was there.
The place was a cafe as well but well hidden from view so when I got in, it was pretty much empty. I started speaking to the guy at the counter and mentioned that I had just come from the cafe just over there and they had mentioned the roaster there. He took me through and it was right there. It wasn’t doing anything but we did start talking about coffee and what those guys were doing with their coffee in terms of making it unique. He was quite passionate and made it very interesting. I tried to share my experiences of the Perth coffee culture as well. I stayed around talking with this guy and a couple of his colleagues for about half an hour I think and not only about coffee either. We tried a few different coffee blends and methods of making it. Incredibly interesting. Well worth the stop. I know that I could have done that in Perth (Rie) but it was cool hearing it from someone else.
When I left, it was dark and it had been raining (And I missed it?!? Seriously, it was the first rainfall that I had been somewhere for and I was indoors. Not that I like rain at all but I feel like if I don’t get some soon then mother nature is only going to get me back way harder later. I’m looking at you Nordkapp). Simon, the guy I had been talking to mostly, had given me some advice about what to do in Gothenburg which just happened to be exactly what I was planning on doing before I started talking to him. He said it would be fine in the dark as the place I was headed is a kind of theme park that lights up nicely at night. I walked over to it which took maybe half an hour and he wasn’t joking. It really was spectacular. Coming out of the middle was a spire (probably the giant drop or something) and had lights coming diagonally out towards the ground. At the front was a stunning display. It was a small body of water that was lit up blue and then the trees surrounding it were lit up green and blue and it was finished off with the tall spire in the background. I walked around to the actually entrance and got a view inside of some trees covered in lights as well. Would have been great to go in but unfortunately it was closed and only open on the weekends over winter… Pity.
From there, I decided to go back to the hostel by walking. There was no direct route so I kind of just had to wing it. I walked in a nice direction (the right general direction) and when I decided that I would like some help on how to get back, I asked some nice people. The problem was that there was lots of roads going into the centre of the city but not many cutting across those sideways. I needed to go sideways. Basically, the ladies gave me a route to go but they had a different idea about what a ‘major’ road was. After walking for about 20 minutes at a quick pace, I found I was nearly off the map. So not lost. Just taking a far less touristy path that just happened to be not going in the right direction. That’s all. All was not lost however. I was still on the map so I was able to find my way back. Even though I cheated and took a tram when I found one. Cut my walk from about 40 minutes (not including time to get more los…scenic) to only 15. On the way back to the hostel, I stopped at the shops and topped up on groceries that I needed to make dinner.
I had missed lunch in favour of coffee and despite how much I enjoyed the coffee, it didn’t really leave me very fulfilled so I cooked as soon as I got back. It was only about 6:00 by the time started cooking. It was Italian summer dish part 2. I did much better this time except that I was altering the temperature of the wrong hot plate so the chicken was cooking slow while the water boiled really fast which I didn’t actually need. Anyway, I put more of all the flavours in this time so it tasted even better than the day before and the chicken was very edible. Success! I am now writing and have caught all the way up again. I might go and search for some more couches. I have found a place to stay for the next 2 cities but I sacrificed journal to do it. Its one of the reasons against Couchsurfing for me, it takes way longer to get a place to stay than looking for a hostel. Having said that, I think the hostels are not as good this time round. I might have mentioned this before but I really feel that they just don’t have as much personality and people are more keen to stay in their own groups or even when they are by themselves. That is a major pro from Couchsurfing. The way I see it, Couchsurfing is the hostels of 30 years ago when most didn’t even have hot water. Hostels are becoming like cheap hotels and cheap hotels are pretty much staying as cheap hotels.