Tuesday, June 30, 2009

frutti di mare

Joe We didn't actually know much about the area we would be staying in before our arrival in Göteborg, beyond the fact that Liseberg was located just across the street. Fortunately, sometime on Tuesday Jennifer noticed that our location at Korsvägen put us just a few short blocks away from one of the city's more famous spots: Götaplatsen, a square surrounded by the art museum, symphony hall and city theater, with the broad Kungsportsavenyn running down hill from it towards the old town.

What Götaplatsen is most famous for, however, is the large statue of Poseidon at it's center. It's a Carl Milles statue (the same fellow responsible for the fountain on Rackham Mall at U of M) in which Poseidon crushes a large fish while the rest of the ocean's denizens cavort about him. When the statue, which is a nude, was revealed in 1931, the good citizens of Göteborg were a little put off by his, erm, somewhat oversized attributes. So much so, in fact, that they eventually had his… attribute replaced with a rather more modest one.

Coincidentally, Götaplatsen was featured in Sunday's Göteborg-Posten, as number five on the list of Göteborg's best buildings, in which a local architect wrote, "Götaplatsen är det Göteborg Göteborg drömmer om att vara." After we had sat there for half an hour or so, we were led to the conclusion that, if that's so, Göteborg has fairly modest dreams. The art museum is certainly on a grand scale, but not what you might call appealing, and the city theater seems oddly out of balance. The concert hall, tucked away in one corner, is a little better, with some great lion statues high up on the facade facing the square.

By this time, what I was dreaming of was food, so we wandered off down Kungsportsavenyn in search of a good meal. The street is lined with restaurants on both sides for blocks, so it seemed like a good bet, but we had, naturally, picked the most expensive street in the city. We eventually wandered a couple blocks to the south, where the streets were also full of eateries, but where the prices were significantly lower. We finally settled on a promising looking Indian place which was not terribly busy, and tucked into a nice meal of curried fish and crab (having ordered the crab, the house specialty, why was I not expecting to be presented with a whole crab?), along with a pepper chutney that was easily the hottest food we've encountered since arriving in Sweden. By the time we were done it was quite late, and the temperature had finally begun to drop, which was a relief after the combination of hot sun and hot food. We wandered back over to the avenue and sat for a while, people watching mostly, before catching the tram back to the hotel.

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