Today is a very cold and rainy day in Gothenburg, something the local tourist office tells us is quite common and in fact is all-pervasive in the winter. So, being the adventure lovers we are, we decided that being outdoors would be the perfect day to spend the day. First, rather than take a very convenient 15 minute tram ride from our hotel in Majorna to Centrum, we decided that walking in the drizzle would be kind of cool. It sure was cool, since we somehow messed up following the tram lines and ended up on a bike path that led to a highway and eventually to the canal from which we made our way to Centrum. The time taken – a mere 90 minutes. Once we got to Centrum, we wanted to visit the Art Museum and spend a few hours. We did not check to see that the Art Museum was closed on Mondays. So, off we trotted to the local tourist office and the staff member had two excellent suggestions – get a 72 hour all modes of transport visitor’s pass and then take the public transportation network to see the archipelago.
So once Siddhi and I got our passes for 140 Kroner each and walked to the ferry terminal to take a ferry from across the Gothenburg Opera House to Klippan. Ferrying appears to be a way of life in Sweden, as does tramming and busing. People rely on public transportation extensively. At Klippan, we crossed the street and found Tram number 9 to take us to Kungsten, and from there we took Tram number 11 to Saltholmen from where we would catch a ferry to the southern islands. Of all the rides, the ride to Saltholmen was the prettiest with some of the most beautiful homes that looked like they were straight out of a fairy tale….clapboard siding, the traditional tile roofs, and flowers neatly planted all around.
Through each mode of transportation, we realized that there were little to no tourists, just locals going about their day-to-day business. At Saltholmen, our ferry was packed with locals who lived on these islands. As the ferry approached the first island, we saw beautiful homes on the water. The southern archipelago is car free, so as people got off the ferries, they either walked or biked home. On the island of Köpstadsö –also apparently known as the “wheelbarrow island”, we saw residents wheelbarrow their way home! We also saw Kanso which is virtually inaccessible to tourists. While some islands looked fairly developed others looked like they had homes plonked in the middle of the ocean with little to no fanfare.
The entire round trip of island viewing was about two hours after which we followed the same path back to our hotel. The highlight of this cold, rainy day? Midway through the day the sole of my shoe separated from the top, leaving the biggest gaping space through which the cold air and water had a field day. Those shoes have been discarded and we are hoping for some sunshine to grace us tomorrow.