03/24/2014 - 03/24/2014 48 °F
After having a fairly tame weekend without any wild nights, I was much looking forward to Monday, which Jonas promised me would be quite the time. I didn’t know what to expect, only that he spent most Monday nights at a particular restaurant / club, and that it had been closed for renovations for the past few months, so tonight was going to be its Grand Reopening. Jonas also told me that it was a gay club, but a light version, at least for Stockholm.
Jonas had a couple of friends come over before we headed out, and I got to know Phillip and Jonas #2 (both also gay) over a couple of cocktails and some red wine. We talked about all sorts of things and I was introduced to EuroVision - a European music competition that was apparently a huge deal. Each year, there is a competition in 30-40 countries in which 1 song from each emerges to represent their country in the multi-national competition. Only 1 winner is chosen after a few rounds, and it is a huge televised event. The winner 1 year hosts the main competition the next year, and it is considered a huge honor, and a platform where many European music stars are launched into international stardom. Sweden won 2 years ago, with a song called Euphoria (LINK), and they are very proud of that. Denmark won last year and will therefore be hosting the competition in May. Apparently many of these songs would be played tonight at the club, so I made sure to learn the choruses for a couple of them.
After drinks, we headed to Kungstradgarden, an open grassy park in the middle of Ostermalm, to the restaurant, Victoria. It was immediately apparent that the reopening was quite an event, with the place buzzing with conversation and everyone rejoicing that their favorite Monday spot was back open. There were free h’ordervous and champagne to start as well.
As a public figure in connection with the main Swedish gay magazine, Jonas is somewhat of a public figure within that community, so there were many people, including the owners, that he had to say hi to and mingle with. Phillip and Jonas #2 jokingly referred to him as “Swedish King of the Gays”, which Jonas quite liked. I also met Martin, an actor currently in Stockholm’s production of Sweeney Todd, and Tatiana. Halfway thru the night, when Tatiana learned that, unlike the rest of our party, I was not gay, she hit Jonas and exclaimed, “How did I not know this earlier? We could have left this party an hour ago!”
The 6 of us sat down and upon Jonas’ insistence, I ordered Swedish meatballs. Of course, I’d had them before, but apparently they’re different in Sweden. Unsurprisingly, Jonas was right, and I enjoyed a thick, hearty dish of Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes with lingonberries and pickled cucumber. The lingonberries added a sweetness that I’d never had before with Swedish meatballs and were really good. I think that’s how they are served all over Sweden, and apparently this place had the 2nd best in Stockholm, according to my new friends. I couldn’t disagree, but that made me very curious about the best
They also had a special on “bubbley” during dinner so after a delicious dinner and 4 bottles of champagne between the 6 of us, they hurriedly cleared our table and moved it aside to set up the dance floor. As that was happening, the show started up on stage.
Many of the songs sung were from the EuroVision competition that I learned about earlier that night, but they were still great. Most of them were in English too, which was nice for me . The interludes, which drew many laughs, were obviously in Swedish and incomprehensible to me. But smiling and nodding works well in these situations.
After 45 minutes of singing and dancing, the dance floor began. Great music and mostly hits in the US, I had a great time. Like in the US, gay clubs have much more than just gay guys. A few dances with Tatiana, a few more with some other girls, plenty of moves busted with the group, the night raged on until 2 am, when Jonas and I took an “early” exit. After all, he had to be up early for work, haha.
That night is exactly the thing that I love about CouchSurfing. There is 0% chance that, without CS, I would have been anywhere near Victoria that night, and would have missed out on a fabulous time. Beyond that, I got to meet and hang out with Phillip, Jonas #2, Martin, and Tatiana, not to mention Rebecca or Henrietta. That’s the beauty of CouchSurfing, the international network of friends just waiting to happen
The rest of Stockholm was uneventful, but I want to thank Jonas again, who showed me vast amounts of kindness and who I hope I run into in Finland in early May (don’t forget about me).
(Mondays) are for the warriors
All those late nights walking thru front doors at day break