La Mer Nordique‘s August Gothenburg photography walk was to Gullberg Quay, also known as Quay of Dreams, Quay of Sighs, Quay of Dead Ships. The first Wednesday of every month, the walk is an excellent opportunity to check out different parts of the city, meet new people, and be inspired by other local photographers.

For a lover of harbours and a good rusty boat aesthetic, Gothenburg’s Drömmarnas Kaj was indeed a dream to visit and photograph. I’m honestly surprised that I’ve managed to miss this beautiful pocket of the city in my eight years here.

Last night was the third time I participated in one of the walks, and, though I have been to Ringön a couple of times, I found angles and motifs I never noticed while attending the annual ÖFest.

During the early 1960s, the quay became a storage place for ships awaiting demolition, but many of those boats ended up staying put, and people began to live in them. Others with their own boats joined the community, and the result is a rather large collection of docked boats at various stages of renovation and inhabitation.

Just over the bridge from the centre of town, Ringön is almost the first spot you pass through on your way to Hisingen from Greater Gothenburg. It’s home to an extensive collection of grungy cars, boats and caravans, variously abandoned, stashed and extremely well taken care of.

There are a lot of opinions about the quay, which is the cause of some friction. A huge roadwork project (also the cause of significant clashing of opinions) threatens the little oasis, and, as with any alternative living arrangement, the neighbourhood is home to an array of eccentrics of various character.

I left the photowalk inspired by the fruitful pot-plant gardens, the eclectic decor, the feeling in the quay that the people who live there have dreams and plans and ideas about the way they want to live their lives, just out of reach of the mainstream. In a world where living the way you’re supposed to is becoming impractical, there’s a lot to admire about those with the courage to do something else.

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