Canals

Jan 21, 2008 in Sweden and Denmark 2008

Canals

We’d been hoping for a good night out in Gothenburg, but it was a Sunday and the only place that looked lively was charging 100SEK to get in. So we had a quiet evening, a bite to eat in a fantastic cafe on Haga Nygata, then some drinks in town. We spent a lot of time in Gothenburg in funky little cafes – it’s that kind of town really.

Compared to the first time I’d visited, it was far warmer, and it was nice to walk around without feeling exhausted by cold. Canals that had been frozen solid last time were flowing now, and parks that had been buried by snow were grassy. We ambled around town, moving from cafe to cafe, enjoying the vibe. We decided we’d have to come back here in the summer.

Gothenburg

Jan 20, 2008 in Sweden and Denmark 2008

Gothenburg

Early the next morning we headed north again, to Gothenburg. We’d both been here before, five years earlier, and really liked it. That time, the city had been covered in thick snow. Now, it was just cold, so not as picturesque, but still it was great to be back. I love the atmosphere of Gothenburg – to me it feels small enough to be really friendly, but large enough to have a lot of interesting things going on. We walked through the centre, just about remembering where we were going, and eventually found our way via Haga Nygata to the Slottskogen hostel we’d stayed in last time. We headed up to Skansen Kronan for some views over this great little city.

Halmstad

Jan 19, 2008 in Sweden and Denmark 2008

Halmstad

Our journey up the coast gave us some fantastic views of the sun setting over Denmark across the water. We arrived in Halmstad after dark, with our main aim being to check out the night life. But before we could do that, we needed somewhere to stay. My guide book said there was a place 4km out of town, towards the E6 motorway, so we headed out in that direction. We walked, and walked, and walked, and I began to regret wearing shoes that I’d only bought a couple of days previously, as my feet began to hurt. We walked on, and I started cursing Eldrik for travelling with a ridiculous wheely suitcase thing instead of an obviously more practical backpack. The constant rumbling got a bit tiring after a few kilometres, and eventually he started wheeling on the grass.

After about an hour, we began to think that we weren’t in the right place. The hostel was supposedly on Växjögatan, and Eldrik grabbed a passer-by to practise his Swedish on. I could just about follow the gist of the conversation, and it went something like “Excuse me. Do you know if Växjögatan is near here?” “Växjögatan? I’ve never heard of it” “Um.. ok. Do you know of any hostels near here?” “Nope”

So we had definitely gone wrong. We were near a huge shopping centre, and there was a fast food place open, so we boosted morale by eating dirty burgers, then got a bus back into town to reconsider our options. Plan B was to check prices at hotels in town, but they were way beyond our means. We then moved onto Plan C, which was to skip Halmstad and head on to Gothenburg. We headed for the station, only to find that the next train wasn’t for almost two hours. So we quickly put together Plan D: we found a map of the town at the train station, and it appeared that my guide book had sent us out of town on the wrong road. We would head down what we thought now was the right road, and if we hadn’t found the hostel within 45 minutes, we’d get out of this place and head on. So off we went out of town again, and this time after about half an hour we found what we were looking for, the Hostel Laxen.

Once we’d recovered from our explorations, we got a bus back into town, and went out. After a few hours in the town centre I decided to head home, exhausted by last night’s lack of sleep, a long day of travelling, and then extreme amounts of walking in Halmstad. There were no night buses out in our direction, so I walked another three miles back out to the Laxen. In the morning, we walked back in, again, and headed north. We’d walked thirteen miles during our brief stay in Halmstad.

Helsingør

Jan 19, 2008 in Sweden and Denmark 2008

Helsingør

When we got to the station, we found that the next train to Halmstad wasn’t for another hour and a half. We decided that as it was only a couple of miles away, we might as well pop over to Denmark while we were here, and so we jumped on a ferry heading across the sound. We stood on the deck in the howling gales, and watched Kronborg Castle approaching. Once we’d docked, we had about twenty minutes to spare for a quick walk around town, before we had to get on the ferry back over to Sweden.

Helsingborg

Jan 19, 2008 in Sweden and Denmark 2008

Helsingborg

We’d originally planned to head straight for Halmstad, but we randomly decided we might as well stop off in Helsingborg to see what it was like. Sitting on an exposed bit of the Öresund coast, Helsingborg was being battered by violent winds when we arrived, and after a quick walk up to a park overlooking the town, we retreated inside a cafe to avoid dying of exposure. After a few restorative espressos, we decided to head on to Halmstad.

