When it comes to choosing a honeymoon destination, everyone in the family has an opinion. But this time the number of suggestions had doubled. Why? Because we had declared it to everyone that this time we were going on our second honeymoon. Soon enough, we were spoilt for choice after receiving a long list of romantic places to bring some spice and a lot of sugar back to our married life. But, Riya and I have always been those offbeat people whose choices are usually away from the conventional. So, we skipped the long list, and picked a destination which defines us in the truest sense – warm, rebellious and versatile.
We chose Gothenburg, a city in Sweden which offers the delights of nature, adventure and a pulsating city life with a dash of its own unique culture.
Best Way to Travel from India
The first step in planning our highly anticipated second honeymoon was to book the flight tickets. And it was much more convenient than we expected.
It is very easy to fly to Gothenburg from any major Indian city. We took a Qatar Airways flight from Delhi to Doha, and then to Gothenburg. There were no hassles with regards to changing flights or losing time during transit. The crew members took special care of us and provided world-class hospitality.
As we landed in Gothenburg, we were immediately impressed by the friendliness of people. We had travelled to many countries that boast of good hospitality. The people of Gothenburg took good hospitality a notch higher, which made us feel at home very quickly in this foreign town. By the time we got to our hotel, many people including the security staff at the airport, the good old lady at the baggage aisle and our driver had already befriended us. The ride from the airport was especially made memorable by the amazing conversations we had with the driver. He was a big fan of Bollywood movies and wanted to know more about how festivals are celebrated in India, especially Holi. His warm and welcoming demeanor put us at comfort immediately.
We drove through picturesque urban landscapes on our way to the hotel, and decided to relax for a few hours before hitting the city. We woke up only in the evening, and decided to begin exploring the way we do, through our tummies.
The Gastronomic Beginning
It’s funny, but our vacation began with an evening snack at one of the restaurants around the Gothenburg Feskekorka or the ‘Fish Church’, as it is popularly known. A 19th century fish market that looks like a church! This was exactly the kind of ‘quirky’ we needed to begin our second honeymoon. Both Riya and I are seafood lovers so it was a delight to try some indigenous Swedish dishes like Fish Soup with Rouille and Sötstarka fiskbullar.
In an effort to burn off all those calories, we wanted to have a fun night around the town. So, we decided to head to Nefertiti, an iconic jazz club in the heart of the city. To be frank, we are not a couple who are into jazz, but Nefertiti has a lot more to offer than jazz. While EDM is more our taste, Nefertiti played some great blues and dance music, apart from jazz. We called it a day after dancing the night away.
Exploring the City
We began our next day by visiting the Gothenburg Museum of Art. While the museum has Nordic relics dating back to the 15th century, Riya loved the fashion exhibits that they had on display. Next on our plan was Haga, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, filled with unique architecture, hip cafes and vintage shops. The houses here were extremely unique, unlike either of us had ever seen before. The first floor of the houses here are built with bricks and the upper floors with wood. While taking a walk here, we came across the concept of fika, which refers to taking breaks during the day to make time for friends and colleagues while sharing a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat. We ended up having lunch at En Deli where we surprisingly found a lot of vegetarian food options given the Middle Eastern cuisine on offer. After a decadent lunch, we took the tram from Haga and continued exploring the city.
The next part of the day was my surprise to Riya where I took her to Trädgårdsföreningen. I did tell her that we are going to a place by that name, but left her wondering what it could be. Trädgårdsföreningen or the Garden Society of Gothenburg is a 19th century park, which houses a beautiful botanical garden with over 15,000 varieties of flowers. Riya loves flowers, and as much as she enjoyed being around the flowers, the harder I had to work at capturing all those beautiful memories. Second part of the surprise was a relaxing massage at the iconic Haga Bathhouse, a place highly recommended by locals.
Dinner was planned by Riya and she decided to take us to Smaka, a cozy bar and restaurant known for serving traditional home cooked Swedish food. I was pleasantly surprised by her pick as I too wanted to experience authentic cuisine classics such as fried herring served with a side of lingonberries and stuffed cabbage rolls.
Romance on Islands
We spent our third day in Gothenburg, away from the main city. We took an early ferry to the northern archipelago off Gothenburg’s coast, where we rented bicycles and enjoyed a breezy romantic ride beside the blue sea, away from the city. Sunbathing and not doing anything but enjoying each other’s company, we had a great time. Later in the day we headed to the southern archipelago and back to the city only after dinner. Here’s an interesting fact – the fika experience is available on board the ferry as well! Who would’ve thought?
The next day we headed to Liseberg, Scandinavia’s largest amusement park. We were ready to go back to being kids again and try out every ride at the amusement park. Well, if I’m being completely honest, I was actually a little scared as I have usually avoided rollercoasters even as a teenager. It was Riya who wanted to have an adventurous day so I decided to take her photographs while she rode the world’s largest wooden roller coaster. However, I did find entertainment later in the performance by local artists who were eager to take personal requests and engaged with the audience.
Isn’t Shopping Love?
As it was our last night in Gothenburg, we decided to shop. We started from Domkyrkan, known for having sustainable shopping outlets. There are many vintage interior decor shops from which we bought some wooden frames and wall hangings. At a grocery shop called Farm Ekolivs, we bought some Swedish quinoa and Roots Kombucha to take back home. Next, we visited a vintage fashion shop offering clothes from the 70s. And how could we not get Nudie Jeans for ourselves. Nudie Jeans is a world-famous brand from Gothenburg, known for their organic denim collections. In fact, we liked them so much we had to actively stop ourselves from purchasing more. Where else would you get denims that are organic and so so comfortable! How could we not?
Our shopping walk ended at Rada Gelato, a dairy-free ice cream place. The ice creams here are dairy free and have no artificial colours or flavours. We tried the Burnt Butter and Spicy Apple ice-creams, and we were floored. We had our dinner at Taverna Averna, a famous Italian restaurant with Swedish influences.
Good Old Romance
Our most unforgettable rendezvous with history in Gothenburg was when we hiked to the 17th-century fortress Skansen Kronan and watched one of the most romantic sunsets of our lives. It was lovely to see the greenery that spread out at dusk here, contrasting perfectly with the Gothenburg skyline. We enjoyed a lovely picnic in the meadows, got lost reminiscing about our first honeymoon, the silly sweet things that we did, and the fun times we spent with each other. We came back to the present only when it was time for us to head back to the hotel to pack and leave for the airport.
Our honeymoon was more than just ‘us’. We had an entire city working as the backdrop to our love story, which played a huge role in making our second honeymoon even more beautiful. Gothenburg was a place where we found so much love, not just for each other but also the city and its friendly people.