Goal to Euro – Kiev’s Olympic Stadium

Poland and Ukraine are the hosts of the Euro 2012 games. The games are held at 8 stadiums that are distributed between these two nations that hosts the soccer matches.

For Poland, they are:

And for Ukraine, they are:

The Sun newspaper provided a nice infographics of the stadium and their capacity, this can provide an idea of their capacity and shape:
Euro 2012 Stadium

Each stadium is unique and beautiful in design and architecture. My journey in Kiev gave me the opportunity to visit one of those massive and beautiful stadiums; the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, or simply Olympics Stadium. The stadium is the premier sports venue in Ukraine and the second largest in East Europe after Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The complex also features several other sports facilities and is designed to host the Olympic Games (the stadium hosted some football matches at the 1980 Summer Olympics).

The first match that I attended for the Euro 2012 in Kiev was the Sweden vs. France match. For that game, I was supporting France because I assumed France’s reputation and performance will still last against the Swedes, and the Swedes have so far been defeated twice. But I was wrong…

Before entering the stadium, I visited the area around the stadium to get an idea of how massive it is. My conclusion: It is massive! Not to mention, the architecture was beautiful. The exterior of the stadium is lined with great symmetry, and its height gave it a unique sense of majesty as it scratches the sky with its greatness.

The following is a video of me walking around the stadium:

The cafes and bars surrounding the stadium were FULL of football (or soccer for your Americans) fans, and this only happens during the games. I’ve visited the area when there are no games, and it is more packed with tourists who come there to see the massiveness of the stadium and weep to the fact on why they haven’t bought EuroCup tickets.

One encounter around the stadium was a group of Brazilian fans that were singing in the cafe and preparing for the beautiful evening. Cool thing about this is that Jenia, my beautiful host, and I have met few Brazilians prior to arriving to the stadium. And one of the Brazilian fans told me that he will be performing in a cafe before the match. I didn’t expect to see him again, but lo and behold, here he is singing songs in one of the cafes:

Hours have passed, and adrenaline is pumped in my veins. I am finally ready to rock out! My dear co-host, Yulia, and I head to the Olympics stadium ready to watch the amazing game. The lines to the stadium were long, but they have organized the entry points pretty well to allow a good influx of fans to enter the stadium:

Walking past the check-point, it was all celebration and partying. There was face-painting, people dressed in carnival clothes, marching bands, and everything you can think of that falls in line the concept of carnival, celebration or things to do before watching an amazing football match!

In the stadium, I was seated next to the Swedish fans. The concept of supporting France is now distant in my mind like Pluto and the Sun. The fans were roaring! Chanting Swedish songs, Seven Nation Army (White Stripes), or their national anthem. Of course, there were “boo’s” when France got close to the Swedish goal-post.

Swedish fans cheering loudly:

Swedish fans singing their national anthem:

Swedish fans chanting Seven Nation Army:

What was impressive for me is that during Half-Time, they water the field to make the field more moist and playable (I assume so):

At the end of the game, people headed home in festive mood. I admired the fact that people were calm and had maintained civility; unlike what the media loves to publicize. Therefore, don’t trust what the media says all the time ๐Ÿ™‚

Below are videos from the Italy vs. England game. I was supporting Italy with the English fans on my left. It was a wonderful experience. Here is a video of us doing the wave!

You can see more videos of my trip, including the videos from the stadium, here: Goal to Euro Playlist

I hope you enjoy this post and I’m looking forward to share more with you all about Ukraine, soon!

Relevant Links

Goal to Euro Video Playlist

Goal to Euro – Hosts of Krakow

This European trip wouldn’t have been possible without the kindness and hospitality of my hosts. When I arrived to Krakow, I’ve been blessed to get to know three wonderful beings that made my trip pleasing and interesting.

I would like to introduce Marta, Marcin, and the little one (I forgot her name, and I feel extremely bad about it. My pathetic memory ๐Ÿ™ ):

The wonderful hosts

With every travel I embark in, I personally like to talk and learn more about the experiences and culture of the local people. Touristy places aren’t that attractive for me. When I arrived, Marcin has helped me and provided me with excellent information in regards to the places that I should visit that represents the essence of Poland; including but not limited to: Main Square, Jewish Quarters and Schindler’s Museum.

Marcin is a professional double bass jazz player. When I arrived to my hosts’ home, we both shared our thoughts about the music we listen to and how music is taking a unique course. I was curious about the direction of Jazz in Poland itself. Marcin told me that each European country has its own unique taste in Jazz, and what is pleasant in Poland may be unpleasant to the ears of those from other European countries. In addition, he stated that improvisation has become a large part of Jazz music within European countries, as the musicians are integrating traditional folk elements into jazz. On the side, he does paintings, too. Marcin, by profession, studied medicine. But music was his calling ๐Ÿ™‚

Marta, on the other hand, is one of Poland’s renowned national poet. She has written few books, and has exhibited her works across Poland and the world. One amazing experience I recall with her was when we were discussing about the source of Poland’s economy. All she did was call a number, talk for few minutes, and later she provided me with a detailed answer. She then explained that she called the Minister of Aviation/Transport. And this call was made at around 9 PM – 10 PM. In essence, Marta is a very strong and passionate woman. She currently teaches Literature at The Pedagogical University of Cracow and in Warsaw University. On the side, Marta enjoys doing photography, and I recommend you to see her work ๐Ÿ˜€

That’s all for now, until tomorrow, where I hope I’ll start writing about my journey in Ukraine!

More about Marta: Wikipedia Link

P.S. Chuck Norris is actually in the adverts in Poland, thus the main photo:

Relevant Links

Goal to Euro Video Playlist

Goal to Euro – Adib explains Krakow

On Friday and Saturday I spent the time to explore the city Krakow. Krakow is one of the oldest and second largest city in Poland. Historically, this place is renowned for its culture, education and art of Poland. In essence, the cultural and economic center of Poland.

