Sunday, July 08, 2007

Breakfast, Bikes and Rain

Roxi and I made our way out of the hotel last night shortly after my last post and walked around in the unseasonably cold city of Gothenburg. I checked the weather before our travels began and saw that the forecast called for highs in the 60s and lows in the 50s with light showers for most of our trip. At the last minute in our packing, we included our winter coats. It was a good thing that we did because both last night and during our afternoon today we found that it was much colder than forecasted with the addition of a very strong wind. According to locals, July is usually very beautiful, but lately there have been overcast skies with a fair amount of rain. That didn't stop us from enjoying the city, it only made us bundle up a bit.

On our evening out last night we ate at a very nice restaurant, and although we had good food, I didn't feel that we got a true taste of Swedish cuisine. That all changed at breakfast this morning. Our hotel has a complementary buffet that far exceeded all my expectations. In my prior travels to Europe, I have found most breakfasts to be very small with limited selections. This is not the case at least as far as things go at the Scandic Opalen hotel. The buffet included a large selection of what I have been expecting from Swedish food: several types of salted and/or pickled fish, sausage, caviar (in a tube!) and of course meatballs. Roxi and I ventured down to the restaurant very early this morning and took full advantage of the buffet. We liked it so much, we went back right before it closed just to snack a little more before our day began.

Yesterday we noticed that there is as much bike traffic in the city as there is car traffic. Roxi did some reading in the hotel book this morning and found that they have two bikes that they can loan to guests. After our two-part breakfast we took our annotated city map and borrowed Scandic bikes out on a tour of the city. We started by heading towards the opera house on the Gota Alv River. On our way, Roxi spotted a church that she wanted to see. We were just in time to attend a German mass. Of course neither of us speak any German, but I've been to enough masses in English to recognize many of the prayers and even some of the words.

After leaving the mass we continued on to the opera house and walked around the riverfront. The wind coming off the water made it much colder. With all the sailboats in the marina, I couldn't help but wonder how much of the year their owners could use them for a warm sunny cruise. There is a very unique maritime museum by the opera house that I would like to tour on a less windy day. It features several ships moored together and connected by multiple gangways allowing visitors to walk from ship to ship without having to return to the dock.

We rounded out our afternoon by making our way to the university so that Roxi could pick up her registration packet for her conference. It was on our way that the drizzle started. It wasn't too bad at first, but it soon became a steady cold rain. Thankfully we both had our hooded rain jackets, but that didn't keep our jeans from getting a little wet during the bike ride. We finally made it to the university and spent a little time figuring out where all of Roxi's conference proceedings will be taking place this week. With the rain still falling, we returned to the hotel to get ourselves dry and refreshed before an opening reception this evening.

A few hours later we returned to the university for a welcome reception sponsored by a large academic publisher so we got to enjoy a variety of Swedish hors d'oeuvres. After the reception we did a little more walking around the university and visited the Poseidon statue, the symbol of Gothenburg.

We returned to our hotel to see a large crowd of "VIPs" waiting to see a special pre-screening of the new Harry Potter movie at the theater across the street from our hotel. Roxi tried to talk our way in but we were denied. Alas we will have to wait to see the movie like the rest of the commoners.


Bubba's Sis said...

Fish and meatballs for breakfast? Dude, that's yukky. Couldn't you get a nice Danish?

Bubba said...

Breakfast in Europe sucks, unless you're in the UK.

Is that a Scotch you're having with breakfast?

Wes Raine said...

I'm not sure what kind of breakfast you had in the UK, but I wasn't too impressed with my hotel when I was there. What did you have? Fish and Chips? The only breakfast that I ever had in Europe that come close to this one was in Munich and it was a far cry from the spread that they have here at the Scandic Opalen.

And they do have Danish, eggs, bacon etc. which I certainly include on my plate, but I just had to try out the local Swedish flair. And to be quite honest, the meat balls are a welcome addition. They really aren't that different from the bacon and sausage that are also on the buffet. The fish is a different story, but I guess the memories of my dad eating kippers with breakfast when I was a kid desensitized me from any weirdness.

Roxanne said...

I miss my meatballs for breakfast!!!