Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “essen”

Gothenburg. Am I missing something? Crime and Chocolate Cheesecake


Arriving on a thoroughly grey day never makes any city look appealing but after an afternoon here I am struggling to see what might make Gothenburg a city to attract visitors. The airport is a fair way out from the city and the thick grey cloud that was covering the ground was relentless when viewed as the plane came into land.

The city itself one might say pretends to have potential. There are canals over which small bridges allow the pedestrians to connect to the squares and other streets. The main square is lined by hotels with the main Central Station on one side. All sounds promising until hoardes of East European, mostly women, attack each passer by through the square to demand money for some magazine, that I presume is the Romanian or Bulgarian equivalent of The Big Issue. Its wrong to say they are threatening but correct to say that they are persistent and in your face.

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The buildings all look rather grey and similar and the shops are those one might find in any European city centre. Trams and buses are plentiful and have a good go to knock over any pedestrian who dares to cross the tram lines.

FullSizeRender-3There are a few parks dotted around including one advertising itself as a kind of botanical gardens, except there were few plants to see at this time of year. The water in the canals is dirty with rubbish thrown in of the usual kind, bottles, cans and plastic bags, however uniquely there was a white plastic chair adorning the water too curiously a lifebelt too floating in the water, presumably unused. It cannot be the fault of the paths nor the trees but every single leaf in Sweden seemed to be squashed on the pebble paths making many areas slippery and at a minimum visually unattractive.

On the positive side there were some unusual signs. For example within the train station a sign proclaimed “HAGS” ” made in Sweden”. This seems a little unfair as there is cause to presume they are made also in very many other countries.

Hags of Sweden

Hags of Sweden

The train station was also packed full of a variety of different little cafes and eateries serving delicious looking food, however the venue of eating within a train station just does not seem right to me and the visual accompaniment of the Romanian sellers/beggars, also takes the appetite away a little. Some nice Chocolate muffins though were talking to me. The graffiti painted on the outside of the trains was good enough to rival that on the trains in Essen Germany and The Watermans car park in Brentford. The highlight of my little walking expedition was no doubt the burger restaurant Max. Not only were the burgers delicious and huge, but I managed to order my meal via a machine that gave me all my options in Swedish. The chocolate cheesecake however pictured below is one of the nicest food items I have ever eaten, bought in a little cafe in the station.

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The people also seemed downcast. I cannot recall a single smile when outside the hotel. The staff in Max looked like a group session of ECT or bulk purchase of Prozac might be an option to be considered. Why was no-one smiling? Apparently the theory put forward is that they regain their inner happiness when the weather improves, which by my reckoning is 5-6 months away.

Crime however rears its ugly head everywhere and Gothenburg was no exception with a car with its window smashed in on a fairly main street behind the Radisson Hotel. The migrant issue in Sweden is also topical currently with the murder of Alexandra Mezher who was working on a night shift at a refugee centre for unaccompanied migrant children in Molndal near Gothenburg. According to the Swedish Migration Agency violent incidents have doubled in asylum facilities since 2014. Sweden also receives five times more asylum applications relative to its size than its neighbour Denmark, receiving 163,000 applications last year 2015.

IMG_0236IMG_0237The usual excellent European graffiti was evident with the colour of trains being markedly improved by the graffiti. This seem a european thing rather more than a UK thing, and oddly this is type of crime that it a funny way adds to the pleasure.

Would I be tempted to return here for leisure? Not really. I may be missing something but I do not get Gothenburg at all.

Reflections on Essen – a small town in Germany


Essen seems a pleasant enough town with a nice shopping centre and nice cafes. The striking thing about my visit related to the trains and the people on them. So maybe a photographic treatise here is better than so many words. But two questions. Firstly, how common is it to not wear any shoes on a train especially in the rain? Secondly, what wonderful graffiti both on the train and around the station. Far from imagining this as a negative thing I became convinced that it is a positive thing and added value to both the train and the station. Not everyone’s thoughts maybe.

Essen is the 9th largest city in Germany with a population just under 0.6 million. Although it is the (in total) most indebted city in Germany,  Essen continues to pursue its redevelopment plans. Notable accomplishments in recent years include the title of European Capital of Culture on behalf of the whole Ruhr area in 2010 and the selection as the European Green Capital for 2017.

The train station is an important hub.Of the Rhein-Ruhr S-Bahn net’s 13 lines, 5 lines lead through Essen territory and meet at the Essen Hauptbahnhof main station, which also serves as the connection to the Regional-Express and Intercity-Express network of regional and nationwide high-speed trains.

Essen it can be said is not an obvious mecca for high quality football.The biggest association football clubs in Essen are Rot-Weiss Essen (Red-White Essen) and Schwarz-Weiß Essen (Black-White Essen). Rot-Weiss Essen is playing in the fourth tier of the German football league system, Regionalliga West, and Schwarz-Weiß Essen in the fifth tier, Oberliga Nordrhein-Westfalen. Other football clubs are BV Altenessen, TuS Helene Altenessen, SG Essen-Schönebeck.

Tourism is not such a large aspect to the city but commerce certainly is. At international trade fairs and public shows and exhibitions, Essen international trade Fairs welcomes over 14,000 exhibitors and up to 2 million visitors each year.

There are however some interesting things to see, presumably for those shoe wearing denizens of Essen. The Soul of Africa museum is one such place.

http://www.soul-of-africa.com

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