I first went to Sochi in November 2013 when it was preparing for the Olympics. The Olympic venues, including the athletes’ village were a sea of mud. http://gellersworldtravel.blogspot.com/2013/11/sochi-2014-facilities-in-imeretin.html
I decided to return to see how it all turned out, especially the pedestrian streets and a shopping centre which my guide, Sberbank’s Deputy Chairman of the Board Stanislav Kuznetsov showed me, within which the top floor was being turned into a fabulous aquapark, with sand brought in from the Maldives..
I also planned take a ferry from Sochi to Batumi in Georgia, which I had been told was a most interesting waterfront resort city. However, I was subsequently cautioned about taking the ferry due to potentially rough seas, etc. so I ended up flying to Tbilisi instead. (more about this in a future post)
The last time I was in Sochi I had a wonderful time at the Radisson in Adler. But it was suggested that I stay in Sochi, and the Radisson Lazurnaya was recommended as one of the three best hotels. Unfortunately, while I was anticipating a couple of days on the beach, it was raining heavily when I arrived, and the hotel was somewhat removed from the city.
Worse still, when I arrived there was no record of my reservation, and things went down hill from there. One problem was that the hotel really catered to Russian families on vacation, not foreign tourists. I wrote to the manager but never heard back.
While the first day in Sochi was a bust, my second day was wonderful. That’s because Svetlana Moskvicheva, one of the Strelka students I met in Moscow who lived in Sochi offered to arrange two tour guides. Natalia Zakharova is an architect and editor of web-site http://arch-sochi.ru/. Marina Kolyvanova is a journalist, who spoke excellent English. They took me up to Krasnaya Polyana to see a number of ski villages and helped me understand what was happening in and around Sochi. Anyway, enough words. Here are some more images of what we saw.
|We went up to the upper level of the shopping centre to see the aquapark with the sand from the Maldives. But alas, it was closed for construction repairs. I thought about contacting Stanislav! He would have got me in!|
|After our trip up the mountain, it was time for some mulled wine in a bar with a plaster cast of Putin on the counter.|
The next day I returned to the Radisson in Adler. It was a great place to stay with excellent pools and its own area on the beach and I highly recommend it. I can also recommend renting an electric scooter as a way to get around.
|Apparently the very expensive retractable roof doesn't work.|
|I can now see why they didn't use sand from the Sochi beach for the Aquapark|
|Their athletes' village housing was much less expensive to build than ours|