An expedition to Gamlestaden, Gothenburg

What can you find in Gamlestaden in Gothenburg? Gamlestadens Fabriker. We see it as we get off the tram at Gamlestadstorget. It seems to harbour some small businesses now as seen from a distance.

SKF. Yes, we are walking along Artillery Street along the long long factory building, and we see that there are activities too. The Swedish ball bearing factory. ”Kulan” in local parlance. One of Sweden’s most important industries ever. All of the world’s industrial machinery spun on these ball bearings. Today however, we are looking for Per Nordby’s coffee roasting-house.

At first we go wrong. We cross Säveån, but when we get to Byfogdegatan we understand we are in the wrong place. We ask a passer-by, who explains that we should follow the main street on the other side of the river.

Korpralsgatan 1 – 3

When we get to Korpralsgatan we encounter problems. Number 1 – 3, is where the coffee roasting-house is supposed to be.

The City Mission’s Secondhand Store

But  that’s where the City Mission’s secondhand shop is. We ask a man who passes by, but he doesn’t speak Swedish. The next person we ask knows the language, but knows nothing about this place.

There are mostly immigrants here. A guy points in a direction trying to help us, but communication fails. We are lucky, however. The mail van comes by and stops close by to leave mail.

Korpralsgatan 2

When we ask the delivery-lady, she knows, of course, that Per Nordby Kafferosteri is at number 2 on the opposite side of the street.

”I’ll go there and leave mail now, but I do not know if they’re open to the public,” she says as we follow her.

But the doors are open, and when we get in we see three people operating a coffee grinder, making notes in a log book. They’re carrying bags. They are busy.

”Can we have a cup of coffee here?” We ask politely.

”We do not have a café,” replies the manager Per, smiling and showing the jute gunnies with coffee beans.

They are imported directly from the growers in villages in, among other places, Honduras and Burundi, as we can see, looking at the stamps.

”But I’ll fix you a cup,” he says, and then he pours in for us from a coffee maker in the corner. He cleans a table and comes over with the fine, small blue-white cups. The coffee is strong.

We sit for a while sipping and small-talking while the work continues and the boss disappears on an errand somewhere.

When we’ve finished our coffee, the female foreman comes up. She’s curious, of course, to know why we’re there, so we introduce ourselves. Ellington, blog writer. Arletta, who is interested in this place because they have asked for a trainee from the Cultural School to the roasting-house.

Afterwards, we take a turn into the secondhand shop, and when we’re back out on the street, a man shows us how to get to the nearest tram-stop. He is probably from Syria. Bellevue is the closest, he says. It’s a five-minute walk. Our eyes are caught by a large building on the right hand side.

Concrete and glass and brick. Do people live there? The architect hasn’t really made that clear.

On the tram from Bellevue back via the Central Station to Järntorget, a sweet black-skinned girl at the age of five tries to cheer up her mother who looks tired. The girl makes little jokes and smiles a contagious smile. She then looks seriously at her mother saying something that they only understand.

At Järntorget we get off. We still feel the tastes of Gamlestaden.

Arletta and Ellington




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