After leaving you with a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1-esk cliffhanger earlier in the day let us resume our tale. After the post-palace nap I woke up feeling a bit hungry. Excited to use the pasta sauce I had bought for just such an occasion a bit earlier, I scurried over to the hostel’s kitchen, boiled some water, and threw in some of the free pasta supplied by our so generous hosts. After cracking a few jokes to everyone about not knowing when my pasta was done (let me make it clear here that although my cooking skills are perhaps not world-renowned, I do know how to make pasta with sauce…) I received some very friendly help from a guy who was actually in culinary school in Stockholm and doing some sort of apprenticeship under a sushi chief. He helped me make my dish the “professional” way, which unfortunately didn’t include throwing it against the wall to check if it stuck. It was delicious and filling anyway and the kitchen was filled with conversation between everyone about what the night’s plan should be. I wasn’t originally planning on going out for the evening but after the reinvigorating nap and pasta I felt it would be silly to waste my last night in Stockholm on sleep I would so easily acquire on the train the next day.
As it worked out, a fellowship of nine of us would go out on this promising Thursday night. The nationality breakdown was as follows: 4 Americans, 2 Canadians, 1 Australian (actually Tazmanian), 1 Austrian and 1 Brazilian. The gender breakdown is much easier: 1 female American, 8 Male whatever’s. Suffice to say, Kelly our singular American female member, felt well protected and was happily snapping pictures of the entourage.
Our first destination was a place called the Vampire Lounge on the other side of town. With the Aussie leading us on, we headed for the subway and not so easily garnered tickets for all of us. We’ll leave that story alone. The club was only a few stops down and we got off easily enough, pulled out our map and started on our way looking on buildings for street names because apparently Stockholm is too good for free standing street signs. As we approached the club we all felt a bit perplexed. The area was supposed to be pretty lively, and it was, you know, except for the complete lack of people anywhere. Nevertheless, we ignored the bad omen, found the club and headed downstairs into its basement location. It was named the Vampire Lounge for a reason. The scene was a bit dark and dingy with heart shaped, dark, Victorian era furniture lining the walls and blue and red ambient lighting. The bar was in the center of one of the rooms and was stocked just as you’d imagine any club bar to be stocked. It seemed like a very promising place to start our excursion. And would have been if not for one detail. As we sauntered over to the bar making our way through one of the rooms, we noticed a severe lack of people. Now, when I say severe lack, I mean zero, zippo, none, the same number of people you’d see if you were a vampire and you looked at yourself in the mirror. We knew Stockholm started to party a bit late and had planned accordingly, leaving at 11. It wasn’t like it was Tuesday night or anything, and it surely wasn’t especially cold inside anyway. The Vampire lounge looked like a place frequented on nights like this, so what in the world was going on? What memo had we missed? The bartender seemed a bit surprised seeing us down there and soon enough we were quizzing him on what the deal was. We found out it was a bit of bad luck. Of all the nights, we chose the night before “salary day” to go out. Salary day is the one-day a month when everyone is paid. Ergo, the night before means no one has any money to go out. This explained a lot.
Not allowing such a thing to put a damper on our night, we sat, talked to the bartenders and other than yours truly, drank. After about an hour the bartenders “recommended” we try a different place and so off we went to find out where the good budgeters of Stockholm partied.
Just as Lord of the Rings taught us, no good fellowship can go unbroken. At first we weren’t sure what time the subway closed or whether we should take an expensive cab ride or not to our next destination. Eight of us decided to rush down to the subway while one of us, James the Brazilian, for what reason we still don’t know, got a bit distracted and was caught in a conversation with a cabbie. Not having tickets for our way back on the subway we got to the window and asked how to get them. The ticket women asked us where we were going and when we told her she said forget tickets and get down there because the last train was about to pull away! We immediately started sprinting down the long staircase and the nine became eight as we slid past the closing doors and onto the train.
We were still sort of following the Aussie at this time, but since no one really knew where we were going now, Canadian Andrew, the Austrian, and I went over to a couple of younger Swedes on the train and asked them where they thought we should go for the rest of the night. A fantastic idea it was. They showed us on our map exactly where we should go and it even happened to be relatively close to our hostel. Unfortunately, our newfound plan wasn’t communicated to the other four soon enough. The three Americans, the Aussie and the other Canadian departed a stop early and by the time we were yelling at them to get back on the train it was too late. And the fellowship was cracked into three groups of four, three and one.
The three of us got off the subway at our requisite stop and began to walk to the square the Swedes had told us about. When we got there, it was definitely livelier than anywhere else we had been. There were three or four clubs with people standing outside waiting to get in or smoking. Not knowing which of these clubs would be the smartest to attempt to enter we did what any self-respecting group of three guys would do. We spotted a group of decently good looking girls and we might have, kind of, stalked them a bit to figure out which club they were going to. After a couple minutes, however, even the girls seemed a bit puzzled. Seeing as they had stopped we thought it’d be best if we went up and talked to them instead of stopping as they stopped to reduce any creepiness. So the three of us went up to the three girls and found out they were just as clueless as us. They were from Norway and knew about as much about the clubs as we did. What we did get from them is that the busiest looking club, called Hell’s Kitchen, was supposed to be for celebrities. That was enough to push us into that one, so off we went. I’m still not sure how we got in, or at least how I got in. Stockholm is a pretty fashionable city and I don’t think anyone has ever actually accused me of being fashionable, especially while I’m living out of a backpack. But it was the night before salary day after all, so in we went (after paying a stupidly expensive cover).
I can’t guarantee this, but I think Hell’s Kitchen might have been in an old church. The main room in front of you as you walk in had a three story high ceiling and there were second floor rooms on the left and the right of the main room containing the VIP room and the hip-hop room. The third floor side room had the coat check. One of the more ridiculous occurrences of the night happened right as we walked in. Our part of the fellowship was reunited with James, the Brazilian, whom we had lost first. Remember the guy who straggled behind with the cabbie? Yea, he was sitting there at the entrance of the club as we walked in with a drink in his hand. He told us he talked the cabbie down to a very reasonable price after he realized we were gone. Of all the clubs in Stockholm, the cabbie brought him to Hell’s Kitchen when James asked to go to the clubs. Wow. Moving on. The music was, of course, all American. The DJ was pretty good and everyone was having a good time, including the Norwegian girls who came in with us. We snuck into the VIP section for a little bit as well, but quickly decided it wasn’t much our scene. We were underdressed and underfunded. There were some spectacularly good-looking Swedish blondes though…
To try and wrap this up because I think this story has been a bit too long already, allow me to summarize the rest of the night in a sentence couple of few sentences. Everyone is dancing and having a good time and when the club closes at 2am we all try to go to another club that doesn’t close until 3:30am but decide it’s not worth the cover price while also realizing we’ve lost James. Again. So after a little we part ways with the girls much to their chagrin and start making our way back when we decide it would be prudent to stop at the only food place open; McDonalds. Guess who’s sitting in McDonalds with a burger already half-eaten? Yea, it’s James. After some more theatrics we finally find our way back to the Hostel at about 4:30 and meet the rest of the fellowship in the kitchen. Seeing as I’m the only sober one in the group, I recount the story to the others who are all envious and sad they got off the train early. Sometime around 5am I finally slide into bed and somehow manage to get up at 8am to make it to the train station by 10am to find out I should really take the train out at 9:30pm and not 10:30am. *Sigh* I think I then managed to sleep from 1pm to 8pm at the hostel then from 10pm-6am on the train. I told you I’d make up the sleep.