Sunday, May 02, 2010

Svenska Amerika Linien

Back in Gothenburg with blue skies and a photo excursion on my own. I should be honest and say upfront that my relationship with Gothenburg has never been easy. The city is, for the most part, brutally ugly. The Preemraff diesel refinery tends to fill the morning mist with fumes more akin to life on an oil platform. And the ocean is still a few kilometres to the west, meaning there is no unbroken horizon for the sun to sink into.

Yet, circumstances have meant that I have been coming back now and then ever since that first summer job when I was 19. More recently, Gothenburg has been my home since I returned from Melbourne last winter. Obviously, there are good things with any city and I have learned to appreciate the small islands: the outdoor patio of the Da Matteo café on Vallgatan, the Saturday ferry trips across the harbour (the ferries are an integrated part of the public transport system!) and then of course the ethereal memories of the past. For more than half a century, Svenska Amerika Linien (S.A.L.) operated an ocean liner service from Gothenburg to New York and it is a heritage that always has sparked my imagination. Today, one can still see some remnants, such as “Amerikahuset” and the actual terminal building which is now used for visiting cruise ships.


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