Today it is exactly eight years since I arrived in Kyiv for the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest. What an adventure that was.
I was (relatively) young and inexperienced and honestly a bit nervous about going. Ukraine had been shaken by a revolution only months before and there was a certain tension in the air because of this.
The day was eventful. In the morning, while making my way to the airport, I heard the sad news that Swedish showbiz veteran (as well as Swedish ESC representative in 1963) Monica Zetterlund had died. Thanks to a very slow queue at Helsinki Airport I almost missed my flight and had to rush through customs. And while waiting for my connecting flight in Budapest, I recieved a message saying that my second godson had been born.
Then, there was also the arrival at the hotel. Me and a friend shared what I expected to be an over-priced little broom cupboard of a hotel room but what turned out to be a large suite overlooking the Majdan square. Never has Eurovision been that luxurious again.
So - I was nervous. So - I was wrong. Kyiv was a wonderful host city and the 2005 contest stands out as a very happy one to be part of. Good ambience, good food and mainly good weather - thanks to the Ukrainian army that kept bombing the rain clouds out of the sky.
I'd love to go back to Ukraine some day. Given the usual standard they set for their entries at Eurovision, maybe we won't have to wait so long.
But the next time, I hope my favourites will do better and not get stuck in the semis...
Omar Naber - Stop (Slovenia 2005)