Welcome to Sweden.
I had little trouble finding my hotel and getting checked in although the pouring rain made me walk in to front door looking like I had taken a shower in my clothing. After I settled in I went for a walk to check out the nearby area and sniff out dinner.
I made my way down the street and noticed a something I had also seen and heard in Norway. Football (soccer) fans pre-game. Now while I had avoided the pub in Oslo I decided this time to go in. Why not? The place looked like it had food, and maybe watching the game in the pub would be fun. I might even get a chance to meet some locals.
So I walked in to the Gamle Port and squeezed my way up to the bar. What am I thinking? I should just go to some quiet restaurant and have a relaxing evening back at the hotel. But, I’ve gotten this far and am not going back now. One beer and some football and then I can move on if I still feel this way. I was still unsure at this time about tipping. The guidebook said not to leave a tip, but I saw other patrons doing so. I turned and asked the guy crammed up to the bar next to me what I should leave. Once that was taken care of I decided to go outside and get some air, the place was hot.
Outside I asked a nice woman why there were so many cops around. She explained to me that everyone there was getting ready to go to the Gais game and that the place would be empty in 5 minutes. We got to talking and she asked if I wanted to come to the game, which was only a few blocks from my hotel and where we were standing.
Knowing the reputation of European football fans, I figured it would be an experience if nothing else…