Postcard from Gothenburg, Sweden (City walking in winter)

My love of Sweden is unabated – it has no bounds. I love the great outdoor lifestyle, the scenic countryside with the iconic red houses, the swimming lakes, the food, the interior design, the people and especially Christmas time. So, armed with sturdy pairs of boots to navigate the snow, we were off for a few days stay prior to Christmas. The City of Gothenburg is perfect for walking and exploring and given Gothenburg is a foodie haven, it is good to know that, when walking in the cold weather, you expend more calories!

First walk to Haga, the City’s oldest quarter. A charming neighbourhood with criss-crossing cobbled streets lined with picturesque wooden houses, cafes, art galleries and independent shops all beautifully decorated – natural, simple yet sophisticated – the Swedish way. Given the time of year there were festive street markets and the omnipresent smell of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamon wafting through the cold still air – glogg, of course. The traditional seasonal mulled wine with a dash of blanched silvered almonds and raisins added to the mug, served with the sumptuous wafer thin ginger biscuits, is both warm and welcoming!

We walked around the Harbourside to Feskekorka, known as the fish church, which houses the historical seafood market and restaurants. Built in 1874 by Victor von Gegerfelt, it is said that his design was inspired by wooden Norwegian stave churches and Gothic stone churches. The building was snow covered and reflected on the waterways, doubling its beauty.

My favourite walk was to Slottsskogen – a wonderful park with natural forests. It is a very popular place in the summer. On the day we chose to visit it was deserted and magical. We headed up through the snowy woods and I particularly enjoyed seeing the reindeer and elk. I was excited just like a giddy child – there is something very special in seeing these beautiful creatures with their majestic antlers and noble and gentle appearances.

No visit to Gothenburg at this time of the year is complete without visiting Liseburg Amusement Park which is transformed into a winter wonderland for the Christmas festive period. The walk through the City to the park was very atmospheric with gentle snow falling and shafts of white lights strung along the streets puncturing the mist. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive beforehand given the words ‘amusement park’ but my fears were allayed. My abiding memory is of millions of twinkling white lights, lots of Christmas trees, skating rink and people of all ages strolling around. It was very Christmassy and just beautiful!

I hope after reading this, you are inspired to take a winter walk. Walking has multitude health benefits. In winter we tend to hibernate but we need to take advantage of fresh air and natural light and a chance on sunny winter days to increase our production of Vitamin D, an important part of keeping bones strong. Being outdoors boosts our mood and exercise can counter mild depression. Walking during lower temperatures gives the heart a more intense workout. And as we have already learnt more calories are expended – a welcome relief for this festive season! So wrap up warm and let’s get walking! There is always Fika along the way………