Midnight wandering

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When I entered “Kaffekoppen” (The coffee cup), a vintage cafe located in Stockholm’s Old Town, it was crowded. The waitress said if I did not mind going down stairs, there were plenty of seats available there. Of course I did not mind. 6CA249FA-19D7-4805-AA3E-D7B829B40A4B.jpeg

Walking down the narrow spiral staircase, I reached the cellar. It must have been used as a storage for vegetables or wines ages ago. Chilly and with a smell of old rocks. The rough stony wall has got various symbols and characters imprinted on it. It reads KN ❤️ SN with an arrow going through the heart. Kevin and Sharon or Karen and Shawn? Never mind. A few spider webs hanging down in the corner. No spiders in sight.

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The cafe will be closed at around 08.00 pm. So I was told. I am thinking of hiding myself in the corner until it gets dark outside. Have to take some night shoots. 4 hours to go. Not sure if it would work out though. Have already finished my tea and apple pie, at a slower tempo. I might be asked to leave if people keep on coming for a cup of coffee and home-made soup to warm up their bodies. The sun still high but it is freezing cold. I cannot stand wandering for 4 hours. Not in this cold. I might have to order another piece of pie, carrot pie for a change but the apple pie, it gets stuck there.

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My empty plate has now been taken away by the waitress. A silent request for me to leave? A few minutes later, I am outside the cafe and start making my way back to the hotel.

It is almost 10 pm, I have returned. The lights glowing and the moon shining, those narrow streets in Old Town are now at rest. It feels distant but warm and intimate in a strange, yet most natural way.

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Wandering alone at night is quite
liberating. I stop at the end of every narrow path, hoping to find patterns, the evidence of the past. People who lived here decades and centuries ago.

There were high hedges covered with flowers when I was here last autumn, and red maple leaves hanging on the walls. Now the graffiti gives colour to the town, it fits the yellowish wall and the soft lighting nicely.

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It is approaching midnight, the moon looking 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 1920s party where Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway are among the guests?

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It is all silent. I am walking through the empty streets slowly, shivering and waiting. The town is drowned in the darkness.

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Thank you for reading and take care.

With love,

Isabelle ❤️

Author: Isabelle

I am Isabelle and I live with my family in Oslo, Norway. I have three children, a girl and two boys. My educational background: Bachelor of International Marketing. Bachelor of English Language. I am currently doing my master's in English Language at University of Oslo. Interests: Language, literature, running, yoga and travelling

51 thoughts on “Midnight wandering”

  1. Your wanderings to and reveries in cafes always evoke warmth and magic. The use of the cellar at Kaffekoppen as extra seating is a unique touch. I can imagine what it held before customers made it a dining room. From the photos, it looks a little eerie, like a dungeon, but not so unwelcoming.

    I love how you linked your searching for evidences of past times to the “flashback” to the 1920s. Do you happen to know what any of the graffiti on the alley walls said?

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    1. I agree. I had the same impression when I entered the cellar, chilly and rough. Strange in a mysterious way. It was quite different from the cafe area upstairs, which was cosy and homely with a nostalgia touch.

      Very few symbols were recognisable to me, they looked random and a bit unorganised. Certainly there were messages hidden in the randomness.

      The film “Midnight in Paris” fascinates me in many ways, the midnight wandering in beautiful streets in Paris, the way the protagonist is taken to the 1920s parties where he encounters those major characters in literature and art.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh, such a wonderful mystery of contrasts Isabelle! Your photos and your thoughts…light and dark, day and night, words and silence, a cafe where once a wine cellar… you make me wonder and sigh and smile! 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for pointing it out for me Suzanne – the contrasts! I didn’t have contrasts in mind while I was writing it so I’m very delighted that the text gives such an impression, a little deeper. It was like a monologue, a recall of the events and moments from last Thursday. I was attempting (struggling at times) to match the text with the photos. Love those night images, and the wave of nostalgia. It was a little strange to have a cup of tea in the cellar, the place reminds of some “religious ritual” scenes in a film I can’t remember the title of. Hope you’re well and enjoying some quiet time at Easter Suzanne. Take care. 😊❤️

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      1. You did a lovely job of matching them up with one another! I felt a wonderful sense of intrigue, the narrow passageways, the cellar with candelabras, even the lovers initials left upon the wall. I wonder who they were and if they’re still together and if they remember the place where they left note of each other for anyone to find. I can imagine it was a little different to have tea down there, an adventure to be sure! Easter was quiet here, thank you for asking. I hope yours was lovely as well. Take care Isabelle 😊❤️

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      2. Thank you for the thoughtful words Suzanne. You have a very creative mind, and you’re observant and imaginative. You catch the subtle details and elaborate them to something loving, powerful and touching. It’s all reflected in your writings.
        We spent a few days in Stockholm during the Easter break. It was lovely. I also got some alone time which was good for the soul. It was necessary. The youngest is home with me today and I read Clyde for him after breakfast. It was such a wonderful half an hour. Clyde is a classic and it will be enjoyed time after time. The central theme is relevant to my generation and generations to come. Thank you Suzanne and take care 😊❤️

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      3. Good morning Isabelle, sorry it’s taken me so long to get back. I hope you are well. How nice to get away and to have some time to yourself. It is so very necessary 😊. One can only give for so long before you have to find a place of quiet to refill your soul so as to be able to return to all those who love and need you. Your sweet thoughts have touched me all week. It is very easy for me to see beauty in your thoughts. You write soulfully. It does my heart good to know that Clyde has found a home in more ways than one. I do hope all is well with your youngest. Take care and have a lovely evening 😌❤️

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  3. The café specially the basement looks bit scary. When I visit such old buildings I often wonder what all would they have seen, how many generations would have been here and how many stories they would have impacted. It’s still -6 outside here Isabelle, one of the reasons I avoid staying out despite the beauty of this town. Happy Easter !!

