Living out of the city means I need to catch a bus and then a train into Gothenburg (Göteborg), which I actually quite enjoy. The bus is so cosy and warm, and quite fancy. The trains are even nicer, with tables at almost every seat and bathrooms on board (think V-Line – Victoria, Australia’s country train network).
Todays trip had me feeling like a genius, I managed to understand the announcement at Stenungsund that my train to Göteborg had a platform change (it doesn’t sound like much, but I was so impressed with myself that I messaged both my boyfriend and my never ending Whatsapp group chat with two of my close friends).
I was headed in to Göteborg specifically to finally have my biometrics taken at Migrationsverket after having been in Sweden for a month (I was sick my first week, and the wait time is around 3 weeks). This in turn means I receive my permit card (for some reason having this card really excites me!). As the trip in to the city via public transport is about 1.5 hours, I decided to head in a little earlier and see some sights. Unfortunately my injured knee meant I didn’t plan on venturing too far, but I didn’t want my trip in to be wasted.
Leaving Göteborg Centralstationen, the Garden Society of Gothenburg (Trädgårdsföreningen), one of the best preserved nineteenth century parks in Europe, are a natural path further into the city. For a confused tourist like myself, they are pretty much right in front of you as you exit the station as well being located right behind the Alfons Åberg museum (which already had me headed in that direction with as much excitement as a small child – how can you not love Alfons?!), so they became the natural direction forward. Located inside is the stunning Palm House (Palmhuset), modelled on the Crystal Palace in London.
Approaching Palmhuset instantly transports you back to the golden age of horticulture, giving you a glimpse of the previous century’s horticultural style. Perfectly manicured lawns lay before the building, reminding me of gardens in Paris and in turn instantly give me a feeling of guilt and stress in the instance that my feet may touch a blade of grass so I ensure to keep to the paths. The impressive glass and cast iron Palmhuset was built in 1878, and is comprised of five glass houses; The Palm House, The Tropical House, The Mediterranean House, and The Camellia House, measuring almost 1000 square metres. Turning the golden handle and opening the old wooden door, you are instantly hit with a warm tropical heat – a welcome change from the brisk cold of the Gothenburg streets (perhaps this is why it is listed as a popular tourist destination in the city). While the vast collection of plants gives you an overview of exotic plants from all over the world, I am more moved by the sense of nostalgia that hits me when I recognise plants from my mothers garden, as well as my grandmothers and great-grandmothers gardens. Growing up, my mum and I lived in small flats but we always had an array of succulents adorning our balconies and small yards. While I take after the women in my family in many ways, for example my great-grandmothers interest and passion for the environment and all things nature (I think it was inevitable with her continual replaying of Killer Whales: Wolves of the Sea and other David Attenborough VHS’s), I unfortunately did not inherit their natural green thumbs. My longest relationship with a plant was with an IKEA peace lily which subsequently drooped to its death after a 9 month stint abroad after having been a perfect foster child for my mother (I still believe it died of spite upon my return home).
Trädgårdsföreningen and Palmhuset are open every day of the year from 10:00 – 16:00 (a great choice if you are visiting the city on a Monday when other museum attractions are closed, or if you need a slow paced activity). Both of these applied to me on this visit. I thoroughly enjoyed slowly wandering the rooms immersed in nature, and watching the old ladies chatting in a corner, the hippy uni students relaxing inside a grove of palms, and the small children escaping from their father and climbing up the cast iron staircase like little monkeys much to the stress and annoyance of their pappa.
Gothenburg – Göteborg
Sweden – Sverige
Bus – buss
Train – tåg
Garden – trädgård
House – hus
Water – vatten
Flower – blomma