The Liseberg Confessional
So this is report of my trip to Gothenburg at the weekend (yes I am still working on the Ghosterforce one, it’s just very big haha). There are some photos, but not many, so apologies for that too).
Those of you that may remember my report from Liseberg earlier this year will know I did not feel very fondly to this park, this trip was however slightly different. As a brief reminder though, the circumstances of my last trip to Liseberg were far from ideal.
- I was spited by Helix
- I had just ridden my number 1 coaster in Wildfire the day before, which made everything far more underwhelming at Liseberg
- I was on my own and had gotten to the park an hour before opening to be in prime position for the first train of the day on Helix, which led to a very long, boring and frustrating day
CAUTION: Lots of background and most-likely useless information that a lot of you won’t be bothered to read coming up. If you’re not bothered about the rest of it, just skip to the Liseberg (Christmas Season) title in bold to get my thoughts on the park.
Fast-forward to October this year and I found myself in a rather interesting predicament. I had started seeing this lovely American lady (She wouldn’t be happy with me for giving out a name, so that is what she’ll be haha) who was spending September to December in London at Roehampton Uni as part of her final year of University. She is basically spending every weekend abroad whilst she is over here so she can experience as much of Europe as possible, leaving her with only one remaining weekend free to spend with me. She said that she loved parks (her local ones being Lake Compounce and Six Flags New England) and whilst she could name some of the big parks and coasters (Cedar Point, Busch Gardens Williamsberg, SFMM, etc…) her knowledge of European theme parks was quite limited, so I had to try and show her to at least one decent one whilst she was over here.
Due to the time of year and the weekend available, options were quite limited. After a quick scan on CoasterCal it appeared I had 4 options; PortAventura, Efteling, Plopsaland De Panne or Liseberg. She had visited The Netherlands and Belgium already so that ruled out Efteling and Plopsaland and I’m visiting PA for the live in 2 weeks; leaving Liseberg as the last remaining option. I won’t lie, I was sceptical, but I thought this could be the perfect redemption for the park in my eyes and it would be nice to visit with someone else. So I pitched the idea to her and she was more than game. After pricing it up it was about £140 each for flights and decent accommodation right next to Liseberg. Considering how short notice the whole thing was, the price was actually pretty decent.
As soon as it was decided that we would visit, I emailed Liseberg and they gave me the list of rides available during their Christmas open season which included 23 rides, but sadly not Helix. At this point I was just excited to be going away with her and also getting on some coasters again though, so I got that disappointment well out the way before we left… just completely erase it from my mind that Helix even exists at this point haha.
Friday 15th November
We flew out from Gatwick at 19:55 and landed in Gothenburg at around 22:45 local time. We had a quick cheap bus ride from the airport over to Korsvagen (the stop next to Liseberg) then headed to our AirBnB. Being the clueless tourists that we are, despite the AirBnB being literally right next to the park and us having maps on our phones we did a solid bit of faffing around trying to find the right flat. It consisted of us punching the door code for our apartment block into multiple wrong keypads and trying to rapidly type the messages the keypads were giving us back in Swedish into google translate, in a vague attempt to make sense of it all. Somehow this little experience led to us accidentally learning the Swedish for various works like Lobster and Armpit, but all very amusing nonetheless and eventually we made it into the apartment.
The AirBnB was a beautiful apartment, it had a massive modern kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom with all the amenities you could possibly desire. I would so recommend it to any couples looking to visit Liseberg, or even just Gothenburg in general for that matter (please feel free to message me for details). Anyway, we ended up celebrating the fact we were abroad in the way that most people (or at least the ones I know) do, by getting drunk on duty-free spirits until the early hours of the morning.
Saturday 16th November
We emerged from our drunken slumber at around 11am, both still pretty tipsy from the night before but we had an eventful day ahead of us to enjoy so we got ready and headed off to Universeum, the science museum right next to Liseberg.
Wow, what a cool little place.
