Waking up after a few hours of uncomfortable sleep, it was time for breakfast. Andriy decided to give Stepan a rude awakening by pulling him out of the car and onto the floor and then it was round 2 for a BBQ. Kobasa Butties were on the menu, that actually were quite tasty. With Petro still asleep in the car, it was left to Andriy, Ewhen and Stepan to tidy up the small mess we had made as well as putting the tent away.
Thanks to the enormous distance covered from the previous day, we only had a short drive to Ingolstadt where we would later be watching our first football match. Team Luczka successfully navigated and drove to the Hostel with minimal problems. This was more in the region of a 40 meter de-tour, rather than the 40 mile de-tour back in the UK. What is now known as a ‘Luczka 180 U’ey’was performed and we now arrived at the hostel.
As was such a short drive and the early arrival, it was still too early to check-in. We left Viktoria in the car-park and went wondering into Ingolstadt. A small town with lots to offer in terms of nice buildings and bars, Petro, Stepan and Andriy were in search of some toilets. With Ewhen’s bladder in check we left him in search of toilets. After following signs that never actually took us to toilets, we dived into McDonalds. Tanks emptied, it was time to go and find Ewhen where we left him. He was still there alright but with a beer in hand. It would have been rude not to join in, so 3 more beers were ordered. After a second round of beers it was now 11am and still too early to check-in to our hostel.
As much as we wanted to sit and drink all day, it would have been a shame not to go and do some sightseeing, and as we are 4 sensible men, that we did. Whilst walking past a shop window our eyes caught a glimpse of something special. A Euro 2012 wall chart with free CD. At a total cost of five euros, you may think what this fuss was all about. This was not any CD! This was a 25 top hit and sports motivational songs from Heinrich Stiefel. It was agreed there and then that next time in the car we would listen to the entire album without skipping any tracks even if it was in German. Little did we know that a Legend would soon be born. We also picked up a map of Ingolstadt as well as directions to the stadium and which bus route to take.
Armed with all this information, tour guide Petro ‘Michael Palin’ Chymera took us on a tour of Ingolstadt. With its historical churches, buildings and wonderful views it was time for a spot of lunch. Beer was on the menu before we headed back to the hostel to check-in and grab a quick nap.
During check-in the receptionist asked what we wanted for breakfast. This was a bonus as we weren’t expecting breakfast, and to be honest wasn’t what we were expecting either. Four hot chocolates were ordered for the following morning, we were more interested in asking the receptionist for the wi-fi password. It’s as if we had made her day by asking the question and with a big smile on her face she gave us the wi-fi (or wee-fee as she called it) password.
Onwards and upwards to our room, the hostel looked like old style chambers, but we didn’t care as all we wanted was somewhere to sleep for the night. In the room, Ewhen went straight to bed, whilst it wasn’t so easy for the rest of us. Petro wanted his head shaving into an ‘oseledecz’ and was left up to Stepan ‘Toni & Guy’ Luczka to do it. Having finished it, Andriy was then contemplating the same. After a brief do I or don’t I moment, he was now in the chair ready for his head to be shaven. 15 minutes later Slug head and Castle head were born. With Ewhen still asleep it was very tempting to shave his eyebrows, but none of us had the bottle to shave them.
With no afternoon siesta, it was shower time, before donning on the sharavary for the first time. Dressed like 4 kozaks, we jumped in a taxi and headed out to meet up with our German Ukrainian friends for pre-match drinks in a picturesque bar not far from the stadium. A few beers and shots later it was time to head to the stadium. Walking to the car park with the Germans, they offered to take us to the stadium. Ewhen went in one car which left the 3 of us and a small handful of Germans left. There were 2 or 3 cars left and thought that there was room for all, however this was not the case even though they said “Yes, no problem, there is room”.
