Gothenburg

Gothenburg is somewhere I hadn’t really considered visiting but when there were cheap flights available back to London on British Airways, it seemed like to good an opportunity to miss.  Whilst in the Swedish city it was a great opportunity to get in some kayaking so I booked a two hour rental with Point65, before we left Jersey.
It was just our luck that on the morning concerned there was virtually total cloud cover, for what seemed like the first time in weeks. It didn’t detract from the paddling but meant that the photographs weren’t quite as dramatic as we hoped for.
The Point65 centre was on the water front, easily reached on foot, from the Central Railway station area through the Nordstan shopping centre and an elevated walk way.
If in doubt look for the largest sailing ship you have probably ever seen, the Barken Viking, which is slightly upstream from the Opera House, and should see the racks of kayaks.
We were quickly changed and ready to go. The staff were friendly and in contrast to so many rental locations, we were offered spray decks, without having to ask. On the dockside we were also offered a choice of kayaks, shorter and more stable, longer and with a rudder or even a sea kayak without a rudder. Without hesitation we settled for the latter.
Soon we were turning west from the marina into the main harbour, looking for the entrance to the canal network. On the way we passed a number of ships, including a submarine, which were clearly part of the maritime museum. We were looking for the entrance to the Gota Canal
Paddling through the centre of a large city is always enjoyable, offering a totally different perspective on an urban area, whilst proving to be an item of interest to the pedestrians on the bridges or canal side walks. The distinctive thing about the canal in Gothenburg was just how low most of the bridges were, it set me wandering if the waterway was still navigable. It was quite a surprise therefore to have a tourist boat, the Paddan tour boats, appear around a corner. A knowledge of the rules of the road is vital when kayaking in such restricted waters.
Possibly the most unusual aspect of our paddle around the city was the need to press a button to change the traffic lights. Construction of a new bridge was underway and there was a button, which it was necessary to press to obtain the green light to proceed. This was certainly a novel experience for me.
We entered the main harbour and although it was literally a couple of hundred metres back we decided to return the way we had come. The canal route was probably six or seven times longer and certainly more interesting. Once you have seen one large car ferry in the distance you have seen them all, as far as I am concerned.
Sadly we didn’t get to press the traffic light button this time, one of the tourist boats was heading in the same direction as us and the lights had already been changed, so we just tucked in behind.
On the return journey we did see “John Scotts Brewery” though. Probably my main paddling partner in the 1980’s and early 90’s was Peter Scott, whose dad is John Scott. We felt it only appropriate to go and have a pint in honour of Pete’s dad in his namesakes pub!  A great way to celebrate a lovely mornings paddle.

Gothenburg
Nicky paddling in front of the Barken Viking, built in 1906 it is supposed to be the largest sailing ship built in Scandinavia. Today she is moored close to the centre of Gothenburg and seeing life as a hotel.
Gothenburg
Nicky paddling past the destroyer Smaland, which is now part of the maritime museum in Gothenburg.
Gothenburg
Nicky at the canal junction close to Gothenburg Central Station.
Gothenburg
At one place along the canal there was working going on and all boat traffic was controlled by traffic lights. Nicky is just pressing the button to get the lights to change in our favour.
Feskekorka
Paddling past the Gothenburg indoor fish market, which opened in 1874. Just past here we turned around and re-traced our journey.
Gothenburg
There is always something special about paddling through the centre of a large city. Totally different perspectives on the urban landscape.
Gothenburg
Looking back towards the Point65 store on the waterfront in Gothenburg. It was just our luck that the sun came out as we landed at the end of the trip.

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