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Concerts - Landscapes - Sports


Posts tagged hotell barken viking (hotel barque viking)

Gothenburg, Sweden (Göteborg)

Gothenburg was a really nice place on many levels. As noted in a prior entry, we stayed at the Hotel Barken Viking, an actual boat in the harbor. We later learned on a canal tour of the city that the Viking can no longer physically leave the harbor because bridges have subsequently been built which are lower than its height.

inside the barken viking gothenburg sweden

The above photo is of my kids in the lobby of the hotel. You can find more pictures of the ship on their blog.

Hotel Barken Viking

If I look really thin and sickly in the above picture it is because I was. Although I had a great time anyway, I’d love to do this trip again now that I’m no longer sick, jetlagged, and tired but unable to sleep. I had not slept for over 30 hours when this shot was taken. And the last time I had slept was for only a few hours.

exterior of the barken viking gothenburg sweden

You can’t really trust the reviews in guidebooks or on sites like tripadvisor as the Viking was totally restored and remodeled in May of 2008. We were told that it used to be somewhat hostel like, with small rooms, shared bathrooms, etc. The rooms are now larger than they used to be. They are also nicer and each has a really nice bathroom (made completely out of wood). The prices are also higher now and a free pass to the amusement park is not included in most rooms.

Breakfast is included though (and is very good!). The scrambled eggs at breakfast were, by far, the best I’ve ever had. I didn’t realize scrambled eggs could have flavor like that. I wish I knew the secret ingredients.

hotel barken viking gothenburg sweden from bridge

The staff at the Hotel Barken Viking were all very nice and helpful. They all speak perfect English (as does everyone in Sweden it seems). The Danes speak good English as well, but the Swedes are even better.

In other non-English speaking foreign countries when you ask someone if they can speak English you either get a blank stare, a “no,” or an answer of “a little.” In Denmark the answer is usually “yes.” In Sweden it is usually “of course.” And they aren’t kidding.

To say hello in Sweden you say, “Hey.” You shouldn’t stop there though (unless you speak Swedish), or the reply will be a load of Swedish. I found that saying, “Hey, do you speak English?” was the best greeting as it started in Swedish, but didn’t result in a response in Swedish.

hotel barken viking room porthole

Morning came after a nice 10-hour sleep on the Viking. The above is a view from the porthole in our room. The room smelled so good. I don’t know if the nice smell was due to the new remodel or if it will always smell like that, but all hotels should be so pleasant to the nose.

I actually have quite a few more pictures from Gothenburg so our less-than-two-day trip to Sweden is going to turn into a five-day blog with tomorrow’s final installment.

Metaltown 2008

Metaltown took place just over the bridge from our hotel. Although it was an interesting experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself at times, there were some problems. The first was that my ticket never arrived so I had to buy another one. The second is that the band I was most hoping to see, Opeth, cancelled due to Mikael Akerfeldt coming down with chicken pox. But the biggest problem of all is that I was sick and running on only about 8 hours of sleep in the prior 3+ days.

The final problem is with festival concerts in general. I think this was my last (of many). It just isn’t the optimal means to enjoy music. Too many bands and too many people in the audience do not make for the best of experiences. I wasn’t the only one spent after just three or four bands. How does one stay up (even with a good night’s sleep) for 10 bands over nearly 11 hours?

Dark Tranquility at Metaltown 2008

I was in the front for four of the bands (Dark Tranquility, Finntroll, Amon Amarth, and Nightwish). During the others I mostly rested. I was favorably impressed by Finntroll. The highlight, for me, was Amon Amarth who call their music Viking Metal. Satyricon filled in for Opeth. Lillasyster, Soilwork, and Nightwish didn’t do it for me. Dimmu Borgir did an amazing job of reproducing their highly technical and heavily produced (in a good way) studio sound live. I was expecting them to fall short in terms of sound, but that didn’t happen.

stages at metaltown in goteborg sweden

I should also mention that in addition to the two stages which almost always had a band playing (one at a time, switching stages, with a 15 minute break in between) there was a third stage which I never visited. Clutch played on that third stage. I met part of the band in the check-in line in Washington D.C. They came to Copenhagen on the same flight. After Metaltown they are playing at Roskilde this weekend in Denmark.

