Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Something Swedish

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Is it March 2014 already? I can't believe I haven't blogged since January of last year. To explain my absence: I've been extremely busy; I almost denied my social existence. Don't believe me? I dare you to check my legs out. I've lacked the time or energy even just to shave. To give you a clear picture, it is now manlier than it's ever been. There may be another reason for all of the lack of enthusiasm, work became very demanding and it is sucking the life out of me. But don't get me wrong, I am secretly enjoying it - every plan, every task and every project.

A lot of stuff went down, 2013 has been full of adventures. February of last year I went to Sweden's second largest city, Gothenburg (Göteborg). It was a business trip – way of introducing the new organization structure. To cut the long story short, the Volvo Group has become a multi-brand org. All brands (Volvo Trucks, Renault Trucks, UD, Mack and Eicher) will be handled by one organization, which we call Volvo Group Trucks – subdivided to EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). And yes, we are the Middle East team. It was the first time I get to sit down and formally start working with my new boss, Lars-Erik (Vice-President of Group Trucks ME).

Enough of the serious stuff, let me tell you more about Gothenburg. As most of you are aware, Sweden is well known for two things – Ikea and Volvo. What most don’t know is that it is a reservoir of the hippest shops, cafés, restaurants and hangouts you could wish for.

Wet and Wild
My travel companion - The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
You know you're in Germany when... (at Frankfurt airport)

First G Hotel - The location, conveniently just above the Central station - just what every traveler needs.  The room was modern and spacious.  I had a great time exploring the shops by the station and believe it or not, created a new hobby - train watching.  Fun times.  

Central train station
Artsy fartsy

Grand Opera Hotel - stayed here on my last night in Sweden.  Smaller than my room at First G, great view for people watching.


Volvo Group Headquarters - My first time at the HQ was a first day high experience.  It was like starting over again.  Introducing myself around the office was a good start.  Boss took me to lunch and then work officially commenced.  The next few days we had to attend a gala dinner and meeting to kick off the "Power Play" to get a clearer discourse about the reorganization.  I met a lot people from Sub Sahara and North African markets, all in all it was an interesting experience.

Volvo Mechandize
HQ facade
View from my boss' office
Boss' office
The power play meeting venue
Colin Moon - The best business speaker I've ever known
The Visitor
Boss presenting the ME org chart during the meeting

Exploring the city - We had nothing in particular planned, since we had half a day to ourselves, Simar, Rami and I decided to walk around the city to see some sights we have not yet got round to.  Gothenburg is a notably walkable city.  You will see a lot of walking trails and bicycle lanes all over.  

We took a walk down The Avenue where you can find shops, restaurants and cafes for the much needed fika (coffee break) to beat the cold.  From there we went to the Stora Hamn Canal and saw a number of historic buildings along the way. Just across the road is Nordstan, a huge modern shopping center which we found a lot of good stuff.

I love posters!
Let it snow
The city is filled with chic and beautiful people
Jeans on top of the shopping lane
A variety of BK sauces
Love trees in the winter
Reminds me of Gotham city - disturbingly dark
Coffee fix
Mandatory 10000 coffee breaks
These guys enjoyed the cold more than I did
I just love street performers!

Gothenburg City Museum - Don't be fooled in thinking that there's not much to see in this small museum, it is the exact opposite.  It offers an interesting history of the area.  The Viking display was really impressive - the English translation really helped.   

Museum facade
Reminds me of the miniature serial killer in CSI

Brogyllen café - This place became an instant favorite.  This has got to be the sweetest cafe in town.  They have very broad range of Swedish cakes, sandwiches and pastries, the Semla was just to die for.  Cosy, crowded with young acoustic performers playing sweet music - just my kind of place. 

Did I say GOT was filled with beautiful peeps?  And oh yeah, Semlas too.
For your sweet tooth
Avocado, salmon and shrimp, yum!
Simar and I obviously having a great time
Shrimp and Spendrups, the perfect combo

SPICE - I mean who doesn't like Thai food?  This place though has got to be our favorite dining place in the entire city.  They have great Thai food in very generous portions.  Food was really tasty and the venue is very cozy.  If you really want to recall your Thailand vacation - this place is for you. 
Tom Yum, Pad Thai and spring rolls
Happy tummy, happy us.
and Spendrups of course

Address: Kungstorget 14, 411 10 Göteborg, Sweden
Phone:+46 31 13 22 33

SHOCK - It is one of Sweden's most trendy chain of boutiques specializing in alternative fashion. If you are into the Goth and Grunge look then this is the place for you.  The brand works hand in hand with rock, metal, punk, emo, sleaze and J-rock bands.  The most common items are rock/band shirts which are sold at music festivals and after concerts. For me it was just heaven.  If you love to rock, then this store is for you. 

SHOCK facade
DMs in hot pink
Skulls! :)

Sodra Hamngatan 49
411 06 Gothenburg, Sweden
+46 (0)31 - 153350

One of my most loved discoveries - Starbucks Discoveries

Shameless selfies - I always have a problem layering up.  I'm usually the simple short, shirt and sneaker girl.  So I'm quite proud of the good job I did putting something together to brave the Sweden cold.
Hej då Sverige
What better way to end this trip?  Sausage, beer and great friends in Germany

Gothenburg is clearly making a name for itself as a hub for alternative fashion labels, arts, indie bands, gastronomy, bars and art. Wait for my post on my second Swedish trip. It was indeed a superb experience.

"Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it."
 - Swedish Proverb


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