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    1. I agree cherry. It was a bit unusual to have a cup of tea in a cellar. I was left completely alone at one point and it made my mind wander… It’s cold in Oslo too, sunny but chilly. Happy Easter! The spring is not far away 🌸🍀☀️

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      1. Happy Easter Isabelle 😊
        Yes the weather is mostly same in Oslo and Stockholm. Eagerly waiting for summers now ✨
        You might be returning back today have a safe and happy journey back home
        Love and respect 😊

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  4. This place is beautiful! I love the decor and the textures of the walls and how you describe the smells downstairs. But your determination to get the photos was incredible. I loved it! This was a great adventure.

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    1. Thank you! 😁 I often have the feeling that I don’t really belong to this modern world dominated by technology. I’m a slow adapter of all kinds of new inventions. I could spend hours reading and wandering in an old place. It seems the past fascinates me more than the modern way of life. I feel detached to my surroundings at times, dreaming in the world I creat for myself. 😊

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  5. WOW! Isabelle, this is incredible!!! I’ve never been to a cafe like that. How wonderfully moody. And the walk through the streets. I’m a huge Anne Rice fan. Yes, I have a thing for vampires! 🤣 From the first pictures it was easy to imagine beautiful Lestat sitting in a corner, watching so sweetly…on the surface. Mwah ha haaaa! You are brave!!! Absolutely loving that You felt safe and fine wandering. Can’t even imagine how magical it all felt. The silence. The skinny walkways with the moon pouring in. And yes….”Midnight in Paris”….absolutely! I can see that. Wonderful film. Wonderful thought. Thank You for sharing!!! Cheers! 🤗

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    1. Oh thank you Katy! It was the first time (at least as far as I can remember) that I had a cup of tea in a cellar. No I wasn’t nervous or scared in any way. I guess it was because I didn’t have vampires or that kind of scary thoughts in mind. I’m not very into gothic fiction so I don’t imagine things in that way 😊 What I was thinking is the generations who lived there before, who were they. “Midnight in Paris” is a film that made great impression, I loved those imaginative scenes, the way the protagonist is brought to the past. The conversations he has with those central literary figures in 1920s. It was fascinating. Talk soon Katy! Hugs and cheers 😊💖

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      1. I agree!!! About “Midnight in Paris”. I loved it!!! And the tea in the cellar wouldn’t have frightened me! That would have been absolutely wonderful. Those pictures were fantastic! Coffee by candlelight in a cellar! Yes, please!!! I’m not really into gothic fiction or any other vampire series….but Anne Rice’s writing completely captured me. More about man’s struggle with being human. About God. The world. Life. And then there are her crazy wonderful absolutely tortured vampires that she romanticizes to the utmost degree!!! You will laugh….but my favorite of these characters, Lestat, is such an amazing, poetic, absolutely beautiful work…so multi-layered and rich that I’m in love with him!!! Not in a creepy way…he’s just the quintessential Renaissance Man and truly, truly loves beauty, life, people, etc. I have completely, vampirically geeked out on You! I could go on and on!!! So embarrassing! Think the Singer Sting. If he were a vampire. And there You have Lestat. I wouldn’t have been scared of vampires. I meant wandering through the streets that late a night, a woman alone. People. Very bad people is what I would have feared. I have had friends suffer great violence late at night when no one was around….so I stay away from such places alone at night. But oh….I am happy You are fearless and shared Your experience!!! How magical!!! Thank You!!! You are so fun to chat with!!! Hugs and Cheers!!!

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      2. Oh thank you for the lovely words Katy! Loads of interesting points and details. Would check out Anne Rice’s works and the character Lestat. I actually googled Lestat yesterday but no hit seemed matched up what I was looking for. Will give it another try. Yeah if Sting was a vampire, couldn’t help laughing when I read it. You truly have a good sense of humour Katy. Sometimes I’m really a risk-taker. I don’t quite think about the consequences. I’m a Sagittarius you know who is always ready for an adventure. Talk soon! Hugs and cheers 🌸🌟😊

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      3. Gosh. Thank You words, Isabelle! You’re very fun to chat with and I like Your sense of humor as well. Most of my friends don’t like Anne Rice’s writing. So subjective, art is. But if You google Vampire Lestat, things will come up. He’s in several of her books. I’ll stop talking about vampires now! The only thing I will say further is any movie that has been made of her books is to be avoided. Nobody’s come close to doing it right. 🤣 And YAY adventure!!!! God….I do the same thing….take risks. I look at my life and think I have got to have some seriously kind angels/fairies/guides around me! But I get it!!! Have a wonderful whatever time it is there! Cheers!! 😄💐☀️

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      4. I think it’s important to explore the unknown and take risks sometimes Katy. How dull life would be if we have to obey the rules and follow the routines constantly. Oh my Goodness! I’m running away soon, will reveal where I’m heading to later 😁

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  6. Thank you! Have to point out that it wasn’t a ghost town though it was dark and silent. There were a few shadows moving in the streets, I suppose they were humans. I am quite sure about that actually 😊

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    1. Thank you so much! It was a special experience. I don’t do night wandering very often but I love the feeling it gives me. It’s very different from wandering at daytime. More atmospheric, it gives me the chance to indulge in my thoughts and imaginations. I guess it resembles your feelings about the moon, or our feelings to be precise. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great! I really like your post and yourr way of writing :))….Thank you for sharing your impressions! Have a nice day and best wishes from our Wanderreisen Albanien 😉 yours, Lena;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It was a memorable experience. I remember the atmosphere, the silence, the distance and intimacy. The past felt so distant yet so close. Thank you for the thoughtful words, very much appreciated.

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