I wasn’t aware beforehand, but Universeum kind of doubles up as a little zoo/aquarium as well. Before heading into further into the museum we stopped to have breakfast in the little café just inside the entrance, in an effort to try and stave off the hangover. During this we were right next to this jungle section and you could see loads of little monkeys running round and jumping all over the place, really awesome location to have some food (muffin was pretty dry and bland though, would not recommend).
After that, we got our tickets and headed in (only around £16 for entry) after which you’re greeted by a lift that is on a hill rather than going vertically. I got very excited at first as I thought I was going to get some sweet goon shots of the final brake run and back of Helix’s station/top of Lisebergbannan as it’s not far at all and at the right height, but sadly a wall obstructs the view (probably let my goonism shine a little too bright at this moment considering how well I knew this girl, I was met with slightly concerned looks about my level of excitement haha).
After getting to the top you then descend floor by floor, going through a fish tank section, an aquarium (complete with a walkthrough bit with big ol’ sharks and stingrays etc), a jungle bit (which is kind of like a mini Eden-project, monkeys/birds roam around) and finally a little science centre with exhibits around space and looking at modern technology. All-in-all it only took us about 90 minutes to complete, but it was a really cool way to kill some time before the main event of the day.
We were still a bit jaded at this point and were in need of some caffeine before going into the park. Neither of us being coffee drinkers we found this caffeinated water to try… don’t bother, it’s horrible.
Anyway, time for a break from all that boring non-coaster rambling; time for the main reason for the trip, Liseberg Round 2.
Liseberg (Christmas season)
During the Christmas season, Liseberg is easily the most picturesque Christmas-themed place I’ve ever been to. There are Christmas lights literally everywhere. Christmas trees are all over the place covered in lights and fake snow. There are little fires around the park where people can warm their hands and even things like outside Valkyria’s station had massive fake shards of ice pointing out of the rockwork. It’s a super immersive winter atmosphere and they put so much effort into making it look like the park had been attacked by a raging snowstorm, whilst maintaining a huge level of charm and beauty about the place. Along with all this amazing Christmas theming they also had a large Christmas market going down the central strip, with all the delightful Christmas smells and goodies on offer. To top it all off they had carollers and traditional Christmas songs playing through the speakers (none of that Mariah Carey crap), which isn’t even stuff I listen too usually at all, but it really did have a magical vibe.
The open hours during the day were from Midday – 10pm and we rocked up at around 2pm. I knew we’d manage to blitz everything pretty quickly and it was a wet day, so we weren’t in a massive rush. Due to a lot of attractions being closed during the Christmas season the ride pass is sold at a reduced rate of around £22 and it’s more than worth it for what you get whilst there. We got our tickets and headed in, instantly being drawn in by the amazing atmosphere. I got my obligatory fist shake at Helix, calling it a ‘spiteful bastard’ yet again out the way and we headed over to Balder. (Does it count as a spite if you already know it’s going to be closed before you buy your tickets? Interested to know your thoughts),
So my thoughts on Balder have improved pretty drastically from last time. Don’t get me wrong, the layout hasn’t changed and my thoughts remain the same on that, but the airtime this time was the absolute kick-ass ejector that I was craving last time. I don’t know if it was the fact that the track was wet, or that I had a crazy amount of room on my lap bar (This time Balder ride opps were the best I’ve ever experienced for room, a simple brush of the restraint. Lovely) but this was far from the ride I remember and I absolutely loved it. After a great first ride, I was very excited to see what my American lady friend’s thoughts were, “It was good, but Boulder Dash is better” was the response I got straight back, goddamn so jealous she has such an iconic woodie so close to her haha.
It got faster and faster throughout the day and by the time we were having our last back row ride of the day around 8pm it was attempting to physically rip me out the train and it was trying to undress me in RMC ejector fashion. It was also lit up in a lovely green at night to add to the experience. Flying through the wooden structure at night is really something to behold too
After our first ride on Balder, our tipsiness from the night before had definitely worn off and the hangover was starting to kick in good and hard. The heavens had also opened and it was absolutely pouring down, so it was time for us to go and get some food. We stopped off at Mackasinet, the sandwich shop, and both had the chicken/pesto/cheese panini which I can fully recommend. Now with a bit more life in us, we went over to Loke, another ride I felt underwhelmed by last time.
