Katja Presnal, originally from Finland, met her American husband in Germany 20 years ago, and they’ve been exploring Europe and North America together ever since. His work as a helicopter test pilot and hers as a social media marketer and lifestyle blogger have given them the flexibility to live in five countries, seven U.S. states—and counting. Their three kids were born in different countries in three years, and they’re currently planning a next move from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Helsinki, Finland.
We caught up with nomadic Katja to get her first-hand take on how the Volvo Overseas Delivery program works and how it enabled her to explore West Sweden’s coastal towns, picturesque countryside, and big-city culture.
What sparked your interest in the Volvo Overseas Delivery program and what were the benefits?
We wanted to go on vacation in Europe and thought it’d be tough to purchase a new car and also take an extended trip in the same year. So when we heard how Overseas Delivery works, it made a lot of sense to purchase a car this way.
What really got us interested were the financial savings: two free flights to Gothenburg, Sweden; a night’s hotel stay; a lower car price; and no extra cost for the shipping the car from Europe. Our Volvo dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, helped ensure we were able to get the car we wanted on time and plan the trip of our dreams. They took care of the paperwork, and the process was seamless.
After our trip, we waited around six weeks to receive the car in the USA, and then it was as easy as driving it off the dealer’s parking lot, exactly like any other typical car purchase. We’ve imported other cars from Europe, and those experiences don’t come close to the ease of Volvo.
Where did you choose to explore in West Sweden with your Volvo?
I was eager to see as much of the coast as possible, but I also found myself charmed by the Swedish countryside, with its yellow rapeseed fields, gorgeous mansions with tree-lined driveways, and breaks for cinnamon buns and coffee in small cafés.
We also made it to some of West Sweden’s marquee attractions, like the Göta Kanal, easy to reach on the highway from Gothenburg. We rode bikes along the canal and spent the night in nearby Lyrestad at the darling Norrqvarn Hotell. We also visited Läckö Castle by the Vänern, one of the large lakes of Sweden.
What were some of your favorite experiences in West Sweden and Gothenburg?
My favorite coastal small towns are Fjällbacka and Marstrand, both full of colorful wooden houses with rose gardens in the front. It was neat to visit these fishing villages and then experience how fishing plays a role in the city of Gothenburg as well. We visited the Fish Auction, where fishermen take bids on their latest catch, and ate oysters in a restaurant at the market known as Feskekôrka, Fish Church.
I loved dining in Gothenburg, where the local fresh food movement is longstanding. We especially enjoyed Bhoga restaurant for the incredible tasting menu of imaginative dishes. One of our favorite relaxing moments was some pampering at the Upper House Spa. You can sit in the sauna or swim in the pools and admire the city from the huge floor-to-ceiling windows.
What makes West Sweden a great road trip destination?
From small fishing villages to stunning countryside to bustling metropolis, West Sweden offers up all kinds of scenery. Since the distances are relatively short, you can have these varied experiences and get the feel of Swedish traditions and modern luxuries in a very short time frame.
West Sweden is also a great place to drive because it’s not as hectic or traffic-clogged as some other parts of Europe. Drivers tend to be friendly—just be sure you practice entering and exiting roundabouts, as West Sweden is full of them.
I’d heard about the West Coast—and the draw for me really was the coast—but what took me by surprise was how much I liked Gothenburg. You can really sense the history and the future mixing there. It’s evident in architecture, the city gardens, and even in restaurants where the traditions and local ingredients are interpreted in creative new ways. Now I appreciate what a fantastic destination Gothenburg is, and I’m spreading the word!
Read more about Katja’s adventures in Sweden on her blog.