Between the two matches we had four days free in Moscow which were mainly spent in the enormous fan park watching the World Cup games on one of the nine giant screens in the university’s car park.
We really brought the hot weather back up with us from Volgograd as all week the temperature was around 30 degrees.
On our arrival to the fan park one afternoon security stopped us just past the airport style scanners to check my fan I.D. I was secretly hoping they weren’t looking for the person who had been caught snooping around trying to open doors on a train to Volgograd the previous weekend.
The handheld scanner in the police officer’s hand showed pictures of us walking up the street towards the fan park and then a mug shot of essentially me but with a filthy moustache. Obviously this wanted person was not me and after the officer’s checks had been completed we were allowed on our way with a little reminder of the high level security that was in operation.
Luckily for us the fan park was located just a few stops down the subway line from our accommodation so we were able to stay their till late at night as the final match of each day finished close to midnight.
Football fans from across the globe were congregating in this huge space to create a really special atmosphere, this was especially true when the South American teams were playing. James got to grips with the many portaloo cabins in the park until one time he emerged from one saying there wasn’t any soap to wash his hands with.
Whilst walking up to find another portaloo which may have some soap in one of the World Cup volunteers came up to us wearing one of those massive foam hands and asked for a high five. James obviously politely declined but this volunteer was a determined one and wasn’t taking no for an answer and forced James to high five her. The poor volunteer was probably left slightly confused as to why the two of us walked away giggling but it’s probably for the best she wasn’t aware of what had just happened.
Through the wonders of Google we discovered a nice bar/restaurant a few minutes away from the fan park which we were able to grab a few drinks at and find a quiet spot to sit down after each match.
One evening after Croatia had thrashed Argentina we headed back to the bar and started chatting to three Sun journalists who were out in Russia covering the World Cup. Now obviously we we’re no Sun readers but it was interesting to understand a little about what the life of a professional journalist is at major tournaments.
Throughout our time in Russia we continued to have the strange diet which included something from the meat deli counter. Every morning we would head into the supermarket and point at what we hoped was some sort of cooked chicken wing or kebab and not something for a dog, to be fair though it was very nice.
Away from the football we also explored Moscow by visiting the usual tourist hotspots including Red Square and St Basil’s cathedral which happened to be right next to where the BBC and ITV studios were.
On the final night we headed back for an early night as we had an early start the following morning as our train to Nizhny Novgorod left at the crack of dawn. It was time for match number two.