“So how have you spent the last few days”, I asked the mother of a family from Houston I met on the food tour the other day. I randomly ran into them on the Djurgården ferry. “We’ve been on a tour of the Old Town, we got some segways, we’ve been on The Archipelago and we’ve done some shopping,” she told me. “And what about you?”, she asked. At that moment, I had to think. “Oh just eating, drinking, and dancing”, I told them with a grin. And yes, indeed, that’s how I’ve spent the last few days, and I’ve loved it.
As I mentioned, the food tour on Sunday was good fun. And I actually “made friends” with another guy on the tour, an English guy called Mark. He told me he also loved travel, and as we wandered around we just kinda clicked.
“I’m going to see one of your countrymen tonight”, he told me, referring to the comedian, Pam Ann. I’ve never actually seen her perform live, although she’s a regular at events like Mardi Gras with her hilarious, very honest and biting “take” on the gay scene. Although I’d noticed she was playing Stockholm Pride, I hadn’t bothered to book a ticket, until just randomly I decided I would go to the theatre and try for one. I ended up with an excellent ticket in the fourth row. The show was really funny. She really “nailed” Sweden with some very accurate observations, as well as the more “obvious” quotes like… “What is it with you people? You speak like you’re permanently underwater”. I’d definitely go to see her again. After the show, my friend and I had a wine or three at Torget, my “regular” at Gamla stan.
After a late-ish start (I needed to do some washing), I headed out for lunch on Monday at Urban Deli, one of the places we had visited on the food tour. Some meat, some olives, a glass of wine, and a Bundaberg Ginger Beer. It seems to be the “hip drink” at Urban Deli, as all three tables near mine were enjoying it.
It was a perfect drink for a warm summer’s day. There’s a Swedish saying, even a pop song called, “Sommaren är kort” (Summer is short) which is definitely true. “It’s been a late start to summer” my friend Sandra told me. But by Monday, summer had definitely arrived. The weather was spectacular.
Mark and I caught up again on Monday night, having booked dinner at the nearby Flying Elk which is a kind of a gourmet pub with Michelin status. I really liked the space. I really liked the service. But to be honest, I wasn’t overwhelmed with the food. It was good. But not great.
As we’re in the midst of “The Season Of The Gays” (last week was Stockholm Pride, this week is the Euro Gay Games), once again we visited the overly crowded Torget for a couple of drinks and a few people watching.
Earlier, I’d already flagged with Mark the idea of going to Victoria’s, the famous schlager night which I’ve been to in Stockholm on several occasions. At first, I knew he wasn’t convinced. I realise I hadn’t really done a convincing job, explaining why he should experience a bar where a bunch of Swedes of all ages since along to classic Swedish language pop songs. But after an hour or so at Torget, I convinced him on the basis it “was near his hotel anyway”.
Within minutes of arriving he was convinced it’s probably the most fun, you can have in Stockholm on a Monday night. “What I really like is the mixture of young and old, straight and gay, and they’re all totally into it”, he told me. We spent an hour or two on the dance floor before finally calling it quits. (Graeme – as you’ll see from the photograph, there’s a new band playing there, replacing “Hallå hela pressen”.)
On Tuesday I visited The Spiritmuseet, where they have two excellent exhibitions at the moment, which I’ll write about later.
And then on Tuesday night, I caught up with Sandra and Robert. They’ve been in the United States for the last few weeks, visiting family. Despite a bit of jet lag for them, we had a wonderful catching up, and we’ll see each other more after my trip to Rome, which starts tomorrow.
So yeah, how have I spent the last few days? Eating, drinking, and dancing. “And loving it….”