Lund

Jan 19, 2008 in Sweden and Denmark 2008

Lund

It’s only 20 minutes on the train from Malmö to Lund but even in this short time we managed to get told off. We hadn’t realised we were sitting in the quiet carriage until we were ticked off by a stern-sounding Swede sitting behind us. “Förlåt”, we said, and sat in silence until Lund.

We stayed in the very excellent train hostel in Lund. I’ve travelled on so many night trains that I was conditioned into expecting it to rock about constantly, so I swerved erratically around to compensate for the non-existent motion as I walked down the corridors. Once we’d settled in there, we went out to explore the town. Eldrik didn’t really need to explore anything, he knew the town perfectly well having gone out with a girl who lived here, but I hadn’t seen it.

In the evening we went out to a club called Sargasso. It was a Friday night but it never really got going. Every club I’d been to before in Sweden had been fantastic, so it was a bit of a shame that we picked a bad one here, but then in a university town, nothing much goes on when the students aren’t around.

The next day, the skies were clear and the air was cold. We decided to head north, to Helsingborg.

Malmö

Jan 18, 2008 in Sweden and Denmark 2008

Malmö

January 2008. Cold, wet, grey in London. Some might head south. Eldrik and I decided to head north, to colder, greyer, wetter Sweden. Eldrik’s been to Sweden about a million times; this was only my fifth trip there. We met at Stansted on a Friday evening, and flew to Copenhagen. A quick trip across the Øresund took us to Malmö, Sweden’s third city.

This was my third visit to Malmö, after two earlier trips on hot sunny summer weekends. It was certainly different in the winter, but not as cold as I’d thought it might be. We walked from the train station to a hostel in the south of the city, past locations which we recognised from “Lilya 4-ever”, the most depressing film I’ve ever seen.

We didn’t plan to spend much time in Malmö. On summer weekends it’s great to sit by the sea, with views of the mighty Øresund bridge soaring over the sea to Denmark, and the redeveloped Västra Hamnen, but in the winter there was nothing to keep us here once we’d had a quick look at the Turning Torso, the city’s new landmark and the tallest building in Scandinavia. We walked out to Västra Hamnen to see it spiralling up into the low clouds, then headed to the station for the short trip to Lund.

Øresund

Jul 10, 2006 in Denmark and Sweden 2006

Øresund

I was right at the bottom of my bank balance, and I could only just afford to re-cross the Øresund to catch my flight home from Sweden. I had an afternoon to kill in Malmö, and I wandered out to Västra Hamnen, where upmarket new flats overlook the straits. New since the last time I’d been here was the Turning Torso, the new tallest building in Scandinavia, which spiralled up over the city and looked pretty impressive.

I sat by the sea in the warm sun. I looked back over the past ten months, during which I’d been to South America, Bulgaria, Turkey, France and now here. It had been awesome, but I knew that there could be no more holidays for now. I was in urgent need of a job. As stormy clouds gathered over the Øresund, I headed for home.

Walk to Skansen

Sep 26, 2004 in Stockholm 2004

Walk to Skansen

Back at the hostel, there was an American in my room who fancied checking out a club, so we went to the Berns Hotel for a night out. Seeing new year in at Sturecompagniet the last time had been fantastic, but the Berns clientèle seemed a little bit less pretentious. The music was good, I met fun people, and all was good, until at 2am a fight kicked off near where I was sitting, and left someone unconscious on the floor. I decided to head home at that point.

I went for a long walk the next day, from my hostel in Gamla Stan up Drottninggaten to a small park, then back down towards the harbour. I walked around Nybroviken, and across a bridge to Djurgården. It was starting to rain as I reached Skansen, and I got a boat back across the harbour to Gamla Stan. With rain now falling heavily, I spent the rest of my time in Stockholm in a cafe on Vesterlånggatan.

Kaknästornet

Sep 25, 2004 in Stockholm 2004

Kaknästornet

As evening arrived I got a bus from Sergels Torg to Kaknästornet. I’d been there last time as well, enduring a howling gale at the top which probably gave a wind chill temperature of about -30°C. This time it was a cool autumn evening, and I watched the dusk fade and the city lights come on.