I ran out of Swedish Kronors early in the day and there were no ATMs to get more. This meant I could buy no food (other than a bag of chips). By 10:30 p.m. I had had no sleep, less than 1,000 calories, and had been standing or walking for the better part of 12 hours straight. I was also running a fever and felt like I would be a goner at any moment. With In Flames still to come I didn’t want to give up, but I had to in order to live to see another day. I left in the middle of the Nightwish set (which was boring me to tears).

(Plus, I was going to be very far from the stage when In Flames came on. I’ve become rather spoiled in the past year or so with being in or very near the front for concerts I’ve attended. This has now made the normal concert experience of being far away seem less than satisfactory. I was in the front row for several bands as mentioned above. I was only a few rows away from the stage for Satyricon. So sticking around to be far away to see In Flames just wasn’t going to cut it.)

A quick trip back over the bridge and I crashed on the Viking for the next 10 hours.

Nightwish playing at Metaltown 2008 with Hotel Barken Viking in background

As you can see from the above photo, the Hotel Barken Viking was not far from Metaltown. Although it was after 10 p.m. the sky had yet to darken. This far north, things don’t get dark until very late in the summer.

hot air balloon at sunset at metaltown in gothenburg sweden

Metaltown 2008 Gothenburg (Göteborg) Sweden

I just nailed down our first excursion outside of Copenhagen for our trip. We will arrive in Copenhagen on the morning of the 25th. On the morning of the 28th we are going to catch a train from Copenhagen, Denmark to Gothenburg, Sweden. If you are ever in this situation you should know that there are many train options between the two. You can use the Danish reservation site at, Eurorail at RailEurope (or a number of other sites), or Swedish Railways at It turns out that even though you are on the same train the rates vary widely and seem to be changing constantly on the first and last option. We ended up going with the latter because kids under 15 ride free. Round trip tickets for all four of us were about US$200. A few days earlier they were only US$150 so buying early seems to be key.

In Gothenburg we will be staying at the Hotell Barken Viking. If that isn’t the coolest name for a hotel I don’t know what is. But wait, it gets better. This is no ordinary hotel. It is a ship. Unfortunately, it isn’t a Viking ship, as the name suggests, but it looks exciting anyway.

hotel barken viking gothenburg

There are no pictures of the interior on the internet as it was just remodeled in May of 2008, but they sent us these pictures:

barken viking roomgoteborg viking interior

Just across the bridge from where the Barken Viking is docked is the main attraction for the day. While the wife and kids are off enjoying the summer in Gothenburg, I will be experiencing a music festival with a lineup one can only dream about.

If you were to ask me who are the current musical acts, never before seen live that I’d most like to see, I would answer In Flames and Dimmu Borgir. If you were to ask me who are the current musical acts, I have seen live before that I’d like to see again, I would answer Opeth and Dark Tranquility. If you were to ask me where would I like to see them, the answer would be in the heart of The Gothenburg Sound of course. It seems that all of these wishes are going to come true. And for icing on the cake, why not throw in a bunch of other great bands like Nightwish, Finntroll, Amon Amarth, and Soilwork too?

metaltown sweden

I have driven over 1,600 miles round trip to see Opeth on three occasions in Portland & Eugene, Oregon and Oakland, California, but this will be extra special seeing them in Sweden. Of course I won’t be able to understand any of Mikael’s usual between-songs banter in Swedish, but for this experience I can do without it. 😉

This won’t be my first concert out of the United States. Last summer I got to see Rush on their home turf in Toronto, and that was a night I’ll never forget.

I should also thank Morten, from Copenhagen Insider, for answering all of my travel questions so quickly.