07 06 2012 Euro 2012 – Fly to Kharkiv

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

A 6am start from Kiev with Alex our trusted taxi driver taking us down what seemed a never-ending road to the airport in the pouring rain. If he had over slept out day would have been in tatters. Thankfully he was true to his word and was outside our hotel with a beaming smiling face.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

Concerns about baggage were unfounded as the 5kg limit and bag restrictions appeared not to be in place. I sat next to a Danish Ukrainian whose brother plays for the Denmark U21 team and is hoping to be snapped up by an English Premier League team. He told me a bit about the Ukraine culture which was great which resulted in me understanding my home for the next month.

I was so tired on the aeroplane but his stories about UEFA / Danish embassy dry runs for when the Denmark national team arrived in Kharkiv kept me awake and glowing with interest. The team had to endure a 15 minute ceremony as he and some others processed the players passports so when the welcoming party had finished, the players could go on their way with stamped passports.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

Although the airport was again decorated to high UEFA standards signs in the accreditation toilets explaining how to go Ukranian style was the highlight of a long and tiring day in Kharkiv.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

Once I had got my accreditation the rest of the day was spent tirelessly sitting next to media helpers bringing up Ukraine websites to enable me to book train transport to cover the tournament. None of the English websites worked.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

It was soon 5pm and I could not keep my eyes open. I went outside to face the hot sun.. if I were to close my eyes I would have been asleep so I went to a walk to get some fresh air and encountered a massive amount of visual material celebrating the local team, FC Metalist Kharkiv

The local metro station was impressive and something I will have a look at when I have a spare ten minutes next time I am here.

A brief meet and greet with some photographers who I had not seen since the FIFA World Cup in South Africa who brought my attention to the goodies in the media Euro 2012 bag we have all been given.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

A UEFA mouse mat and a Euro 2012 football stress ball amongst the highlights.

Twenty minutes were spent re-hashing my schedule finally filling in the blanks on my spreadsheet which now included some nice Ukraine airline logos.

I am now nearly ready – well at least know what I am doing anyway. I am so tired. No time for sightseeing, no time for socialising, just work, work and more logistical work.

I so need sleep!

9 hours since Tuesday I think!

A lie in tomorrow is a must – I am sure worrying about how to spell where I am – is it Kharkiv or Kharkov – will help me sleep!

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