And so with 3 of us in the back and 2 in the front we thought that was it. Little did we know that there would be a voice coming from behind us. With the 5 of us in the car and 1 in the boot, we could now see the stadium. For the first time on the trip the sun was beaming down, and there was a great sense of hope and excitement that Ukraine would beat Turkey in their last friendly before the Euros (this clearly showed in all four of our match predictions Ewhen – 3-1 Ukraine, Andriy – 2-1 Ukraine, Stepan – 2-0 Ukrane and Petro – 2-1 Ukraine).
The standard ‘being stopped for photos’ had begun and as we arrived there were a lot of Turkish fans in the car-park and not many Ukrainians that we could see, but as we got closer to the ground and inside the stadium the Ukrainian numbers soon rose. In what was a poor performance from a weaker fielded Ukraine team, the result finished 2-0 to Turkey.
Unquestionably, the highlight from the game for the four of us was getting to climb up onto the fence and finally get the feeling of being a hooligan, something that we all sought after for many years. This all came about after a Turkish fan streaked onto the pitch. A second highlight that had started long before the streaker and continued long after was the newly edited version of ‘хто не скаче той москаль!’ to ‘хто не скаче той кебаб!’ Something all the Ukrainian fans appreciated and laughed at.
Not one of us predicting the correct scoreline or result and not too deflated after the game, as it was only a friendly we headed out to the team coach. There we joined a small group of Ukrainian fans who also decided to stay. Chanting each player’s name as the boarded the coach, legend Anatoliy Tymoshchuk came forward to sign some autographs. Stood the other side of the gate we managed to put all four of our hands through to which ‘Tolik’ shook. This certainly made up for the loss and we now started to celebrate as if we had won the game. Ukrainian songs and dancing then broke out as we were taught the “Tolik, Tymoshchuk sha la la la” song. In front of the Ukrainian fans that remained a TV camera was soon in front of us recording all the dancing and singing. There a Ukrainian journalist for the Kyiv newspaper Segodnya gave us his business card and was interested in our story. (We would later go on to blog throughout the Euros about our travels and experiences in Ukraine for this newspaper.)
The numbers soon started to get less and less as people were going home, and true to form we were the last ones there. Along with some new friends that we had made during the game as well as our German-Ukrainian friends we headed back to the car with them. It was here that one of them brought out a bottle of whiskey and was passing it around our circle of about 12 people. Our plan was to get a taxi and head back into town for some more beers, something one of our new friends agreed with and wanted to join us. He had work in the morning and his friends were saying no, before then saying he was coming with us in the car all the way to Kyiv. This was now the alcohol talking, but to be fair he was a dude. Before we knew it they were all gone, and we were left kind of stranded as there were no taxis. Eventually we flagged one down and headed back to the main square.
Hungry and dehydrated we were all in search of a kebab, even though ‘them lot’ had just beaten us, but the search was fruitless as everywhere was closed. We were on the way back to the hostel where we found one bar was open. We stopped off for a drink and before we knew it we were in a mini lock-in. Sat at the bar talking to the owner (who was an ex Palermo hooligan) we were on 5 jaggermiesters, and 1 beer that should have cost 18 euros, but we called it 5 instead. Also thanks to Ewhen (apparently talking to some gay in the toilet) we came out with 5 free shots of vodka too. Sandro (our owner mate) then called his friend and asked us to sing and chant some football songs down the phone, which we duly obliged. It was at this point that two of our German-Ukrainian friends walked into the bar (Val Era and the other one). They said they heard some noise coming from a bar and decided to investigate, only to find us four when they walked in. This clearly meant more drinks before leaving.
We eventually left in the early hours, and still in a desperate search of a kebab we were once again left disappointed. The six of us now headed back to the hostel where we had some crisps that we had bought previously. In our 10 man dorm it was just the 4 of us, so there was plenty of room for our 2 guests. Petro and Stepan were both out like a light, whilst Val Era and the other one got a taxi, went and bought more alcohol and came back. Andriy, Ewhen and the German-Ukrainians then polished off a bottle of sangria before going to sleep.