The Scandinavian city of Gothenburg is the second largest in Sweden. Before I booked my first solo trip here I was totally unaware of it. When most people think of Sweden myself included famous cities like Stockholm and Malmo come to mind. Not many are aware of the beauty that is Gothenburg.
I honestly ended up there solely because it came up as the cheapest result on sky scanner. A £77 return for a bank holiday weekend from Gatwick airport just made so much sense. I’m also glad that Gothenburg was unknown to me at the time of booking because it made my trip much more interesting. Read on to find out how it all went down.
The lady at the train station
On Friday 24th May I set out at the crack of dawn to get the Gatwick express. Running on only a few hours sleep I went on my way. My nerves at the station led me to make friends with a mature Italian lady who was on her way to an annual girls trip. Within a few minutes we were chopping it up like besties. Sharing bits about ourselves as well as our lives. This is one the things I love most about travelling, connecting with strangers. From our conversation I learned that she is married to a top barrister and had one son. Retired and uses her spare time to travel and stress over her son’s wellbeing.
When I told her I was about to embark on my first solo trip her face lit up with excitement. From that moment on she started sharing tips and reassured me there was no need for me to be afraid. “Every woman should go out into the world and explore it alone” she told me. We had the best conversation all the way to the airport. I felt as though I was talking to one of my aunts because her spirit felt so familiar. Once we arrived at Gatwick we said goodbye, hugged and went off on our separate ways. In a weird way I felt like that was a clear sign that my trip was going to be ok. The crazy thing is I can’t remember her name but I’ll never forget what she told me or how she made me feel.
There’s no turning back…Gothenburg here I come
I didn’t have time to enjoy a sit down breakfast like I usually do. So I just grabbed a few bits from Pret. My boo Char from Memoirs & Musings was also travelling that day so I popped up on her to say hey. After seeing Char I must admit my nerves had calmed down and the excitement started to kick in. Here I was about to TRAVEL SOLO FOR THE FIRST TIME. WOWZA! A few months prior this was nothing but a goal on my 2019 vision board. Now there I stood in the mist of that manifestation. As I made my way to the boarding gate I told myself “you’ve got this Jenna“.
I flew to Gothenburg with Norwegian airlines this was my first time flying with them and honestly it was a pleasant experience. One thing I have to say about Norwegian airlines is they do not play with the luggage allowance. Ground staff were slapping overweight passengers with £80 fines at the boarding gate….whew! The plane was spacious and they had leather seats which is always a plus. I definitely would fly with them again.
Arriving in Gothenburg
The flight was descent I slept for most of it and woke up ten minutes before landing. Gothenburg welcomed me with an abundance of rain. It was pouring down as I alighted from the plane and made my way inside Landvetter Airport. At first gaze of the airport everything appeared to be sleek and in order. Fresh and modern are the best words to describe it. I genuinely love nice airports. Getting through passport control was a calm and easy process. There were no delays or unnecessary queues everything flowed nicely. Since I was alone, I called my Dad and let him know that I arrived safety. Messaged my Nan and sent my Mum both my two brothers my live location updates.
My hotel was located in Kungsportsplatsen just under 30mins away from the airport. Instead of getting a taxi I jumped on the airport bus instead. Before I arrived in Gothenburg I had already worked out my route and saved a screen shot of my journey in my photos. I was determined to challenge myself on this solo trip and not rely on taxi’s to get me around. A Flygbussarna one way bus ticket costed me 99 SEK roughly £7.97.
Doing it alone
On the airport bus I didn’t sit down. I stood up by the window the entire time just so that I could take in every view. From the cars in the traffic to the people walking in the streets. My mind was racing as I processed 1001 thoughts at the same time. I Jenna was in a new country by myself whew. The bus rode into Kungsportsplatsen the heart of the city centre and I was so pleased because it was the perfect location.
Funny enough the bus stopped right outside Gothenburg tourist center. I wheeled my carry on inside said “hej jag heter Jenna” and we all bust out in laughter. Sadly I can’t pronounce to save my life but thank God the staff spoke English. I had been practicing my Swedish via Duolingo but I clearly needed more practice. The staff were super cool they helped me sort out my travel card, gave me directions to my hotel, a local map and sent me away with well wishes.
A Boujee hotel for one
My home for this long weekend was the magnificent hotel chain the Radisson Blu. Even though I arrived way before check in I was able to access to my room. A top notch hotel with all of the trimmings is the key to my heart. It’s safe to say the Radisson Blu had everything I needed.
The room made me fee like I had my own apartment. I’ve always wanted to live and work abroad and I honestly felt like I was doing just that. To get me through my first solo trip that is what I imagined was happening. This made me feel like a kid again. When I was a kid with less knowledge of the world my imagination was my safe place. I could be whoever and do anything that came to mind. So for the weekend ahead of me I planned to do just that.