Ok, I’m noticing a running theme now. I was really not in the right mindset during my last visit. This ride is awesome! Wicked floater at the peak of each swing, great level of rotation and being flung into the rain at high speeds was just so much fun. This wouldn’t be the worst ride for getting us all damp throughout the day, but both of us came off laughing and completely soaked.
With a new sense of optimism about me, it was time to tackle the big disappointment from last time, Valkyria.
WTF happened to this coaster!? The bland, forceless, master of boredom that I classed this ride as last time was replaced by a sleek, intimidating coaster that just did everything right. Like I mentioned before my mood was a massive contributing factor, but it just felt so much faster and bigger. I also did the vest restraint trick that @MouseAT taught me by pushing it out away from my chest which made it even better, allowing me to feel way more freedom in all the drops, the floaty/hangy bits in the inversions and even airtime on that little hill. The view from the top was pretty spectacular too, as you get to see all of Liseberg in its wonderful lit-up glory. The last thing that was fantastic was that my American lady friend as well as she had never done a dive machine before, reaching the holding break and looking over the edge and hear her go “oh ****” just had me in stitches going around the layout. Sadly we only got two goes on it as it broke down at around 5pm, but I’m really looking forward to getting back on it when I finally attempt to get on Helix again.
After our ride on Valkyria, the rain picked up a bit again and showed no signs of slowing. Fortunately, we were having way too much of a good time to let that spoil our day, so we headed over to the Geurstlauer Sky Roller, AeroSpin.
One that I missed out on last time as I’m not usually too bothered by these, but my friend was intrigued so we had a go. This hadn’t had a cycle in a little while and when we boarded we were the only ones getting on it, a rather ominous feel when going through the queue line. It had been sitting still with the restraints up for a little while and a puddle had managed to form on the restraints, so when they were lowered we both got an extra dumping of water, just to get us in the right mood for it. This was the wettest it got for us. Being up there, flapping back and forth trying to roll the bloody thing when you’re blind from the rain and your hands are freezing cold and soaked is not the most enjoyable experience. Again, spent the whole time laughing though, so it was definitely worth it. Sadly I got no flips and we had both given up before it started going back down, I had fun, but there is no way I’m going to get in a big queue for it or do it again in the rain. 5/10
After AeroSpin it was time to go and find out the reason they decided to keep Helix closed for the Christmas event. In the building that Helix and AtmosFEAR is housed they converted the whole thing into a Christmas market, with loads of quite nice and pricey ornaments and things for around the house. It kind of reminded me of the type of stuff you’d get at House of Fraser around Christmas stuff. They’d hidden any signage for Helix and AtmosFEAR around the area and it did raw me out a little that they might have closed these attractions for something as un-valued to me as a temporary Christmas store. There were other things that led me to believe though that they were just making use of the space due to other issues beyond their control.
A big part of me suspects that the main reason for Helix’s closure is that it’s something to do with the temperatures and how the LSM’s react, but honestly I’m not all that great with the physics of launches so I have no idea if that would be a contributing factor (especially as it runs through their Halloween season). AtmosFEAR was closed as well, but the answer to that one was pretty obvious as they had massive streams of Christmas lights running all the way down from the top of the drop tower to the floor. Whilst I would have preferred AtmosFEAR to still be running (another 2nd spite for me), to be fair to Liseberg this was a fantastic use of the tower and we both loved the effect.
After having a little look at that, the last remaining ride to do really (aside from re-rides) was Mechanica.
This is the only ride that actually went downhill from my last visit in my view. I thought that being in the dark would make it cooler, but that had little effect as it felt slower and the arms rocked even less. It just kind of remained static in an upright position the whole time it was swinging, with very little speed or force. Shame.
After that we had a couple more goes on the coasters then headed over to the bar next to the ice-rink to grab a drink and attempt to remember what being warm and dry felt like. We got the beers, but it was pretty unsuccessful for all the other intended purposes. So we headed back out to see what was happening on the ice rink. Neither of us realised beforehand but they actually had shows going on the ice rink, so we stayed and watched a Christmas carol in Swedish which was both amusing and surprisingly good quality for a theme park show (I probably haven’t been exposed to the best ones to be fair). By this point though, we were both reaching the end of enduring the cold and the wet so we got our final rides in on Balder, then decided to have a go on the Ferris wheel, Lisebergshjulet before leaving. The view was beautiful with all the lights around Liseberg, especially those coming off AtmosFEAR’s tower and was a perfect way to end and reflect on an awesome day.
I must confess, I was wrong about Liseberg last time and this trip really showed me why others have so much love for this place. I’m so so glad that I got to see Liseberg in this light and in this atmosphere. I think if I had gone again with anyone else it would have been for the sole purpose of trying to get on Helix, but given the unique circumstance I found myself in it really was a perfect park to just explore and have a nice little getaway with someone new. The attention to detail for the Christmas season is impeccable and if you can stomach the idea of going there and not being able to get on Helix this really is a fantastic event to witness for yourself. The rain helped too as everything was a walk-on and I will really cherish this day for many years to come. It went from one of my least favourite parks to one that I really cannot wait to get back to.
(yes, I do know the pictures are ****ty quality haha)
Right, that’s Liseberg over and done with. Back to the rambling of the rest of my trip, for those of you that can be bothered, enjoy, for those that can’t, I hope you got what you came for haha.
It was around 8:20pm when we left Liseberg and we headed back to the AirBnB so that we could shower and get into some dry clothes, along with working out a plan for dinner. We ended up going to the Holy Cow restaurant, which is on the road that runs along the backside of Liseberg (the hill side). The restaurant does a great little variety of burgers and cocktails, along with some other classic American dishes. The staff were super friendly and it was relatively inexpensive. I’d quite happily go there again. I’d also very much recommend the Confused Burger (Cajun Chicken with a bunch of other nice bits), really good quality. After all that and the previous evening’s shenanigans we were completely knackered. We did have a couple more drinks before going to bed but got a pretty early night compared to the day before. Slept like an absolute log.
Sunday 17th November
We had a much more leisurely day on the Sunday. We had to be out of the AirBnB by 11am and took every advantage of this, having a massive lie-in till 10:30am and a chilled departure from our accommodation. We didn't have any strict plans for the day, but my American lady friend noticed on the map that Gothenburg was not far from the coast and said she wanted to go and have a look at the North Sea. Luckily it wasn't raining on the Sunday, just overcast, damp and very foggy so we popped into a little local cafe named Frank's Corner to work out a game plan. This was a very nice cafe, again with it being close to Liseberg it would be a great place to have a cuppa and some food before venturing into the park (far superior to the cafe in Universeum).
After looking at the various coastal locations nearest to Gothenburg, the easiest to get to seemed to be Saltholmen, which was just under an hour from Liseberg on the tram. So we polished off our breakfast and got on the tram to the seaside.
So whilst I'm sure it does get sort of busy during the summer, on this day Saltholmen was an absolute ghost town. It had a very quaint fishing village vibes with little boats everywhere on the harbour, but there was literally no one there. There were a couple of paths that lead you up onto big rock formations that created the coastline, but there wasn't much else to do. All the shops were closed and the fog just added to the emptiness of the place. The fog restricted the view looking out to the ocean and the many mini rocky islands kind of reminded me of old pirate books I used to read as a kid, where the pirates feared certain coves because their ships kept getting caught on the rocks. Funny how certain locations can remind you of that. It did feel quite surreal being just the two of us and no one else there though, somehow eerie and peaceful all at the same time.
After spending about 2 hours clambering over rocks and seeing what we could see we headed back into central Gothenburg, then back to the airport for our flight to Gatwick. It was a really beautiful weekend and sadly the last I'll probably spend with my American lady friend before she goes home. It'll be one of the best in the memory though, it meant a lot to me and I'll always look back on it fondly.
If any of the content outside of Liseberg is valued please let me know, if this isn't the place for it that's totally fine and I'll pop it online elsewhere haha.
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