When I entered “Kaffekoppen” (The coffee cup), a vintage cafe located in Stockholm’s Old Town, it was crowded. The waitress said if I didn’t mind going down stairs, there were plenty of seats available there. Of course, I didn’t mind.
Descending the narrow spiral staircase, I reached the cellar. It must’ve been used as a storage for vegetables or wines decades or ages ago. Chilly and dark. The air had a smell of old rocks. The rough stony wall had got various symbols and characters imprinted on it. It read KN ❤️ SN with an arrow going through the heart-formed symbol. Kevin and Sharon or Karen and Shawn? Never mind. Spider webs hung down from the corners of the room. No spiders in sight.
The cafe would be closed at around 8.00 pm. So I was told. I was considering the possibility of hiding myself in the cellar until it turned dark outside so that I could take some night shoots. Four hours to go. Not sure if it would work out though. I took good time to enjoy my Earl Grey tea and apple pie.
I knew there was a chance that the waitress would ask me to leave if people kept coming in for a coffee or home-made goulash soup to warm up their bodies. The sun was still high but it was freezing cold. I couldn’t stand wandering around the streets for four hours. Not in this cold. I might have to order another piece of pie – a piece of carrot pie for a change this time. But the apple pie, it got stuck there.
My empty plate had now been taken away by the waitress. A silent request for me to leave? A few minutes later, I was outside the cafe. Breathing in the cold crispy air, I made my way back to the hotel.
It wasn’t until 10.00 p.m that I returned to the Old Town. The lights glowed softly in the empty streets and gave me a distant, yet warm and intimate feeling.
Wandering along the streets in an empty old town at night was a very liberating experience. I stopped at the end of each narrow path, hoping to find interesting patterns – the evidence of the past.
It was approaching midnight. The moon looked down on me, bright and full. Would a 1920s car pull up besides me, like the one in Woody Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris”? Would the people in the car, dressed in 1920s fashion ask me to join them and bring me to a party where Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were among the guests?
It was all silent. Time stood still. I made my way through the empty streets slowly, shivering and waiting. The town was drowned in darkness.