Navigating through the heart of the city centre
Once everything was all sorted at my hotel it was only right for me to hit the streets of Gothenburg and explore. I purposely flew in at the time I did so that I could do this. So without a plan in place I just went out there and walked through the streets. I’m a visual learner so walking around and taking mental notes of my surroundings help me to catch my bearings. Gothenburg have practically all the retail and food shops that I have in London. The Zara’s, H&M’s, KFC, Vapiano’s you name it they had it. The city center felt like any other city centre I’ve ever been to. The familiarity felt safe but I knew I was still in an unknown place.
Being by myself I was super conscious of looking like I was by myself. So I was weary of being on my phone or looking lost. I had to showcase my confidence face -in the streets even when I wasn’t sure of where I was going. By chance I stumbled across Gothenburg Cathedral and I promise this wasn’t intentional. I seem to visit a church in every country I go to. This church was special though because it was one of the first churches built in Gothenburg. What I loved most about it was the sophisticated modern pieces of art inside. I’ve never seen that before and it was beautiful. I sat down in the pew for a little while to gather my thoughts and lift up a little prayer.
Gelato is Bae
When I left the Cathedral I found a Gelato & Bubble waffle spot Pozzetti Gelateria. It just opened a few days prior and it looked so good I honestly couldn’t resist. The guy who owned the spot was so friendly and polite. He asked me to send him pictures for their Instagram. I could tell that he was proud of his new business and keen to build up it’s reputation. He reminded me so much of myself and the love I have for Jennasworldview. When I went to pay in local currency I got the shock of my life as I was told they only took card. Sweden was a cashless society and I just got the memo.
Gothenburg Museum of Fine Art
It started to rain so I went to grab a light lunch in vaps (terrible I know) and work out what to do next. I didn’t create an itinerary because I just wanted to go with the flow. After a quick Google search and I found out that the Gothenburg Museum was close by. All I needed to do was jump on the bus to get there. Easy I thought to myself this should be ‘light work’. Unfortunately this was a lie. Working out which direction to take the bus in took me a minute to figure out. Thank God for the locals because they really helped a girl out.
Entry into the museum wasn’t free but it wasn’t expensive either. I cant remember what I paid but I was able to use the cash I had. Thank God! I’m a lover of art so I was excited to see what was inside and I wasn’t disappointed. I saw some of the finest collections of 19th century Nordic & Contemporary art pieces.
Also I got to see the Moonlight exhibition in honor of 50 years on the moon. The exhibition presents photographic and video works created around or after 1969, the year of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. It was a proper dope experience that felt very maze like. As a creative person art ignites fire in me which helps me stay in tune with my creative juices. When I left the museum I was inspired to the write down new ideas for the blog.
Dinner for one
I enjoyed myself at the Museum and shortly after that adventure I went back to my hotel. For my first night in town I thought it was best to have dinner in my hotel. I love getting dressed up on my travels so I was sure to keep the same energy for my first solo trip. I wore a Little black dress coupled with my fave heels and light accessories.
As I made my way into my hotel lobby it felt a like scene from a movie. I was on my Carrie Bradshaw vibes without the sex and just the city. I worked the room and that dress as if my life depended on it. The atmosphere was buzzing. Everything was just right. Now I’m not being cocky but when I emerged at the bar area heads certainly turned. I mean I was the only black woman in the room and my melanin was indeed popping. It would have been impossible to not to notice me.
A buzzing waiter with a bright smile attended to me as soon as I sat down by the bar. “Good evening madam what would you like to drink” I replied “I’m not that much of a drinker but I like anything that is sweet with a kick“. “Ahh I see one Classic 1922 Cosmopolitan coming up” he said as he pulled out a cocktail glass.
The end of a great day
For dinner I ordered a Chicken Caesar salad recommended by the bar staff. Head down in my phone reviewing my latest pics as I waited for my food I heard “you look absolutely stunning tonight” and I froze. When I turned around it was an older gentleman. It caught me off guard and all I could do was smile and thank him. l genuinely thought that compliment came form the man of my dreams .
For the longest time I’ve had this fantasy of meeting the love of my life while travelling. I’ve replayed the scenario in my head countless of times. When I heard that compliment I really thought the moment that I’ve imagined for so long was manifesting. Better luck next time I thought to myself as I sat waiting for my food. The rest of my evening was pleasant. I went back up my hotel room and reflected on the day. I remember feeling ever so proud of myself and I was ready to take on the rest of this trip.
Be sure to come back and find out what happens in part 2 of Gothenburg getaway for one!
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Lots of love