- Drakens are small
- Viggens are big
- Booze may be expensive in Sweden but measures are generous
- Swedish people are nice and have lovely voices
- Foreigners really have no idea how to queue
- I live 42 miles from Stansted if I go via the Blackwall Tunnel, 52 by the Dartford Crossing
More detail, and many photos, under the cuts.
Friday: mostly about parking
I decided to take the bike to Stansted, as we'd be arriving back late and there were engineering works on the Victoria - Bromley South line. This meant I spent all day worrying about whether it would start and whether I'd get stuck in traffic.
In the end the only hitch was the 35 minutes I spent waiting for the shuttle bus to take me from Zone Q of the long-stay car park to the terminal. Luckily I'd allowed enough time for this not to matter and I met up with silvante on the other side of security, though late arrival at the gate meant we couldn't sit together on the plane.
Flight and airport bus were pleasant and hassle-free, then we wandered around for a while trying to match the street names we could see with the ones featured on my handy Google Maps printout. Between my map and Russet's sense of direction, we found our way to the hotel - which, as previously mentioned, was actually a boat:
Inside it was like every other Hotel Ibis in the world - but hey, boat. A drink in the bar and off to bed. Alas, both our rooms turned out to overlook the car park.
Saturday: And this is me in a Draken, and this is me in a Viggen...
Today was Göteborg Aero Show, the main purpose of our trip. We walked to the bus station and followed the line of obvious aviation geeks to the dedicated airshow bus.
Having arrived early, we had time to browse the stalls and static display before the crowds appeared and the flying got going. We also booked places for a guided tour - in English - of the museum.
Built during the Cold War, the massive underground hangars were designed to withstand a nuclear blast. Now they're filled with aircraft, some of which you can sit in:
L: Draken | R: Viggen
As you can see, I could take or leave sitting in a Viggen. Meh, I say. Meh.
I also booked a place on the Viggen simulator, a cockpit facing a big screen, and discovered that I was pretty terrible at flying.
I managed to take off under guidance from a member of staff, and flew around happily for a bit. Eventually, though, as always happens when you're flying a flight sim, I got bored, tried to loop the loop, and smashed into the ground.
And I couldn't take off again. Over and over, for the rest of my 15 minutes, the plane just continued off the end of the runway until interrupted by a piece of scenery.
Then I looked round and saw a small crowd watching me crash on the big screen, and I knew my chances of achieving successful flight had just dropped to zero.
Moving hastily on, the flying display itself.
Aerobatic teams are always fun and there were three at Gothenburg: Baby Blue from Denmark, Switzerland's PC-7 Team and the Italian Frecce Tricolori.
L - R: Swiss, Italians, Italians
I was chiefly interested in the planes belonging to the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight, since I'd be unlikely to see them flying outside Sweden.
Thus I was delighted by the Lansen and almost passed out at the sight of an actual Draken flying before my very eyes. In fact I leaped several inches off the ground when it appeared.
L - R: Danish F-16, Lansen, Draken
I've seen a Hunter before, but not one in Swedish markings; ditto the Vampire. It was odd to see these very British planes sporting Sweden's three crowns.
There were very good displays by a Bulldog and by two Harvards, also Swedish. I'd seen them on the programme and thought 'oh, trainers, yawn', but they really went for it.
I missed the Flying Barrel, sadly - it must have done its thing while we were in the museum. But I couldn't really be disappointed, not after everything else I'd seen.
Sunday: Big wheel keep on turning
Sunday was spent strolling round the town and checking out the shops. I've mentioned my love of foreign supermarkets before; as usual, I wandered round like a visitor from the Third World, gawping at everything and wondering why we don't have boysenberry-and-rosehip juice drinks at home, or cider flavoured with pomegranate.
We also saw these lovely fellows. Someone has their hands full with this bunch:
I'd been intrigued all weekend by the Gothenburg Wheel, and on Sunday afternoon I could resist no longer and insisted we had a go on it.
We spent the first circuit frantically taking photos and the second admiring the view. After the third it started to get a bit boring. I think we had six rotations altogether.
Gothenburg from the air
There was a fair bit of hanging around the airport awaiting our delayed flight, which made me glad I'd played safe and brought two books.
We arrived back at Stansted late and simultaneously with another Ryanair flight, which meant a long wait at passport control. By the time I'd got through that, taken the shuttle back to Zone Q and put all my bike gear on, it was twenty past midnight. But I was home an hour later.
A few more photos in the Gothenburg gallery.