We hopped on a very large boat this weekend past, bound for Göteborg, Sweden’s second biggest city and the one that just happens to be directly connected to Kiel via Stena Line. In doing so we fulfilled a long-held wish of mine to visit Sweden and broke through a little barrier to set foot as far North as either of us ever have. Greenland, we’re coming for you next.
Ever since living in Kiel went from being a possibility to a fact, we’ve been talking about getting up to Scandinavia, more precisely, getting past Denmark which is where a lot of Kielers, and indeed myself, seem to get stuck. Driving to Denmark for many is just another trip to the beach, synonymous with a summer holiday or long weekend. It was time to go farther afield. It was time to hit Sweden.
Our boat, the Germanica was going to sail overnight and deliver us to Göteborg the following morning. We cruised out of Kiel just as the sun was getting ready for bed. In her cold, blue bedroom she settled into some pretty sensational, warm orange clouds. Up on the deck (or, really, roof of an enormous floating hotel) we waved goodbye to Kiel and the sun until it was just us, the boat and an almost-full moon. And a few birds.
The cold drove us inside, into the bustle of the belly of the boat. The restaurant was serving up dinner, presumably a buffet featuring an awful lot of small fish. The bar we sat at to watch Germany fade into the background was serving up the alternate option, an enormous dollop of shrimps on a slice of toast. I am just going to put it out there and you may well disagree, something you are more than entitled to do – generally as a rule of thumb, the further south you go in Europe, the better the food gets. Even diets benefit from sunshine. But, as a converse rule of thumb, I tend to find the further north you go, the better the cakes and biscuits get, peaking somewhere between Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Can’t have everything.
Eschewing the shrimp toast, we had a crack at wine tasting. On board was this wonderful little contraption which enabled you to sample numerous reds, whites and desserts as well as read about them on a touch screen. All that was required was a card you loaded with kroner and a wein durst, both of which we had. We also had a few fellow wine tasters, each of them hailing from Sweden and slightly sozzled. First point of note when it comes to separating the Germs from their northern neighbours? Swedes are much louder.
And then it was to our cabin we went and into our little sardine can beds. We needed our energy to join the boisterous Swedes on their home soil the following morning. The focus was momentarily taken off Scandinavia, however, when we realised there was nothing on TV except Wetten Das which, if nothing else, is a glorious reminder of how odd my beloved Germs really are.
Photos of & words on our day in Göteborg to follow. Got to keep you lot loitering around somehow.