One year later, I’m finally finding the time to document my memories of our trip. I’m calling them diary entries, because they’re mostly thought dumps to recall as many details as possible – mostly for memory sake. I’m already forgetting little details about our trip, which is sad as it was really a once in a lifetime experience that I want to remember for the rest of my life. So these posts will be long and full of pictures. Consider yourself warned. 🙂
We had some crazy jet lag to deal with in Gothenburg. It’s only a 6 hour time difference from Toronto but the flight over there involved a layover in Amsterdam at 7:45am local time, which was really 1:45am Toronto time. Determined to stay in our new timezone, we wandered around the airport like zombies and eventually shared a sandwich (we had high expectations for the bread here, but alas… we were disappointed).
We had about 2 hours until our next flight, so we went in search for coffee after we ate to help us stay away. Mike and I are self-professed coffee snobs – we’ve been spoiled big time in Toronto with too much choice when it comes to good (albeit sometimes inconsistent) coffee. So, this was the first test of Europe. I never really have the best opinion of European coffee, not because it’s bad, but mostly because it’s different from what I’m used to drinking in Toronto. I think it’s more of a style difference than one being better than the other. Okay, so. We settled on this chocolate cafe because it had seating near the window and we noticed that every coffee came with a piece of chocolate. Hey, we were on vacation. Let the indulgence begin. 🙂 Coffee and chocolate were average, but the sunrise was pretty spectacular. Too bad we were fighting to stay awake at this point so we couldn’t fully enjoy it. I still don’t think it had hit me that our European trip had actually begun!
The flight to Gothenburg was short – thankfully! Just over an hour. We really came to appreciate the fact that almost all flights were roughly 1 hour or so in length. That came at the cost of flying in tiny airplanes that didn’t feel sturdy in the air, but at least it was over fast if you factor in the take off and landing. Once again, I barely remember the time we spent in Gothenburg airport. We picked up our luggage (I don’t remember their being any issues), took a few obligatory photos with our messy travel hair, and navigated our way over to what continues to be my favourite airbnb of our entire trip.
Our host was running a bit late to meet us, so we wandered around in her neighbourhood and came across Bar Foxx. I did a Global Cup review of that place, and it still stands to be one of my favourite cafes that we went to in Europe! We shared a delicious goulash and amazing (to our “style”) coffee. We would go back there every day that we were in Gothenburg and barely tried anywhere else. When we went to meet our host, I was a little apprehensive. It was the first time I’d ever stayed in an Airbnb and we were renting a private room, rather than an entire apartment. It looked nice in the pictures, but what if it wasn’t the same in person?
Oh man, her space was GORGEOUS. She was a traveller at heart, like us, but in recent years had a son so she couldn’t travel as much as she did in the past. Her place kind of looked like it came out of an Ikea catalogue, but that isn’t a bad thing at all. It was visually stunning.
Our guest room was double the size of our bedroom. She also had a really nicely furnished common area, but the guest room was so cosy, that we barely left it when we were at home.
She even had homemade cheesy paleo bread (what!?) topped with cream cheese and then more cheese (they love their cheese in Europe!) and they were so delicious that we ate two. I felt like I could have spent at least a month living there!
I talked about the running we did in Gothenburg in this post, but essentially, we attempted to pick up our training exactly where we left off in Toronto. Well…..that was a mistake. Like I mentioned at the beginning, we were both extraordinarily jet lagged. Despite our best attempts to go to bed at 11pm or so, we were tossing and turning all night. By 6am, we’d finally be so exhausted that we’d sleep… and end up waking up at noon. It was frustrating for us because we consider ourselves to be morning people so by the time we woke up the morning was gone.
Mike had arranged to work remotely with his company but luckily, he had thought ahead and taken the first two weeks in Scandinavia as a proper vacation. There is no way either of us could have gotten any work done in these first few days! The insomnia dragged on for a quite a while and the other frustrating thing was that it rained A LOT. So we don’t have too many photos of the city itself, but it did look like it had the potential to shine on a sunny day. It was January, so I suppose rain is better than snow and below freezing temperatures (although Mike would disagree), but the humidity, constant rain and lack of sunshine started to get to me. Despite that, we had that new city, new continent, and new food excitement to hang onto, so it wasn’t too bad.
A lot of people, our host included, asked us why we started our trip in Winter. Well, logistically, that was the best time for us. We had saved up a decent amount of money at that point, and my main contract worked in three month increments, the last one I did ending in December. I decided not to renew it as I didn’t think it would be as easy for me to work remotely as it was for Mike. The other thing that I’ve been running away from ever since is the polar vortex. I really didn’t think I’d be able to handle another polar vortex in Toronto. The previous year broke my spirit and they were forecasting it to be the same or worse as the year before.
We went out to a few restaurants while we were there.
- Lager Huset . A very cosy bar and restaurant. The food was delicious and the beer was great. For how much it cost, we left hungry, but I’m pretty sure we ended up eating muesli with oat milk (that became an obsession of mine) when we got home.
- Restaurang Sjöbaren On our second day, we went out for dinner at a fancy restaurant. I had some fish broth type soup with garlic toast. It was creamy, filling, and delicious!
- On the third night, we went in search of a pizza place that our host recommended to us. Only, on the way there, we noticed another pizza place that looked interesting to us. Since it was our last night and we couldn’t decide which one we wanted to try more, we ordered one pizza at each and had them split it for us.
First pizza place: Ombra Ristorante Pizzeria
Second pizza place: Cyrano
The first restaurant charged us extra for doing this and charged us for water. Sigh. Go figure, we liked the pizza better at the second place (Cyrano) which was much more casual and didn’t charge us extra for – gasp – having to bring out a second plate.
Gothenburg was an amazing start to our trip. Sweden is such a cool country that’s pretty diverse and surprisingly very liveable. We got so lucky to have such an amazing AirBnb host that I’d recommend again in a heartbeat. The food was super fresh and the coffee was some of the best we had in Europe. Every time we went to a city, we would discuss its “livability” for us and we determined that we could definitely see ourselves going back and living there for a period of time (obviously NOT taking into account finances, jobs, etc). It’s a very clean city and almost everybody speaks perfect English. They also had a massive park that would have been perfect to run around.
So that was our Gothenburg stay in a nutshell! Next stop: Oslo, Norway.