I’ve been away, okay?

Hi everyone,

I’m very sorry it’s taken me so long to write an update. But I have a valid excuse, which I will tell you all about below.

Saturday I went to the sittning, which was organised by Kalmar Nation. However, it wasn’t one of the best ones that I had been to. It was a sångbokgenomsjungning which kind of translates to a sittning where they would try and sing all the songs in their songbook (similar to a codex for Belgian students). There were only about 20 people, which were kind of like the core members of Kalmar, so me and Henry, the friend that I had dragged along, felt kind of out of place. Nonetheless, we were there to have a good time so we put our best foot forward and sang along to every single song. I left early, because I wasn’t feeling it anymore after about 60 songs (and the same number of shouting skål). I would’ve stayed if there was any possibility to socialise during the meal, but there wasn’t because of all the singing.

I have no recollection of what I did last Sunday, so it must have been a lazy Sunday. I think I had a date with the washing machine. It went well, there will be more dates in the future. Ok, enough with the silliness, let’s move on to Monday. I had a regular day with class in the morning and a lunch date with Naomé. I did some more reading the rest of the day. On Tuesday I took part in the usual Swedish Lounge. I promised myself I wouldn’t go to the pub afterwards, but I somehow found myself going home two hours later. See, I don’t need much convincing. And YOLO and all that. I ended up having a great time and lots of my friends where there too. On top of that I finally found another Belgian!

Wednesday I spent the morning cleaning my room and packing my backpack before leaving to Göteborg the next morning. I took a break by having lunch with Lindsey and then headed of to class. For those of you that don’t know, Göteborg is the second biggest city in Sweden, next to Stockholm. Malmö is third biggest. Which is so surprising, because I don’t find it to be very big at all. Maybe in Belgium we are just used to having very crowded, busy cities, because we are so densely populated. I don’t know.

Again, I digress. Thursday morning I got up bright and early to make my 9AM train to Göteborg. I walked down to the train station, so I could leave my bike safely locked at Sparta. And also because cycling with my enormous backpack is next to impossible. I got to the city around noon and was able to locate my hotel (yes, hotel, I decided to treat myself on this trip for once) in a jiffy, since it was only two streets away from the train station. I left my stuff in the luggage room and was ready to venture out into the city. I decided that Thursday would be my shopping afternoon, because I only had half a day and because I would have more than enough time to sightsee the following days. Do I really need to tell you that my shopping mission was a success? Really? I thought you would’ve known me by now. I went back to my room to rest my tired shopper’s feet (this should be a real thing!) before going out to dinner. A solo dinner date at Vapiano, the place to be for delicious and fresh pasta. Quite enjoyable.

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On Friday morning, after having enjoyed an extensive and marvellous breakfast buffet, I was ready to get out my inner tourist. My first stop was a walk along Avenyn (the Avenue), alongside which I also paid a visit to the city library. I seem to make a habit out of doing this; visiting the local library. There is something comforting and homy about seeing a library, knowing that all over the world people can go there and read, possibly even the same words. I find that pretty cool. But that must be my inner nerd talking. My next stop was the konstmuseum (art museum), which, as I found out, doesn’t open until 11. A morning fika to kill time it was. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that all museums in Göteborg are free for people under 25. And the museum was pretty good. I saw art work ranging from Van Gogh to Cézanne, Miro to Warhol and Kandinsky to Rubens. A wide variety, including some Swedish art from for example Carl Larsson.

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The City Library
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The Art Museum
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Avenyn

I had a proper Swedish meal for lunch at the Saluhallen, where they sell all types of fresh foods. We have one here in Lund too, actually. I spent the afternoon strolling around the city, slowly making my way to the harbour area. I went past Gustav Adolfs torg (square), tried not to get run over by the tram (Göteborg is a city of trams!), and made it all the way to Göteborgs Opera, Lilla Bommen (a building that looks like a lipstick and has a viewing platform) and Barken Viking (an old ship located in the harbour permanently as a restaurant). My feet were killing me by that time from all the walking so I decided to go into this very cute and antique-looking café for some apfelstrudel. Heaven! I seemed to always find these really cute places that all the local Swedes go to, because I didn’t hear a single person speak anything but Swedish, which was awesome. A big contrast to the student city of Lund, where you can hear quite a lot of foreign languages. I made that night an early one, so I would be ready for the next day of sightseeing.

