One aspect of attending an Olympic Games is being immersed in the culture of the host city and the host country. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing lacking from #Sochi2014. The Games themselves didn’t event take place in Sochi. The mountain venues took place in Krasnaya Polyana, approximately 40 minutes away from the Coastal Cluster and Olympic Park, which was actually located in Adler. Media and spectators were essentially in an Olympic bubble. And we were told not to go into Sochi due to fears of terrorism.
Since I was based in the mountain cluster, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to leave Krasnaya Polyana anyway. And while I’ll likely never get to say that I’ve been to Sochi, I figure Adler was close enough. The Mountain SportsDesk crew got the opportunity to venture out of the bubble on the second to last day of the Games.
It was very warm day. Coats were definitely not needed as we visited the beautiful coastline. It’s not exactly your typical beach. Sand is replaced by rocks that felt so smooth and soft to the touch that I decided to take a few home with me. Just walking along the water was a nice and much needed change from what became the daily grind of working in the mountains. It’s too bad we didn’t do this sooner.
The shops in Adler had cheaper souvenirs than their counterparts inside Olympic Park and up in Rosa Khutor, which made the trip worth it, especially for those who brought a shopping list with them to Russia.
Open-air markets are always a great place to figure out the culture of a host city. In London, street markets were what define a neighborhood. I’m not sure if that was the case in Adler, but at least I got a taste for who Russians really were outside of the Olympic bubble. The stalls at this market sold different items, from spices to flowers.
The vendors were very friendly and while that’s probably because they want you to buy something, it’s a form of hospitality and warmth that I didn’t see much of from the locals when I first arrived in Sochi. The Olympics have definitely had its effect on the host city.
We decided to walk back to the IBC from Adler, which took about 30 minutes. I didn’t mind at all considering how gorgeous the weather was.
I was glad to have had a taste of what Russia is like. Hopefully I can get a full-course meal sometime.