Oh man does it feel good finally being able to add a travel section to the blog! I've always been a bit of a homebody that would usually favour staying in than going on any form of adventure, but lately I seem to have developed a serious case of wanderlust. I want to see everything, do everything, experience everything and - of course - blog the hell about it when I get back home. So anyway, what better way to kick off this new travel series on my blog than with a trip to the one country I've been dying to go to for years. Sweden, I'm looking at you.
For those of you that follow me on Instagram you may already know that last week Ollie and I were sent away on an three day all-expenses paid trip to Gothenburg thanks to Zalando (I know right?). In those seventy two hours we set ourselves the challenge to do as much as possible whilst experiencing the Swedish culture and everything that the city of Gothenburg had to offer, all whilst running on about two hours sleep and not speaking a word of the language. Thankfully the Swedish speak incredible English (seriously, it's probably even better than mine, and I was born in this freakin' country!) so that was one less worry off our minds.
So we landed at Gothenburg airport at around 2pm where we were welcomed by potentially the nicest weather we've seen all summer. Turns out, Sweden was having a bit of a heatwave, so as soon as we hit central we decided to head straight to where we were staying to freshen up and get out of our 'English' clothes (aka full body suits of denim and multiple jackets). I don't know about you guys, but hotels make me far too excited - potentially because it allows you a bit of a break from doing the dishes and changing the bed. Either way, you can imagine the thrill I got when we checked into Hotel Bellora and we were met with fresh fruit, chocolates and a big fat bottle of Prosecco. Not to mention a shelf-full of Moschino toiletries. Can you see why I didn't want to leave?
Anyway, by the time we unpacked and Instagrammed a billion flatlays (even Ollie's gotten into doing them now) the old stomach started rumbling, so we decided to finally head out and explore the area. And eat. Eating was top of the list. After a six hour drive and a two hour flight all we really wanted was carbs, so we ended up stuffing our faces with burgers, hot wings and tortellini at Bryggeriet - which turns out was right outside our hotel this whole time. Derps. The food was so good (and affordable) that we ended up eating there two more times during our trip! If you ever head there, be sure to check out the hot wings - dat cheese sauce tho. Then we went out and went to the supermarket - sounds boring, but hey, foreign food (namely sweets) excites me way more than is potentially normal. I may or may not have fallen asleep at 9pm that night..don't judge me.
So on Friday we decided to be a little more adventurous than before. First stop? The library! No, I'm serious. Prior to leaving the UK Goteborg Tourism had organised two tickets and two press passes for us to go to Way Out West festival, but amidst all of the packing we managed to leave the print outs back at home. But hey, we got to experience a Swedish library first hand. I ain't complaining.
Anyway, we finally printed out our tickets and - armed with our Gotheburg City Cards (best things ever) - we decided to hop on my first ever tram and head straight to the festival. I've been to a few festivals in my time, but nothing could prepare me for how beautiful Way Out West was going to be. Everyone looked like a Scandinavian princess. I'm serious. How are you all so pretty? What is in your water?!
So after a semi-stressful morning of library hunting Ollie and I decided to head straight for the cider, because what else are you supposed to do at a festival? We guzzled a few, ate some thai food (and cinnamon churros, and ice cream..) and headed over to one of the larger stages where someone called Tove Lo was playing. I don't know who she was, but I'm still singing 'Like em young' even now. Ollie is urging that I learn a new song. I refuse.
I can't quite put my experience of WoW festival into words (or at least, a concise amount of words that are actually readable), but it was everything I would want a festival to be. Great music, friendly people, chilled vibes, good food and - wait for it - clean toilets. But the absolute highlight of WoW had to be seeing Tyler The Creator, who was probably the best live act i've ever seen. We barely managed to get any photos of the show simply because we spent too much time dancing, but Ollie - the wonder man that he is - scored the most perfect picture right before he left the stage. And yes, we did get wet.
Ah Saturday. Saturday had to be my most favourite day of all, because that was the day we fully got to explore the entirety of Gothenburg as a city (but not before we shovelled our all you can eat breakfast down our throats). Since we had stayed pretty central for the past few days we decided to take a boat tour through the canals to scope out the area and learn a little more about the city we had quickly fallen in love with. Fun facts: Apparently Swedish people eat (on average) 20kg of bananas a year, and they also built a completely round hospital because they thought diseases could lurk in corners. True or not, I like their way of thinking.
After that we headed straight for some brightly coloured tents that we spotted on our journey, which turned out to be just a tiny percentage of what was Gothenburg's yearly festival called Göteborg Culture Festival. We ate a lot of food - what else did you expect from us? One particular food to note that was Bubbies, which we spotted on our first day of the trip. They're basically tiny little ice cream balls covered in flavoured sticky rice. It's way better than it sounds, I promise.
Along our little exploration date we came across another area of the festival in what looked like one of Gothenburg's more popular gardens. I saw a greenhouse, liked how it looked and demanded we took some outfit snaps in there. Five minutes later (and four sweat patches later) I regretted everything. Turns out that greenhouses are doubly hot in the summer. But hey, at least they look pretty.
So then it started getting a little dark, and the weather started pouring. Our feet were hurting and we were ready to head back to the hotel to finally drink our Prosecco…and then we remembered that the Liseberg Theme Park (Scandinavia's largest theme park) was open until 11pm. It's pretty obvious what happened next..
Now I'd like to make this perfectly clear. I, am a wimp. I like log flumes, water rides and things that keep me on the ground, but of course Liseberg was home to some of the biggest roller coasters in the world, and Ollie is a complete adrenaline junkie. We walked into the park, grab ourselves some day passes and headed straight for a roller coaster..in the kids section. I won't lie, I screamed. Ollie even got a Snapchat of me practically crying whilst riding around on a ride suitable for six year olds. Like I said, I really am a wimp. We then decided to pick up a few (very sexy) waterproof ponchos and settle me down with a few water rides. Somehow I then ended up in a queue to Balder - Europe's largest wooden roller coaster. It went around 35m high and started off with a 70 degree drop. I may have dropped the f-bomb a few hundred times, but hey, they say you should do something that scares you at least once a day. I think Balder gave me enough terror to last me a few months.
At 10.30pm we finally decided to head to the Gasten Ghost Hotel, because I obviously hadn't been scared enough by now. And oh my lord, if I can recommend one thing at Liseberg, it's this place. Too. Funny. I was (nearly) peeing myself from both fear and laughter by the end of it. Well worth a few extra SEK if you ever head there! We finished off the trip with a bottle of Prosecco and Swedish TV..and then I don't really remember the rest. I just remember waking up with a bad head.
All in all, I think it's safe to say that we couldn't have had a better time in Sweden if we tried. The staff at Hotel Ballora were incredible, the festival was amazing and Gothenburg was without a doubt one of those beautiful cities I'd ever been to. I've never wanted to move out of the UK, but damn Sweden, you're definitely making me reconsider.
Thank you so much to Zalando and Göteborg Tourism for organisingthe entire trip for us! And of course, thank you to all of you lovely people reading (if you've managed to make this far) - if it wasn't for you lot clicking on my blog every once in a while I'd never be able to do this sort of thing. Group hug?