Sweden’s Second City

Stockholm to Gothenburg
Stockholm to Gothenburg

After a month in Stockholm, we took a long weekend in Gothenburg on Sweden’s opposite (west) coast. Three hours on the high-speed train deposited us in the city center, near the Tullhuset (Customs House) where many Swedes—probably including my great-great-grandparents—embarked for the US in the great emigration wave at the turn of the 20th century. Gothenburg’s population is now just over half a million, about half the size and density of Stockholm—a nice change of pace, and a new window on Swedish heritage.

We were thrilled to rent Lina’s beautiful flat at the base of Skansen Kronan, an octagonal 17th-century fort topped with a golden crown. The fort offered expansive views of the historic red roofs and modern high-rises of Gothenburg’s eclectic skyline.

The waterfront was more industrial than Stockholm’s, but the canals provided beautiful shoreline paths away from the shipyards. The distinctive Feskekörka (Fish Church) on Rosenlund Canal is actually a large market, but speaks to the venerable quality of the local seafood; we particularly enjoyed Sjöbaren in the quaint-hip Haga district near Lina’s apartment.

Stora Hamnkanalen (the Great Harbor Canal) was heavily developed with mercantile houses during the 18th-century trade boom, including the sprawling East India House, once home to the country’s largest trading company. It now houses Gothenburg City Museum. Admission happened to be free during the annual cultural festival, and included the remains of Äskekärrskeppet, the only sunken Viking ship discovered in Sweden.

Thanks to Lina, and our flexible Stockholm coworkers, for the chance to explore Sweden’s Little London!

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