Are unlikely to be my last. In fact, I think I’m going to stay on here a further 2 or 3 more days as this capital city really does have that good a vibe about it and there is plenty to see and do here.
It was the National Polish Armed Force day here recently commemorating the anniversary of the 1920s victory over Soviet Russia at the Battle of Warsaw. This event is taken very seriously with it being officially recognised as a national holiday and a number of roads are cordoned off as soldiers march down one of the main streets. Regretfully I missed the actual march and bizarrely this was due to a sporting related activity of all things!
Here you can see a small portion of the army, their vehicles and artillery on display.
Located in the same area as the static Army display above is Poland’s National Stadium. I hung up my football boots (and interest) long, long ago and so I leave “the beautiful game” to my dedicated friends back home. These friends are to whom I dedicate this post to.
Even from a distance the stadium looked pretty awesome, although I never suspected for a moment I would participate (let alone enjoy) a tour of it but that’s what went and happened and I have to admit, I really did enjoy it. The most worthwhile £4 I’ve spent in a short while and I have a convincing Dutch-Asian man named ‘Jay’ to thank for that.
So the National Stadium was completed in January 2012 after three years of construction. This completion date saw it in time for the UEFA Euro 2012 championship and subsequently it hosted the first match of the tournament. Prior to 2012, the Polish national football team did not have a permanent home drifting between grounds to hold home matches. Not good. Still, that’s a problem of the past as they now have this wonderful venue to call ‘home’.
Above: Jay doing what he’d love to be doing permanently I’m sure…
The stadium also functions as a multi-sports facility which is why you don’t see grass at the moment. A small part of the process of bringing in the turf, which will sit on top of this concrete, is that it is brought in two weeks before an event and it will remain for one week after. When not acting as a pitch, often you will find music concerts and even motocross events occurring here amongst other things.
Next up was VIP entrance and area. You didn’t think they enter the same way as the rest of us did you? Oh no. That’s preposterous. Look, they even have red carpets laid out for them with memorable photographic football images on the walls:
Players changing room:
There are three types of VIP sized boxes available ranging between 100 people to 12.
I’ll take this, the 100 box please. Do you accept student discount?
Y’know, I think I could get back into football if you stuck me in one of these often enough 🙂
Speaking of which, know this: That 100 seater ‘top box’ used to be called The Presidential suite/club but it is now known as the Platinum suite/club.
Back during Euro 2012 (in fact I might have even been the opening game), Roman Abramovich hired this box except he didn’t sit in. Instead he hired it for his friends and fired another one across the stadium just for himself. Lol, as you do. Now, that might not sound too bad an action as its not as if it was hired and nobody turned up, but it was the fact that a Russian could claim ‘The Presidential ‘ box and then not even use it for himself. It was perceived as an act of arrogance and cultural superiority and if you didn’t already know, The Polish aren’t the biggest fans of the Russians irrespective of who they are or how much money they have. Consequently it was renamed to something more neutral.
Later that afternoon Jay and I met a Turkish man named Emre who was in Warsaw for a few days so I will hope to spend more time with him as Jay has to return to work (in Prague!) tomorrow.
For any youngsters looking for inspiration outside of my own story, see this short description:
Jay is in his mid 20s and felt trapped in a dead-end job back in Holland with no immediate career prospects in sight that took his interest. He expanded his search criteria and subsequently came across an advert that AirFrance/KLM had distributed. They were looking for Dutch speakers to come and work for the Airlines but on the proviso they would relocate to the Czech republic. Jay felt he had nothing to lose and so he went for it and got it and moved to the Czech republic. One year later, he is still enjoying it and has no regrets and just needs to find a good Check girl to top off this already fantastically brave and inspiring story.
Oh, finally, for any children viewing this article, getting drunk is not clever. Look what can happen to a decent, sophisticated intelligent man after consumption of a variety of beverages:
Didn’t know about that pic, do you Jay? LOL 🙂