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A wise man said, ”The world is a book. Those who do not travel only read one page.” Last June, I heeded the soft whispers of a much anticipated Russian adventure. I set out, like thousands of sports revellers, for football’s biggest party – The Russia 2018 World Cup.

 

This is my story.

 

Summertime is certainly the best part of the year – friends, sun, sand, sea, and everything in-between. Summer’s bliss is perhaps only dwarfed in bliss by the quadrennial summer fest of soccer fans worldwide.

 

Preparations

Having previously bagged a Russian university degree, for me, the Russia 2018 World Cup was an invitation with the promise of an unforgettable, lifetime experience. Quite naturally, I teamed up with Wakanow – Africa’s Biggest Online Travel Company to actualize my dream. With myriads of specially designed packages and delightful options at affordable rates, everything looked set. The icing on the cake was Travel Now Pay Later – a flexible repayment option to secure game tickets, hotel accommodations, and ground logistics.

 

Arrival

I left Lagos on the 18th June, 2018 aboard an Emirates flight.

 

 

All arrangements made for the guests were fulfilled and timely at the point of arrival in Russia; Transportation by comfortable, hotel reservations et cetera. We had airport pickups, hotel transfers and stadium transfers with standard air-conditioned cars, business class vehicles and branded Marcopolo luxury buses.

 

Lodging

I was treated to sheer opulence and comfort at several 3-star hotels during my month-long stay.

The rooms were cosy, with an option to upgrade at a token.

 

Russia 2018 World Cup Diary

 

The hotel locations were well-situated in the city centre, and close to subway stations.

 

Russia 2018 World Cup Diary

They had great amenities, Wifi, luxury interiors, breakfasts with good reviews. Proximity to the centre allowed hotel guests to visit African restaurants, cultural attractions, and nightclubs.

 

Fun Activities

We were hosted to a warm reception by the Nigerian Embassy in Russia. The Nigerian Ambassador to Russia – Prof. Steve Davies Ugbah – made us feel like Moscow was another Nigerian city.

 

Russia 2018 tourists with the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia

 

I watched some of the biggest football stars go head-to-head in pulsating duels. It was special for me because many of them play in different leagues around the world. Only a tournament like the World Cup could unite them all.

 

Wole with Tuface Idibia in a Moscow Stadium

 

Look who I saw at the stadium! 2Baba of Africa, le baddest legend. Quite frankly, I was unprepared meeting someone of this magnitude. Just when I thought this could pass for a mere coincidence, my stars got pretty luckier …

 

Oluwole Taylor with Tuface - 2face - in Russia

 

Well, I can’t complain…lol. You know, right? And guess what? I met the action governor, Ambode himself. Magnificent governor. Eko oni baje, Baba mi. Tuale, Sir!

 

Oluwole Taylor with Governor Ambode of Lagos State

 

I took some Moscow city tours to butter up my Russian experience. I came up and close with Russian history from the Middle Ages to the present time. We visited the City centre, the Kremlin, the popular Red Square, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the State Historical Museum and so much more.

 

Wakanow Tourists Bus to Moscow Stadium

 

So, then, I joined some tourists on a small-group tour in Saint Petersburg to ensure a more personalized experience with the city. I explored some of the most famous sites, lapping up the sights and sounds of Russia’s second largest and most beautiful city.

 

Russia City tour during Russia 2018 world cup

 

Pretty cool adventure. I had a swell time at the historical Peter and Paul’s Fortress, the magnificent St Isaac’s Cathedral, the famous Hermitage Museum and many more landmarks.

 

Russia 2018 city tour, moscow

 

I equally opted in for the midnight Saint Petersburg cruise around downtown St Petersburg with an onboard guide. You should have seen the sparkly-lit drawbridges, simply magnificent. We cruised around the canals, admired the city’s illuminated monuments. My peak moments were spent reflecting on the Neva River and cruise underneath Trinity Bridge.

 

Recap

Quite frankly, it was such a great experience and Wakanow delivered on maximum service delivery, fully meeting and surpassing all my expectations.

 

Russia 2018 world cup diary

 

As a badt guy, I also had time to show off some hot football skills. See as dem they watch me, original African Ronaldo.

 

Oluwole Taylor showing off his football skills in Moscow during russia 2018 world cup

 

It felt so wonderful being a Nigerian in the Northern hemisphere. Teeming guests and delegates were delighted with an unrivalled atmosphere of fun (well, as you already know, there are no two world cups…lol). I literally made tons of friends to last a lifetime.

 

Some things literally happen in a lifetime, and my Russia 2018 World Cup experience would surely count as one.

 

My window corner aboard Emirates flight

 

Drifting away to dreamland during my return flight aboard Emirates, on the 19th day of July 2018, I quietly counted my blessings. It was travel made easy! Plus, I’m certainly glad I didn’t have to wait another 100 years for Russia to host another World Cup.

 

Now, back at home, I’ve been dreaming about a summer getaway orchestrated by Wakanow. You too can do the same. One thing is for sure. Dreams come true, peeps. Dare to dream.

 

About the Author

Ayotunde is an Online Content Writer with a robust research background. A graduate of French Language of the University of Ado-Ekiti, he has a combined 6 years professional and postgraduate experience. After an initial postgraduate volunteering experience as a French Instructor at the Department of European Studies (University of Ibadan), he has worked with Olx.com as a Classifieds Moderator, and with Bookbuilders Edition Africa as a freelance French Editor and Translator. His professional interests include- communications, public relations, and business management. A book lover, cryptology and travel enthusiast, Ayo dedicates his spare time to playing chess as well as a doctoral research he hopes to round up this year.

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