It was a day of conversation openers, where a number of people introduced themselves to me. Admittedly, the first two were a salesman for the local version of “The Big Issue” and a woman trying to sign me up to support Amnesty International. And the third was the guide for Skyview, the ride that takes you up to the top of Globen (the concert and sports arena). But the fourth was a genuine conversation started, and proof positive that you should always say yes.
The ride on Skyview to the top of Globen is excellent by the way. It must be only a few hundred metres in the air, but since Stockhcolm is such a low-level development city, that’s really all you need to have a good view around the place. And today there was more to be seen, as the skies were blue, and you could see well into the distance. Closer to hand, there were a bunch of blokes who were removing the snow and ice from the top of Globen. It was fascinating to watch them go about their work, and to see them held there by what appeared to be only a reasonably thin rope.
The tour guide, by the way, was originally from Portugal, and came to Stockholm to study. “So why do you speak Swedish?”, he asked me. And I told him about my long-interest in Swedish culture. And then he said, “ABBA were very popular in Australia. Weren’t they?” He saw right through me.
The fourth person to say hello to me today was a young bloke sitting on a chair not far from me at Torget, a gay bar in Gamla Stan.”Cheers”, he said, as he looked over at me holding up his glass. And of course, I responded with “skol”. Over the next couple of hours we chatted, mostly about music and film, and enjoyed each other’s company very much.
As the night appeared to be drawing to an end, he asked if I wanted to join him, going to a schlager bar called Victoria’s (I think) on Kungstradgarden. It was then I remembered some wonderful advice given to me by a colleague before my last overseas trip. “Always say yes”, she advised me, and it was great advice then, and great advice now. It was a really nice bar with a really nice vibe. And best of all, they had a GREAT band playing schlager. The two male lead singers really knew how to entertain the crowd, and obviously LOVE the songs they sing. The night ended at about when the band finished, and we caught the night bus back in the same direction. We’re Facebook friends now, of course.