Sochi Winter Olympics: One Final Visit To The City

I couldn’t leave Sochi without one last post about the city itself.  With my flatmates gone and Rosa Khutor virtually empty, I decided to spend my final day in Sochi city centre. I ventured down in my first week, but didn’t get further than the Sporting History museum. I was nervous about Russia then. Now, I feel like I’ve got it sussed. So two hours later, I climbed off the train at Sochi station and stepped out into the sunshine.

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If someone dropped me in the middle of Sochi and asked me where I was, I would say Spain.  It’s like a Mediterranean city. Palm tree, humid 18°C, sandstone streets. I was looking for the Sochi Art Museum, but instead found this nice little skate park. Apparently rollerblading is cool in Russia.

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Then the Sochi Art Museum appeared around the corner. It had about 12 paintings inside with three very attentive old ladies, who insisted on turning the English audio guide on for me and directing me to the correct paintings. No photos inside, sadly.

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Then I wandered over the bridge to the Riviera and had lunch at Ne Goryuy, a Georgian restaurant recommended in Lonely Planet. They had a menu that was as fat as a bible. I chose the chakhokkbily – chicken in tomato, chilli, garlic and corriander sauce – with Georgian flatbread and a beer. It was the best meal I’ve had in this country. And it all cost around £6.

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Then I took a look at the Riviera. It’s a bit of a grand name for a waterfront that looks like a dilapidated Soviet beach resort. But some of the architecture is pretty unusual. Plus you can’t miss the giant Lenin wall mosaic.

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Apart from that, Sochi is pretty spartan. There’s plenty of hotels that are just lying empty…

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And lots of war monuments…

SMonumentAnd actual queues to buy official Sochi merchandise!
SQueuesAt the seafront, there was a busy promenade with sarong shops, popcorn stands and people dipping their feet in the Black Sea.

SBeach SBeach2 SBeach3As I wandered back towards the station, I realised how lucky I’ve been to visit a city I would never normally see. My final task was to get a picture with the Olympic rings. And I did it. See you back in England y’all!

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