Thursday, November 18, 2010

Friends in Gothenberg

Sofia and Kate

Gothenberg is Sweden's second largest city and sits at the country's southern west coast. In Swedish, it's written "Göteborg" and pronounced (roughly) "YO-te-BOR-ee." For us, it's a special place, as it's where our friends Sofia and Per and their daughters Klara, Anna and Lisa live. We visited the Danielsson-Gellerstam family in October 2010.

Klara, Analeise (her clown nose slipped down to her neck), Lisa, Brooke and Anna.

Leaving from Turku, on the west coast of Finland, we took a ferry to Stockholm, Sweden and then a train to Gothenberg.

Sofia, Per and their girls lived in Rome for two years recently, and this was to our advantage, as Per grew to love Italian espresso and treated us to that as well as to an Italian feast. From friends in Italy, they adopted a nice do-it-yourself bruschetta idea.

Do-It Yourself Bruschetta (Thank you Per and Sofia!):
Put on the table:
  • slices of Italian white bread (or the bread of your choice), toasted
  • several peeled garlic gloves, cut in half
  • a small container of olive oil
  • finely diced tomatoes
  • chopped basil
  • salt
Describe the process to your guests (all steps are optional, to their preference): First, rub the garlic clove on your toast. Then, spread on tomatoes and basil. Finnish by sprinkling olive oil and salt. Enjoy! It's fun to allow your guests to personalize part of the meal, and our girls remember this eating experience fondly. There are many variations to bruschetta, and you can simply add ingredients to the table if you want to give more options.

This photo shows the plates of toast. There were bowls of the bruschetta ingredients on both ends of the long dinner table.

Sofia and Per's youngest daughter, Lisa, enjoys setting the table, and here you see branches and chestnut shells she found on a walk. She also had large lovely maple leaves, sticking out from under each plate.

If you go to Gothenberg and like science museums, don't miss the Universeum. Among the things to do and see, there's a multi-story South American rainforest exhibit in which monkeys, birds and lizards roam through the many tropical plants. There's an aquarium with sharks, jelly fish, tropical tanks and more. There are changing, hands-on exhibits - the current one is about the human brain. For more information, click here.

This fun outdoor elevator is one way to travel to the top floor of the Universeum.

Say hello to Mr. Froggy Pants from me, if you visit the Universeum.

This rattlesnake from Texas is one of the animals in the exhibit about venomous animals. No insult intended, but you don't have to say hi to him/her from me if you visit the museum. I wasn't as attached to him as I was to Mr. Froggy Pants, above.

We got to take a nice walk downtown with Sofia and their daughter, Lisa. One of the girls' favorite spots is a very well stocked candy store.

Sofia tells us that it is a fairly common custom among parents here to have "Saturday Sweets." This means that sweets are allowed on Saturdays but not on other days of the week (except for holidays, birthdays, etc.). This seems like a sane way to allow the fun of candy without having an unhealthy diet.

Other sites on our walk:

A nice walkway near an apartment building. The fountains pay tribute to Gothenberg's importance as a sea port.
This funny, well-loved dog was near the fabulous Myrorna thrift store (street address: Järntorgsgatan 10). Bryan got an elegant, cashmere suit jacket there for something like 20 euros.

This house is from the 1700's.

You can visit this fortress on one of Gothenberg's high hills for a great view of the city.

Our first visit to Gothenberg in 2007 introduced us to allotment gardens, which exist in many cities. These gardens and little cabins, initially no more than potting sheds, allow the gardeners not only tool storage but also a place to retreat and to entertain, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. Click here for a Wikipedia article about allotment gardening.

Lisa, Analeise and Brooke, near a set of allotment gardens.

Bonus Photos:
The building on the left in the distance was recently converted into cool apartments. If you look really (really) closely, you can see a rainbow to it's left.

Riding lessons take up many evenings for the Danielsson-Gellerstam girls (and for Sofia, who drives them to lessons!).

This is a set of apartments near downtown that were built as industrial workers' housing many years ago. They are now quite desirable.

Aren't there some fun people in Gothenberg?!

Street scene.

There are numerous playgrounds in the city.

A lovely thing about both Gothenberg and Stockholm is the way in which city planning incorporates spaces for walking and biking. Put that together with punctual public tram, bus, and ferry services, getting around without owning a car is quite doable.

That said, in Gothenberg, there are many steep hills, areas in which stairs are unavoidable and cobblestone streets, so if you have limited mobility, you might be best off using a taxi. I was once told that there are more ferries than buses in Gothenberg - it's on the edge of the ocean, and there are many waterways. If you ever go to the city, I'd recommend taking a guided boat tour.

Thanks for reading! For more information about visiting Gothenberg, here's a site for the city:

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