Krakow is also located next to the Vistula River. And this river is significant as it separates the old Krakow with the new, more modern Krakow. To explain, let’s look at the following map:

Map of Krakow

As you can see, old Krakow city is surrounded by parks. Let me note that these parks used to be castle walls. But according to residents, it was torn down by authorities and instead they created parks. Residents don’t complain much about it, but they prefer to see those walls.

South of the Old Krakow city is the Jewish Quarter of Krakow. This place has its own vibe and life compared to old Krakow. It’s more silent during the day, but for some reason, the nights are filled with parties. I guess that’s how you live up the Middle Eastern culture. Night life all the way ๐Ÿ˜€

Once you cross the bridge from the Jewish Quarter, this part of Krakow is slowly transformed to the Soviet Era and modernized touch. You’ll notice the architecture is different here compared to the old Krakow city and Jewish Quarter.

Not to mention, Krakow is the home for the famous Schindler! Krakow has a museum dedicated to the history of Krakow during the World War II period. The museum is called Schindler’s Museum, and the building is Schindler’s own factory, and I was very glad to have had the opportunity to visit it.

I don’t want to write too much since it’ll be TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read), but here are some photos of the things I’ve seen and caption to explain it:


Vistula River

Walking along side Vistula River in Krakow

Vistula River 2

Castles, Ferries and Vistula River in Krakow

Old Krakow Building

A building on the outskirts of Old Krakow

Vistula River Bridge

View of the River from a bridge

South Krakow - New City

Construction of new buildings across the Vistula River

Vistula River and Church

A view of Vistula River and Church

Politically Correct Trash

I found this hilarious...found by the River

Locks of Love

These are locks that represent a relationship that have been put up by couples ๐Ÿ™‚

More pictures are on Facebook. But the following are the videos.


Rynek Gล‚รณwny (Main Square) of Old Krakow is filled with culture, restaurant and cafes. It’s rich with life and definitely among the places to see if you are visiting Krakow the first time:

After spending some time downtown, it was time to move to Blonia Park. Blonia Park is a historical area that is 48 hectres. I’d recommend you read more about it on Wiki. Here is a glimpse of Polish football fans going towards the screening of the EuroCup 2012 match between Poland and Czech Republic:

To enter Blonia Park, there was a security checkpoint to ensure the safety and security of spectators. I intentionally took this video to bring comfort to my mother’s worry:

Once I entered the park, this place was PACKED with people waiting to see Polish football players to score a goal against Czech Republic. People chanted, blew their Vuvuzelas, and sang the anthem as loudly as possible in hope that their sporty spirit will inspire the Polish players to rock the game:

After the Czech Republic and Poland match, there was a group that was conducting Modern Dancing for those who are not too fond of EuroCup. Caught the end of the program, but hardly seen much. But here is a small clip of it:

Relevant Links

Goal to Euro Video Playlist

Goal to Euro – Ironman, Bratwursts and Chuck Norris

I have finally arrived in Poland after a 24 hours flight. It was a very tiring flight, but I can’t hold back some of the random experiences that I have faced in the past 24 hours.

SFO Gates

Release the Deutschland!

I departed from SFO (San Francisco). It was 2:55 PM, the gate was bombarded by middle-aged Germans and random other folks. The air was tense as it seems everyone is trying to flee the USA. Like forcing two magnets of the same polarity to attract.

I had the window seat, and based on my amazing research on planes, I’ve selected the window seat that faces the wings. I flew on one of those jumbo jets that are two story high. I was seated next to this awesome fella, whom I forgot his name (how embarrassing). This fella is 2 meters tall, curly haired dude and was a fresh graduate from Gymnasium (German High School). He came to San Francisco to celebrate his graduation, spending his 5 days roaming around and exploring the city. During our conversation, we exchanged music, movie tastes, learned a bit of German and talked about our culture. But the best moment was in the middle of the flight, he pulled his Iron Man mask, and pulled it over his head. To me, this was HILARIOUS. To others, this looked like a suspicious terrorist attack. Until we started talkng loudly on how Tony Stark is trying to maintain his budget and is traveling economy class. Here is a glimpse of this fella:

Ironman and Adib

No comments about my face

When I landed in Frankfurt Airport (FRA), I had an hour to arrive to my gate to go on to my next flight. Of course, the assumption was that the gate won’t be packed and hopefully I’ll get there. WRONG!

I cannot explain the number of security checkpoints I had to go through to go from one terminal to the other. I have been stamped by the German Authorities three times (entering the country twice, and exiting once). In essence, I missed my flight. I forgot to mention that for the two entry checkpoint, I had to go through the scanning and security check. God forbid the lines.

FRA Hallway

Long hallways are long...So, about catching my flight?

While waiting for my next flight, I gave myself the honors to go roam around the massive airport. Personally, I was going into the Duty Free to find a cologne to wear since I feel I stank from the long sitting down trip from SFO. And I realized since I was in Germany, there was only one thing to do – Bratwurst, and of course, Mezzo Mix (Fanta and Coca-Cola mix drink. Trust me, it tastes like heaven).

Chocolate stand in FRA

German chocolate simply pwns!


German's greatest national pride!

That’s all I’ll share for now for my trip. Tomorrow I’ll document my experience in Krakow, and share the story of my awesome hosts, and the city I am in.

Until then…

I’ll leave this here, which is placed right underneath my host’s apartment:

Chuck Norris

Not sure if Soviet Russia Joke, or Chuck Norris Joke?

Relevant Links

Goal to Euro Video Playlist