From the very first Sunday of 2018, when Sakal Times accepted the offer by All India Football Federations(AIFF) for sending a representative to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to getting the Media Accreditation approved, and to June 10, the day of my departure, time just flew. When I boarded the flight for Moscow at the break of dawn last Friday, I became one of the only eight journalists from India to travel for this global carnival.
The close to seven-hour flight journey was mostly spent on catching up some sleep, watching The Dark Knight one more time and having some insightful conversation with the flight crew.
When you tell someone that you are a journalist, the way people look at you changes immediately. They tend to be very helpful towards you. A member of the flight crew, Andrey, gave me some useful information about managing things in Moscow, enjoying the evening cruise ride on the Moscow river, and trying the Russian delicacy — Gingerbread.
As we began witnessing rain outside the aircraft, the captain of the flight announced that the temperature outside was 7 degree Celsius — that’s the ‘cold’ welcome Moscow gave me! By the time I reached my hostel, I was feeling quite warm and comfortable.
The journey to the hostel was undertaken by the city metro, marked by the beautiful metro stations which are nothing short of tourist attractions. I soon headed to the Luzhniki Stadium to collect my FIFA Media Accreditation, which is going to be my constant companion for the next 38 days in Russia. It grants me free access to any mode of public transport, free entry to all the museums and many more privileges during my stay here.
Step 1 after reaching Russia — checked. The action begins now...
(Watch this space for more such tidbits from Russia by Amol Gokhale)