Of Swedish bus drivers and other random stories

Considering my inexperience in travelling without my parents organizing everything, I did a fair amount of town-hopping during my Erasmus year. Sadly, I was one of those people who would target the ten main sights and go from one to other without getting a proper feel of the town I was in.

The abandoned police station story is not the only unplanned situation I had during those months. I actually had a much less funny one a few months later. Well, less funny for me, you’ll probably laugh in my face and think I’m (we’re) plain stupid.

In June 2012 three Turkish friends and I went on a trip to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. As I said, I used to briskly walk from famous spot to famous spot every time I went to a new time, and that’s not really fun to write about. Most of my memories about that trips are not that clear anyway, since it happened in June 2012. I actually just want to talk about a couple of things that happened there, things that could have happened almost anywhere else. Sorry about the lack of photos on this post by the way, the ones I have from this trip don’t really fit the stories I’m about to tell.

A couple of lines about those cities: Stockholm and Copenhagen are amazing. I’m a particularly big fan of Stockholm. It’s a place without any buildings or sights that left me speechless, but the whole city gave me a lovely impression of peace and harmony. It’s the perfect place to go for a never ending stroll if the weather is merciful.

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I’m rather indifferent towards Oslo. A few nice spots but nothing special apart from the goddamned prices. Holy guacamoly. I remember buying bread and ham at the supermarket because I wanted to avoid paying for a meal out… didn’t matter. Seven euro for a few loaves of bread and a few miserable slices of shady looking ham. I also remember the cheapest hostel costing 32 euro per person and night; we fortunately found a very nice CouchSurfing host there.

The two stories I wanted to write about (yes, this is where this post properly starts) happened in Stockholm. The first one is about my first CouchSurfing experience, which was actually one of the worst. I mean, our host wasn’t a bad guy at all, but we just didn’t click. Zero.

Anyway, the guy was Indian, which means our eating habits were… slightly different. When we decided to cook pasta for him (I mean, we were Erasmus students, you couldn’t expect much more from us), he said that he wanted to add a tiny bit of spice. Not that much, since he was aware we couldn’t handle it as well as him. Just a tiny bit… a tiny bit my a**. Five seconds after engulfing the first mouthful of pasta, the four of us were running towards the toilet, faces red, desperate for water. Yes, I know it’s not the best remedy, but our brains were obviously not working. All this while our host said “what happens? Are you ok? I don’t feel anything” with a poker face. Looking back I wonder if he just trolled us big time.

And now the big story and a good reason to doubt the existence of my brain. Our flight from Stockholm to Copenhagen was very early in the morning, let’s say at 6.30am or so, 7am tops. We needed about an hour and a half to get to the airport (as I’m not sure about which one it was, let’s call it S1) so we woke up very early. We got there at 5/5.30 am and instantly looked for the departures panel.

Fear. Terror. Cold shivers down our spines. Confused looks exchanged between us. Our flight wasn’t there. We couldn’t see it. It didn’t exist. Surely it had to be a mistake. Right?

Wrong. The right answer is that we were dumber than dumb. After like five minutes of confusión, light came to my tiny little head. We had gone to S1 because we had arrived at S1 from Poland and we had automatically assumed our next flight would leave from the same place. Hands slightly shaking and knowing what I was going to see, I checked the plane ticket. The flight left from a different airport. S2, whatever its name was.

We hurried and asked someone how long we needed to reach S2. Two hours. No way we could do it, we had lost the flight. We had to go back to Stockholm and find and internet café to check flights and see if we could still go to Copenhagen (or Oslo) or if it was too expensive and we’d have to take a flight back to Poland.

What comes now is one of these gestures which momentarily gives you some faith in humankind. We left the airport and saw the bus that had taken us there. We ran and, just before the driver left, managed to catch it. Breathless, we explained him the whole situation while we showed him our tickets in shame. He wasn’t going to Stockholm. It was about 6am and the man probably wanted to leave the bus wherever he had to, go home and have a well deserved sleep.

I seriously love that guy. He took the four of us in his empty bus and then drove us to Stockholm. For free. Just the four of us. At 6am. For an hour and a half. Seriously, wherever you are, thanks a lot, random driver.

This proved to be of vital importance, since when we arrived at an internet café in town we found a relatively cheap (considering the circumstances) flight to Copenhagen three hours later. All in all, we lost four or five hours and seventy euro. It could have been much worse.

This time we went to the right airport.

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