Cities That Move: Day 5 – Way Out West

We left Stockholm and traveled by train for two and a half hours to the city of Gothenburg. After resting on the train we got moving in the city with a rapid design activity: one-minute sculptures! Photos are coming soon, but needless to say, we had way too much fun (and definitely warmed up our creativity) for the ideation phase of the trip.

Next, we embarked on a detailed and prolonged tour of the historical city. Gothenburg has acted as a key port city for immigrants of Sweden traveling to America. After exploring with Kirsten for a while, we eventually arrived at Herring St. (the historical name for Postgatan), a critical historic street for Sweden and the US.

During the early 1800s, people emigrated from Sweden to America in the hopes of finding better opportunities for their families and themselves. In order to send a family member to the land of opportunity, people would go to desperate and extreme measures in order to procure the finances for the trip. Before boarding a ship to North America, the chosen family member, often a young male who had promising characteristics of future success, would stay the night or week on Herring street–waiting for their departure–carrying lots of money and supplies for the long and expensive trip.

Unfortunately some of these men spent their money recklessly, risking everything and possible even losing/spending all their resources for their trip to America.These incidents are what give the street a powerful, eerie, and odd weight for a now sleepy and clean alley way.

After the tour we had an afternoon fika in the Haga district to duck out of the rain. Sitting in the back room of a lively cafe, we had an informal conversation on our observations and thoughts so far. Eager and full of ideas, we found ourselves digging into important questions and thoughts that would eventually become crucial to our final project and conclusions. We had a lovely Swedish dinner (the best Swedish meatballs . . .) and ended our adventures at a movie theater. The group decided on Jurassic World and the hilarious script put everyone in a great mood.

As we walked back to the hotel we were all bursting with energy, joking and referencing the movie. The moment was a catalyst for the group’s tight dynamic that has followed since. Overall it was a long day filled with travel between and within cities, ideas expressed with true zeal, and feelings of friendship that wasn’t necessarily a turning point in the trip but rather a beginning for the rest of the time we have together.