What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of Sweden? Yep, it’s Abba and Ikea for me too, but as a certain person has pointed out, I can listen to my Abba CD and Ikea are the same the world over. No, apparently what ‘we’ think of when we think of Sweden is Volvo and the Saab Viggen. Of course.
Göteborg (Gothenburg to mere mortals) is home to both Volvo and the Aeroseum, housed in a Cold War bunker. Guess where we went next?
Actually, the Volvo museum was quite interesting. It was a bit random as these things often are – a story about the first bus service to a village in the 1920s next to a display extolling the virtues of carbon composite over steel in modern aircraft manufacture. But there were lots of nice cars and, because Volvo don’t actually make cars any more having sold the car division to a Chinese company a couple of years ago, lots of trucks, construction vehicles and buses to look at too. That last bit sounds a bit sarcastic (who, me?) but I actually really enjoyed the trucks – I’ve often wondered what the inside of a truck cab looks like with the little bed behind the seats and I got the chance to go in one and have a look. The answer is ‘not particularly exciting’ unless you have a Volvo ABC5000 or whatever the huge truck for the American market was called – that has a little motorhome behind the seats!
Meet Philip. The Volvo Philip was my favourite car in the museum but I appear to be in a demographic of one – it was a concept car made for the US market in 1951 but never went into production. So this is it – the only Philip in the world.
There were sections about the Volvo Ocean Race with examples of the luxurious accommodation on board the yachts, including tiny bunks and the toilet, or whatever it is called on a boat, complete with straps for your feet and grab handles in case things get a bit rough. The kitchen (and yes, I know it is called a galley, but let’s face it, it is a kitchen) is tiny – 2 burners and a small sink, from which 3 meals a day are produced for the crew of 10. Sounds tricky until you read that no fresh food is taken on board to save on weight – each meal is freeze-dried noodles, stew or curry. For nine months. Yum. Can’t be very good for the digestive system – hence foot straps and grab handles maybe?
The Volvo museum is in an area of Göteborg that can only be described as Volvo World – factories, their own shipping terminals, numerous office blocks and a very nice little marina, maybe for yachts owned by Volvo staff? Anyway, it was Saturday night and everything would be closed on Sunday – home for the night!
D is going to come back to you with a post about the Saab Viggen as he quite rightly thinks that I won’t be able to do it justice.
And I did get to go to Ikea – there was one next to the supermarket so we had a quick wander round to ogle at the genius that is Ikea design, such as fitting a very nice one-bedroom apartment into 47 square metres. And it turns out that Ikea is not the same the world over – we didn’t have to spend 3 hours driving through the hell that is Croydon traffic to get to this one.