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Romantic, friendly, happy Russia confounds critics

July 12, 2018 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

Get ready for a travel boom to Russia! Despite earlier warnings, Australians are having a fabulous time attending the FIFA World Cup, the good news is spreading and one Aussie soccer star has even stood in Moscow’s Red Square and publicly proposed marriage to his partner back in Australia.

Former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Bosnich is getting married after his partner, Sara, said yes to his impromptu marriage proposal, broadcast via Twitter in a birthday greeting to her from Moscow.

Here’s Bosnich’s proposal:

Bosnich is in Russia for the World Cup. He met his partner Sara at a Christmas party in 2009.

As Bosnich pointed out, Red Square is a “very romantic spot”. He’s not the only one finding Russia a wonderful place. Australians have been made to feel very welcome – making some of the official comments before the World Cup look rather foolish.

Visitors from Australia have praised the Russian spirit and its people’s friendliness. They are knocked out by the cleanliness and beauty of Moscow and other Russian cities.

In an article headed ‘Why the World Cup will open Russia up to tourism’, Simon Calder, travel editor of Britain’s Independent, wrote: “A month-long festival of football may achieve what decades of detente could not: mutual, people-to-people respect.”

St Petersburg, where the France vs Belgium World Cup semi-final was played

James Willoughby, sport editor of The New Daily, Australia’s online daily newspaper, was equally effusive.

Having just spent a fortnight in Russia, with stops in Moscow, Kazan, Sochi and Samara, Willoughby wrote: “If Russia is an unsafe place to visit, there’s been no sign of it during the FIFA World Cup.

“Despite all the headlines and the hype, Russia – for the moment at least – seems like a fun country excited to host the world for sport’s biggest party.”

Willoughby added that “Metro services in most of Russia’s major cities work fantastically”, adding that in Moscow’s metro, trains run roughly every two minutes through more than 100 stations during the day, and every five minutes after midnight.

“Trains are clean, safe and easy to navigate, putting Australia’s services to shame,” he wrote. “Uber is also popular in Russia and a much better bet for tourists keen to avoid getting ripped off.”

Australians are also discovering the superb repositories of art in St Petersburg, where the Belgium vs France World Cup semi-final was played early on Wednesday morning (Australian time).

Compare those reports to the stuff that was being put out by Australian officials and politicians before the World Cup, when Australians were being warned off from visiting Russia.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) chose Easter Day to advise potential Aussie travellers to Russia: “Due to heightened political tensions, you should be aware of the possibility of anti-Western sentiment or harassment. Remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publicly on political developments.”

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack weighed in: “If you don’t need to travel to Russia at the moment then think twice, think three times about doing it,” McCormack told ABC News.

So far, all of those dire forebodings have come to nothing. The football has been thrilling and quite apart from that, Australians in Russia are having a lot of fun.

NOTE for Australian sports fans. Stay up late on Sunday and you can watch the World Cup Final screened live on SBS from Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia at 1am Monday AEST, when France takes on Croatia.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    agree — reports scare you off but when you get there – great – trains and stations , supurb , luv the bus services cheap cheap cheap just follow the numbers really thousands of mini buses going round and round in interconnecting loops get on bus 1 get off to connect bus 2 then same to bus 3 etc etc until you get to say bus 5 which is where you want to go – terrific and about 10c

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