21 May 2012
Euro 2012 in Ukraine. - The English Experience
With just 20 days to go before the first England game in Euro 2012 kicks off, things are getting interesting. Let's hope the current great weather in Ukraine continues.
The important dates for England are:
11 June in Donetsk - England v France
15 June in Kyiv - England v Sweden
19 June in Donetsk - England v Ukraine
It will be interesting to see how many England fans come to Ukraine. Getting to Donetsk from Kyiv is not easy.
It's approximately 600k (373 miles) from Kyiv. That is the same as travelling from London to Aberdeen in Scotland. A very long way according to British mentality.
I have received a lot of emails from England asking me many many questions about travelling in Ukraine.
The route I recommend is to try and fly direct to Donetsk if possible. Buying a train ticket in Ukraine is not easy at anytime if you do not speak Russian or Ukrainian. THIS IS A FACT.
Some people have even asked me if it is possible to take a taxi from Kyiv to Donetsk. Sure......but I can only imagine the crazy price the driver would demand. Renting a car could be an option, but the thought of England supporters getting stopped by the DAI is not a nice one. Plus can you imagine trying to buy petrol at a petrol station when you don't understand that you must pay in advance before you try to put petrol in the car. The chances of someone speaking English in a petrol station are low. Donetsk is not exactly a tourist friendly city in Ukraine. THIS A FACT.
The match in Kyiv should be easier. A new terminal building at the airport was opened last week. It is not difficult getting a taxi from the airport to Kyiv city centre. Getting a bus is easy.
Kyiv is more 'user friendly' for tourists. I must say that from what I have seen during the past few days all around Kyiv is that the city is trying hard to get things right. At last we have a decent road all the way from the airport into the city centre. For the first time visitor to Kyiv, I think the journey from the airport into the centre will be impressive.
However, there is a dark side to Euro 2012 in Ukraine. Many reports in the British media are concerned with the threat of racist attacks on non-white foreign tourists/football fans. Plus many England supporters think it will be just that much easier to stay home and watch the games on TV or in groups at the local British pub.
A recent article in The Independent newspaper highlighted the concerns of one 'non-white' supporter.
Bristol student Raj Chande, a member of the FA's official fans' group, explains why he has decided to cancel his trip to Ukraine.
See the full article here: