Posted: 6/19/2012


       Most of the Portuguese selecao refused to speak to the press after earlier criticism. The notable exception was Cristiano Ronaldo who coolly scored a brace and hit the bar twice in the 2-1 come- from-behind victory over their Dutch opponents.

      He also 'gifted' two glorious passes to Fabio Coentrao and Nani in the second half, both of whom fluffed their lines, after Rafael van der Vaart had raised Dutch hopes by taking the lead. The Oranje fans now face a long, long trip home from half way to Siberia, and the team who were in the FIFA World Cup Final just two years ago, finished the campaign with 0 points for the first time ever in an international tournament.

      In Western Ukraine in the lovely city of Lviv, Germany won their third match and maximum nine points for the first time, as they beat a determined Danish side who now go home for a rest. That's it as far as EURO 2012 is concerned for this formerly Polish city where in fact the Polish Football Association was founded in 1911 and the FIRST EVER goal was scored on 14th July 1894, Lwow v Krakow. It has been called Lviv, Lvov, Lwow, Lemberg, Leopolis over the years.  I visited there twice, staying at the dear old George Hotel on Adam Michiewicz Square, a relic from 1901 and the oldest hotel in the country, when this area was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Back in 1888 the railway first came here and linked it to Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Paris and Warsaw.

      Lviv has a thriving tourist business and Karpaty Lviv now have a stadium that their fans can be proud of. I visited the club offices and chatted to the young and enthusiastic marketing crew who had football club scarves from around the world decorating their office walls, and presented me with a green and white FC Karpaty one.  named after the Carpathian Mountains)  I strolled down Svobody Prospekt-Freedom Road, past the impossing statue of national poet Taris Shevchenko, which was paid for by Ukrainian exiles in Argentina.

      On to the magnificant Opera House, past babushkas in headscarves selling flowers, children riding rented mini pedal cars and groups of old men gathered to argue about politics, and others playing chess, to the strains of Brahms over loudspeakers.

      Opposite the Ratuska Town Hall square I walked down a short narrow alley to No.14 and the GREATEST THEMED RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD.. KRYJIVKA. There was a large door with a 'speakeasy' flap.

      I knocked and gave the pass word that I had  been told about. 'F.B.I.', I shouted.  It was opened by a guy in an olive green battledress and a machine gun. He offered me a slug of vodka which I downed in one gulp. Then he pointed silently to a fake bookcase. I opened the door and climbed down a steep staircase to an underground 'cave', actually three of them. Strewn with sawdust and bullet caseings and walls with netting, old wartime photos , uniforms, weapons and posters. 

        There were 45 varieties of cigarettes and cigars on sale, lots of drinks and food and crowded with patrons chatting, smoking and laughing. The barmen and waiters and waitresses were in patriotic old Partizan camouflage uniforms, and heroes of The Great Patriotic War.  Over 300 items on the large menu. "The Forest Gauteilers dinner" ( Pork leg), "Haggard delight of a Partizan woman" (home baked sausage). "Heroes first command" ( Borsch). "Division hero dinner", Pork leg. )"Adios Liberators", (Stewed cabbage). "A virgin Partizan woman" ( Forest fruits and ice cream).

     130,000 Jews were murdered and over 300,00 citizens killed in those tragic times in the middle of the last century. A far cry from EURO 2012....but a reminder of the past.

      Go visit LVIV.. something for everyone to enjoy.!!