Arrived at the train station to see another new train, unfortunately that was not the one travelling to Lviv at 13.31. Instead it was back to normal, and the comforts of a third class sleeper.
Sat next to two Ukrainians who invited me to play cards, and quickly got talking about football and life in their country. They had just visited Donetsk for the first time having taken the train from their home town on a 16 hour journey.
Their accommodation sounded familiar, a student hall let out to football supporters at 10 times the normal price. If we think this is outrageous, imagine how you would feel if that amount was two thirds of your salary for the month, as it was for these two doctors in their second year of work.
Word got round the carriage that there were foreign football fans in the carriage and my new found friends warned me that they overheard others planned to join us for a party as they stocked up on alcohol. At this stop I also spotted a German friend, Markus and invited him to join us.
Sure enough our compartment was crowded as the locals asked the same questions over and over again through the help of our doctors who translated.
They insisted that we drink vodka with them and when it was suggested that they should offer something to eat, within seconds a loaf of bread, tomatoes and a gherkin appeared.
They were all in total agreement that Ukraine were too reliant on Shevchenko, and that it was unfair on him to carry the whole attack.
Talking of great Ukrainian footballers one man put forward his vote for Oleg Blokhin.
A young boy joined us and quickly took over as translator, as he spoke fluent French/Ukrainian/Russian and English. He offered his views on football and even communism. Finding out that he collected coins from around the world, we were reminded that he was just 12, as he rejected the offer of a €2 Italian coin as he had one already.
There was plenty of heated discussion , especially as Markus got louder and louder convincing everyone that on July 1st 2012 at 23.35 (local time) Germany will be lifting the trophy.
Eventually went to bed around 2a.m! And arose at 9a.m. Only four hours to go.
Complimentary tea was served for breakfast although the sugar that came with it gave a false impression of the train we were on.
Arrived in Lviv on time at 13.04
© Ross Clegg & Soccerphile.com