Having arrived in town, our first task is to get rid of our bag at our Hotel - the Hotel Viking. This is a somewhat unusual hotel in that it actually is an old sailing boat built in 1906. Technically it is a Four Masted Barque and although 438 were built, it is one of only eleven still in existence.
When it was a working ship, amongst the cargoes it carried were: Wheat from Australia; Guano from South America; and Soya from Vladivostok. It carried its last cargo in 1948 and then became a School Ship and in 1995 it was converted into a hotel and conference centre.
For the technically minded, it is 108m long, 13.9m wide, could carry 4100 tons of cargo and had a sail area of 3690 square metres which for the less technically minded is about half the size of the Manchester United Football Pitch or to put it another way - large!
We chose this hotel because it looked different. It has 27 cabins and ours was surprisingly large and quite comfortable other than the fact that the floor sloped significantly, presumably something to do with the design of the boat.
Now it is permanently moored in the harbour (above is a view of the harbour through a porthole) and will never again unfurl its sails. Also it cannot sail down river with its masts up because a bridge has been built across the river and there is insufficient clearance.
The Canals of Goteborg
After lunch, a walk across town takes us past a variety of buildings - many nice and some less so.
This is the Opera House and is said to have been designed to look like a ship since it is adjacent to the water front although
I think that idea is less convincingly shown from the River. The Architect (Jan Izikowitz) described his design as "Something that makes your mind float over the squiggling landscape like the wings of a seagull” - I am not so sure about that.
This building known as Skanskaskrapan, is nicknamed “The Lipstick” and is the tallest building in the city (with a viewing platform at the top).
The town centre is similar to most solid looking Nordic towns
This in the Hvitfeldtsplatsen area and is much more interesting than some of the bland modern buildings nearby.
The nicest architecture in Gothenburg was in the oldest part of the town, in fact the first suburb - an area known as Haga.
Fire regulations required all wooden houses (i.e. those lived in by the poor) to be built outside of the city walls.
Others in the area are not wood but their design is very pleasing. This one, Cafe Husaren, is a famous bakery - famous for selling the
largest Cinnamon Bins in Sweden.
Paddan Boat Tour
The fact that it was not raining led us to take The Paddan which is a boat tour around the city, the harbour and the river. Late September seems not to be the most popular of times for the tour in that the boat leaves
with 10 tourists plus two crew - a boat which can seat at least 90.
The route follows canals dug to drain the land upon which the city is built and then goes out into the river. The boat is deliberately low in the water because it has to pass under a number of low
and one very low bridge known as The Cheese-grater (although The Scalper might have been more appropriate).
You could easily hit the underneath of the bridge as you pass through, therefore you duck!
From water level one get a different view of some of the town's buildings.
This was the County’s Governor’s House and is on the part of the canal leading to an internal harbour area.
This is the German Church built in 1748. Many of these buildings are on the line of the original city wall and the canal was both a moat and also a method of draining the land in order to build a city.
Only one small section of the original City Wall remains.
When the Paddan trip passes out into the river, we were able to understand the historical importance of the river to the town. However, the ship repair business has closed down as has much of the docks and the cranes lie idle, most soon to be demolished
although this one will remain as a memory of the past.
One unusual “boat?” in the river was a large floating dock which, having been sold, was undergoing renovation before being moved elsewhere in the world.
This was a good way of spending 50 minutes seeing the most important parts of the centre of Goteborg.