More things to see and do when you’re in Göteborg: visit the botanical gardens, the design museum and a collection of 19 ships floating in the harbour.

We really liked the gardens; the fact that, for the first time this vacation, the sun broke through may have had something to do with that. The Botaniska TrädgÃ¥rdens are a combination of a park, a few themed gardens, some perennial borders (always our favorite) and a complex of not so large hothouses (after last year’s visit to the Eden Project most hothouses don’t seem very large anymore). A temporary exhibition that we saw (and smelled) there, displayed dozens of different mushrooms. Autumn is in the air…

The Röhsska Museum for design and fashion was a disappointment. It first opened its doors at the turn of the 20th century, and built up its collection after the example of London’s Victoria and Albert museum. Boasting to have over 50,000 pieces in their collection, only a very small part of it seemed to be on display. The fashion part of the museum was closed altogether, not good for M.’s mood; she was still moping over Paris’ fashion museum being closed when we were there last year. The design exhibitions consisted of large window cases filled with separate pieces out of any context except for the period they were from. Small photos were put on the wall to evoke a feeling of the corresponding zeitgeist. Yes, we know that the first world war happened in the 1900-1920 period. We don’t need a photo of the trenches to remind us. We would however like some more information about the influence of the Jugendstil and Art Deco styles on Swedish design. But other than the designer’s name and a year, nothing is said about the items shown. They just sit there in their window cases. A missed chance. (BTW funny to see two computers on display, both Apple, as well as an iPhone.)

Finally I would really recommend the Maritiman museum, a collection of 19 ships and boats floating in the Göteborg harbour. You get to walk on as well as inside the ships, which is a great experience especially as the collection includes an impressive destroyer from the Swedish navy and a submarine. The destroyer has a very ‘real’ feel about it, as it’s fitted with mannequin dolls in navy costumes playing captain and first officer, and sounds of radio and morse signals echoing along the way. There’s a lot of very steep steps of course, and for the submarine you’ve got to descend on a small ladder, but that was definitely worth it. I shot about 200 photographs, with all those boaty and watery details being easy targets.

Today we took it easy, walking around the Slottsskogen park, seeing more elk, and doing some relaxed Saturday afternoon shopping. Luckily there’s enough Swedish design to be admired in the shops, if not in the museum.

(Photo below taken during our design field trip in Göteborg’s shopping streets; photos of the Maritiman museum will follow.)

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