My trip to Göteborg

Mon Dec 11 2017

Today is Monday, my first day home after spending the weekend in Göteborg for the Nobel Week Dialogue, which was a great experience. I got to see a bunch of interesting, intelligent, talented speakers. Easily the highlight of the event was a panel titled "The Future of Truth" featuring Maggie Haberman, a New York times reporter and kind of my hero; Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA; and Steven Chu, 1997 Nobel Physics laureate former U.S. Secretary of Energy. They talked about the effects of the Trump administration on American politics and institutions, which I'd say broadly is a discussion I'm tired of hearing, but they were all such fascinating people who actually had new information and relevant perspectives, and I really enjoyed it.

The whole event was super cool, and I strongly encourage anyone who can make it to attend the Dialogue next year. If you can haul yourself to where it's being held (next year is Stockholm), the event itself is free and it's really worth going to. We reserved our tickets about a month in advance, which I think was a good decision because the place was about as full as it could possibly be.

While we were in Göteborg, we also went to two Christmas markets, one of which was at Liseberg, Sweden's largest amusement park. I was disappointed to find that most of the deep-fried bread-ey high-carb amusement park foods that I so love had been replaced traditional Nordic Christmas-time foods. Instead of a funnel cake, I ate a piece of what was essentially pita bread with butter. It was fresh and warm and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't what I was hoping for going into an amusement park, and I'll admit to feeling let down.

I think the best part of visiting Liseberg was discovering that those rigged arcade games where you can win valuable prizes, like Barber Cut, The Key Master, and most famously, The Claaaaaaaw, are considered gambling by Swedish law. Liseberg was filled with them, even more than any amusement park I've ever been to in the U.S., but they all had little yellow stickers instructing patrons that one must be 18 to play. They didn't have any way of checking a player's age, and I saw several minors playing, which was the funniest part. As a side note, I can't remember if the stickers were in Swedish or English, which is either a sign that I'm becoming bilingual or that I'm losing my mind.

On Sunday before we left, we went to TrÀgÄrdsföreningens Palmhuset, a lovely greenhouse. For those of you not in the know, I love greenhouses, and I had a great time there. TrÀgÄrdsföreningen has a pretty large park with several outdoor gardens which I'm sure are beautiful in the summer, but this time of year it was basically just the greenhouse.

I love greenhouses! If you ever want to impress me, take me to a greenhouse or an arboretum or a botanical garden and I will immediately fall in love with you.

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