Norway, days 22-24 (Sweden)

We got back from Göteborg around 10:00 last night, and we had a great weekend! The hotel we stayed in was really nice, although the rooms were tiny. They also lived up to their reputation of having a great breakfast. There were lots of different kinds of bread and cheeses, cereal, yogurt, fruit, meat, eggs, traditional Swedish things like cold meat, herring, pate, caviar, and Swedish pancakes! They also had an awesome cardamom braid (masquerading as cinnamon) that we took with us for a snack both days.

On Saturday we went first to the Universeum, a science center/aquarium/indoor rainforest. Half of it was glass enclosed like at the Chattanooga aquarium. Towards the beginning we met this bird:

20130602-231743.jpg It was swimming around within arm’s reach, and when Matt wasn’t looking it thought it would come over and nibble his shirt! He was surprised, to say the least. In the same area I took one of my favorite pictures of the weekend.

20130602-232056.jpg These frogs were covered with the tiny green plants floating in their pond. I love the expression on the frog’s face in the back.

In the rainforest section they had stations with fruit set up to attract their photogenic birds. I’d say it worked out:

20130602-232351.jpg There were supposed to be several kinds of monkeys, but these were the only ones that made an appearance:

20130602-233024.jpg After the Universeum we had sort a nightmare trying to catch the city tour bus. We had one of their brochures saying what time it stopped at each place, but the times listed were completely different from when the bus actually ran. After trying about three different stops and either missing the bus by five minutes or getting there half an hour too early, we decided to stick it out by one of the stops after we spotted a crepe stand nearby. They were the biggest crepes you’ve ever seen, probably the size of a pizza crust. We shared one filled with Nutella. And the was the. best. crepe. Ever. Better than the crepes we had in France (gasp!). We even went back to ask the crepe guy if he was going to be there the next day (he wasn’t). After we finished the Crepe of Awesomeness we were finally able to get on the tour bus.

It was a double decker bus with an open top, and we sat upstairs where it was breezy. We were going along, having a very nice tour, when all of a sudden: drip, drip, DOWNPOUR. Happily, we were sitting under the covered section of the top to stay in the shade, so we didn’t get wet. The bus driver ran up and closed the roof as quick as he could. We thought it would be the sort of 5-10 minute downpour like on May 17, but when the tour come to an end it was still pouring. This happened to be the one day we forgot to bring an umbrella, so we decided to just stay on the bus for another round until the rain stopped. But it didn’t! And then the bus tour ended for the day. So we ran across the sidewalk and joined the other people huddled under an awning.

When it did eventually slow down we headed back to the hotel to get our umbrella and then walked over to Liseberg, the amusement park. Our city pass got us free admission, but you still had to buy tickets for the rides. Matt didn’t want to ride anything because he is boring, but I got tickets for the three roller coasters. We ate dinner at the park, too (it had real restaurants).

On Sunday our first stop was the Maritime Museum. It consisted of several ships that you could tour, including a submarine. The most impressive was the destroyer Småland.

20130603-220319.jpg I’m not sure how many floors it had, but we went down to the very bottom. Some of the ships had mannequins in the exhibit rooms, which was very creepy. Especially the captain of the Frykka, who was in his cabin taking his pants off and seemed to have worn way too much eyeshadow that day.

After leaving the Maritime Museum we went to a park that had advertised itself as having a free zoo. It turned out to be a children’s petting zoo. Oh well. The rest of the park was nice anyway.

20130603-222548.jpgRight beside the park was the Natural History Museum. Some of the stuffed animals there were preserved in the mid-1800’s! I don’t generally love looking at lots of dead animals, but the museum’s main attraction was worth going for. They have the world’s only stuffed blue whale.

20130603-222921.jpg It’s displayed beside its skeleton (with the skeleton of a sperm whale overhead). There was actually a seating area inside the whale that was used to serve drinks, etc., when it was on tour. They said it had been closed after a young couple had “been caught in an embarrassing situation” inside.

I had been trying to find a restaurant for dinner that a) served traditional Swedish food, b) wouldn’t break the bank, and c) had a vegetarian option. A very difficult combination! But we ended up picking the perfect place, Smaka. First they brought out some bread and crispbread with butter and flakey sea salt. We thought we had better use the opportunity to try the Swedish cheese tray too, but all of the cheeses were too strong for us. It did come with their homemade herb crispbread and a berry marmalade (lingonberry maybe?) that were both very good. For the main course, Matt got the classic meatballs and mashed potatoes.

20130603-224843.jpg I got the gnocchi with roasted tomatoes and spinach.

20130603-230708.jpgIt was the best gnocchi I’ve ever had! Here’s the whole spread, complete with pickles and lingonberries.

20130603-225020.jpgIt was definitely my favorite meal of the trip so far, and a great way to end our weekend in Sweden.