Sweden - Ukraine Match... and it's JUNE!!!

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of Sweden  , Stockholm,
Sunday, June 1, 2008

It's JUNE!!! CRAAAZY... not my first thought when I woke up by the way.  I'm pretty sure my first thoughts went something like, "Ughhh... where am I? What just happened?  It wasn't me???"  I shower and feel oddly good by the time we run out to grab the train, minus her boyfriend and other friends.  We sit in the restaurant car to have a bite to eat and Malin actually asked if I wanted a beer with my breakfast... I look around and see most people decked out in Sweden apparel and it seems like everyone has a beer in hand. 

Still, I graciously decline (score one for me!) and continue to be shocked/appalled as she takes one.  Mind you that Malin is quite a small lady.  She definitely drank me under the table though.  On the train, everyone seems to know Malin, big surprise, and I'm not at all shocked when she says we are going to be interviewed for Swedish TV before the game.  We drop our stuff off at a hotel that her friend has graciously fixed for us and head downtown to the central square in Stockholm where all the diehard supporters are gathered before the game.  Once again, EVERYONE knows Malin, and when she introduces me as her friend from New York who's visiting, each person who comes up to meet us buys us both a beer!  The morning fades into early afternoon as I meet one Swedish football lunatic after the other and have an absolute blast.  The parade starts and the group marches down to the subway and heads up to the stadium where I am relieved to know that they don't drink, but later find out that is only because the beers there are more like US beers at 2.5% and not worth the money apparently... The game is fun, but not nearly as exciting as the Champions League Final in Moscow.   Ukraine ends up winning on a late goal courtesy of a gift from the second string Swedish goalie and the crowd is slightly dejected, but bounces back at the local bar next to the stadium after the game where some of the heaviest drinking of the weekend occurs.  I'm relieved when everyone disperses because people actually have work tomorrow... We grab pizza next door before we head back to the hotel to shower and regroup to meet back up with some of the crew at a famous bar, Café Opera.  After my shower, I change and get ready and am somewhat relieved to find Malin out like a lightbulb.  I make an attempt to wake her but she has clearly crashed from a long weekend. 

I head out on my own to find a bit more food and dilute myself with a little water or ginger ale.  After a nice hour walk I find myself at the steps of Café Opera, which seems very quiet based on what I had heard.  It looks amazing inside and I could use a quiet place so I step into the terrace and order a ginger ale only to have the guy next to me look at me funny.  I say something along the lines of "Dude, you have no idea!" and responds with just enough for me to tell he is American.  Chris turns out to be a great guy who is working for a member of Congress in DC and was just in Stockholm for a wedding.  We have a good conversation and I continue to order ginger ales and cokes to the dismay of the ordinarily gorgeous waitress.  It is about midnight before I notice that people had started to show up and just about the same time I noticed that the last ginger ale I had ordered had turned into a beer somehow...

As the few hours of darkness took over, the quiet outdoor bar erupted into a dance floor packed with all sorts of beautiful people giving me a very NYC feeling.  I stepped inside to go to the bathroom and saw the inside club absolutely jam packed with hundreds of people listening to a DJ competition.  I resurfaced and continued my now increasingly more difficult conversation with Chris only to see the last person I had ever expected to see!  There is Malin trying to find me... haha, she is AMAZING!  I don't see how she was alive, let alone at the bar and ready to go.

Next thing I know, it is 3am and Chris, Malin and I have met a few very nice ladies and we are informed that the after parties are at two nearby bars.  When in Rome, right?  I get home to the tune of sunlight after 5 am, yet again, and decide that I need to do some detox after this weekend. 
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