The alarm goes off but I've already been sleeping light in anticipation. It's just after 3 in the morning and I have a flight out of Stockholm at 6. I change into my leggings, as I'm slept partially in my outfit and climb down from the bunk bed. Luckily, I have everything almost packed, as I knew last night that it wouldn't get done in the morning. Brushing my teeth and gathering my things, I set off to the express train that will get me to the airport.
In the hostel lobby, there's one staff member awake jamming out by himself, and he lets me weigh my bag on the vintage scale. Just over 5 kilos--which is miraculous for how stuffed my bag is. However I've found the best way to fly without checking luggage and on budget airlines is to load up your 'personal item.' So to take advantage of this my purse, camera, and toiletries all go in a large tote bag and only my clothes and a few basics are in my backpack. After a ten minute walk to the train station, I find that the doors are locked. Lovely. A passerby stops and helps me, leading me down half a block to doors that open.
After climbing down a flight of stairs I pop out on the platform. That's when I realize that the other doors were locked for a reason--they lead to the correct platform, that of the express train, which is not yet running. I wait for ten minutes, graced with free wifi, so I can check and I see that the trains start running at 4:30, so I should still be on time for my flight. I eat a banana I bought the night before. I think I hear someone on the opposite platform, so I climb down and walk across the tracks to the next, which is one over from the express train. But I dare not go one farther as the platform is taller there and I don't think I could pull myself up.
Finally, there's a technician on the other platform who confirms that the train will run at 4:30. I decide to go up to the street again as that's the only easy way to the right train. There I find a couple waiting for the doors to open, which they do at 4:05. I find a seat on the train and try to doze for a few minutes.
Next thing I know we're at the airport and it's busier than expected, so I work my way through security with a bit of a nervous knot in my stomach. I'm fine, walking fast to the gate, and arriving with enough time to go and buy a croissant while a very nice Swedish couple keeps an eye on my backpack. We board and the flight is simple, I manage a 30 minute nap and two cups of coffee.
In Dubrovnik ahead of schedule, I stop at an ATM and buy a bus ticket into the city. The hostel I was to be staying at had given loose directions. My nose pressed to the window, I saw the city gleaming pale gold and orange on a deep turquoise colored ocean.