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Saturday morning my first stop was the city museum (stadsmuseet) which was small but interesting. It had an exhibition about the Romani people, one photography exhibition with pictures of Göteborg taken from the air, but it also had permanent collections with Swedish history bits. I recognised some things from my classes in Ghent. Bit of a proud moment there. Because my friend Stacey had coincidentally booked a trip to Göteborg the same weekend, although only on Saturday and Sunday, we decided to meet up in Haga, the older part of the city. Haga is known for its cosy fika places, cute shops and should be nice place to relax in winter. I’m afraid it was a bit too cold for cocktails on the sidewalk that day. On my way there I paid a quick visit to the feskekörka, which translates to the fish church. Quite a collection of sea food, and I’m sure it’s heaven for sea food lovers, but unfortunately I am not as big a fan. After, I had a look around Haga, found a cute Persian place to have lunch before visiting the Oscar Fredriks Kyrka (church). What a gorgeous church. I think it would definitely make it to the top 5 of churches that I’ve ever seen in my life. I was there all by myself, which made the place even more serene. I think I sat there for a solid fifteen minutes before making my way down again (the church was built on a hill). I met Stacey in Café Husaren, which is renowned for its hagabulle, also known as the biggest kanelbulle you will ever see in your life. You can only see things like this in Sweden, one of the many reasons to love this country. We split one between the two of use, but we were only able to finish half of it, so we got to take the rest of it home.

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Our last stop before heading to the famous amusement park of Liseberg, was Skansen Kronan, which is a hill that was meant to serve some military function but never did, but where you also get an amazing view of Göteborg. So we climbed the stairs and enjoyed the misty, mystical view over the city.

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The highlight of the day was our trip to Liseberg, which I had been looking forward to for quite a while, because I love the decorations and atmosphere at those amusement parks when they have the park decorated in one theme or holiday. And it had only recently reopened for Christmas! Although the Christmas market itself was disappointing, seeing Santa, his reindeer and all the magical lights made up for that. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Somehow, I can never properly enjoy the last day of a trip. It always feels like you are just killing time before you have to leave. But I tried to make the most of it. In the morning, I checked out of my room, enjoyed the last time breakfast would be prepared for me, and headed towards the Röhsska Museum, which is a museum for design, fashion and decorative arts. It was very small because most of the exhibitions were closed for renovation so all I could really see was a brief overview of design over the past century. Nonetheless, quite interesting and different. I later met up with Stacey to have lunch and do tick the last sightseeing stop off my list: the trädgårdsföreningen , which is a park. Not much to see now that, what feels like, winter has arrived, but at least the tropical plants and trees section provided us with a warm place for a while. After that I went back to my hotel and waited around for a bit before heading to the train station. I love this travelling by train thing here in Sweden. Trains are on time, they are not too cold, people are friendly, seats are comfortable, there is WiFi, power points,… All you could ever need! Before getting on the train I visited one of the only THREE (!) Starbucks cafés here in Sweden. I ordered a Gingerbread Latte, which basically tasted like Christmas in a cup. And I managed to get a free drink out of it too, because they forgot my order for about 5 minutes.

Phew, I feel like I just wrote a book. Today was just another day of class, settling back in and enjoying some peace and quiet. And writing this blog post for you guys of course. What else have I got to report? Well, it’s been very dark and windy here in Lund, so I guess winter is not too far off now. The weather (and lack of sunshine) is making me tired, but I’m doing everything I can to get some Vitamine D!

I hope you have enjoyed this very, very long post.

Until next time!

Silke

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