Sunday, June 28, 2009

To Göteborg

Joe We're in Göteborg now (or Gothenburg, if you prefer), on Sweden's wild west coast. We'll be here for the next week, while Jennifer attends the FEMS conference. We took the train over this afternoon—one hour to Stockholm, then another three to get to Göteborg on the high-speed X200 train, which it must be said is quite comfortable, even if the high speed internet is only free for first class customers.

Anyway, by 5 we were in Göteborg train station at the end of a sweltering afternoon. Sweltering for Sweden anyway, as there was a high of 28°C today! I'll admit, I'm not fond of cities in the heat, and arriving in a new city on a hot afternoon tends to permanently color my perceptions of it. I'm sure that Piran is a cute little Mediterranean city, but I remember it primarily as hot, dry, and occasionally smelly. Likewise, first impressions of Göteborg: we spent over an hour in the train station trying to figure out the tram system to get us to our hotel, an hour full of sweaty, smelly, and possibly insane Göteborgare (disappointingly, the locals are not known as Götebo).

We're staying at the hotel attached to the conference venue, the Hotel Gothia Towers, a matched set of 18 and 23 floor glass and steel hexagons in the southern part of the city, which is incidentally Scandinavia's largest hotel. We are, naturally, on the 13th floor; on the other hand, we have a great view of the major tourist attraction across the street, Liseberg amusement park. It being high summer, it stays open quite late to take advantage of the light, but we are a bit further south now, so the sun went down (and the park closed) a little before 11. It's now midnight, and this is the darkest I've seen the sky be in months. I'm tempted to call it "night," in fact.

Anyway, dinner from a local pizzeria (the Obama special: mozarella, feta, provolone, and ricotta—so the message is, "he's cheesy"?), followed by a stroll around the block (huge conference center, soccer pitch, canal), and now a bit of blogging before bed. Oh, and a few minutes of CNN… gosh, thats a lot of talk about Michael Jackson…

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