GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Off I went Monday night, out the doors of Gothia Towers, my home away from home in this beautiful city, ready for what Gothenburg has to offer. I have been here once before, covering the New York Rangers when they played a preseason game in 2011, so I had some memory of where I was, which was good.
"To Avenyn." I said. OK, I didn't say that. Nor did I say Kungsportsavenyn, which I've come to learn used to be the name of Gothenburg's main boulevard that is commonly known to an English-speaking tourist like myself as "The Avenue."
To "The Avenue" I went.
I've been trying to think of the proper way to describe "The Avenue." The best I can do is say it's basically a mix of the elegance of New York's Fifth Avenue with the charm of Vancouver's Granville Street and a touch of Newbury Street in Boston. I'm not sure if any of that does it justice, but it's the best I could do.
"The Avenue" features a concentration of restaurants, pubs, clubs, coffee houses, shops, boutiques, hotels and more, including a 7-11.
As I approached "The Avenue," I heard the noise of kids, definitely older kids, screaming and hollering and laughing.
When I get up to the southern tip of "The Avenue," about three blocks from my hotel, there were about 80-100 teenagers having a water fight in the fountain that is home to the giant statue of Poseidon, known as the Greek God of the Sea, at the top of the strip in front of Goteborgs Konstmuseum (the art museum), Konserthuset (the concert house) and Stadsteatern (city theater).
So I had to ask around as to what was happening and why. Turns out that this was a tradition for new students in the Polhem Upper Secondary Technical School. Most of the students were 16 years old. The objective is to allow them to basically go crazy with each other as a way to get to know one another and feel comfortable together in their new environment.
It certainly looked like good, clean fun. I stayed dry.
"The Avenue" stretches a ways down, approximately one kilometer (0.62 miles) from Gotaplatsen to the edge of the oldest part of the city. Although I haven't gotten down to the northern edge yet, Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson, who is from here, told me that's a less touristy area. I'll have to check it out.
The other area I'm told is a must for me is Liseberg, which is the amusement park right outside the doors of my hotel. You can't miss it. The Ferris wheel is a main attraction that you see on the drive toward downtown from the airport. Liseberg is one of the most visited attractions in all of Sweden.
But there is hockey going on too, which is why I'm looking forward to the trip to Helsinki for the pretournament game against Team Finland on Thursday (Noon ET; ESPN3, Sportsnet, TVA Sports) and how Gothenburg rocks Scandinavium for Team Sweden's pretournament rematch game against the Finns on Saturday (Noon ET; ESPN3, Sportsnet, TVA Sports).
Lots to do. Lots to write. I'll check in again after the game in Helsinki.
For now, skal (that's cheers in Swedish).