With the Watson, there is just so much time. I think that is a blessing that can manifest as a curse. Especially now, I have even more time, as many companies and stores are shut down for part of the summer – it is definitely vacation time in Sweden. That said, I can use this time to adjust myself, to get to know Sweden. I initially thought the Watson was so anti-tourism, but it’s not entirely so. The fact that I’m spending months in each country, thinking about sim cards and meeting locals and what time the library opens, already means that I’m doing something different than the average tourist.
But it’s also okay to do the touristy thing, as previous Watson Fellows gently reminded me after I reached out during my initial freak-out. Part of getting your bearings in each country is sight-seeing and learning about important areas and buildings. One walk – even a 10-mile one – isn’t going to cover all that.
I decided to spend the weekend being a bit of a tourist while trying to figure out what Swedish people do during the weekend. I found that many museums in Sweden are free if you’re under 25 years old. After walking up super late and having coffee at the super-hipster Café Biscotti, I decided to check some of them out. What do Swedes do on the weekends, anyway? First I went to Sjöfartsmuseet, the maritime museum with an aquarium.
I highly recommend Sjöfartsmuseet – it was a blast. Next I went to the famous church Masthuggskyrkan, where I ran into a Swattie! I had heard that despite Swarthmore’s small size, graduates have a tendency to run into each other all over the world. I didn’t think it would happen so soon, and at a Swedish church no less!
My next stop was the city’s main museum, the Stadsmuseum. It was in the center of the city, with a very regal exterior, giving me the impression that it would be like the Met in NYC. Well, it wasn’t. Except for a dark, creepy Viking room, there wasn’t a whole lot of interesting things in this museum.
Luckily my trip to the Stadsmuseum got me to “inner city,” the center-city neighborhood of Göteborg, which I realized I had somehow missed before. It’s surrounded by the “moat,” a small body of water that separates the center city from the rest of Göteborg. It’s a mostly pedestrian area with fun shops and lively cafés and restaurants. I felt like I had finally found the Swedish people! The rest of the city had felt so quiet that morning. (Keep in mind that the population of the whole city is half a million, and probably fewer than that in the summer months).
Lastly, I accidentally bought a rice pudding thinking it was yogurt, so I need to learn some more of the language!