Despite the chilly winds that pushed me to bundle up like it was late fall when I arrived yesterday, Gothenburg has given such a warm welcome. I am here at IFLA 2010 with 10 other students and 2 professors from St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Yesterday when Marilyn, one of my professors, mentioned a boat ride, I envisioned a ferry boat and getting to ride around looking at the city. It sounded intriguing despite my initial fears of being too cold, but what I got was so much more than I had envisioned.
I don’t know what these boats are called, but they are low to the water so when sitting, one could theoretically reach out one’s hand and skim it along the water’s surface. Believe me, I was tempted, but I am also a rule follower and I was told to keep my limbs in the boat so I did. The tour guide spoke alternatively in Swedish and English and she was funny, personable, and informed. There are two points on the tour when you have to duck down so your head is below the back of the chair or you will either get a new hairdo, as the tour guide stated, or you will not have a head.
The night was cool, but it was a perfect way to start getting acclimated to the city and take in how rich the city’s history is and how beautiful the city is presently. Where else will you be able to see the training equipment for someone in school to become a sea captain? Where else will you see a ship on top of a dock that can be flooded and drained with water when needed? Not in the midwestern region of the United States where I am from, that is for sure. We may have many lakes; we may have vegetation reminiscent to Swedish vegetation; we may have places like the Swedish Institute and Scandia, but this boat tour made me recognize the roots of those things I see every day at home. Here the history includes fires and solutions to those fires including the segregating of those who could not afford to build their houses in anything but wood to the other side of the mote. Here there is a long history of building ships that is evident in their museums, in their statues, in the life of the city. I loved this tour and so far, I have loved Gothenburg.
Next blog post: Creating my own library tour.