You could get old waiting for someone to let you into an apartment building in Stockholm. Bring the code! (Courtesy of Swedish National Heritage Board, S:t Paulsgatan 21 pa Sodermalm, 1890s, albumen print.)

Sunday evening found us standing on a street in the middle of the city, looking longingly up at dimly lit apartment windows, hoping for a familiar face to peak out of one.

Earlier in the evening, we bussed across town to meet up with an American couple, who had kindly invited us to dinner at their home. I made an apple pie. We arrived 10 minutes late. I forgot the sheet of paper with their cell phone and, more important, their door code.

It seems that it is quite normal to give out one’s door code here.  And I did not realize how normal and necessary that is until we were standing there under the streetlamps, puzzling how to get our hosts’ attention.  There were no doorbells, no names on the door with buzzer codes, nada.

Matt attempted to piece out the code by which buttons on the number keypad were most worn.  I stood in the street and shouted our hosts’ names.  Matt stood in the doorway in case someone came …

And finally, yes, someone did:  One of our hosts came downstairs to take out the garbage, about 30 minutes after we were supposed to arrive.  Huzzah!  We did not have to go home to scrounge up dinner on our own!  But we did have to share the pie…

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