Ouch … I hear Anzhe getting ready for work and I have the feeling I should doing just that myself, but last night’s celebration took its toll on me. Anzhe looks like he could use some more sleep too. We quickly catch up and I convince him to leave me his keys for the day and will meet him in the afternoon prior my departure. I manage to rest for another extra hour and a half and then set about meeting the French fan for my appointment with FIFA.
Not fresh, but that’ll do.
Red Square, 11.30am, in the lobby of the 4 Seasons hotel, after getting through security who gave me an odd look while getting in, I meet Antonin and Marlène.
Marlene, early 20s, is from Marseille, just like me, and has been travelling during the world cup on her own and meeting people.
Antonin owns a French pastry business in Washington DC and him and his brother closed the shop during the world cup.
We exchange about our own world cup journey and the Freecouch4fans concept and they explain me that they have been sleeping in hostels and using when it got too expensive some freecouching websites, especially in Nizhnyi Novgorod where the prices were jacked up.
Michael calls me and we meet at Starbucks around the corner. We are being offered free coffee and we start going down the details. We will get in the FIFA car filled with cameras and sing our hearts out! We start agreeing and rehearsing the songs we will be singing and as I’m feeling the adrenaline flowing through my body I forget all about the lack of sleep and a possible hang over. This is on!
After pouring all my energy in the car, I actually feel awesome and hungry.
I write Jay to tell him to meet me in a café nearby the Red Square, actually close to Nikolskaya street. After ordering a club sandwich and water to complete my recovery process, he shows up accompanied by his colleague Peter.
We start getting to know each other and discussing our journey through the world cup, pretty nice lads so we fairly quickly get very comfortable and after a good 2 hours, we set about finding a suitable location for shooting the interview.
After contemplating with the Red square option, we decide to find a cozy lounge bar instead, featuring guess what, a superb couch! Post the interview, we finish our beer and take a selfie together to freeze this brilliant moment, promise to stay in touch, say goodbye and part.
I am so late! I quickly get back to Anzhe’s, who apparently got back fairly early pretexting being sick, get my bag and set off to meet Svyat my host for tonight.
In the meantime, I get texts from Sergey who has organized a football game not far from Svyat my host for tonight.
Svyat has responded on our hashtag to my request on Twitter and am pretty curious to know how he ran into it.
Off I go, to the outskirt of Moscow a 45 minutes ride followed by a 15 minutes walk to Svyat’s place.
He explains me that during our first week he has seen us and his wife took a picture with us and the freecouch4fans flag and that’s how he understood the initiative and was ready to help if somebody asked.
As we get into his flat I explain him about the potential football game Sergey (met during my first journey to Moscou) has organized and he explains that he will not play but his friend Misha, who is to spend the evening with us, might play. His friend gets here we quickly greet each other and get into their Lada, the soviet car symbol, and drive to the stadium for about 15 minutes.
Not being in the form of my life, after this crazy 5-day ride, I still manage to somewhat play decently and Misha coming on the pitch at about half time helped a lot. After greeting each other Svyat, Misha and I get to the supermarket buy some food and drinks and get back to his place where despite being exhausted we manage to stay up until 2 AM talking about our mutual lives and culture. I’m literally struggling to keep my eyes open and eventually excuse myself to sleep, my last sleep of this journey.
- Football: 1700 RUB, 21.4 EUR
- Transport: 55 RUB, 0.7 EUR
- Food and beverages: 2400 RUB, 30.2 EUR
Total : 4155 RUB, 52.4 EUR