I survived Stockholm’s half-marathon! It was my first one, and as incredible of an experience as I imagined. My 3 friends and I joined thousands of runners outside the main square in Gamla Stan, ready to run past thousands more cheering onlookers. I’d run close to 13 miles before, but not a full half-marathon and certainly not with this electric race-vibe. I was hoping to break 1:40:00 for the race, and was feeling great as we crossed the start line. Racing through the narrow streets of old town and along the water and parks of the surrounding neighborhoods, I got a jolt of energy when I passed a group of my friends cheering me on near the halfway mark. Pushing through the physical challenges and the oncoming rain, I crossed the finish to a cold beer and a 1:31:13 time- Under 7 minutes per mile! I even got complements from my Ironman-running professor on my pace, which was a real honor.
After a very relaxing Sunday, it was back to school- but not in Stockholm. This week was allotted to our core courses, so I joined my Public Finance peers for the 4-hour train ride to Gothenburg. A growing city of over 500,000 people 292 miles southwest of Stockholm, Gothenburg is undertaking a massive sustainable development push to accommodate its strong job market and population boom. We spent our days meeting with local real estate firms, city housing developers, and other local agencies involved in the vision (check out the projects here: Green Gothenburg, Gothenburg Urban Planning).
I split my evenings between a rousing game of Boula with the Public Finance group (think Bocce), a local tavern with a beautiful greenhouse-like outdoor seating area, and a professional soccer game. The game was incredible- due to the fans more than the soccer. IFK Göteborg lost to Djurgården 3-1, but the fans were unlike anything I’ve seen in the United States. Separated by fences and riot police, each side filled the stadium with songs, drums, and chants. The visiting Djurgården fans were particularly impressive, making their presence felt with road flares and booming songs. The game was purposefully scheduled for 7pm on a Monday night to stop Djurgården fans from commuting from Stockholm, an attempt to keep the peace. At the end of the game, the visiting fans are kept in the stadium until the hometown fans are escorted off the premises by police. It was quite the experience!
This was an incredible week where we met with professionals doing highly interesting work that related to our studies. It was academically-stimulating, culturally informative, and a great way to bond with my classmates. I’m not sure I’ll be back to Gothenburg this year, but it will be fascinating to follow the city’s development into the future.
Next week: Oktoberfest! And my return to exploring Stockholm
Food Pic: Groceries! To save money for travel, most students mainly eat at home. I pack lunches most days, making the times we do eat out even better. Featured buy: Swedish apples. Per one of my professors, they develop their sweet taste from growing slowly in the cold climate. He brought in samples to class and I can confirm they are really good!