So, in the morning after the Aussie pre-mature session, a new crop of hostelites came into the City Backpackers. As I looked around the common room, I was the veteran. Only one person was recognizable and she was a British girl that came in the day after me. Everyone else was a newbie, or Asian.
My mornings usually consist of checking email and whatnot and mapping out a plan for what to do, and then I venture out around 11 am local time and see what the Stockholm world shows me.
Today was decidedly different.
Since I started sleeping at 5 am, I wasn’t waking up at 8 am and lounging. I woke up because of the sun at 9:30 am and promptly took a shower because I smelled of smoke and Heineken. Beer shits shortly after the shower and I’m good to go. Then hit the common room. As mentioned, the Aussies were long gone. I think they just stayed up after coitus and left to go to Berlin (I believe).
Now, just like what happened to me when I came in, you can’t check-in before 2 pm. So I’m sitting there, with the British girl, and there are a handful of people meandering in and out. No big deal. Then about 10:20 am SHE walks in.
And you know it is a big deal when SHE is capitalized.
SHE is Vika. [pictured below] And Vika is from Odessa, Ukraine.
SHE looked lost and I asked her, like the gentlemen that I am, whether or not she was looking for the luggage room. SHE was (of course) and I pointed her in the right direction. A couple of minutes later, SHE re-emerges and sits right down next to me as I’m working on my computer (I was actually trying to move my British Airways flight up from a 6:30 pm flight to a noon offering). SHE asks me where I’m from and if I have been out in the city yet.
SHE had me from ‘Hello’.
I go through the song and dance and basically tell her that I’ve been there since Monday and that I have seen a bit of the city, and that I was thinking about going for some brunch (no I wasn’t, but still), and ask her if SHE’d like to join. It is a bold play but SHE’d be sitting in the common room for nearly four hours otherwise.
SHE seems interested. I tell her, “actually, lets show you old town and then grab some lunch, and we’ll be back by 2 pm so that you can check in.” So I get dressed and we venture out. I know enough about Gamla Stan to make it seem like I know the city.
We actually borrowed bikes from the hostel to make the trip shorter. Now this sounds really gay to Americans, but biking in Stockholm is actually considered cool. And, in a roundabout way, it feels like a date. I show her the old town and the sights that need to be seen. SHE tells me that she’ll be here for a week. I tell her that I’m going to London tomorrow night. SHE tells me that she’s going to London next but not until Wednesday (when I’ll be back in Pennsylvania).
That would be my luck, my true luck. Here we are, I could have had an awesome travel partner but SHE’s not going to be in London at the same time.
After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I ask her if SHE’d like to get ice cream (yeah, it is officially a date when ice cream is involved). Ice cream dates are the most effective dates ever. First of all, they’re inherently cute. Second of all, they’re inherently unique. Thirdly, provided she’s not lactose intolerant, there really is no such thing as a bad ice cream moment.
We go to Mr. Ardizzone’s little parlour in Normalm — which was recommended by the hostel staff on my first day — and have more conversation and some really decent ice cream, I must say. It starts to approach 2 pm and I ask her if SHE’d like to check-in. SHE does. And then thanks me for lunch and kisses me on the cheek.
[Don’t thank me, thank the Aussies]
That is a start.
We get back to the hostel and she checks in. I go downstairs to my room and actually go for a shave. As I emerge from the bathroom and punch in my code to my room, I hear a door crack open. “Guess, we’re neighbors.”
Yeah, SHE’s in the room next to me. And, yeah, SHE wants to get in the sauna before we head out for dinner and then we’ll see what the next move is. And, yeah (3x), fuck moving up that flight now, says I.
A lot can happen in six additional hours. Hell, Aussies take less than 15 minutes.