Central Gothenburg, Sweden
I started writing up this walk two days after leaving Gothenburg, in a holiday croft house in Harris, in the Western Isles of Scotland. As the snow storms blow down from the north it's amazing to think that 72 hours ago I was enjoying the sights and warm sunshine in the lively centre of this cosmopolitan Swedish city (see today's story from Harris for a contrast).
Gothenburg (or Göteborg as it is known in Swedish) is a prosperous port, commercial and industrial centre on the western coast of southern Sweden. I'd travelled there by train from the capital Stockholm on the opposite side of the country after a visit to the smaller city of Gävle, described in a separate walking story. The long journey took nearly 5 hours on the inter-city express, rather longer than the new super-fast X2000 train which runs alternate hours, but at a rather lower price!
Much of the interior of the country seems to be made up of endless forests, but the approach to Gothenburg runs past large industrial plants.
It was raining when I arrived in late afternoon, so when I had an hour-and-a-half free the next afternoon I was lucky to find the sun shining outside the Scandic Europa hotel where I was staying. It was warm too, without much breeze, in contrast to the weather during the previous couple of weeks when there had been some late snowfall. When I left for Scotland the next afternoon the rain was back with a vengeance.
I went out for an easy run, with my camera, which is a great way to see around cities when there's not much time to spare. What took about 22 minutes to run (plus time for photos) would amount to just under 3 miles, making it an easy walk of between an hour and 90 minutes.
The hotel provided free maps of the city supported by advertising, and the route I took occupied just a small part of the area covered. I could see a curved line of parkland south of the where the hotel and station were situated, and wanted to go in that direction.
(If you need toilets along the way, the map shows these situated in Drottningtørget at the start, at the south-western gate to Trädgårdsforeningen park, and on the south side of the Sprangkullsgatan bridge at the end of the parkland beside the canal).
First I ran past the station across Drottningtørget, stopping to get a couple of photos of the Hamn canal. Crossing by a bridge, I found myself at the entrance gateway to the Trädgårdsforeningen park. It was marked by an arched sign overhead.
It was a pleasant run through the park but there were sections of path closed off for reconstruction work (a reminder of many walks in 2007 as reported in this news item).
Away to the left was a large glazed planthouse; on the right was the bank of another winding canal. I stopped for some photos of the buildings on the other side of the canal, then continued through to the gate at the far side.
The parkland continued beside the canal after crossing the road, beyond the main theatre building with a long queue of people outside. There were more sections of path which had been dug up, so I had to take an indirect route, and crossed to the south side of the park to get a closer look at the fine buildings on the other side of the road. Then back to the canal bank for a couple of photos of the crocuses, and across Sprängkullsgatan. This was one of several roads I crossed which would provide a shortcut back into the centre of town for anyone in a hurry.
On the other side of the canal was what looked like a modern church building. Rising up behind it was the edifice of an older apartment block with a castellated top. I carried on along the pavement on the south bank, onto a quiet street past a few boats with a view along the canal towards the massive bulk of a ship in the harbour. Just to the right was the functional structure of Göteborgs Energi - the city power station. I continued in that direction, past some stylish (19th century?) apartment blocks, to the waterfront.
Suddenly the views opened out across the water to a variety of big ships, one propped up in a dry dock. From there I turned right and ran along the harbourside, taking a brief detour onto a pier with a piece of public art shaped like the skeleton of a boat. Back along the waterfront, I realised I was approaching the bridge across the entrance to the city centre canal which I'd seen early near the station (Stora Hamn Kanalen). This would give me a direct route back towards the station. If I'd carried on another few hundred metres I'd have reached another small harbour area where the city's maritime museum was located.
I crossed to the north bank of the canal (Norra Hamngatan) and ran in towards the city centre, stopping for photos of the town museum and the view across the bridge. Then on past a church, and I crossed over the next bridge. I wanted to have a look along a couple of the narrow old streets and turned on to Drottningatan; it turned out to be an up-market shopping area. However, if I'd stuck to the north bank I'd have reached the Gustav Adolfs Torg, an impressive square which I walked through later in the evening on the way back from a restaurant, with the Town Hall (Rädhus) on thet north side.
At the next junction I turned left onto Östrahamngatan - with a view of a masted ship in the distance - then back along the canal bank to Drottningtorget and the hotel.
It was an ideal circuit to sample the city's parks, harbour area, canalside streets and fine buildings, and easy to follow (with a map).
Contributed by Andrew Llanwarne, April 2008