Camp Sweden!

Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Bakkara Art-Hotel Kiev
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Ukraine  ,
Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day two of Fantastic Football Fun started with some intense rain. It was not raining when we caught the metro, but it sure was when we got off the metro on our way to the Chernobyl museum. We had discussed going to the actual city, but in the end had decided against it as possibly being too expensive. It is a sight that I would really like to see sometime in the future.

 This museum had been founded ten years after the event. It gave a real picture to those who were directly affected by the nuclear meltdown at the power plant. We got to see pictures of the workers and hear how they reacted and how they were affected. We got to see how those living in the area were affected when they had to leave everything behind at a moment’s notice. What was interesting to see was that, although Chernobyl is the famous city, that an area of Ukraine half the size of Luxemburg is now uninhabitable. This area included more than thirty towns, which now sort of stand as a museum of communist life in the 1980’s.

One major flaw I found with the museum was the fact that they did not tell you how the meltdown began, or exactly what caused it. Where the museum picked up the story, was after things were blowing up and already radioactive. I think that that should have been included, or added later. The museum was founded at the end of the Soviet Union, so flaws were hidden, but that is the most important part of the story. Another flaw that I found, something that I did not realize, was that the Soviet Union did not let the outside world know about the disaster until pressure from the Swedish government built up. Sweden was the first non-Soviet country that the toxic cloud passed over. The nuclear plant that is about an hour away from where I live now detected high levels of radiation. They checked out their plant to see where the leak was and concluded that the Swedish plant was not leaking that the cloud was form somewhere else. I found that little tid bit interesting. It took days for the international community to find out. The museum was small, but interesting. We had to get the audio guide, because everything was written in Ukrainian or Russian.

When we left the museum, except for the giant puddles, you would not have known that it had rained at all that day. The guys wanted to go to the Swedish camp, so we went. The Swedish fans have started a tradition where they camp in large masses during large international tournaments. The camp was quite a hike away, but as we got closer the percentage of Swedes around us was very big. It goes to show how much the fans supported the team that even though the team was not expected to do well, that they all came out to support and camp in a sea of mud in the intense humidity and heat. We were not camping there, so we could not look around very much. We had to have a wrist band to go into most of the places. We did not stay in the camp very long. We were all tired, hot, hungry and thirsty, so we set out to find food.

Hiking up a mountain into the main city really made the shady restaurant and cold beer worth it. The ice cream at the end was the best part, except for the dead fly I had to pull out of the whipped cream.

There was no football games at this time, so we did a little sightseeing. We hiked up yet another hill to see some of the famous orthodox churches of this area of the world. I could not take photos inside, but it was beautiful. There was some sort of ceremony going on inside St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, but not being part of the orthodox religion I had no clue what was going on. It was very pretty and the incense smelled nice. The second place we went was Saint Sophia Cathedral. It was nice, but there was not much to see, which made the entrance fee a little stupid.

 After the tour through orthodoxy we returned to the world of soccer. This time we knew that we had to get seats early for the football matches on the big screens. We watched the Spain v. Italy game which was a great game, although I slept through part of it. The game finished 1-1.

After the game we surrendered our seats to some aggressive fans of the next game. We then wandered down the strip to check out the Swedish fan zone. Nothing new, but we enjoyed the songs and rabble rousers consuming the cheap beer while singing to soft American rock such as country home and sweet home Alabama, strange choices for a European football match. The best part of being at the Swedish camp was when we witnessed a funny incident where one member of a group of friends accidently spilled another’s beer. This resulted in a beer shower in retaliation. It was hilarious.

 After the long day we headed back. The second game was watched on the televisions in our rooms before we finally passed out ready for the Sweden v. Ukraine game tomorrow!

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ruth on

did you have hooligan fights? what about racial discrimination?

krosell on

I saw no racial discrimination and no hooligan fights. Everything was very peaceful.

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