Peter and Fiona Boman's @absinthemindedmagazine is one of our 24 favorite Instagram feeds to follow. The pair have lived in many places — the stately buildings of London, the Pacific Heights of San Francisco, the swamps of New Orleans — and now call the west coast of Sweden home. Gothenburg is a city that takes great pride in its canals and cobblestones, friendliness toward bikers and pedestrians, and thriving art and food scene.
COBBLESTONE STREETS, BALNEOTHERAPY, AND OLD JAZZ MUSIC
One of Gothenburg's main attractions is its location by the sea, laid out around a system of canals and cobblestoned streets.
Listen to: Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil album.
Balneotherapy is the new black in Sweden. The waters along the coastline have some seriously healing powers.
Listen to: David Sylvian's Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities album.
This car-free neighborhood smells of freshly brewed coffee and baked goods. With a variety of great independent shops and a regular farmers' market, it's not to be missed.
Listen to: Terry Callier's The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier album.
An Iron Age settlement site on the island of Tjörn is home to ancient stone circles and burial mounds, as well as a vast variety of herb and plant life. In the summers, Tjörn hosts a contemporary sculpture exhibit.
A hole-in-the-wall café with fantastic espresso, great little snacks, and Italian sodas. Old-school jazz and soul music played on vinyl provides the perfect background soundtrack as you people watch and catch up with friends on the street.
Listen to: John Coltrane's Giant Steps album.
Drive north for an hour and you'll find this old (yet very much alive) fishing village and The Nordic Watercolour Museum — a unique, contemporary, and ecofriendly museum perched on the edge of the water.
Listen to: Idaho's Levitate album.
A cast iron and glass masterpiece in The Garden Society of Gothenburg, as inspired by the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. There are few more calming places to escape the hustle of the city.
My grandparents took my brother and me here at least once a year during our childhood. Ever since we moved back to Sweden four years ago, we're doing our best to keep this tradition alive with our own children. This place amazed me then and still does so today.
Listen to: Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album.
It's a meeting place, a café, a whimsical mix of interior delight, and a courtyard that is more vibrantly Mediterranean than calm Nordic. It also has some of the best coffee and sandwiches in the city.
Listen to: Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain album.
You may know their cousins as langoustines, Dublin Bay prawns, or cigalas, yet these little crustaceans are very specific to the Swedish coastline. They're generally put into a brine of dill and cumin right on the boat — late, late at night. But we prefer to combine them with freshly made aioli, locally baked sourdough, strong hard cheeses, and chilled akvavit.
Listen to: The Tallest Man on Earth's There's No Leaving Now album.
Drive an hour south to this coastal town for some of the finest bath houses you'll ever find. The cobblestoned center is also full of great little shops and cafés.
Listen to: Sparklehorse's It's a Wonderful Life album.
Traditionally, fika refers to a social phenomenon that means bonding over coffee while eating something sweet. "To break bread" is a decent enough translation for this untranslatable word. Saluhallen is the largest indoor market in town.
Listen to: Talking Heads' More Songs About Buildings and Food album.