Reuniting with friends in Gothenburg
A little backstory…
In 2015 Jeremy and I swapped apartments with a lovely couple who had a flat in Manhattan for New Year’s Eve. It was a semi-spontaneous trip, made through a connection at work that I couldn’t pass up. I had never been to New York and though Jeremy had, we decided the free room was an incentive enough to check off our list as a couple.
While there, we walked all over, enjoyed the food and the sights, but strayed from most tourist attractions due to the overcrowded mess for the holidays. And then Jeremy found Amanda, a twenty-something Swede traveling with her brother Linus, looking for advice from reddit on where to go in New York for New years eve.
It seemed like fate that we should team up for new years eve, exploring as tourists together. And that is exactly what we did. We immediately hit it off with drinks and stories. Their English was near perfect and we spent the night talking and laughing about the differences between our countries. They are such good-humored people and we really grew to love them.
We drank more than we normally would, we stayed out until 2 am, and had the most memorable New Year’s Eve. We met once more before our trip ended to say good bye, connect on Facebook, and promised we would stay in touch and meet again some day.
Reuniting once more…
Fast forward to early 2017. We decided that this would be the year we go to Norway and Sweden to re-unite with Linus and Amanda. We had followed along loosely on Facebook, watching their travels, their new relationships, and hilarious party photos and longed to see them again.
We worked it out that we could take a train from Oslo to Gothenburg and meet somewhere there as a central location. The whole trip I was worried that maybe the magic of New York was gone and we would realize that we had nothing in common. When we finally met, my fears were quickly put to rest as we hugged each other and started conversing and laughing as if no time had passed. After quick introductions to Amanda’s boyfriend, we headed to a nearby bar for a delicious Swedish meal and some good local beer.
I don’t think I’ve laughed that much in a long time.
There is something very special about coming to a place for people you’ve met and made a connection with. The conversations are lively, the laughs are hearty, and the food feels more comforting knowing it’s being eaten with friends. Everything becomes an experience worth savoring and remembering.
After dinner and drinks, we decided to head out to another bar that had cocktails called Puta Madre. I expected a dive-y Mexican bar, but instead got a swanky 20’s inspired tequila bar. The decor inside felt like a funky 1920s exhibit. It was dimly lit with luxurious looking couches and lampshades everywhere. The servers wore black 20’s era dresses and headbands. We decided to head upstairs to the terrace to enjoy the lingering daylight. Having only had a prosecco at the previous bar, I was eager to get a cocktail in my hand. I started with a traditional Margarita then moved on to something called Agave Punch. It was full of tequila, fruit, agave and some sort of bitters. It tasted strong, and thankfully Jeremy took a big drink for me so that I could finish the thing and move on to the next bar.
Later in the night, we went on a quest to try Aquavit, a “traditional” Scandinavian alcoholic spirit with distinctive licorice flavor. We ended up at the bar we started at, sharing a shot of Aquavit, which was foul by the way. The bar tender and Linus laughed at me as I reacted to the heat rising in my throat. We finished with one last beer to wash that taste out of our mouths then finally headed home close to 2 am.
I’m sitting here the next morning in our Air bnb letting Jeremy rest and nurse his hangover. We feel so grateful to have made this friendship with Linus and Amanda. We wish we lived closer to them so that we could see them more. We made them promise to come visit us in San Francisco some time soon. We leave feeling sad we wont have any time to spend in Gothenburg, but it just means we’ll be back.