First Time Out of the Country: My Trip to Stockholm for Spotify’s Intro Days

The Spotify Intro Days After Party at Trädgården, Stockholm

Draft, in progress, etc. September 17, 2022.

The startup I’ve been working with since late 2020 (Chartable) was acquired by Spotify in March 2022, so I had the good fortune of joining Spotify just in time for this special Intro Days event, a gathering of new Spotify band members for three days of networking, speaker talks, parties, karaoke, and more.

It was a special event for Spotify, with nearly 2000 new employees coming to Stockholm from all over the globe for the first in-person Intro Days in two years.

It was an extra special trip for me because it was my first time out of the United States. And also, it’s freakin’ Spotify and Stockholm. That’s a solid combo.

Playlist for the Trip

Some new stuff, some old stuff. Wilco usually feels right for travel.

Preparing for the Trip

Spotify’s booking agency booked the flight for me (nice). There were a couple options, but there was a cheaper flight with a 8 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany, so I took that one, thinking I could meet up with my mom (who’s doing some missionary work in Germany currently) and check out the city.

I got my passport back in 2017, so thankfully I didn’t have to deal with that process. (If you don’t have your passport yet, I’d recommend doing that as soon as possible.)

My travel setup is fairly simple. I usually travel with a large roll-top backpack from Road Runner and a Patagonia Black Hole duffel bag.

travel bags

The backpack holds my MacBook, Sony A7C camera, chargers, and various other small personal items that you might need while traveling (snacks, journal, etc).

The duffel bag holds my clothes and my toiletries. One of these days I’ll probably get something with wheels, but the Black Hole duffel bag is waterproof and indestructible and fairly light, so I don’t mind carrying it around.

I also brought a neck pillow and a small bag of serotonin gummies for sleep, which turned out to be a good move. They helped me get comfortable and catch a couple naps on the plane rides I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

Part 1: Getting to Stockholm

Dallas to Germany

Day 1: Dallas / Fort Worth -> Frankfurt, Germany (Saturday, August 13, 2022)

After double and triple checking my luggage to make sure I had my passport and other must-have items, I took a Lyft ride to the T&P train station in downtown Fort Worth.

From there, it was an easy 40 minute TEXRail train ride straight into Terminal B of the Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport.

Made it through the security checkpoint around 2pm, about 2 hours before my Lufthansa flight was scheduled to leave.

Shout out to Spotify for allowing an upgrade to Premium Economy, which gave me a more comfortable seat, a little extra legroom, and several meals which were surprisingly good. I could survive it, but I’m not into the idea of a 10 hour flight in an Economy class seat.

Day 2: Frankfurt, and eventually Stockholm (Sunday, August 14, 2022)

Frankfurt Airport in Germany around 8am local time Sunday morning felt like 2pm after a night of almost no sleep.

I was excited to be in Europe, but a little delirious from the lack of sleep. Mentally prepared though, and knew I could make it through the day and get to Stockholm with the help of a few espressos.

I was expecting more of a hassle getting out of the airport, but a customers/border officer took a quick glance at my passport and waved me through. I had an 8 hour layover in Frankfurt, so my Mom met me outside the airport and we took a train into downtown Frankfurt, walked around and got a pastry and lattes.

Frankfurt Train Station

My Mom

I gave her an iPad I wasn’t using and helped her get it set up. It was nice to see her again.

After coffee, we headed back to the Frankfurt Airport and said goodbyes.

I got a nice rubdown from a German airport security officer with gentle hands, a mild scolding about the size of my toiletries bag, and then boarded my short flight to Stockholm a couple hours later.

Arriving in Stockholm

Frankfurt to Stockholm

Frankfurt to Stockholm.

Central Stockholm

The area of central Stockholm where I’d spend most of my time during the trip.

After landing at the Arlanda airport around 6pm, I took a Flybussarna bus into Stockholm.

First impressions: Stockholm is a beautiful city, and I love the trains and architecture.

I arrived right around golden hour, and got a couple of great pics on the way to the hostel I booked for Sunday night (Generator).

Stockholm Trains

Stockholm Nokia Balloon

Stockholm Park Dude

Stockholm Sidewalk

As far as hostels go, Generator was solid, although they charged extra for everything (towels, lockers, etc). I guess I understand, but still was a little annoyed by it. Overall, I’d probably stay there again.

Dinner at Räkan

After dropping off my luggage and resting for a few minutes, I was ready for dinner, so I opened Google Maps and looked at what was nearby and open. I saw a restaurant nearby called Räkan that looked good, and walked over.

Stockholm Räkan

I ordered some wine and the fish and shellfish casserole. I’m not 100% sure why they call it a casserole (the pan it’s cooked in, I guess?), it was more like a stew, but either way it was delicious and the perfect ending to a long weekend of travel. 10/10, thanks Räkan!

Stockholm Räkan Casserole

Full and happy, I walked around the area for a bit before heading back to Generator to pass out. I was tired from two days of travel, and had a full week ahead.

Central Stockholm at Night

Coming soon:

Part 2: Intro Days Week in Stockholm (August 15-19)

Part 3: Getting Home and Reflections (Saturday, August 20)