We continued discovering the city of Gothenburg and what the night might offer
In our last article, we ended up eating “Choklad”. From there I made my way toward the Göteborg Museum of Art located in Götaplatsen. The plaza is impossible to miss, as it is located at the end of one of the main streets in Göteborg, Kung sports avenyn (The King’s Gate Avenue). There is a huge statue of Poseidon standing in the middle of a fountain holding what looks like a fish in one hand and a shell in the other. Inside the museum you will find high ceilinged galleries filled with famous Nordic artists. There is also an impressive collection of contemporary and outsider art. I was really impressed by their outsider art exhibit, as well as a photography exhibit that was on when I went to visit.
By this time, I was hungry, and in my desire to know what I was eating, I stopped into a chain restaurant that sold sandwiches, similar to Rodilla in Spain, to have something to eat. I didn´t want to eat a lot because I knew that I would be meeting my friend and her colleagues for an afterwork drink and the typical Swedish smorgasbord at 5:30pm. I headed to the marketplace called Saluhallen, which is apparently the place to shop for any kind of exotic products in Göteborg. What impressed me most, however, were the varieties of fish. This was akin to the number of pig products you might find in Spain, or fillets of beef you could find in the best meat markets in New York. There were also stalls where you could buy something to eat, as in the San Miguel Market here in Madrid, and stalls selling all kinds of foods- cheese, fruits, vegetables, etc. It was at once a familiar and foreign thing. I guess that is what the universal draw of the marketplace is. It is a setting you know, filled with new and different products to try.
Just behind the market was what I understood to be called the fish church. Outside there was a sculpture of some men buying and selling fish, and the “church”, which was located next to the river, stood as an oblong structure which I later learned was not a church at all, but rather an indoor fish market. Apparently the people started to call it “fish church” because the building looks sort of like a Gothic church. The place has been around since 1874 and reflects what is obviously, a hugely important trade in the city.
I walked around a bit before stopping by Domkyrkan Cathedral, which was rather normal, in my opinion, but is actually the seat of the Swedish dioceses in Göteborg, and dates back to the 17th century. It’s interesting to note the difference in this simple structure and the cathedrals that were elaborately constructed in Spain. I´m thinking specifically of the cathedrals in Sevilla, Granada, and Leon. Regardless, there is something to be said for simplicity, and for history´s sake, the Cathedral is worth a visit. But it was time to head to the university to meet up with my friend and her colleagues (all doctoral students in chemistry) to find out what a smorgasbord was all about.
I took the tram to the university and realized that it was very similar to an American university campus with buildings for the various departments, a type of student union, large pathways with people walking, places to park your bicycle, etc. In short, ithad nothing to do with the University of Sevilla´s main building housed in the old tobacco factory, or the largely spread out campus of the Complutense in Madrid. This was much more functional in that things were all in the same area, more or less.
From here we went in a big group to what looked like a pub. When we went inside, however, the first thing that we did was find a table. The waitress took our drink orders, and then gave us plates. It was as if we were at a Chinese buffet, but all the foods were Swedish. We took our plates and stood in line to heap our plates with all different kinds of foods. There was pasta, fish, vegetables, salad, and later dessert. It was an impressive amount of food considering that this came at a very low price with the purchase of a drink. I could see why this tradition got popular. What was difficult for me to get used to was the early dinner hour. In Spain people tend to eat dinner late, especially on the weekend (around 10pm), and here we were at 6pm eating a huge plate of food with a glass of white wine. Needless to say, after such a full day, we turned in early, and I spent the rest of the evening catching up with my friend in her apartment, as well as planning what we might do the following day.