Wow, triple digits! It’s hard to fathom the amount of time I have spent here and the time I’ve yet to spend. But now’s not the time to get all reflective. Not quite yet.
I woke up feeling miles better than I had the two days prior. I guess taking the sleeping supplement helped me get some high-quality sleep that helped my body fight the virus. I still had a slow morning though; I’m pretty sure I watched another episode of Downton Abbey. And since Lydia was trying to get Ann-Sofi to school and it sounded rather hectic, I decided to lurk in my room and wait for them to get out the door so I didn’t get in their way.
However, if I’d gotten out even an hour earlier (and trusted my gut with the tram system instead of blindly following Google Maps) I might have had a slightly better experience. My first stop was Slottsskogen, a large public park with a free zoo of Nordic animals, and the time I got there was about the time it began raining. I had my hooded coat, so I was protected from the rain, but I foolishly forgot to pack any extra contact lenses so my glasses lenses took quite a lot of mineral deposits.
The park was fairly empty and the zoo even emptier, which made sense since it was late morning on a weekday. I didn’t see many animals– maybe they’re more of a summer thing. But I saw some cool deer and sheep and goats, plus plenty of waterfowl.
I took the tram to Linnéplatsen, a cool stylish street, and popped into a near-empty deli. The deli phenomenon here is interesting. They’re not too different from New York delis in that they’re based off having premade cold ingredients and readily-assembleable dishes. But they’re on a smaller scale, and the ambiance is different. Instead of the gloss and slight greasiness of a NY deli, Gothenburg ones have the atmosphere of a romantic café and a chintziness of a brothel, both laid over whatever your notion of a New York deli is. There’s free coffee and tea with your meal, low lighting, a covered case on the counter with kanellbullar, a candle on the table, and possibly a bench along the window wall covered with pillows. I meant to order a räksallad (shrimp salad) but accidentally ordered a laxsallad, which is one with salmon. I’m not complaining. It consisted of a generous helping of rotini heaped with vegetables, an artichoke heart, and two fillets of salmon– all for 75 krona or about $8.25! Nowhere in the US have I ordered salmon for that cheap. And no, it wasn’t stellar. The salmon was overcooked, the tomatoes were chilled, and the lettuce was iceberg. But who cares.
Despite having felt rather hypoglycemic before lunch, I lost my appetite before I was even halfway finished. I guess having a duller sense of smell and taste discourages the sensations that give me appetite. So I focused on the pleasant chewiness of the pasta, the flakiness of the fish, and the crispness of the lettuce. It also felt so good to have a warm mug of coffee on my glove-forgoing hands.
Feeling full and drowsy from the moody lighting and balanced meal, I made myself journey onto my next destination– the Skansen Krona. Sarah told me about the history the night prior, and I read a bit about it on the information signs. It was a practically unused fortress tower that was in much later years used for jail and then public housing. The hike up to it was maybe only rivaled in steepness by the one I had to take to get up to the zoo. The combined lower-body strength of Gothenburgers must be terrifying. Anyway, I didn’t end up actually climbing the tower, but even the platform around its base offered a beautiful panoramic view of the city. So many terracotta-colored roofs turned red by the rain.
I ventured onwards to the Feskekôrka, or “Fish Church.” This was an old fish market by the water in a building that looked sorta like a church. It wasn’t huge, but it was impressive, with a few different fish vendors selling raw and whole fishes, smoked and pickled fishes, and prepared fish dishes. I decided to get something I’d heard was a traditional Swedish celebration dish– sandwich cake. The vendor explained that it was three layers of bread layered like cake, with shrimp salad in between two of them and lox salad in between the other. The whole thing was covered in what looked like some kind of creamy cheese, with the sides covered in chopped chives and topped with shrimps, tomato, cucumber, lemon, and dill. Of course, this was only a single serving square, but I know that they’re sometimes made on a much larger scale. I took it for takeaway and headed back to the apartment, where Jon appeared to be working from home. He’d just recently given his 50% seminar for his PhD, and was recovering from the stress and massive workload.
I was feeling rather worn-out already, but after some chilling I made myself get up and go to the design museum, the Röhsska Museet. It was almost four p.m. and almost pitch-black by the time. I had my hosts’ museum pass but got in for free since I was under 25, score. It was not very busy in there, and I’m not sure how unusual that should be for four on a Wednesday.
The first exhibit I saw was on the history of design since , following mainly household goods and technology but occasionally touching on clothes as well. A few iconic pieces, like the  Campbell’s soup dress and the Moschino Roy dress (or at least copies of them) were on display, and naturally those were my favorite part of the exhibit. A turquoise version of my family’s pink Apple desktop was even on display! There was also a special collection of fashion donations from , who was a main founder of the museum. Those were stunning. I had been brewing up some fashion designs in my head lately, and I now felt more inspired than ever to put them on paper. The final room I saw was the winner of the  Design Contest. Her work used textiles, colored glass panels, and wood. I looked through a magazine of her work and my mind was honestly quite blown.
When I returned, Jon had improvised dinner by roasting some vegetables with cheese– that was familiar! He kindly offered me some and I wasn’t too hungry, and wanted to try some sandwich cake, but I accepted some and it was delicious.
I stayed up pretty late that night watching more Downton Abbey, packing, and composing a thank-you note to my guests. I felt so full of energy. But It had to lie down eventually if I was going to get out the door early enough.