Thursday, 11 October 2012

Gothenburg/Göteborg and Stockholm, Sweden, 3.-6.7.2012

Why not update about Sweden, too, while I'm at it, right? So, on July 3rd, I moved on from Copenhagen to Gothenburg - to see Madonna, of course. Gothenburg is an important city for me somehow as I spent the summer of 2008 living there, working as a maid at a hotel called Gothia Towers. I'll be honest and say it was the worst summer of my life for personal reasons and I kept counting the days till I'd be back home, but it was still interesting to go back there now. I was surprised to notice that I actually really liked Gothenburg this time around - clearly, the only reason why I didn't like it that much four years ago was what was going on in my life back then. Anyway, I stayed at Göteborgs Vandrarhem, which had a good location almost opposite the southern entrance to Liseberg the amusement park. Upon my arrival in Gothenburg, I bought a three-day tram card at Pressbyrån, which was really practical. Four years ago, I did a lot of tram-travelling without paying at all (bad me) but now there were inspectors boarding the trams all the time so I was happy to have a ticket with me.

On the train from Copenhagen to Gothenburg.
Anyway, if you want to go to Gothenburg in the summer, be sure to book your accommodation as early as you can! It was incredibly difficult for me to find anything as because of Madonna and a handball tournament, all the rooms were gone when I finally started trying to find a place to stay. I was so happy when, in the end, I got myself a bed in an 8-bed dorm! Phew, no sleeping in the streets! Truth be told, I have friends in and around Gothenburg so maybe one of them could've saved me if things had come to that, but it's always fun to express things in a more dramatic way, isn't it :D?

I was SO tired after the Madonna show that I mainly just wanted to relax and take it easy - after all, I'd be doing it all over again the following day! I wanted to go downtown, though, to see if I'd remember my way around the town (I did! It felt crazy!) and to get something to eat for the long day in the queue outside Ullevi. So, I took the tram back to the railway station and spent some time online there (or, actually, I got off at Ullevi as I wanted to have a look around there before the concert), then walked along Avenyn (the main street), went to Brunnsparken and Nordstan, bought some snacks at Hemköp, and had a meal at Burger King before going back to my room for a good night's sleep. I was so tired when I got back, you have no idea!

Ullevi.

The railway station.

Madonnaaaa!


This tram used to take me home when I was living in Gothenburg.

Avenyn.

Poseidon at Götaplatsen.

Madonnaaaaaa!






July 4th ended up being the best day of my life. Again, you can read more about it here, but I also want to say something about it now. I was number 18 in the queue and met amazing people there, from Sweden, Spain and Finland. We got ourselves into the Golden Triangle, we got front row spots against the fence, and we got to see the soundcheck. Why was it the best day of my life? Because I touched Madonna's hand during Like A Prayer! I still can't believe it even though at the same time I can because my memory of it is very vivid. Aaaah, amazing! A couple of pictures, too, because it was such a perfect day...

Miguel, Ellen, Helena, Maria and Johanna!

Ellen, Charlotte and me!

Gabriel, Carola and me!

YES!

The soundcheck!

THE SHOW!
I'm craving to write more about the show but I won't - you can go to my Madonna blog for that.

On July 5th, I met up with my friend Sarah. We hadn't seen each other for a couple of years, either, so it was about time we got together again! I got up at 7 am and just couldn't sleep anymore (too high from the show!), so I got up, took a shower and went outside to sit on a park bench and watch the videos I'd filmed the night before. Then I went to the railway station again to spend some time online and spam Facebook about having touched Madonna :D! I almost went completely crazy from excitement, I have to say. I had to breathe a bit to make myself normal for when Sarah would be arriving, heh.

It was so great to see Sarah again! We went to Brunnsparken to sit by the water and chat, IN SWEDISH. Sure, I'm also a Swedish teacher, but that doesn't mean that I get to practise my oral Swedish that much (and Swedish was just my minor), and talking to someone from Sweden in Swedish can be stressful! Sarah is always very patient with me, though, and somehow I always manage to communicate with her in Swedish - not perfectly, by any means, but I manage to communicate anyway. I keep wanting to switch into English the whole time but I never do :D. Anyway, we had A LOT to talk about and it was so much fun! I wish I could see my friends who live in other countries more!

Sarah and I!
Then we decided to go to a cheap and fantastic sushi place before taking a Paddan boat sightseeing tour. I loved the place! 11 stora bitar (11 big sushi pieces...) was a bit much, but we did it! The miso soup was good, too!

Sarah with a lot of sushi!

 Next up, Paddan! I'd done this a few times before as well but it's always as much fun.







With our ticket, we also got to do another sightseeing round on the hop on hop off bus. Obviously, we couldn't resist it!

Where we went.
On the left, Gothia Towers, where I used to work. On the right, Liseberg.

Next up was a fika (a lovely moment in a lovely coffee shop) in Haga, a really beautiful part of Gothenburg. We did some more talking, got a bit deep as well...so nice! I had a really, really good time!

My lyxkladdkaka and orange juice.
An Australian band called The Wishing Well...they were pretty good!
In the evening, we said our goodbyes and Sarah went back to Uddevalla. It was truly lovely to get together and I hope we can do it again soon!

On July 6th I left for Stockholm for my ferry back to Finland. The train was absolutely packed with people and a Swedish couple sitting next to me on the other side of the aisle started talking to me about the Madonna show, in Swedish. They'd loved it, too, yay! Oh, and I really recommend travelling by train in Sweden - if you book your tickets beforehand, you can save a lot of money! (Hands up those of you who consider me the worst cheapskate in the world....you're absolutely right :D!)

On the train.
When I got to Stockholm, I was completely knackered! I arrived at around 2 pm, I think, and my ferry wouldn't leave until 8 pm. I was beginning to get the first signs of post-Madonna depression and didn't really feel like doing anything. I sat near Riksdagen and wrote pages and pages in my diary, I was tired, annoyed and didn't want to be dragging my backpack around. There were too many people in Stockholm. It was too hot. Etc. I love Stockholm, but the moment when a trip is coming to an end is never a good moment. You don't want the trip to end but, at the same time, you don't want to sit around, waiting to get home, either - you'd rather be there already. I hadn't even booked a cabin on the ferry (yes, the cheapskate in me was saving money for Madonna tickets) so the trip back would be far from luxurious. But yes, once I was done with my diary, I walked towards the ferry terminal, had a meal at McDonald's and then went to the terminal to wait for my trip back home.

I did take some pictures, though...

Sergels torg.

Near Riksdagen.



Gröna Lund.

What I bought with my remaining Swedish money...

My trip back to Finland on the ferry...I always say "never again" regarding travelling without a cabin and then I ALWAYS do it again anyway! Sleeping on the floor is HORRIBLE and it's COLD and just not very nice. But, I survived!

A week after this trip, I was off to Brussels and Paris, so an update on that will follow...

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