Saturday, 5 September
Let’s just say this was a whirlwind trip to Stockholm, but a great kickoff to the 6 weeks. I arrived (delayed) around 2:30pm at Arlanda, tired but eager to get started. I had arranged to stay with a couch surfing host who would be picking me up at the central train station. As planned, and arranged easily over wifi once I got in, we met up and he instantly suggested we head downtown to go meet a girl from the Netherlands who also needed a place to stay after her other host turned out to be less than desirable. Along for the ride, we met them at a coffee shop (them being the Canadian studying in Holland, another Canadian on his way from Italy, and a Swedish-American girl- all other couch surfers). One thing led to another and we all split up, the other girl and I heading back to our hosts house to drop off bags and rest and talk.
He showed us his apartment and all its intricacies. Everything has to be child proofed in Sweden, he explained. So the knife drawer has a block on it to prevent from opening, the stove won’t heat unless a timer is also put on (this one mostly for older people) and all windows are specially locked. Very Swedish, I suppose. We don’t associate Sweden with design for nothing. Even the escalators I noticed stay stationery unless someone steps onto it. Clever indeed.
Later on, we headed back downtown to meet up with everyone again. This time, we ended up with about 8 people, some coming and going, but all met through random encounters or couch surfing. Eclectic group of people, but absolutely the nicest people you could ask for. We wandered around, leaving one popular beer garden line of about 1,500 people to finally end at a docked boat/nightclub where we all sat on the upstairs deck. “Cheap beer” at 64 SEK, or about $8, was not exactly flowing, but we talked politics, pop culture, religion, relationships, and so much more. Everyone seemed fascinated by Trump, not surprisingly. He’s our “pride and joy”! Hearing how everyone had met (thrown together by couch surfing disasters, success stories, happenstance meetings on the street, events, etc) it was just another reminder of what cool people you meet and experiences you end up with when you go with the flow and are open to almost anything.
Starting around 12:30, it started downpouring, so we all sat tight too about 2 when we made a mad dash for it. In bed by 4 for a quick 2 hour nap before my flight to Berlin, I could not have asked for a better beginning to the trip and a better group of people to meet on my first night in Europe this trip, and only night in Stockholm. May not have seen much of the city by day, but the people made this night.
Next stop: Berlin!
Saturday, 5 September