Marstrand & Koön, Gothenburg ArchipelagoJune 4, 2017 in Sweden
Today was wet. Very wet. We therefore decided it was a good day for a drive and our destination of choice was the Gothenburg Archipelago, about 50km away from the city.
As we approached, the terrain became more rugged. Fewer trees were able to keep a foothold on the smooth rocks, their rounded grey masses emerging from the thin layer of earth like hippos' backs poking up above the water.
We island hopped over bridges, until we came to the large Koön island where we picked up a few bits for lunch in the van, including a tube of fish paste or 'Kaviar' which seems to be very popular over here. Different brands vary and the taste is good but both types we got were too salty for Vicky.
Leaving the van we took the cable ferry to the smaller Marstrand island. The rain was still heavy but we persevered with waterproofs and umbrellas. After having a look round the small gift shop we climbed through the town to explore the fort. Its hilltop position afforded us views over Marstrand, the surrounding islands, big and small and the sea channels between them, along which white dinghies zipped back and forth. Swathes of grey rock swept down to the water's edge where occasionally a traditional red or grey wooden board house was perched. In a way, the rain added to the feeling of being on the edge of civilisation where nature was raw and demanded respect. It also meant we had the trails to ourselves! The paths were lined with a wide range of pines, many in flower. We even spotted some spruce shoots like we'd been served in the restaurant dish on the first evening.
There were maps of the routes but we chose to wander, making decisions when we came to crossroads. Sue led us down a path whose stone steps cut between two towering rocks that leant over above our heads. Beyond this we found a cave with a couple of wooden planks for seating around a recently used campfire. We were just about to take a photo when a group of Swedish people turned up with their dog. They didn't want to get in the way but were happy to be in the photo when invited. Before we came to Sweden we'd heard the Swedes weren't too outwardly friendly and would look at you strangely if you greeted them without knowing them. We are happy to say this couldn't have been further from the truth if our experiences so far are anything to go by!
Back in the little village where we'd landed, John and Will went to the cosy hotel where there had been beer tastings throughout the day to celebrate the launch of a new brewery, Inlands Cooperative Brewery, opened only 3 weeks ago over the water on Koön Island. They'd missed the last session but the hotel owner was happy to serve them up each of the four new tipples. Sipping each drink from a separate glass they got to chill out on the comfy sofa chatting to the owner who had saved the best to last; a strong double IPA who's name translated as 'Hijackers'.
Meanwhile Sue and Vicky were tucked away in a quaint café with a cuppa and home made sweet treats! As well as the launch of the brewery, the village had organised herring tastings from 12 different establishments, one of which was the café. Along with the pastry, bun and marzipan cake, they were given a free sample of herring pickled with beetroot on a small slice of dark bread. All very tasty!
Joining the boys in the hotel we all had another drink before hopping on the ferry for the short ride back to Koön. After completing our mission to find Inlands brewery which had unfortunately closed for the day, we returned to Gothenburg and took the tram into the city centre for a Mexican meal that included octopus burritos! Not wanting the last night with Sue and John to come to an end we went in search of a bar. Being a Sunday night, many places were quiet but The Stage Door bouncer seemed keen to get us in and even shifted a few tables and chairs so we could sit together. There was a young crowd inside and we could hardly hear ourselves talk over the chatter and laughter. The drinks were more expensive than promised but being there did a good job of pushing aside the impression we'd formed of the Swedes being quiet and reserved!Read more