06:45 flight. Be at airport 05:15. Bus from Stockholm 03:30. No sleep. What to do in Stockholm, alone, until 3am?
Couchsurfing not only provides the service of connecting hosts with travellers, it also has a feature that allows for members of the Couchsurfing community to arrange meet ups. Luckily for me, there was a Friday Night Drinks meet up organised in Stockholm for my sleepless night.
About 40 people showed up. 1/3 locals 2/3 travellers. Back room of a popular pub restaurant in the middle of the hip district of Stockholm. Arriving late I got the last remaining seat on the outskirts of the group. This gave me the chance to have deeper conversations than if I had been in the middle where a game of spill the bottle resulted in the bottle being smashed by a smashed traveller.
I get chatting to a few of the travellers and the locals and we start trading our stories about why we’re in Stockholm, our couchsurfing experiences and travel experiences in general. The most profound of these stories came from two locals, Jonass and Annsofi. Jonass prefers to host than to travel whereas Annsofi is the contrary.
Jonass recounted numerous quirky stories about his experiences hosting in Stockholm but each time it has worked out well for him. One guy showed up to his place in Stockholm during the winter in flip flops and a small rucksack. Nearly all of his stuff had been robbed on his way from a much warmer destination. Annsofi is a more seasoned traveller and shared her experiences hitchhiking in Germany. A chap in a sports car picked her up on the autobahn, tried to seduce her by driving at 280km/h and scaring her to the point that she got out at the next service station. All ended well though as a friendly trucker gave her a lift the rest of the way with a maximum speed limit of 80km/h and even gave her coffee.
The crowd started to thin out by 12 and at 1am the pub shut down. Jonass and I went on a quest to fill our bellies. We discovered a kebab shop, Folkets Kebab, where I got the most full doner kebab I had ever been given in my life. It was even less expensive than in Dublin K39 (€4). We sat there eating and watching the various stages of drunk coming and going, stumbling and shouting, ordering and forgetting until it was time to leave for the bus station.
Arrive into Gdansk at 8am. By 10:30 I had been to Marta’s house, my host in 3city, eaten some porridge like food with some sweetened tea and was on a walking tour around Gdansk, lead by Marta. 4 hours later we were doing an escape room with 2 military personnel from American who had been on the tour and invited us along. After defusing the bomb and saving all 23 souls on board we went to a hummus bar where in my sleep deprived mode I ended up trying and surprisingly enjoying pumpkin hummus served with pomegranate, beetroot hummus and falafels. A few pints in a brewery and the minute I went for a ‘nap’ at 6ish I was out for 15 hours.
It was a long sleepless 40 hours.