herald

Monday 18 December 2017

No toliet roll, no sleep, and no sun... but it's fantastic

I HAVE no toilet paper left, I've had no sleep, but most preposterous of all -- I cannot get any wifi.

All three have been in very short supply around Poznan and Gdansk as fans try to maintain some sort of civility.

At the campsites desperate girls are now offering (we presume jokingly) to swap match tickets for paper towels.

The only thing that seems to be more elusive than loo roll is sleep. Some fans manage only a couple of hours a night at best. In my case, there have been about four hours of shuteye in the past 58 hours.

It gets bright in Sopot around 4.30am by which time the fans are still generally far from home. Many -- but not all -- of the pubs close between 3am and 4am but the off licences are eternally open.

We were told in advance by Polish police that drinking the streets was a big 'no, no' but it appears that for the most part it is tolerated, provided the humour is good.

At this stage the locals are well accustomed to our ways and even trying to join in. However, a small few are still bemused by the sapless energy on the streets. In Sopot, where the team are based, many natives go running along the beachfront in the early morning, which is a sight to behold as the Irish jog along with them before going home.

The invasion of Sopot, Gdansk and Gydnia is now in full swing. This area seems like an entirely different place to Poznan. The streets are wide and tree lined. There are cafes to beat the band and luxury cars are far more common.

But unfortunately there has been no beach weather. For those -- like me -- who packed shorts and T-shirts it's been a disappointingly cold spell.

We're promised better days to come -- and that's what the Irish here are saying about the soccer too.

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