Gothenburg is known for its excellent seafood as well as for Volvo. Ironically, those two subjects were the focus of our time in Gothenburg. When we went to the doctor’s office on our first day, Igge discovered fish. They had an aquarium in the waiting area and my child was hypnotised by the swimming, glimmering creatures captured in a bubbling water tank. Then and there we made plans to visit Universeum the following day. Universeum is a huge biodome where you can walk from the Swedish animal kingdom all the way to the mysteries of the rainforest. You walk among worms and exotic snakes, salmon and seesaw sharks, ducks and Ibis birds, frogs and electrics eels… Of course, Igge was going to love it since his newly found passion was fish!
We bought tickets online, we googled mapped the way there in advance, we planned to be there at opening so that we didn’t have to wait in lines for everything. What we didn’t count on was that we had to wait for me when I locked myself out of the biodome. I found a door which said “Enter here” if you wanted to park your pram, so I opened that door and went outside. I was halfway on the pram parking lot when an alarm went off. Apparently, I had opened a fire exit door and once it closed – it locked behind me. Shaun Vegaun and Igge looked at me with very surprised faces as we realised I couldn’t get back in. So, I waited in the pram while eating Igge’s fruit drops and drinking his full fat milk for about an hour before the staff had found somebody with the right key who could unlock the door. Once that was done, our full day adventure at Universeum began.
Igge was mesmerised by all the land animals and all the stunning water critters, but it was probably the replica of a safari jeep that ended the last of his energy. A cute Korean boy was driving it and when he saw how much Igge wanted to drive as well, he signed for Igge to come sit next to him. They were so sweet together and they talked a lot to each other. Igge in his own made up language and his new friend in Korean. The other boy’s mum and I looked at each other with polite and wondering smiles while our sons were talking and laughing and taking turns driving through the jungle or the savanna or wherever they could have been. Only the two of them knew, I guess.
Cars and fish, fish and cars. And a new Korean friend.
Igge fell asleep quickly after he had to give his place in the Jeep up (by now there was quite a queue of snotty children who wanted to drive). He slept in the rooftop restaurant while his parents enjoyed an overpriced green salad and coffee served in environmental-friendly cardboard cups that stuck to your lips and turned to glue when touched by hot beverage, but hey! At least we got to enjoy it in peace as our little marauder was snoring loudly among in the urban spice garden.
A bit of pantless sleeping is good for you
The following day it was so hot that we just couldn’t stay in the city. Gothenburg is considered to be a big city – it’s crowded and the buildings block any potential breezes to cool the population off. So we jumped on a tram, took a boat and landed on an island called Styrsö. As we were discovering the island Igge practised his full vocabulary -over and over and over… As we, The Parents, giggling looked at each other we decided to time our dear son to see how long it took before he took a break from rambling. It took slightly longer than 90 minutes. Then he stopped because he fell asleep. People we met on the way turned around and laughed because Igge was talking so fast and it made no sense, as if he was doing some serious filibustering. That’s where his new nickname was born; Scatman. That’s exactly how he sounds when he speaks, like Scatman. Bi-bopa-di-di-bo-myra-bi-bopa-dibi-do-boat-pishes-mama muu-bala-bala-bop-dada-di-papa poo-myra, myra, water – baba-didi bop.
Once again we took the opportunity of Scatman sleeping and sat down at a cosy coffee shop by the water. We had the most amazing raw vegan lemon cheesecake and just as we were scraping the last of our plates Igge Scatman woke up and claimed my apple juice and the decorative piece of lime left on the plate. Well, I’m not judging. We were going to have a swim and chill on the rocks by the water until the next boat left, but we have an 18 month old so we didn’t. We had a fast dip and the we had to go to the playground, because guess what? Igge had spotted a car on the playground. So, for almost two hours, Shaun Vegaun and I sat in the back of a playground car as two fat, pale, misunderstood German tourists. You know, those who didn’t pay the full amount for their Safari tickets and got the guide who speaks in tongues. What a relief when the boat finally came to take us back into town.
Applejuice and lime, swimming with jellyfish, rambling in the pram forever and driving in the indoor jeep. Life is goooood.
Once back on solid ground we hurried to try and get a table at a super nice Italian restaurant. We managed and I had one of the best lobster pastas I’ve ever had. Igge didn’t want any of the food we gave him but finally ate a bowl of tapenade. After that he was “all done” and we tried it all to make him sit while we inhaled our delicious dinner. Then the staff came with a complementary bowl of ice cream for him and sugar always works. Thank you. All three of us could sit in peace and enjoy our food. With “sit in peace and enjoy” I mean we got to sit down for 20 minutes which is 15 more minutes than usual for a dinner with Igge Scatman.
A real driver needs his tapenade. Ask anyone.
Day three we walked around a part of town called Haga. A long, long time ago, in another life, I actually use to more or less live in Gothenburg and I was burning to show my new life all my favourite spots. Haga and Slottsskogen are two of them and they’re also great places to bring a wild child. Haga has an eclectic range of cafées, shops and restaurants. If you’re a hippie and a vegan like my husband, this is the place to be. Don’t worry about consumption – all the cafées have bought their porcelain second hand. You don’t have to be worried about that restaurant over there not having any vegan alternatives – look closely at the sign and you’ll se that the cow on it is made out of tofu. You want to know if this item is organic? No need; it’s organic, ecologic and fair trade. Actually, it’s hand picked from the garden on the roof and assembled by non-profit hipsters with oat milk foam in their beards.
After leaving Haga we walked over to Slottsskogen where we looked at the animals at the children’s zoo. Igge has no fear when it comes to animals and he made me mighty nervous when he pierced his eyes on the Alpha goat with the biggest horns. He chansed that poor thing around until it agreed to let him pet it. When we left we passed a playground and… Yes, they had a car there, so The German tourists (the two of us) got another two hour tour in the jeep with our private guide, Scatman.
Nice goat, nice goat. And some driving.
We had an early dinner on our way back at Göteburgare Vegan, an amazing vegan burger place. Even Igge ate with body and soul while making Mmmm! Mmmm! -sounds. When we got back to the hotel we had a drink at the hotel bar as we had done all the other evenings. Usually we had gotten Igge to sit still by giving him a real glass with a straw, ice and sparkling water and place him in front of the aquarium they had in the lobby. This time, it didn’t work at all. Maybe it was the fact that he had finished all his dinner plus dessert and two glasses of organic orange juice. Maybe it was the fact that the lobby was crowded with retired blue-haired Americans from Florida who all thought that Igge was the “cutest little fella they’d ever seen” and egging him on by clapping their hands while he was dancing and Scatmanning. We couldn’t relax with watching him run around corners with the energy of an 8 am raver and we finally had to catch him and capture him in order to finish our drinks.
Captured, looking at random people. Great babysitter.
It was no picnic to put him to bed after a day like this and he gave a few tastings of The Terrible Two’s… I cry a little inside every time I realise that my child has my temperament and his dad’s patience. We enjoyed Gothenburg a lot. There’s so much to see and do but if you go with a one-and-a-half-year-old it’s quite enough to spend the days in a playground car and the evenings in front of an aquarium. It would probably have been a lot cheaper to. Especially fun for a vegan to experience so many animals in captivity and to go on endless safaris in the hot Gothenburg sun without understanding a single word the guide said. The Child had a blast though, and I think he’s still talking about it. I bet he is.